Onus on developers for mainstream exposure, says Levine

Think it’s only the dumb and the elderly who are unaware of major videogame franchises? Take a look at what Ken Levine told the Gamers With Jobs podcast, and think again. Last year, Levine and his team took a group of college students for Bioshock Inifinite’s market research. “They had never heard of Bioshock.” he says. “None of them. Not a single one.”

“To get people who aren’t alpha gamers there’s a whole different kind of activity that you have to undertake […] We need to be on mainstream shows, we need to be on NPR, we need to be on The Daily Show, we need to be in those places talking about what we do.”

He points out that certain developers – such as Bioware’s Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk (“They’re medical doctors, they’re MBAs”) – would be perfect for such shows. So why isn’t this happening? Does he, like many, blame the mainstream’s prejudice against videogames?

“It’s not their fault. It’s our fault.” he asserts. “As an industry we need to think of ourselves differently. We need to think of ourselves that way and present ourselves that way […] A lot of it is getting the guys that book those shows past their own lack of knowledge and their own discomfort about games. There’s no material reason why a Tim Schafer isn’t going to be as good a guest as some guy who wrote a book that sells 15,000 copies. But there’s a natural discomfort that the bookers must have, and part of our job is to get in front of those people and say, ‘Hey, we’re out here, we’re doing cool stuff, and we want to speak to a broader audience as well.’”

First reported at gamesindustry.biz (you will need an account to read the full article).

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Written by Luke K

He plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. He doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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