For PC Gaming Week, Kotaku has invited top creators to predict the future of computer gaming. Now we hear from Marc Merill, top man at Riot Games, the development studio behind the defence of the Ancients-inspired League of Legends.
PC gaming is going to change.
In the past, developers made important decisions on features, game design and priorities before gamers ever got to touch the first level. Once the game was done, publishers relied on marketing and public relations to generate awareness and buzz convincing gamers to put down their $US60 before they could play the game. With more players downloading games, the future of PC gaming will be experiences that are constantly updated and tailored to the tastes of their audiences - and that is great news for gamers.
As PC developers, we will have keep our games updated and adapt to how gamers are actually playing it after launch. We can improve the features that aren't working well, and expand on the features that players love. Using the mentality that the most important features in a game are never complete, we will have to be continuously improving and polishing the key features based on what players are actually doing in the game.
The future of PC gaming is being responsive to players and letting them decide the direction and priorities of game development.
With downloadable titles, PC developers like us will be able to let gamers play some of the game for free, only asking players to put down money to later in their experience. That means players will be able to tell if a game is good or not before they put down their hard-earned cash. This will raise the bar on quality since only good developers will get paid.
What this also means is that listening to your community is key. PC developers should absolutely be on their own forums, listening and gathering player feedback. We have to engage in a dialogue about our game, its features, what should be improved and what players think about every aspect of the game. The future of PC gaming is being responsive to players and letting them decide the direction and priorities of game development.
At Riot Games we have a larger team working on League of Legends now than at any other time during the game's development (and we're looking to hire more). We are dedicated to improving the player experience and have worked on almost every aspect of the game since launch. With new content and game updates every two weeks, we've been able to vastly enhance the game from where it was at launch. We've improved the tech, art and polish of our game drastically. Our community has also helped by giving us their opinions on development and what we should be focusing on. As a direct result, League of Legends has become popular enough for us to plan for new features and content to be added for years to come.
This is good news for PC gamers - it means that in the future they will be able to shape the games they are playing and enjoying. It means that the games will be better and more refined in areas players care about most, because that is what developers will have to prioritise. It means the future of PC Gaming is bright for the players.
Marc Merrill is the president of Riot Games and executive producer on League of Legends supervising the development, marketing and live service operation on the game.