Over at Wired Magazine, Ubisoft’s Montreal CEO talks about the importance of making video games more emotional to increase appeal to gamers.Yannis Mallat recognizes that emotion, rather than technology, is the real reason that games become hits.
“The future of games isn’t so much about what technology you use, but how that technology facilitates games that create an emotional response in the player… It’s the way the animations are combined with the AI and the way the whole flow of the game immerses the player into the world… and this emotional breakthrough happens when you play the game. And so that’s what we’re trying to aim for each time we design a game.”
The fact that the CEO of a major game developer is thinking on this meta-level represents a huge leap. Continuous development in graphics has been the strategy of both Sony and Microsoft with the PS3 and Xbox360. While this strategy does impact the emotional response that games elicit from players, the success of the Wii has demonstrated that better graphics alone will not corner the market on gaming.
By focusing on the kinesthetic and tactile senses with the Wii controller, Nintendo has tapped into one of the most emotional parts of the human experience; how we move and feel. Emphasizing these senses over vision and sound mean that players experience greater physiological arousal while playing, making the Wii a highly immersive experience on many levels. The addition of games that are easy to learn and play while requiring very little previous knowledge makes the Wii a prime vehicle for inducing flow states.
For more on the emotional effects of video games, see:
Video Games That Improve Emotional Health
Games That Respond to Our Emotions (Part 1)
Games That Respond to Our Emotions (Part 2)
Happiness, Engagement and Love in Video Games