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Dissertation Research Questionnaire

Ginger Lord

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I'm thinking of doing my Dissertation next year (but they want us to start doing all the research now... :@) on either:

Graphics or Gameplay; What makes a successful game?

or a simple twist

Quality or Content; What makes a successful animation?

But have come a cropper on trying to find some decent books related to it, I figure for the first I can delve deep into reviews of games, compare with actual sales figures (where would I get these btw?) and talk to industry people for their views on it (i.e. you). Books for that side of it seem to be escaping my clutches, anytime I search for anything related to it it brings up "How to" books.

Anyone know of any books that could help me out, I'll keep trawling the libraries and Amazon in the meantime.

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About graphics or gameplay, the answer is very easy:

The graphics are the best marketing buzz you can have for your game. If you game looks great, people will always seek for informations about the game and they will obviously know when it will be out. They will also wait the game release as much as a teenager could wait the porn movie time on TV.

So, some awesome graphics will give you the opportunity to (almost) always have news of your game on gaming websites, or in the magazines.

But if you don't have a very good gameplay, people will try it and will quickly say on the forums that your game is a piece of shit so you won't sell anymore copies of your game after some weeks.

So we could resume it like this:

Bad 3D + bad GD = commercial failure

Good 3D + bad GD = Lot of copies sold during the first weeks, but none later

Bad 3D + Good GD = people will "slowly" buy you game on a very long period, sometimes during for years. Lot of people will probably wait to get your game at a lower price

Good 3D + Good GD = €€MONEY!€€ €€MONEY!€€

Crysis and ET:QW are some very good example of how much a video game with good graphics can get an incredible marketing buzz ;)

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I don't know of any books, I doubt there are any on this subject.

A huge marketing budget and well known brands make a game succesful...

Who needs gameplay or graphics when you've got "The Matrix" on your box...The mass doesnt really care what kind of quality a game is, hell, half the time they don't even notice a game is complete crap. All they care about is a nice box and a fancy name.

Hardcore gamers <> the average games, and the latter happens to be the biggest group of customers..

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Helping pubs/devs answer this and similar questions is the core of my consulting business. The short answer is: there is no formula. While there are trends and possible "guidelines", they are often genre and market specific and every guildine has exceptions. Oh and timing is everything. Oh and IP/license is a factor...both helping and hurting. Oh and....well I could go on and on.

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Course leader didnt like the idea as there wasn't any books on it and was too narrow.

So now its: "What factors contribute to a successful video game?" and plan to go through various games that fit different "success" models such as making profit (HL etc), market saturation (Solitaire) and good reviews but not commerical successs ( Psychonauts) and whether certain areas of the game make it more likely to be a success such as the graphics,story,gameplay,sound,franchise,publisher etc.

I'll certainly be looking for some interviews over summer so fi anyones up for that, drop me some contact details else i'll come a hunting in a month or so. I have my eye on some of you already :wink:

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Crysis and ET:QW are some very good example of how much a video game with good graphics can get an incredible marketing buzz

Those games aren't even out yet and you sure can't judge them when watching some videos where mostly the graphics are shown. Especially when it goes to Crysis, you can't be sure that it'll be fun to play :P :roll:

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  • 1 month later...

Little bump.

I have had a few folks send me a PM/email about taking part and will be shortly making the questionnaire and sending it out.

I would however like about 5-8 more people to take part in it. All answers to the questions can be made anonymous if you so wish, else I will simply state your name/position/email in it.

The only thing you do need to have, is to be employed in the Games Industry in some form be it modeller/mappers/texture artist/animator/tea monkey/project lead/whatever. Modding doesnt count I'm afraid.

Shoot me a PM if you're interested.

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  • 3 months later...

Minor tip that I got from my tutor when I did my dissertation. Make it so your presenting an argument, show both sides then make sure you draw conclusions for why you feel somthing is the way it is. Its easy to get dragged in to just discussing a topic without coming to any real point at the end.

On my animation course we had to do a major essay in the second year then the full on dissertation in the third year. My first essay barely scraped a pass, I spent a lot of time waffling on about the topic but by the end I had gone nowhere. My full dissertation was on the exact same subject, but I layed down the facts then drew my conclusions from them. The second essay got me a first :D.

So in conclusion, if your trying to put forward an argument its much easier to write.

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