Industry Topics | Dized App
As a game designer, I must say that my least favorite part of the process is sitting down and writing rules. I would much rather explain how to play the game and answer questions during game play - that’s what the rule book has always been, but there has to be something more! Entering the Dized App! This application promises to make games easier to learn so that you have more time to actually play! They are doing planning to do this by offering easy to follow rules that provide examples and strategies, are kept up-to-date, and searchable! Gone will be the game nights that feel more like a learning session.
There's been a lot of opinions being shared about this app, and I have been pretty vocal online about my feelings regarding it so I decided I was going to write up a Blog with my current understanding and feelings regarding this app. I have been playing around with the app in its current version that everyone can download provided you have an android or apple based phone (so most all of you). You can also check out the Kickstarter which has a few more days left.
WHAT I LOVE
Overall I pretty much love everything about this app, I think it's very intelligent and I am super excited to see where they take it. The tutorials are well done - they are interactive, well voice acted, easy for any age to comprehend, and more importantly - you learn the CORRECT rules that the publisher intends to be used… gone are the days of ‘if there is a debate over rules - then house rules prevail’. I decided to run through the very basic tutorials that they are offering for free now, including one of my favorite games that I got to play this year KingDomino. They even ask if it’s your first time to play the game and go through the best practices in setting up the castles, which on my first play through I didn’t handle perfectly.
Everything surrounding this app from UX design to the animation quality are very clean. The team putting this together are definitely working out of a place of love for tabletop and the desire to see the hobby grow, and an app like this can definitely make that happen! The team is looking to the future and planning to allow publishers even more ways for players to enjoy their games with game expansions, digital mechanics, new content, trackers, timers, dice rollers, and even AI players! While AI players will be clunky at first, they can potentially revolutionize the solo tabletop game market!
I also love the idea that an app like this makes games even more accessible, not everybody learns the same way and for the longest time we in the tabletop world have just assumed that everyone can learn a game based off reading a rule book. Thankfully, we are getting past this and this app is going to help many people learn the games that we already know and love! Some people learn better with more visuals, some learn better when the rules are being read to them versus reading them, some learn better when they actually see the actions happening and they can mimic them. An app like this is going to be able to help everyone in the group learn the game in a much faster way because it acknowledges our differences rather than shoving us all into one category.
WHAT CONCERNS ME
First, I am slightly concerned with the expected quality when the app opens up tools for publishers. Many companies can pay for solid content to be on the app and create higher-quality tutorials, smaller companies will be able to put up their tutorials but harm the overall look of the app based on their quality. Now, I have not gotten the chance to see the publisher creation tools or the content creation tools for that matter, so if the tools provide the opportunity for a cohesive look across the board then this is a moot point and excites me even more - as smaller publishers can compete at higher levels!
Secondly, the breakdown of costs for this app confuse me. The app economy is driven by credits currently, and you use the credits to purchase month subscriptions to the service as a whole OR you can buy game packs that allow you to focus solely on the games you want. There will be free content that everyone can access - which will proved rules (for the base game) and the set-ups and limited tutorials. You will also have to be online at all times to use the app for free, but that comes with the territory of selling your data to the platform for free information… because nothing is ever free. Let’s say you don’t want to purchase a month of access - you can purchase a single title game pack that allows you to have access to the digital expansions and rules and tutorial of the select game even offline, because it’s yours! The problem here though, you won’t have access to to the game add-ons or gameplay stats… and most importantly - you are still going to be hit up with Ads! When companies hit us up with advertising on products we own, a part of me dies a little. At the very least, if I own the game pack then I shouldn’t have to worry about clunk Ads in my experience of the app. For the same price as a Game pack you can have one month of full access! This is the winning option in my mind, because you have access to the app Ad free, the ability to utilize it offline, and access to the entire library.
The whole pricing structure surrounding this app is centered on the idea that the end user will purchase this and pay for the experience… although I don’t know how the advertising breakdown will work. I think publishers should pay to get their content on the app, but why would they do that if the market isn’t there. It is the chicken/egg question all over and the team has chosen to open their platform to the publishers it seems. This is fine for the most part, but I want to know how much of my data is going to be shared with others even if I am paying for an ad-free experience… will this be utilized by publishers to inform game creation? Will they take safer bets and only make games that the numbers will support and keep companies from not only trying tired themes and properties… but also tiring the game mechanics as well? Will they take my data to inform publishers how to better target their marketing to me on social media sites?
Another thing that concerns me, is the treatment of content creators. What is the end result of content creators being on this platform? How will content creators be paid with this app? Speaking of content creators, a lot of tutorials and walkthroughs are easily found on YouTube. outside of the tutorials on this app being much easier than a lot of tutorials you may find on YouTube, what makes these tutorials that much more appealing to pay money for on the end-user side?
Lastly, we need a Board Game Geek killer… or at least better competition. I would like to see more community aspects to this app. A social aspect would be amazing: game boards, ability to share images, ability to find others in your area that like the same type of games, information on upcoming conventions and gatherings, ratings and review sharing, and even a marketplace where people can trade and buy games from each other.
Overall, I think this is a great idea and something our industry sorely needs. More avenues for all of us to bring more people into the hobby will only provide more games for all of us in the end, and as the digital content quality rises so to will that of the analog quality. There is so much potential on this app and I am honestly excited to see where they are going to take this app, because I want more friends to play games with me.