Sid Meier believes core gamers also have phones

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Sid Meier, one of the grandfathers of gaming best known for his Civilization series, is building games for mobile and social platforms.  But he isn’t selling out or going casual!

In his interview with gamesindustry, Meier explained:

What we’re seeing is that a lot of those core players are getting iPads or they have their phones and are looking for things to do that have the strategy element and the gameplay of some of the games they are used to on PC or console. That’s really kind of the market we’re going after, the player who is looking for strategy but they can’t take their PC with them everywhere.

Sounds good to me.  Personally, I’m always looking for something a bit more engaging on my mobile devise.  Yes, I love a good tower defense game (and sometimes even a mediocre one depending on how much time I need to kill), but to have something more focused on strategy and ‘real’ gaming would be amazing.

As Meier says in the interview, while casual gamers my come and go, the core will always be there.  Serious gamers are a stable market, will be around for a long time, and will keep focusing their time and resources towards playing games – regardless of the platform.  That said, Meier assures us that Firaxis is still dedicated to PC gaming

As a company, Firaxis is committed to PC – that’s been our bread-and-butter and where a lot of our audience is – but we’re interested in console and we’re interested in iOS. As our players evolve and move and embrace new technologies, we’re going to meet them there. So to me, it’s not platform driven, but it’s about how a game comes to life most effectively.

When it comes to the monetization of games, Meier admits that it is a tricky topic.  There is so much suspicion around the free-to-play model (often derided as pay-to-win).  As such, Meier is releasing free-to-play demo versions of his iOS games, with an option to buy the full version.  It’s a once off purchase, allowing the player to play a bit first in order to decide if it’s worthwhile.  Seems like a good model – has worked on me in the past with other iOS games and prevents the player from feeling ripped off.

 

Speaking of money, you won’t be seeing Meier using crowd funding (aka Kickstarter) anytime soon.  It doesn’t fit with his creative mechanisms:

I think you kind of lock yourself into a lot of ideas early. I really enjoy the luxury of changing my design and evolving over time. I’d be a little concerned with Kickstarter if I committed to X, Y and Z and I found out down the road that Z didn’t work very well, I kind of promised to do this. I think it’s great for people who want that indie environment, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each situation

Furthermore, Meier just wants to focus on designing awesome games. He has no interest in the business and marketing side of things.  He lets 2K Games handle all of that.  By letting 2K worry about testing, publishing, promoting and selling, Meier happily gets to design, program and “do the fun stuff”.  I’m looking forward to more of his fun stuff, whether it comes on my computer, phone or console.

Last Updated: May 15, 2013

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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