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Gamers vs. Non-Gamers: Who can make a better game?
by Gino Casas on 04/14/13 12:14:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Gamers vs. Non-Gamers: Who can make a better game?

Here at Senator Hotsprings, we tackle hard issues, such as managing time and maintaining people skills. But we have reached an apex where every one of us baffled at this topic. No, we do not consider which came first, nor Pinocchio and his truth-telling nose, but rather, ones, that we think, could make an impact on both the society and the industry.

Alas, we have come to a conclusion on this dilemma that we should put it in our group wiki page, in order to resolve this once and for all.

Ladies and Gentlemen , I present to you the question: Gamers vs. Non-Gamers: Who CAN make a better game?

To reach the ultimatum of the question, we created a survey to take in viable and trusted information from the masses. The survey consisted of questions that can clearly define who or what a gamer is, what are games' entertaining parts, and finally upon making game themselves.

Who is a gamer?

We aren't surprised that a majority of the respondents consider play video games, as it already is a part of the entertainment industry. A considerable number of these respondents play casual games, or those games that are readily available or usually comes in cheap. The rest of the respondents play a plethora of considerable famous genres, such as MOBAs, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, FPS, First Person Shooters, RPGs, Role-Playing Games, and much more. Surprisingly, a third of our respondents play these games more than 5 hours in a day, next with two to four hours, and the rest follows. Finally, more than a half of the respondents has a console in their homes, aiding in their ability to play video games.

Judging by these facts, we can clearly see that a gamer can be jack-of-all-trades, whether they are just focused on playing casual games, or other genres, such as RPG-only player, or a MOBA person. Note that these types of gamers can be differentiated by the things they play, but still considered to be gamers overall. If your point of attack is upon the time consumed upon playing those games, you can consider a gamer to be a person who consumes an average of three hours a day in playing games. The number of hours considered is accumulated. Penultimately, owning a console or a gaming computer doesn't mean you are a gamer, though having one furthers confirms your state of being a gamer. With the existence of computer rentals and console rentals, owning a console or a gaming computer is deemed unnecessary.

If we merge these analyzed data, we can specify the definition of a gamer, with the exception of one who plays games. A "gamer" can be defined as a person who indulges in playing games at a considerable amount (esp. 3 hours) of time in a day, and do not necessarily own a console or a computer to play it. There. It is clear.

Fun in Games

This area would extrapolate on how video games attack the player.

As expected, respondents have different tastes in entertainment, such as, violence and testosterone, relaxations and ease of mind, stories and gameplays, and the lot. Apart from defining what entertainment means, respondents also stated other non-gaming entertainment sources, such as watching Anime, or japanese animated shows, playing sports, drawing, reading, or simply sleeping. As the respondents were asked with the question, "What do you think people should change or do to make games more enjoyable?" Respondents came up with a myriad of answers and a multitude of point-of-views, from the common comments such as improved gameplays and graphics, better storylines, and less lag from network handling, to more deeper in substance such as improving player attitudes, responding to the,fans, or thinking out of the box. Lastly, respondents who don't play games were asked what is found interesting in gaming. They answered, simplicity, escaping from reality, or releasing stress.

It's quite hard to interpret non-quantitative data, but as researchers, we tried decoding it. What the respondents were trying to get here is that entertainment really is a broad perspective to cover. People of different ages and views have their own aspect of entertainment, and persons will find a common ground in those personal opinions in entertainment. What games are trying to attack is the common ground that these group of people have in entertainment. If developers can manage to exploit this, they can afford to have a considerable amount of audience.

Making Games

We asked the audience if they have created a game using a game engine. As we have expected from the results, almost more than a half of the respondents answered yes (considering the fact that making games using an engine is much more easier than building one from scratch). Moving onto the reasons as to why they have created games, the information that we have gathered revolved in three key things: doing it because of school-related projects and requirements; second being making it for the fun aspect of it, and the last but not the least, creating it because of sheer passion.

Of course, there will be some trouble in the way, and of course, we wouldn't forget to ask them on what difficulties did they encountered in the creation process. Starting on the more general issues, similar to the plight of us GDD students, they are having trouble with getting things and tasks done. Most of the time, it conflicts with their work schedule(school and job-wise). Another thing that weighs them down in the productivity is the lack of communication between members, as well as making new things work on the way on how they would want to. Moving on to the more specific and game-related issues, majority are having trouble in the programming department, especially debugging, as they have minimal to no experiences with it. In addition to that, most of them are working independently, not surprisingly there were problems in the art production and designing process. More importantly, as they would want to be the jack-of-all-trades in the creation process, their resources were scarce (programs for 2d/3d making and modeling, decent game engine software, and the skills and knowledge of using them efficiently). As some respondents have gotten over some common obstacles, their next hurdle was the loss of inspiration and motivation to keep on working.

What influenced them into the game development?

On the other hand, what pushed them forward to start creating the games that they were dreaming in their mind? Majority of the respondents gave out the reason of project-making and grades, because of their desired profession. Others were inspired because of different kinds of media, such as movies, anime, even games as well. It went up to the point wherein the money-making business of video games. The lot were mainly driven with passion as they would want to make their game product surpass today's media and making something new out of it to make a name for its desired longevity in the market.

What programs did they used in the game-making process?

Going to the technical side, and as it is self-explanatory by itself, the programs they have used composed of mainly (starting with the most popular): Visual Studio, Flash, Unity, XNA, Stencyl and Eclipse.

The reasons why they haven't made a game

In contrast, we also asked other respondents who weren't "called" into making games. As we would want much research material as possible, we tried our best in catering other people with questions that would not appear too-jargon for them. We tried asking them as to why they haven't started making a game. Majority of the non-gamer types have ended up in this part, and as we have expected, most of the answers revolved on the idea of "not being related to their selected course and interests". Following up on the idea, some were confused as to how are they going to start making one. Others tend to drift-off from the game-development as they see it as too complex and needs a lot of mathematical, logic, and artistic skills.

Experience with Programming

Even though they haven't tried making a game, we also tried asking them if they would have any experience in the programming aspect (art-wise, it was not that necessary as it is understood that almost all people are making it, of course some excel and some are challenged in the process.) Majority of the answers turned out to be experiences coming from their general subject classes back in their high school days. Some results were not that surprising like having them as painful and heartbreaking, as we students in the game development course also experience the same things as they do. Some few answers were related to html and game-related scripts and modding.

What is Game Design?

Last but not the least, regardless if they are a gamer or a non-gamer, we asked the respondents a simple question. What is Game Design for you? We found this part of the survey colorful in terms of the wide variety of results, and gained a lot of insight regarding this matter, as we have seen answers which turned out to be "out of the ordinary" but still generally acceptable. Our respondents define game design as the overall foundation and backbone of the game as it involves the conceptualization of different kinds of combined ideas as one and building up that idea together with the different types of elements included in the game. For some, it is a project wherein an individual or a group creates their own world that has its own capability of attracting and entertaining anyone for the sake of other people to enjoy playing with it. Some have answered, game design is similar to law, as it discreetly makes a contract or an agreement with the player as to what actions are legal and available. It bounds the player to its virtual system of rules. Some also have stated that it utilizes modern technology, programming, and creativity skills to make an entertainment business locally or internationally.


As the researchers had reach the verdict, it also occurred to them some problems this survey had encountered. More than often, respondents tend to give out answers which is far from the said question. We believe that it is our fault for not making the questions clear enough in one reading. Another thing is the unusable answers that kept on popping out in the results. Some people leave answers that doesn't have any meaning to the questions such as (I don't care, or what is that?). More importantly, getting out of our comfort zone and asking random people out to answer the survey served as the biggest challenge for us in this topic. At first we hesitated on asking a lot of people one by one, as we do not want to be marked and appear as annoying., but for the sake of the research and new discoveries, we cast out and ignored our lingering doubts and fears, didn't care the implications of our actions and we just pushed through the idea. Even asking out people in which we hate, or try to avoid back in our childhood and highschool days, the information gathered is still the priority of the task at hand. Without the help of data-gathering, the researchers would not have reached their conclusion.

As with any kind of hobby and/or interests, people tend to have different tastes and preferences. In this case, the gamers and the non-gamers faction. When pitted in the game-making process, the non-gamers tend to be more open to new and unique ideas that has never been made in the market. The way on how they create essential components in the game are unorthodox but has potential. As they are more exposed to different kinds of media, their imagination are endless, for instance, making a game which is related to day-to day work, or even their own cultural tasks. They are able to freely think out of the box most of the time. However, free and creative as they may seem, the creation of the behavior of the game will serve as a challenge for them, as they have a minimal to no experience regarding game programming per se. In the other hand, gamers are able to adapt to various changes in the situation regarding errors, bugs and such. They can easily think up of an alternative way with regards to their desired effect, but still having the wanted effect intact. Also, they are more aware of the possible resources available in the internet (free-ware, trial periods, etc.), and that can easily boost their productivity in making games. They have much experience with the games that they play in which, they are able to quickly come up with a logic of the effect or behavior that they would want to see in their own games. However, putting productivity and professions aside, when it comes to delivering innovation and breakthroughs, having a well-thought game design that is new to the market will definitely be a challenge. Gamers are restricted to the mentality of what they see in the games that they have played, and reassures themselves that the idea that they are going to formulate must be in par and able to succeed against today's games, thus having the same game mechanic over and over, only adding new features, in which other games do not currently have.

Our decision goes to the non-gamers who would win when it comes to creating original concepts and radical ideas but overall, it would be the gamers who can make a better game, as they would be appropriately ready to the incoming wave of problems that would be inevitably encountered.

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