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EA Believes Their Games Are Too Hard To Learn For Most

One thing to remember: The overwhelming majority of the gaming populace today is considered casual.

And maybe that's why Electronic Arts chief creative officer Richard Hilleman said what he said during the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas. As GameSpot reports, EA believes their games still have too steep of a learning curve for most consumers:

"Our games are actually still too hard to learn. The average player probably spends two hours to learn how to play the most basic game.

And asking for two hours of somebody's time--most of our customers, between their normal family lives...to find two contiguous hours to concentrate on learning how to play a video game is a big ask."

Now, before everyone around here laughs, bear in mind that we're all core gamers. No, it doesn't take any of us two hours to "learn how to play the most basic game." On the flip side, if you sit someone down who's really not familiar with video games, it will undoubtedly take that much time. But is EA and other publishers really trying to cater to everyone...? And should they?

Additionally, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor design director Michael de Plater said something interesting at the event: "Every game is an RPG now," he stated. That's not entirely untrue, either, as the definition of "role-playing game" continues to fluctuate with every passing year. These days, one could make an argument that just about every major game released has at least a few RPG elements.

Yes, things are changing. Things have changed.

Tags: electronic arts, ea games, gaming industry, role playing games

2/5/2015 9:24:45 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (15 posts)


kokoro
Thursday, February 05, 2015 @ 10:04:57 PM
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These people just can't get enough money.

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Banky A
Thursday, February 05, 2015 @ 11:06:03 PM
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I was going to start mocking with this comment but you stopped me, Ben.

Haha very nice.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 05, 2015 @ 11:31:18 PM
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Every game is an RPG except the RPGs.

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FAREEZ
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 12:06:26 AM
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Yeah, battlefield campaign is too damn hard for me, quit after two hour playing...

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Aranha
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 12:16:32 AM
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The catch is that there's no point in having a dedicated games console if all it'll do is play videogames-lite or be loaded up with what will end up being shovelware (a-la Wii). I mean, yeah, you need a decent mix, but the last thing you want is for every franchise to get the SquareEnix treatment :P

If they make console games TOO easy we'll be dealing with paperweight versions of games that currently exist.

I mean, and this is a testament to what you say about us gamers from the 80s and 90s; I don't get much play time, not like I used to since I'm no longer a kid with tons of free time, but I can still throw down with the best of them. I get kids talking smack about how they'll own me in some game, and all I have to do is reach into my back pocket for my old-school gaming skills and show these young bucks how it's done.

I actually made a kid cry, a teenager at that, in Mario Kart Wii! And then again in Smash Bros! It's pathetic to think at how easily kids' egos are shattered, and these games are not even that serious. I don't want to know what would've happened if we played Super Mario Kart on the SNES. He would've been traumatized!

Last edited by Aranha on 2/6/2015 12:18:01 AM

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 3:10:30 AM

yeah that is quite funny about the kids these days and games too about easy you have to make games just so people will play them

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xenris
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 12:28:24 AM
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The definition of RPG is so hard to define now. In my mind I can play a game and even if the combat is fast and action based I can tell if the RPG mechanics are at the front of everything i.e. under the hood dice rolls, leveling and loot matters, etc.

But it is true every game now has RPG elements, even CoD does. Shooters you used to just pick up the guns and carry 9 guns on you. Now you have perks, weapon attachments, and in some shooters skill trees.

Either way it seems to be a semantics battle at this point.

I guess the only TRUE RPGs, are ones that follow the DnD rule sets, and use those dice rolls and classes etc.

But generally speaking RPGs come in all shapes and sizes these days.

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Temjin001
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 11:07:46 AM

Yea, a generalized stats first approach to progress is my big indicator.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 3:06:01 AM
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yeah it doesn't me long to learn a game it never takes me to long to learn a game minus anno 1404 was one of the few games that took a bit longer than normal but it was a more complex game tp learn but its still a good gae nun the less

but yeah i think hes right in saying that alot of gamer are getting RPG elements now and the definition of an RPG is being blurred alot in the last few years but i guess for me i know what are the tradition RPG games and series are atleat the major ones e.g. the witcher,elder scrolls, dragon age etc.

happy gaming

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Solid Fantasy
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 6:45:27 AM
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Maybe EA games should come with a warning. "Warning! this game is designed to run on a highly refined controller and hardware you're overpriced smartphone could never handle" Followed by "pleas down load our 99cent app for instructions on how to play your game" You know to help ensure more profit.

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DemonNeno
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 9:54:52 AM
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Maybe they should implement different difficulty levels and numerous assists... Oh wait.

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PC_Max
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 2:08:52 PM
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I understand what he is saying, but I think maybe its a mute point.

Is this not the reason why we have difficulty levels? I always play my games on Normal or its equivalent when I first play a game. Being a regular gamer that level allows me to pick up the games control settings and have a lot of fun. If the game at its end seems to demand me to play it on a harder level (ie. The Last of US survivor mode) I do.

I realize the games I play are not Angry Birds or Zombies Vs Plants level of game play, but the difficulty setting generally, I thought, were there for everyone. Maybe I am wrong. And really on top of this the different game genres have to my thinking varying levels of difficulty. A Normal setting on an FPS is different game play wise to Normal on a QT game or an RPG. In my experience anyway.

Gamers at any level of gaming are not stupid. Well, putting comments and attitudes they may have aside. We have or there are a variety of genre of games and difficulty modes for those games. I think its fine. Again, my opinion.

Keep playing.. whatever is your game and at whatever difficulty level you have it at to enjoy it!

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Axe99
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 4:38:16 PM
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Yet another dev confusing 'role playing game' with 'stat me up'. There's so, sooooo much more to an RPG than character customisation. To say that playing CoD in any way resembles playing the pen-and-paper RPGs (in game structure) that RPGs come from is ridiculous. Bioware make RPGs - there are stats, sure, but your characters also have a 'role' to play - you make decisions about how you play the game and interact with other characters. Treyarch, Sledgehammer et al make arcade shooters with character customisation. There's a _huge_ difference.

As an aside, Heavy Rain (no stat me ups at all) is far more of an RPG than CoD (again, some of the purest pen-and-paper RPGs don't have stats at all).

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mk ultra
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 5:02:34 PM
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I don't like the sound of that. If you try to please all the people all the time your bound to fail. I know they want more money, but most of the people in the group he's talking about don't really care about games too much anyway. If they make games any easier, I believe they'll just alienate their core audience while at the same time cater to people who don't really have passion for video games. Then at the end of the day, no one buys your games.

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Draguss
Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 5:23:39 PM
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"On the flip side, if you sit someone down who's really not familiar with video games, it will undoubtedly take that much time." Glad you brought up this point, when I read the title I was afraid the very idea was going to get laughed out of the room.

I've watched some people who've almost never played games before try some more recent popular games. No dark souls or anything like that, just games that we might call average in difficulty. It generally leaves them rather confused at first and making frustrating mistakes while they flail about having no idea what to do.

By the time I was only 12 I could figure out more complicated games more easily. But then by that age I already had several years of gaming experience under my young belt. I generally refer to that as gamer's instinct, the ability to quickly come to grips with the mechanics of a game thanks to your experience with earlier titles.

Go back a few years to when I was about 8 and tried tomb raider for the first time. I was confused, made frustrating mistakes and flailed about while having no idea what to do. Eventually I just gave up on it. So where did I get all my experience? Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Croc, etc. Games with very simple mechanics that were very easy to grasp from the start, with progressively more complex scenarios that forced me to master said mechanics. As well as turn based rpgs, which being almost completely menu based made it easy to learn things quickly.

While they make a valid point about the majority of standard games being too difficult for a beginner, I'm afraid they probably won't take the right steps to fix the issue. I'm afraid they'll just take the standard modern game and make it so easy the player doesn't have to learn to play it, they can just force their way through having no idea what they're doing. Some people in the comments have brought up the idea of difficulty selection which I don't really think is the answer. All that does is put the choice of lowering the difficulty like I just mentioned in the hands of the player instead of the developer.

In my opinion, what we need is more games like the ones I mentioned to get people started. Unfortunately, the Portal games are the only ones I've played recently that seem to really fit that criteria. For the most part, the only good recent platformers and turn based RPGs I've seen are indie games designed with the hardcore in mind, too punishing for newbies and/or meant to evoke some sense of nostalgia by looking childish (which unfortunately does cause many people somewhat insecure about their maturity to overlook them).

...I need to learn to get my point across in a way that won't cause most people to just jump to TLDR

Last edited by Draguss on 2/6/2015 5:28:30 PM

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