"You have to be super disciplined," says David Amor, "and say 'What people really want is the same thing as last time, but with new [content].'" And that's exactly what his company gives them. Since the 2005 release of Buzz, Relentless has developed and shipped two more entries in the franchise, each using the same big, red buzzer peripherals, and they're currently at work on a fourth title in the series. The original, Buzz! The Music Quiz, is still selling at full price, more than a year after its release. Most games only last a few months at full retail.

"I think if you looked at the way [Buzz!] sold," says Amor, "it was bought by people who don't normally play games and played by people who don't play games. ... The other 90 percent of people - people that don't play games - are ready to play games."

Amor admits he pulled this percentage out of "thin air," but he's not far off, and he's also not the only developer thinking in those terms. The legendary Warren Spector, who's long championed a refinement of what some might consider "high-brow" game design, targeting gamers who prefer deeper, more complex, story-based games, also recognizes that the future of gaming lies in the hands of people who wouldn't play System Shock in a million years.

"We've got to sell a lot more copies or we aren't going to be able to make games anymore," said Spector at his GDC lecture titled "The Future of Storytelling in Next-Gen Development." "If giving people what we already give them was enough, all of those non-gamers - which is most of the world - would already be gamers."

"We reach such a tiny amount of people when we make video games," agrees Amor. "If you bring along the right game, people are going to buy it."

But what's the right game? For Amor's Relentless it was a quiz game that looked - and played - like a TV show; a game people could identify with because it was at once familiar, simple and accessible. "These kinds of games are more important than Gears of War," says Amor. "These are games your girlfriend buys. It'd be depressing to think we keep making the same games for the same set of people forever."

Spector agrees. "How can we be satisfied letting players jump from cover point to cover point so they can kill somebody?" he asks. His vision of the future involves iconic characters and meaningful stories. A world and design in which a talented storyteller can create something unique. Spector is currently espousing simpler, cheaper design techniques in favor of putting more resources behind story and actual game design.

"If we start making games that appeal to non-gamers," says Amor. "Then those people will eventually start playing more sophisticated games, more story-based games. I absolutely believe that if you really think about those people ... then I think that they will buy the games that we make."

Russ Pitts is an Associate Editor for The Escapist. He has written and produced for television, theatre and film, has been writing on the web since it was invented and claims to have played every console ever made. His blog can be found at www.falsegravity.com.

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