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Dreams is an expansive sandbox where you can create tomorrow’s next big title… or a room where Sonic the Hedgehog screams at Cartman from South Park. While the potential is there for the former, many people end up seeing games like the latter because of Dreams‘ curation algorithms. But Media Molecule is aware of this problem and is trying to address it to amplify more creative works.
The U.K.-based team revealed this through a statement to IGN. Media Molecule expressed concern and a commitment to changing the game to better prop up original experiences.
“Feedback is a vital part of helping us shape and grow the Dreams community,” read the statement. “We started making the first changes to our recommendation and discovery algorithms in Early Access and plan on continuing that work to improve them as we go.”
Part of the problem lies within the game’s Trending tab that prioritizes plays over likes. In essence, a game with 4,000 plays and 300 likes could be pushed up further than something with 400 plays and 200 likes. Or it could presenting games with 1,000 plays and 50 likes over something with 200 likes and 300 plays, which is far more egregious. It’s all about the ratio and just because a lot of people are playing something, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily great. That is usually the case for meme-like games and remasters as they are more amusing from afar than worth smashing that like button over.
It’s partly up to media personalities, press sites, and subreddits to highlight fresh experiences and the game’s subreddit is one of those bastions that spearheaded this movement. A popular recent thread pointed this out and Media Molecule noticed and is considering some alternatives presented by concerned fans.
“The Reddit thread currently contains some good ideas, such as the ‘likes vs plays’ ratio currently and we are certainly giving them some careful consideration as part of this process,” the developer told IGN.
Memes and remakes of popular games shouldn’t be completely shut out as they are easy ways to get eyes on Dreams and provide creators with a template that lets them acclimate to the tools. However, it is a balance and heavily favoring cheap tricks or translations of other properties over wholly new works of art could hold back Dreams from its true potential. Or it could at least hide that potential behind a tie-wearing Sonic.