EA: Developers Must Dumb Down 'Too Hard To Learn' Games For Average Players

Are games getting too complex? One person who thinks they are is Richard Hilleman, chief creative officer for Electronic Arts. Speaking at the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas recently, Hilleman lamented that games are "too hard to learn," pointing out that it can take several precious hours just to get in a groove with a basic title.

"Our games are actually still too hard to learn. The average player probably spends two hours to learn how to play the most basic game," Hilleman said. "And asking for two hours of somebody's time--most of our customers, between their normal family lives...to find two contiguous hours to concentrate on learning how to play a video game is a big ask."

Electronic Arts

He made the comments in response to event host Pete Holmes saying he'd like controller layouts and button mapping to stay the same for future games in a series, and even across franchises, assuming it wouldn't come at the expense of new designs that are even easier or better suited for a title.

It's a hot topic that's drawn comments on both side of the fence. Over at 
Cinemablend, for example, William Usher says the problem isn't that games are hard to learn, but that the tutorials in games force players to spend hours learning basic gameplay. He brings up the Assassin's Creed series as an example, as it's known for long tutorials.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Morder director Michael de Plater joined the conversation, adding, "every game is an RPG now." As far as he sees things, "progression and levels and XP" are critical parts of the gaming experience.

"And I think every game is going to be a social game...good ideas propagate," Plater added.

What's your take on what Hilleman and Plater had to say at D.I.C.E.?