Sid Meier says monetisation causes some games to ‘stray a little bit further from the path’

Sid Meier needs no introduction to PC Gamer, but let’s go over a brief overview: co-founder of Microprose and pioneer of early simulation, one of the first developers to get a “name” on the box with Sid Meier’s Pirates!, and then later the founder of Firaxis and the driving force behind the series Civilization. Meyer has been in the industry since 1980 and more than four decades later has an incredible living legacy: This guy knows what he’s talking about. And right now, Sid Meier believes that the industry has gone down the wrong path of monetization.

“The real challenge and the real opportunity is to focus on the gameplay,” Meyer told the BBC., in an interview dedicated to the TV series “Civilization” three decades later. “That’s what is unique, special, and attractive about games as a form of entertainment. When we forget about it and decide it’s monetization or other non-gaming-focused things when we start to forget about making great games and start thinking of games as a vehicle or opportunity for something else, that’s when we deviate a bit from the way.”

It’s hard not to connect Meyer’s words about games being a vehicle to the current and rather tedious attempts to integrate NFTs or convince everyone that they’re going to live in a metaverse.

Meier thinks that when it comes to things like this, some studios don’t see the game they’re making past the dollar sign. “People may assume that a game is going to be fun and that it needs more cinematics or monetization or whatever to be successful, but if it just doesn’t have a core with good gameplay, then it won’t work.

“In a sense, the gameplay is cheap… Part of the game design is critical and important but doesn’t require thousands of actors like some other aspects. So it can be easy to overlook the importance of investing in game design. and gameplay.”

(Image credit: Sid Meier)

Meier himself is notorious for having his own engine, still based on his Civilization code, which he uses to prototype game concepts and showcase to Firaxis designers. This doesn’t mean he should be overly credited with the Firaxis games that hundreds of other people have been involved in over the years, rather it suggests a man who never lost focus on what’s important in a game. Is it fun to play with this idea in its most basic form?

Perhaps this is an element that is in danger of being lost when the focus is on microtransactions or digital property via blockchain, and consumer apathy (and active dislike!) for these technologies stems from the fact that no one has given a convincing example of how these things can be done. the games are more fun on their own.

The gaming industry is bigger than ever: but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to trends or chasing fancy pots of gold. “There are many other ways people can spend their free time…” warns Meier. “I think the way the internet works, as soon as the shift starts, everyone runs to the other side of the ship.”I think we need to make sure our games are still high quality and fun to play – there are so many forms of entertainment out there right now. We’re in a good position… but we need to make sure we understand how important gameplay is – and exactly how this engine keeps players happy, engaged, and fun.”

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