Ever since I got to know about video games, I always wanted to experience something which would replicate real-world scenarios in a true sense. I think that is why video games are developed. Some experiences are too wild for a person to enjoy physically, such as flying & fighting with a fighter jet during a dogfight or recreating a historic war. Simulation games allow players to enjoy these elements in an exciting and enjoyable way, knowing these situations are impossible to recreate physically. This experience can stimulate player’s imagination, as they face challenges and situations impossible to face outside of these simulation games. This is the reason why it has gained interest with this very game genre. Yes, I’m that 1%er, why? I’ll discuss that reason later. In a gamer’s perspective; I have played numerous FPS, free world, racing games or flight/truck/car simulators in simulation mode rather than story mode due to this real-world imitation. Here is an article about why many gamers like to play simulation games.
What makes this Simulation Games so fascinating?
As I mentioned earlier, the approach of interfacing virtual world with the real world always fascinates me that how the same thing would work in reality? Therefore, I look for these three aspects of a simulation game.
First is the graphics & physics engine function
Graphics include representation of an object & physics engine defines rigidity & fluidity of the game according to the user’s action.
Secondly, I look for real-world data manipulation
This is roughly an object’s behavior according to the real data. For example, in a flight simulation game, the compass movement should be according to the rudder movement of the plane likewise the gyro meter should respectively point upwards or downwards when the plane ascends or descends.
Lastly, if I do not mention game controllers it would be a great injustice.
Game controllers play a huge role for a user in order to feel & act like a real person in a simulation game. There are different plethora of game controllers available in the market such as flight sticks, racing wheels and pedals. However, there is a completely new level of R&D to develop the perfect integrated simulator, which features real-time G sensors, hydraulics, and vibration control along with multidimensional rotation capability with cutting-edge highly responsive game controllers. These integrated simulation platforms are derived from the versions of Stewart Platform.
Non- gaming professionals play them too
Now I want to discuss the consumer spectrum; this genre has a consumer base across all age groups of which amateur & pro gamers dominate the whole scene. I have already discussed the gamers’ perspective and here I want to illustrate about an uncommon set of consumers who play these games for professional purposes. They are commercial & military pilots, racecar drivers, truckers & so on. Some might argue that these professionals rather use sophisticated simulators other than just playing games, which is quite true. But this was from my personal experience, I was told that one of my friend, who happens to be a commercial airline pilot & plays Microsoft FSX to hone his skills while he is at home. Therefore, through an online research I found out that he is not the only one who plays simulation games. Here is a thread from airliners.net where professional pilots have shared their experiences with flight simulation games. This includes various sports and business simulation games as well. According to an article published in 2014, The Guardian illustrates how football clubs are using Football Manager as a scouting tool nowadays.
Final thoughts & criticism
Lastly, why I’m that 1%er?
Many gamers do not like simulation games because of their monotonous gameplay. Main reason being, most simulation games do not boast objective-based missions. Also at times, game manufacturers oversimplify by removing typical gaming elements from these games in order to provide an enjoyable & exciting experience. Some may complain about the lack of emotional & instinctive experience in a simulation game compared to a mainstream RPG or FPS game.
Some Facts & Figures
After all this being said, simulation games market is currently one of fastest growing markets in the gaming sector. According to a market study released by Technavio (published on businesswire.com), the global gaming simulator market is expected to reach USD 7.78 billion by 2021, growing at a CAGR of more than 17%. It covers all game types & all the points, which are discussed earlier. From these figures, it is imaginable how big this industry is now & it is poised to be bigger in near future.
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