StateCraft: Update

StateCraft: Update
Local Goldmines

Dana Massey | 28 Mar 2006 11:02
StateCraft: Update - RSS 2.0

Now, it's time to fess up to a mistake. In last year's issue, I dismissed the idea of intensely regional topics being explored. I simply did not see it as commercially viable. This remains true; it isn't. Yet, dismissing it wholesale was closed-minded of me. This is precisely the type of way we've seen every other entertainment media develop and a brilliant way to keep the big boys honest. Think about the area in which you live - especially if it is not the United States - and consider the local celebrities, the local films and music. Every so often, they go on to mass appeal and fame, but quite often, they remain as small hits in a single part of the world.

The key to this kind of direction in gaming is for the industry to further expand its reach. In order for regionally focused games to happen, there needs to be ways to create them at a cost more conducive to a limited audience. What I'm looking for are, in essence, art-house videogames. It is also likely that the creation of that type of game would actually benefit the whole. There are scores of people out there who probably do not see anything personally interesting in games. With smaller, focused games, we can grab them and funnel them into the greater world of gaming; just as someone who isn't a fan of movies may get their curiosity piqued by a small art-house film about their corner of the world. The entire concept feeds the benefit of the whole.

In the short term, there are plenty of ethnic groups inside the United States who have the numbers and the buying power to justify targeted games. North of the border, I'd even wager a game aimed at Canadians could not only survive, but thrive. This doesn't even touch on the various European countries. It also makes sense for the people for whom these games are intended to actually produce them. Suddenly, non-Americans in the industry do not need to find a visa and move to California. This spreads the appeal of games and moves their creation into new markets. What's more, the spread of these jobs around the world further legitimizes the gaming industry as just another normal thing people can do with their lives.

It's going to take guts and a gamble, but whoever is willing to put up the money and run the first test balloon may have a goldmine on their hands. The profit margins will be lower and the production standards less glorious, but people accept that in film and I firmly believe they'd do the same in gaming. Personally, I'm tired of games about America for Americans and want to see something that represents me and my interests. I'm willing to bet I'm not alone. Now, all we need is someone to take up the cause. We'll all be better served for it.

Dana "Lepidus" Massey is the Lead Content Editor for MMORPG.com and former Co-Lead Game Designer for Wish.

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