Dumb Games? Blame America

I came across this interesting article about appealing to the US audience, or why a game can be successful in some regions but not in the most lucrative; the USA.

It's from a presentation during GDC, the main article can be found here: http://www.playandroid.com/blog/how-to-gain-traction-in-the-us/

But here's the juicy bit for easier reading. It's been broken into 5 catogories and listed as what mistakes you could be making, and how to avoid them, or tailor them for the US market. Now, it does point out that this isn't exactly talking about the average gaming enthusiast, but more the average game player.

  1. Schools Set Expectations – In the US, the students don’t fail, they are challenged, there’s more competition in general. On top of that, the average reading level is lower than in many European countries.
    Things to do then:
    1. Minimize Text
    2. Show, dont tell
    3. Reward (tutorial) success
    4. Test the top of the funnel and iterate
  2. Attention Span – The US “turbo browsing audience” has got a very low attention span and it is even getting shorter with every year. In addition to that, it’s not about core gamers anymore having more patience due to a higher motivation to play.
    Things to do:
    1. Open like Lucas / James Bond
    2. Take patience estimate and cut it in half
    3. First impression is critical: deep experience can match European version but opening, tutorials need to be hyper-speed
  3. Craving for recognition as Individual – That’s how it works in the US: Unique individuality is prized from birth and everybody wants to be something special.
    That’s what you should do:
    1. Treat each user as unique
    2. Customization and Individualization sell
    3. Start rewards and praise in tutorials
  4. “We’re contestants on ‘The Bachelor’”, meaning that the users use their power to seperate the wheat from the chaff.
    How to handle that:
    1. Treat the customer as the celebrity
  5. “World history not taught” is the last headline. The common American has no idea about history and don’t even care at all.
    So you’ve got to keep that in mind:
    1. Portray whats on TV and Film
    2. History rarely sells, often unknown

    So, before you develop your next game – think of all these points if you want to gain traction in the US as well.

There is also a slide referring to the history part, the contents is as follows:

World History Not Taught

- Romans vs. Barbarians

- Dark Ages, nothing happened

- Renaissance, then we got cars & planes

- Stuff was going on in China and Japan, too

- US got Independence, had Civil War over slavery

- Lots of big wars the last century

Interesting stuff.