quarta-feira, 30 de abril de 2014

Monument Valley: business model and creativity in mobile gaming industry

Independent games for mobile platforms are a path for creativity and innovation inside the current gaming industry. Mobile stores like App Store (Apple) and Play Store (Google) changed the ways to distribute and stock digital content. With a few clicks and a Wi-Fi connection, it’s possible to download a great amount of data, including games and other kinds of entertainment.

Few weeks ago, a puzzle game named Monument Valley (Ustwo, 2014) debuted, causing a huge buzz in specialized sites/blogs. The game uses the “error” of perspective from M.C. Escher’s paintings to create visual puzzles and enigmas. Check the gameplay and game’s aesthetics below:

It’s not a new resource in gaming mechanics. Even God of War used this kind of “visual error” to create puzzles for the mighty Kratos. So what’s new? It’s a new way to tell an old story. The minimalist aesthetic along with the zen atmosphere of Monument Valley creates an unique experience to solve Escher’s illusions on a smartphone/tablet screen.

The gaming concept is another good feature; the slogan of Monument Valley is “an illusory adventure of impossible architecture and forgiveness”. Because this game is not a simple abstract puzzle game, there’s a mysterious plot in each chapter and it’s exciting to advance each stage and discover new aspects from the world with such impossible geometry.

Quickly, the game became a phenomenon and balanced with mastery some questions like aesthetics, screenplay, gameplay, and advertising on the Internet. Some players complained that the game is too short, but it is understandable that a small studio chooses to release a game with fewer stages, but with high quality in the right time. Ustwo Studio now has a huge player base to increase the dissemination of new games or expansions to Monument Valley.

Mobile platform is a way to a new gaming market. Especially in countries like Brazil, that doesn’t have a formal gaming industry. Even small productions are gaining space in this huge market. One thing is certain: to innovate and be successful in mobile gaming is necessary a lot of training. It’s important to create games, put them online, observe weaknesses, improve good features and exchange experiences with other publishers. To better understand the creative process of an independent game like Monument Valley, check out the mini-documentary below:

I think the most interesting area for studies inside the wide gaming industry is mobile. With the advances in smartphones and tablets we have awesome platforms to develop new experiences. Let’s discuss more and more this sector through here.

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