2014 Workgroup Topic Proposals

Designing for live community play

As designers, we still tend to think of our work like sending a rover to Mars: we create an experience, and others consume it in some far-off place we can’t see, then after a delay they report back to us on their experiences. Even most MMOs are created with that mindset until (and even after) the game goes live. With the rise of social media and game streaming, along with so many games now providing a live service even if it’s just leaderboards, achievements and stats, it’s time to open doors to new types of games and ways of playing.

The first example I saw of a community game was Twitch Plays Pokemon. A game of Pokemon is streamed live on Twitch, and viewers can vote in the chat for what the AI player should do next. It’s messy to say the least (hundreds of chat messages can fly by before you can read them), but the possibilities are immense. Here are articles from Polygon¬†and Gamespot about the potential impact of this style of play.

Choice Chamber is an upcoming game using the community voting method to determine the play experience. It’s just the tip of the iceberg though: when you consider the combination of modular game elements–including narrative–with an effective method for viewers to vote and then witness the outcome, I believe we have the opportunity to create a new kind of play experience that unfolds like a live performance!