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Why not just call all forms of interactive digital media “video games” as many people do nowadays?


1. Words have specific meanings

The word “video” refers to visuals (usually bundled with audio). How about media which only uses text or audio?

The word “game” has a meaning rooted in thousands of years of non-digital game design. Throwing that away isn’t necessarily a reasonable thing to do.

2. Lack of media diversity

Using the term “game” limits what designers and developers are going to create. Every developer who wants to work with different kinds of interactive digital media will need to outgrow their inherent, unconscious, definition of “game” which they’ve formed over their whole life playing non-digital games (sports, card games, board games) and digital games.

3. Nonconstructive criticism and arguments

When a developer does publish a “non-game” title they will get criticized by the public and the critics for having little to no gameplay. There isn’t a way around this as all well known digital distribution channels are centered around games, that is, you have no option but to market your product as a game as well.

Needless to say with more than one medium useless arguments on what constitutes a game, and what is “worthy” of the title “game”, would all go away. Imagine the amount of time saved!

5. Saturated market

The market for digital games is huge. How do you make money in a market which isn’t inclusive of your preferred interactive digital medium and on top of that is extremely saturated?

The good news is that for digital distributors having more mediums is a positive. There’s money to be made here. A less saturated market for interactive fiction, for instance, would bring in more interest and consumers for the medium boosting sales.

6. The term “Non-game”

Can you think of any other form of media where a similar term exists? Does literature have “non-novels”? Does cinema have “non-movies”?

The existence of such a term only indicates that there’s a conflict between the term and the media itself. There’s a dire need for new terms.