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The next video game you play can never end


Microsoft's pirate-themed action adventure game, Sea of ​​Thieves, launched last year.


When Craig Duncan and his team at Microsoft's rare video game study dreamed their next big game, they envisioned a world where people and their friends create their own stories as they play.

"It's your brand on the world," Duncan said. "The core vision of it's players who are adventuring together."

This idea clouded the Sea of ​​Thieves, a cartoon-like pirate-play in tongues in courage, where players travel oceans together in boats, explore underwater ruins and search around the islands scattered throughout the world. "It can be a truly magical experience," he said. "It can give you an experience different from any other."

The Thieves Sea is part of a new genre of video games designed to entice people into living worlds, believed to be played for hours. Inside the industry they are called "games as a service" or "live service game." But for everyone else, they are a chance to play a favorite game for the content of their hearts.

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World of Warcraft is one of the most popular games ever made.It was launched in 2004.

Screenshot of CNET

This idea is far from new. Adventure games such as 1999's EverQuest and 2004's World of Warcraft became cultural phenomena and attracted millions of people who not only played the games but also bought related books and lasts for decades. Millions even went to see a feature-length movie called Warcraft in 2016.

But over the last few years, several companies have created their own on the genre. Many were exhibited at E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo last week.

Bethesda Softworks has The Elder Scrolls Online fantasy epic and Fallout 76 post-apocalyptic survival game. Electronic Arts launched its Anthem adventure game earlier this year. Bungie, the creator of the industry-defining Halo series of games, now offers a space battle epic called Destiny. And Epic's Fortnite Battle Royale last male game in itself has become one of the most popular in the industry.

"There is clearly a group of people – and I would go so far as to say that it is a large group of people – who like to invest in something they can invest in and get what they want out of That, "said Pete Hines Marketing Manager at Bethesda. "They get back fun, entertainment, social connections, a sense of progression and everything else they're looking for."

However, not all happiness and roses. Companies say they've learned that these games are harder to create and maintain than they had expected, as they entered the genre over the last few years. The pressure to keep fans happy with new stories and experiences while finding ways to pay for the teams and technology that governs them has caused problems.

Some games, such as Anthem and Fallout 76, have drawn criticism to start with too many mistakes and not enough enticing things to do. Gamers aslso criticized the Take-Twos Rockstar Games division over how Red Dead Online initially pushed people to spend real money to acquire weapons and horses faster to play the game. (Rockstar has since changed the way the game works.)

"The industry gets worse in many ways, they become more predators and more exploitable," says Steven Williams, a long-standing gaming commentator whose YouTube channel Boogie2988 has more than 4.5 million subscribers.

He and many other commentators say that companies do not think enough about players or employees when creating these titles. They are asking too much money for extra experiences, stories and things while giving back too little, he said. Stories of employees seemingly non-stop to satisfy players' expectations have also worried him.

And many of these players say that new business models are crossing the line. Particularly known as micro-transactions, players ask to deposit real money beyond the original cost of the game to pay extra patterns for characters and weapons.

"We have $ 60 games with $ 120 special editions and micro-transactions too," Williams said. "It's the nightmare scenario, we were all warnings and now we're there."

While Williams said some players might criticize the line, there is some profit to their concerns.

Red Dead Redemption 2 was critically acclaimed at the release. But Red Dead Online was first criticized.

CNET / Rockstar Games

Game makers count the teacher as they go and often end up apologizing and trying to do well with their community when they screw up. But they also say they are trying to respond to the players' desire to create game worlds that they can explore with their friends for a long time.

"We are trying to find out what will involve and capture," said Strauss Zelnick, manager of Take-Two Interactive Software, offering online additions to the 2013 Grand Theft Auto V and last year's Red Dead Redemption 2 cowboy game. (Zelnick is also temporary chairman of CBS who owns CNET.)

Zelnick said his team is trying to offer "more value than we charge", he said, although it does not always come across that way.

"You don't want players to say," I really love the game, but … "http://www.cnet.com/" he said. "You want them to come back and say," I'm really, really love the game and safe, I had to pay for it, but it's good to pay for good experiences. "http://www.cnet.com/"


The Elder Scrolls Online has adopted a television series approach to new stories to keep people back.

ZeniMax Media

The Future

Although it may seem to some players that these games take over the industry, developers still produce independent titles. Some of the upcoming are among others. EA's forthcoming Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order Nintendo's future successor to The legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Sony's upcoming survival thriller The Last of Us Part 2.

Meanwhile, developers learn how to make this new breed with live service games. And as many of them are made, another problem is that there are so many in the market, it's hard to decide which one to play.

"This room is so new," said Matt Firor game director of The Elder Scrolls Online. So his team has designed the game to be more accommodating to people who only play once. For example, people who are not advanced in history can still play with dedicated players who have done almost everything they can.

"Most of my friends have a main game they play," says Sam Kirkendoll, 29, who works in fundraising for a university in the Dallas Fort Worth area. He has been playing World of Warcraft since 2007, but he said other friends dabble, leave and then come back.

Firor, of The Elder Scrolls, learned that what brings back the duplicates is great updates with lots of new things to do. So his team has started hanging big launches of new stories in the same way as television producers market new seasons for their shows.

Rovio has found that tweaking and adding to Angry Birds has kept people at risk for years.


"Just keep innovating and bringing new kind of experiences," said Kati Levoranta, CEO of Rovio, creator of the smart Angry Birds mobile game. The company's tweaks and new things have not just lured existing players back, she said, it has also taken new ones. As a result, the number of people who have played Angry Birds 2 every day continues to grow, even though it is four years old.

"We know the world we live today is pretty fast, and there are new things coming all the way through," she said. "So you have to stay fresh and relevant."

Keeping them happy

Game makers said that a key to doing it all work allows players to give feedback and then react with tweaks as they go. [19659006] "You learn over time because you always have the community that gives your feedback," said Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, making Division 2 post-apocalyptic paramilitary thriller and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege strategy game. "We can learn what they want and adopt content for what they need."

Rare's Duncan released the game's biggest changes in April, a year after its first launch. The update included storylines called Tall Tales, which were developed by dedicated players who tested the changes and gave feedback. The company also distributed regular videos to the community to keep them informed of how the development progressed until it was launched.

"Theft today would not be played without the journey we have been on in the last year," he said.

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