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Gaming Why new business models are killing great games

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 14 Mar 2012.

  1. brumgrunt

    brumgrunt New Member

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  2. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Might want to check the article again... no link to comments/discussions.
     
  3. Bauul

    Bauul Sir Bongaminge

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    It seems to me the same difference between movies and TV series. Farmville is the gaming equivalent of Coronation Street: it relies on extended drawn out stories to hook in viewers, whilst funding itself through advertising.

    Doesn't mean the death of the movie though - I think there'll always be a place for the blockbuster game as much as the blockbuster film, which people pay upfront to experience.
     
  4. Tyrmot

    Tyrmot New Member

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    Great article, thanks! And nice analogy. This was always going to be the problem as gaming became less of a niche hobby and part of society generally. It's also on the consumers not to buy into these models...
     
  5. Tris

    Tris New Member

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    I prefer microtransactions to release day DRM.
     
  6. urobulos

    urobulos Member

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    That was an interesting anecdote. Didn't expect early 20th century history of Indochina in a bit-tech article, but it illustrated the point very well. Always nice to be positively surprised.

    I agree with pretty much everything written in the article so no point in me rephrasing well made points. One thing I can add is the idea of releasing a game in episodes. Right now, if you buy a game, you know you will be able to finish it. It might be a part of a greater story and if the game tanks, the planned sequels might never see the light of day; see Shenmue. Some developers want to move us to a model where they can stop development at a much earlier stage. We still got two Shenmue games, we still have Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil and a bunch of other really good games that didn't sell particularly well. We are unlikely to see sequels to those games, but the originals still exist. If we ever switch to the episodic model, Shenmue would have been canned after the first chapter, Psychonauts and BG&E would probably end after a couple hours at best. People who ended up buying the first episodes would be left hanging with a never to be completed product. This is sometimes presented as giving the buyer an opportunity to save money. Instead of spending 40£ on a game you might end up disliking, you can spend a tenner on the first episode. They never say your tenner might get wasted when the company cancels a poorly selling product mid development AND they fail to mention if it does get made you will end up buying say 6 or 7 episodes. I think I'd rather stick to the old model in this case.
     
  7. fingerbob69

    fingerbob69 Member

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    This article apes the sentiments in the Win8 discussion... that not all great strides forward, in tech, occurring at the moment, are to the benefit of the ordinary consumer.
     
  8. BD Hopkins

    BD Hopkins New Member

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    It's refreshing to see profit incentive explored as the primary directive for game creation; any analysis of game development missing it is fundamentally flawed.

    This was a thoughtful, well-written article. If there are more like this I may end up reading bit-tech more often.
     
  9. KiNETiK

    KiNETiK New Member

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    I like this article and the comparison with early 20th century history is great!

    You mention in the article:
    "The process of designing games to be profitable is no longer aligned with designing games to be fun or creative."
    If this is the case then why do millions of people play games like Farmville? There must be fun in there somewhere otherwise there wouldn't be so many people hooked on them. Perhaps it is these games (particularly social ones) that are introducing games to people that would never previously have played computer games. This could act as a stepping stone for these people into the world of gaming, leading to more people becoming involved in the wider gaming industry. Which is surely a good thing?
     
  10. hyperion

    hyperion Active Member

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    Nice article but imo it is the games companies (developers and/or publishers) and the players themselves who kill great games more than the business model. MMO players in particular tend to fall into 2 categories. If you're not a blizzard fanatic, you are most likely a fickle mmo-hopper.

    Before AoC came out everyone thought it was gonna be the bomb. Instead, it bombed. Then they jumped on the WAR bandwagon, and that bombed too. So they flocked to Aion, now it's f2p. Then Rift launched and surprisingly it had hardly any of the flaws the other games had, yet people still weren't happy and raved on about how awesome SWTOR was gonna be. A lot of people left Rift, not because it was a bad game but because they still think the next mmo will be their online utopia. So what are these people doing now? Waiting on GW2 :rolleyes: They worst part is that they can't leave the game quietly without infecting the rest of the community with their negativity. MMOs are in continuous development even after launch and can change drastically from the game they were at release. It would help if players were a bit less fickle and appreciated the better aspects of the game rather than focus on the worse.


    But it's not entirely the players fault. Imo the gaming industry is incredibly unprofessional. They market something as having feature x and sell pre-orders of that item, then fail to provide said feature and carry on like nothing's wrong. How can that be allowed when we have laws that are supposed to protect consumers? Is the games industry still not taken seriously enough? If a car dealer says this model has air-con and after buying it you realize there isn't any, you take it back right? Imagine if the car dealer then said "sorry, no returns!" MMO companies don't even give refunds.

    All the above were great games and some of them (not Rift or SWTOR) went down-hill unnecessarily, just for doing some stupid stuff. AoC's community relations were abysmal; lying to the players while acting like everything was fine to the media pissed off a lot of people. WAR class balance was a disaster. I can only assume they wanted to control faction balance by unbalancing classes, not realizing they had created such incredible classes that people were too attached to them to jump faction. Aion wasn't sufficiently westernized by NCwest. They were fantastic games that deserved better management.
     
  11. jon

    jon Chief Phrenologist

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    +1

    So you're saying Farmville is a gateway drug? :)
     
  12. tad2008

    tad2008 New Member

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    Good article but a two caveats.

    1. The Social Networking side of games is all about the Social aspect, not just revenue or games being purely fun to play. Its about being able to help other people and know they miht help you too and together those people can progress. Most traditional gaming models simply do not do this. Even MMO's where team work may be a quintessential part of the game, are still lacking a lot of the social aspects.

    2. Advertising in some games can be seen a distraction as they simply do not fit the setting. Whereas other titles benefit from that same advertising where it fits the setting and adds to the emersion and feeling of reality of the game.

    What we need from developers is not just Advertising or Social Networking but an amalgamation of the two. Let us make those micro transactions in game, help our friends out and benefit from having friends help us too. Let us buy in to that advertising and b rewarded in real life too, give us a special promotion that reminds us or our real lives outside of the game but which also adds to our immersion whilst we are playing.

    Look at sports games that have their advertising around the field, imagine if this was part of the advertising/marketing strategy of companies to promote their latest unheard of product or to give existing players of a particular developer early access to their latest release, beta tests, special items complete with bragging rights, even titles for loyal players to tote amongst the masses showing their dedication, etc, etc
     
  13. KiNETiK

    KiNETiK New Member

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    I was trying to refrain from saying that, but yes that was what I was getting at :) - although I don't have any evidence to prove that this is the case, just a suggestion!
     
  14. Arghnews

    Arghnews New Member

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    A good article.
     
  15. XXAOSICXX

    XXAOSICXX Member

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    I was interested to read the article, however - like others, there are a couple of caveats...

    1) The suggestion that games used to be made for fun and enjoyment, and not focused solely on profit, is simply not true. You only have to look at EAs history with EA Sports (dating back to the late 80s and early 90s) to see that they were more interested in churning out a new title for each sport with the same engine year after year. Go back even further (showing my age now) and look at Ocean games, who were notorious for spending 95% of their games' budgets on the movie/TV/band licence and then churned out absolute drivel. Those games - back in the mid 80s - were produced entirely for profit and had nothing whatsoever to do with fun.

    Moving forward, into the era of "expansions", I remember buying C&C Generals and thinking it was great, and then buying the "Zero Hour" expansion and enjoying it 10x more and had a moment of realisation - that the game was always supposed to have an expansion, that vanilla Generals was not the whole game - and that it was clearly a device to make me spend £50 instead of £30 whilst I scoff away at console gamers paying £50 a pop for their games without realising I'm being had in exactly the same way.

    2) Whilst the observations about business models and publisher behaviour are interesting why do we always seem to absolve the consumer of any blame? Is it because we don't want to hold ourselves responsible for the state of the industry? Are we too quick to demonise publishers when we should be looking in the mirror? Gaming used to be the past-time of the geeks (and I was/still am one of them). Back when I was playing games (and writing games) on my C64, Atari 1040ST, Amiga 1200 etc my mates were all out kicking a ball about and drinking cheap cider at bus stops. Those guys now own consoles and play games and forget how geeky they thought it was back in the day. Popularity on a massive scale has - like all other forms of media - led to a mass dumbing-down. It wasn't that long ago that nobody on a PC had even heard of the phrase "quick-time event". But, people are lapping up the Call of Duty's, people are (as pointed out in the article, and by a previous poster) paying monthly subscriptions for MMOs, and people do buy games with in-game ads.

    If people stop paying for those games and start playing the ones that don't require such concessions as a consumer then the message to the industry will be to start making games without such devices.

    If you pay the micro-transactions, if you subscribe to an MMO, if you buy the DLC, if you submit to the DRM, all you're doing is telling the publisher "I like this - give me more". There are plenty of games out there that deserve your attention - support those guys instead - then we can all complain about the big bad publishers who, at the end of the day, are only where they are because we put our hard-earned pounds into their pockets.

    Rant over :)
     
    AstralWanderer and cjmUK like this.
  16. maverik-sg1

    maverik-sg1 Member

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    I've been a WoW addict for 6yrs now, tied in by the high amount of hours invested in the game, 8 toons maxxed out - I have the other games to play, but find the drip feed of the grind, the levelling, the shortage of game cash to buy things like mounts too much of a grind - it's just easier to go back to WoW where I have a healthy stash of in game currency, several crafting toons and raid ready..... levelling another toon for all those reasons is also easier... I play about 8hrs a week (compared to about 24hrs a week back in the day) now and still enjoy the game very much.

    WoW still has 10million worldwide subscribers - at least 4x as much as it's nearest rivals.... 10million x £8:99 a month = £90million a month in subscriptions alone.......other mmo's take note of the steadfast following the game has.

    If these other mmo's want to keep win the sustained attention of WoW subscribers to the end, in game currency and gearing shoud be gained at a suitably easier process (or as easy) as levelling in WoW - for instance when I reach the level where I could get a new mode of transport, the amount of in game credit I have earned by levelling should of got me 95% of the currency required, even adding a quest chain to do the last part - I no longer yearn for the farming process to gain these things (or the long walks from point a2b2c2d2e and back to a), levelling is great, but hanging around just to get to currency to buy something is a real balls ache.

    But then lets dicsuss the subscription thing - I play WoW, all my toons and currency are healthy, so it;s easy just to jump back into it, thus it gets my subscription with little effort, but the other games that charge a similar subscription (assuming I like the game, Rift and SWTOR so far) get that subscription until I hit a grind fest mid-way through the levelling process and I end up getting bored/frustrated, cancelling my subscription and going back to WoW.

    My advice to these new entries is to take away 'the wall' of grinding, make the game interesting, levelling and instances should be challenging (but not overly long) sure don't make it easy, but don't make it a long and certainly remove the currency grindfest and other such walls of despair that simply make cancelling a subscription an easy process.

    I hope GW2 is the game we all hope it will be.
     
  17. javaman

    javaman May irritate Eyes

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    It isn't a "one size fits all" problem. Some mmos, arguably the big ones, work very well with monthly fee. You get your maintaince and updates. Runescape i think is a good example of how free to play can merge with payed content. Level so far then pay to unlock the rest. For MMO's tho the key is balance, somethong even wow has really struggled with in terms og difficulty and even pvp/pve. Wow tho have recently turned into activision and this is the biggest problem......
    Greed,
    No longe do developers look at what's best fpr the gamer or franchise but their bottom line. Yes you need money to make games (tho indie developers are bucking that trend) but churning out endless copy paste dribble gets tiresome. Whos to blame? Is it the developer having the audience but the balls or the audience being brain dead....possibly both.

    Team fortress 2 vs call of duty, yes both are different fps games but the model is perfect. Do you need cod 5 6 7 8 when essentially its the same game with a different campaign? Wouldnt it be better to release the single player as a dlc and leave the "new release" as a game engine update ie. Next gen console?

    That brings me to the sims

    Do i want to have to pay over £100 for dlc on top of a game? EA really has milked it, but again whos fault is it? While sims isnt a big problem as life can go on, add this model to multiplayer games ie wow and tour looking at 100 just to start a game, a hell of an up front cost added to monthly fee. THAT is my concern.

    IMO Valve are the only company who have the balance right. Team fortress maybe could have a shop where people design item and sell ingame as "fashion" fundamentally allowing designers to make something off the game and them to make a return. Who knows maybe it works for valve and they dont need to change. Im glad HL3 isnt out that way the series isnt boring but tour gagging for more.

    Lastly hats off to assassins creed, your storyline is the hook that keeps me coming back. Add enoigh side stuff and achievements and the game needs broken down otgerwise it becomes a chore.

    Great article would love to see a follow up and debate looking at individual company models with pros and cons. There are alot of undertones ie. Public expectation of what they want vs what the companies can actually give realistically vs market and social trends. Look how crytech got behind leaving consoles out yet lost the pc community by trying to be a company. It also failed where id succeeded ie demoing an engine and people running with it. Damned if you do damned if you dont i guess
     
  18. maverik-sg1

    maverik-sg1 Member

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    I have to agree that the additional DLC that you find with many games now, simply proves that the game was not ready for release to start with (expecially games like COD and Forza)....I always feel cheated, to the point that I don't buy DLC anymore and simply judge a game by it's merits and depth on release.
     
  19. SoulRider

    SoulRider New Member

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    I really enjoyed this thread :)

    While considering options for a retail release of a game, I decided that the best option would be something like the original TF2 plan. You buy the game, and the developer just keeps updating it. I do feel personally that TF2 has gone a bit too far, but then I believe that is down to Valve using it as a guinea pig.

    Enabling the community to make and trade things is cool, but there has to be a strict system around it's usage in-game. For me the TF2 idea is a very good starting point, but would need to be refined. If a game is F2P, I tend to not bother trying it. I know that is probably my loss, but I also feel I am not the only one who thinks like that. I'd rather pay a mid-range price for a game on release say 15-25, then the game gets continuously updated with content to keep it fresh and new players coming in after release.

    The secret to longevity and making money is customisation. HL1 sold quite a few copies off it's own back, but CS, DOD, TF & NS, caused a whole lot more copies of that game to be sold. This is where developers need to be, making it so their game is as customisable as possible. For me, without mod support, a game is going to become a yearly franchise locked down experience. I tend to not buy a game that does not have mod support, unless it offers something new or interesting.

    I really feel these new payment systems will balance out, and we will eventually see a huge number of different financial ideas, specifically designed to work to with the game that is being sold, rather than everyone trying to force one idea onto their games because everyone else is doing it :)
     
  20. Niftyrat

    Niftyrat Dremel overpriced like EA games

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    Interestingly I recently started playing star trek online (once it went free), a game with great IP to work with but man is the levelling too easy, I maxed my level out within 3 weeks with approx 2 hrs a day of gameplay. This allowed me to have the best free ships and in game currency which is easy to obtain allows me to upgrade those ships.

    What I can do is have the super ship (although other players claim they arn't that much better) or to have the more rarer costumes etc. none of which is needed for gameplay.

    Cryptic/perfect world will see none of my cash as I know in a couple of months I will have played all the storyline missions and pvp is not of interest to me. I will move on either to rfactor 2 or arma 3 or another free mmo. Would I pay for STO no but for free I have played it and enjoyed it.

    If only there was a free warhammer 40k mmo.
     
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