In recent years, video games have gotten increasingly complex. This makes sense, given that video games now boast competitive leagues along the lines of professional sports, but along with more involved gameplay, video games today also boast highly detailed graphics.
As a result, however, many serious players now invest in gaming laptops or extensive desktop builds to optimize their experience – but this also means that more casual gamers may feel excluded from today’s gaming world. Are designers leaving these players in the dust?
Advanced Graphics And Big Developers
Before evaluating how casual gamers engage with more complex graphics, it’s important to consider just who can produce those types of games. High-end visuals take a lot of manpower to create, which typically means these games are exclusively produced by larger companies.
As such, smaller game developers may never make it onto the radar of the types of players who dictate industry trends. This is unusual in certain ways since those most engaged with a media form typically know the most about all aspects of it, but if smaller companies can’t produce these complex games, then big name players aren’t likely to pay attention, never mind promote these small games.
Expanded Design Access
While large game developers may have maintained a monopoly on advanced graphics development in recent years, there’s a possibility that this might be changing.
Today’s small developers have access to a much wider array of tools allowing them to add features to their games. By using a content designer tool, for example, small developers are better able to organize their game elements, think through production issues, and streamline design tasks.
Though these tools may not level the playing field, they can offer some valuable supports.
Simplicity As Virtue
Even if smaller developers are able to produce some more detailed visual elements, another factor that designers should consider when creating games is that not every player wants an elaborate game. Many casual players actually find the level of graphic detail in new games to be overwhelming and alienating, preferring games that reflect more of the simplicity they grew up with. Especially with how far games have come in the last decade, people who haven’t played a video game since they were kids can feel like they’re complete beginners once again, overwhelmed by the platforms, popular franchises, and more. There needs to be room for these players in the gaming community.
While some may believe that with more affordable gaming laptops becoming available, everyone will be interested in pivoting to graphics-heavy games, this is actually a complex aesthetic issue, not just a matter of technological capacity.
Many people who play visually simpler or retro-inspired games choose those not because they lack a heavy-duty graphics card, but simply because those are the types of games they prefer.
It’s great that designers can pour enormous resources into big releases and create hyper-realistic visuals, but that doesn’t mean those games will be popular with all consumers. Variety is the spice of life, and that’s as true in the gaming community as in all other realms – and game developers would do well to remember this.