Gaming is changing. Yes, I’m sure it’s been said time and time again. “Check out Super Mario Brothers, gaming is changing.” Or, “look at this Project Natal, gaming is changing.” And now as before, gaming is changing. The community of gaming is changing. Today, for me at least, it seems strange to play a game alone without either a friend by my side or one online charging the front with me.
This says a lot. Game developers are no doubt aware of the communal desire in gaming. We have squads in-game, private parties, headsets. I have friends on my Playstation 3 that I’ve never before met in person, but have had great laughs and hours of gameplay with. The game I see continuing this trend is Modern Warfare 2, coming out this November. Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare made a huge splash in 2007, creating an online community that continues to be as robust as on launch, due in large part to the release of DLC. It’s here that publishers are wising up to an “in it for the long run” publishing model. EA Games continues to release free DLC for it’s 2008 release Burnout Paradise. Gamers that pay $ 60 for a title expect more than just the base game, whether they have to dish out a couple bucks or not.
These hints of a rising sense of communal gaming are encouraging. If publishers keep the customer in mind (as any good business must), then gamers will continue to show loyalty to franchises. Looking forward, publishers like Activision have to do one thing for a big title like Modern Warfare 2: stand by it. Continue to develop DLC and nurture the already active online following the franchise enjoys. The result: a loyal following that will continue to buy your content. The old model of publish and move on no longer applies.