Online games: a hard disk holidayObservers of the computer-game industry have noticed a couple of recent trends: More game enthusiasts are switching to easy-to-play games that you order and play online, and developers are making products that appeal to narrower groups, including games for women.
The online games have the ominous acronym GOD, which stands for game-on-demand. They are alternatives to expensive store-bought games, and appeal to people want to try a game "right here and right now," instead of buying one and committing it to their hard drive.
All you need to do to play a game-on-demand is contact your Internet service provider, choose the game you want and read the instructions. Then you're all set.
Many of the online game offerings are role-playing games such as the popular adventure Lineage; but the difference is that you play the game solo, instead of being one of a group of online players. An official at a game maker, Nexen, says that more and more companies are looking into this new service as a profit-maker -- because the game is played on the service provider's computers, the software cannot be pirated. "Usually, when a company puts a game on the market, a copy is available in a couple of days," he said. "It's hard for the companies to break even on their development costs."
Why would you order a game and play online rather than just buying the game? Computer users who are still memory-challenged will appreciate that they don't have to use up any hard disk space to play the games. Most of all, though, the games appeal to the Internet salon regulars who want to play games all night without having to visit a software store beforehand -- or want instant gratification in a fresh new game.
Game developers are always looking for new markets, and instead of slicing the young-male demographic ever thinner they do on occasion reach out to the other sex, or to children or older adults. For instance, the game maker Naviya Entertainment has come out with what it calls the first computer game exclusively for females. The game Koko Look is set inside a dressmaker's shop, where the player is the owner. Another game producer, Interesting and Creative, is targeting elementary and middle school aged children with a role-playing game called Demiurges. The game teaches players chemistry, math, Chinese characters and world history as the adventure progresses.
This trend toward segmentation in the industry is expected to hold, insiders say -- if so, women won't have much longer to complain that all computer games are designed for men.
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