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Navigating A Crossroads: David Jaffe Talks
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Navigating A Crossroads: David Jaffe Talks

January 25, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next

And speaking of casual games experiences, and the market, it's obvious that there's a lot of discussion about that right now, and I think people are finding it hard to define -- they're over-defining it, maybe? Making it more of a dichotomy, like, "Casual gamers are grandmas. Hardcore gamers are 18 year old guys." One end of the spectrum to the other. What do you think about that?

DJ: "What do you think about that, I just said to you, there?" I don't know if you ever watch Jiminy Glick but you just sounded just like him. But, what do I think about that? Well, I think on one end you're absolutely right about the 18 year old guy thing. Every game that we do now, one of the guys calls it the "Joe College Factor."

You know, you always think about, when you're spending the kind of money that we have to spend now to make console titles, and this is a mistake that we made on our Calling All Cars game. It's like, you know, "Is this guy" -- it's usually a guy, for better or for worse, it's usually a guy -- "going to feel comfortable and cool going into a game store at all, and saying 'I want to have that experience'?"

And that bar has changed dramatically. If you look at PS1 era games -- and I always called it back then "the 80/20 rule" -- that could survive. Which was: 80% of your title had to be grounded in some sort of thematic reality, and 20% of it could be fantastic.

And so, back in '95, '96, '97, a game like, for example -- with the guy with the mental powers, but he was also a soldier -- Psi-Ops. A game like that would've been a huge hit back in the day.

But as graphics get better, it's almost like the 80/20 rule on PS1 was 90/10 on PS2, and now it's almost 100%. It's like there's not a lot of room in the hardcore gamer's diet these days for -- not hardcore, sorry, that's wrong, hardcore has plenty of room for it. But in terms of the mainstream market of console games, it seems like there's not a lot of room for imagination on the part of the thematic. It's almost like it feels silly to them.

So we look at all of our games, and go, "How do we make sure that we are able to appeal to that very huge part of the market?" And the easiest way is to make a great sports game, or make a great military game, but those are really hard nuts to crack. So yeah, I definitely agree with the assumption that the console gaming market is really driven by that mentality. It's certainly how we decide what we're going to put into production on the console side.

Now on the PC casual side, we at Eat, Sleep, Play are absolutely looking to get into that market, and you'll be hearing more about that from us hopefully relatively soon, but we're not looking at it like 85 year old grandmas. You know, we're definitely -- I play casual games, and I play hardcore games.

We're looking at it, though, more from the sense that the thematics can be a lot more interesting, there are a lot more chances that you can take thematically. The game's meat has to be right there immediately -- it has to be fun within the first couple of seconds or else people are going to move on.

David Jaffe's PSN downloadable title, Calling All Cars

The other interesting thing is that people these days are used to doing this $19.99, download, try before you buy model. And people still do that, but if you talk to people now, they want the games free, they want them on Flash, they don't want to download an executable. Those are the things that are really starting to define that market. More of an expectation of the kind of experience they want to have.

And those people, who are looking for those experiences, I just think that there are more people who are willing to take on those experiences, and they go outside of the realm of the core gamer. So you will get the soccer moms, you will get the hardcore gamers, you will get the little kids trying those titles. Because the barriers of entry: A) It's free. B) You run it on your computer. You can get to the fun right away. So I think it makes sense that the casual games market is actually starting to grow in a significant way.


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