“When is immersion overrated?”

Damion Schubert posted the above question yesterday on his blog (Zen of Design). My answer appears to have been deleted, so I’ll write about it here. I linked to some posts on “Malstrom’s Articles” which I believed to be relevant. I should add that to the links at the right, by the way. I’ll do that as soon as I put this post up.

“Sean Malstrom,” a character made up by the author of that blog and those articles to be the narrator for them, discusses at length the strategies Nintendo is using this console generation with the Wii, and why they’re winning. “Disruption” and “Blue Ocean” are the names of the business strategies they’re using, and the articles and posts can get a bit wordy but I’ve been reading every single one of them since I found the link to “Birdmen and the Casual Fallacy” because they’re fascinating. I linked to a few of them in my comment on Damion’s blog after running a quick search for “immersion” (this one, and this one, and this one, I think), but the one I was really wanting to link to is this one, and here’s why:

One of the past barriers to expanding gaming is that ALL games were immersion based. Not everyone wants to immerse themselves in another world.

This goes right along with some of the quotes I have on here:

So what are we teaching? Often, immersion (drawing players out of the real world and into the game world) obscures what games are teaching, and even the fact that they are teaching at all. They are. But people don’t notice, and don’t know what they’re teaching. So for the most part, as I said in my comment, if I had to pick a “when,” I would say immersion in games is overrated now. It’s overrated all the time.

I’m not saying there should be no immersive games. Immersion is overrated, that’s all I’m saying.

Edit: My comment seems to have reappeared. Maybe it was just in moderation? Funny how I could see it immediately after posting it but then not when I went back to the post a bit later… oh well.

Further edit: and now I’ve found this post again, which is possibly even moreso what I was trying to find to link before.

The Expanded Audience does not respond too well with escapism gaming. Escapism gaming is gaming that replaces your life (World of Warcraft, FPS games, RPGs, etc.). Games like Wii Sports, Brain Age, Nintendogs, Wii Fit, and all are more geared towards connecting to your life. The aim isn’t to envelop the player in a fictional realm.

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