Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More Wisdom from Sterling: Just substitute "Focus Groups" for "Playtest Groups"

Fair warning! Jim Sterling can either be hysterically amusing or banally irritating with his videocast personality, depending on your tastes. Don't let his persona get in the way of sound wisdom. This video talks about the problems in the video game industry with focus groups changing the style and direction of a game, and subsequently wrecking the title as a result because what a focus group says it likes and what those people actually like are far too often very different things.

I think there's more than a nugget of truth here and I also think if you substitute "playtest groups" or "survey groups" for "focus groups" you get some eerily predictive results on the way development for D&D Next is going. And keep in mind I'm enjoying the D&D Next playtest at this moment, but not without the caveat that the game is nowhere near being competitive enough to usurp my continued dedication to Pathfinder.

EDIT: Hey, Escapist, turn off aut-play in your embedded script!

Here's a link to the site instead, since I HATE videos that start playing automatically.

Anyway....something to think about with regards to both the video game industry and the implications of what's happening with DDN. The similarities are a bit too close for comfort, I think. My hope is that the analogy is ultimately faulty....that a playtest group, and the people responding to WotC's surveys are actually more involved and more representative of the overall gaming crowd for D&D. I am pretty sure a very small percentage of people are actually playtesting DDN, while the rest act out and cast judgement after a quick read-through of each packet--if that--or sit around armchair designing with spherical cows all day long.

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