Are there any elements of game design which are sufficiently universal that something akin to an ISO standard could be developed for game design? Perhaps an ISO standard for mass market game design - that is, a description of necessary or explicitely undesirable elements of game design when targeting a genuinally arbitrary audience.
If this were possible, it would be more in the style of a Technical Report i.e. an ISO TR, although I don't propose actually doing it - life is too short. Rather, I am interested if there are any elements the game design process which transcend issues of audience. We'd be talking about limiting factors and useability, primarily, and not about what people like or dislike.
My instinct is that there probably are a few elements that could be specified. For instance, targeting an arbitrary audience implies the need for a low dimensionality of control (i.e. simple controls). But even this might be insufficient - we may find, for instance, than the direct feedback of the Revolution controller is an easy to operate data entry system with an inherently higher dimensionality of control than joypads et al. Eyetoy is pretty definitively mass market and I couldn't begin to estimate the dimensionality of that control method.
The highly subjective nature of the play experience inherently makes the game design process hard to standardise. Although every different approach to game design can be informative, rules-based methods are markedly less useful than holistic approaches to game design, because only when the game and its audience are considered together do we get the full picture.