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Kickstarter and Hybrid Games

posted May 11, 2012, 3:35 PM by Good Idea Games   [ updated May 11, 2012, 3:44 PM ]

This month has been an amazing one for Kickstarter and the indie game scene. Steve Jackson’s Ogre earned nearly a million dollars in support, and another game I’m supporting, Serpent’s Tongue, also pulled in (as of now) 700% of their publishing goal. The world is on fire right now with the success of kickstarter, and people everywhere are discussing how crowdsourcing is changing the way everything is done.

The thing that excites me is that crowdsourcing gives developers a tool to take extraordinary chances. Niche products can find their audience, and that audience can give their direct support in a safe way.

What I’m really looking forward to are Hybrid Games. I’m imagining games that utilize computers and mobile devices to facilitate communication and game play in the social space between players. Hybrid games, as I imagine them would be a whole new genre, where complex system interaction can be separated out from play. Players won’t need to consult graphs and charts, because they can just provide input and get game relevant output from the computer. But that’s just the first step.

What I’ve described above is just a helper app. These things exist for many games to reduce logistical overhead.

When everyone playing the game has a mobile device, it opens up radical new ways for players to receive and exchange data.

One thing board and card games do not do well, is provide specific information to specific players. Board games can either provide a book where you reference a particular page/section, or provide a random card draw. There are a few other opportunities, but when everyone has a computer in their hand, players can receive customized information, they can send customized information, and data transmission can be completely anonymized if necessary.

These are games where principal play is between players, and the computers allow players to focus on the play, rather than turn order and game rules. 

 I think if we’re going to see any games like this, Kickstarter is a likely way for them to start.


If anyone knows of games like this that exist, please share in the comments or forum.