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Gaming Why new business models are killing great games

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

  1. Hovis

    Hovis New Member

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    Much as I love nostalgia as much as the next guy (though not as much as we used to, back in the day), the idea that modern games are more mercenary than their forebears is wrong. Mostly because it completely ignores the role of the coin-op arcade machine in the history of gaming. Games have been pay to play since Space Invaders. It's only in the last decade or so that the ideas of Lives, Continues and Credits have fallen by the wayside to be replaced by games that you in effect cannot fail to complete. Any successful developer must have their eyes on the money or they are going to fail.
     
  2. Vo0Ds

    Vo0Ds Fake potato

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    Nice article Ben :)

    Forgive my intentional lack of WoW knowledge, but does this mean £8.99 x 12months x 6years = ~£647.28?

    To me that's quite a lot, but if you've genuinely had more than £647.28 worth of fun out of the game over that period of time, I guess it's worth it.

    I don't know if I could make that kind of commitment to a game, especially assuming they'll just shut the servers down some day. When that day comes, there will be mass :wallbash:... or more likely, players will just move on to the next best MMO.
     
  3. Risky

    Risky Well-Known Member

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    God article and rather interesting for me as I have no knowledge of these games, having restricked my play to a coupkle of areas.

    When I have a working computer I play X3TC form www.egosoft.com which is pretty old fashioned in that's it's stricktly single player and they rely on releasing a proper new version every few years with a new plot and no save-game carry-over from the prior version. That said they just delayed the new big release and added a minor release on the current engine (though playing as a new game) for £10 on Steam. I guess as an independant developer with a very loyal userbase they can survive on that sort of model.

    My other gaming is www.hattrick.org which is a multiplayer football management game that's been around for a long time. I do pay them a subscription for premium features but they have remained very strick about the prmium ("supporter") features being ease-of-use and nice-to-have elements which do not give you an in-game advantage (other than time-saving). If this changed I would cancel my subscritpion immediately and I would be with the majority in that.
     
  4. maverik-sg1

    maverik-sg1 Member

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    Well, in terms of played time, it's given me more hours of play per year than all my other games combined - I have played and enjoyed this game for most of those 6yrs and have to say that nowadays I find the £8:99 a month more painful to pay, in previous years I've considered it good if not great value - in terms of server closures, they offer free migration when that occurs and ensure that servers remain at a deent population level.

    So whilst I think £8:99 is a lot and the amount of time invested a big 'time sink', if any new mmo presents a levelling grindfest similar to the one WoW employed then for that reason it loses it's appeal (as the others did) - I am not looking to repeat that much time (or money) to any one game again when this one finally reaches it's logical end.
     
  5. Zoso

    Zoso New Member

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    Nice article, but I think it's a bit simplistic to suggest that the interests of a developer automatically align with the interests of fans in the buy-box-only model, in that case there's an incentive for the developer is to make the game as short as they can possibly get away with in order to make more money from a sequel, expansion, "data disk" or whatever.
     
  6. billysielu

    billysielu Member

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    This article makes no point, why post it.
     
  7. malcolm

    malcolm New Member

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    Nice article which gives a good overview. Kudos Ben.
     
  8. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    It would indeed. Of course, that's not the whole picture. There are discounts for buying more time at once which such a long term player would probably take advantage of. But on the flip side there are also expansions to buy.

    I've sunk a fair deal of time not only into WoW but various other MMOs, often subscription based, and see no problem with the model as long as you get your money's worth of fun as you say. What I've always considered is how much money I would spend on games if I wasn't playing an MMO, it usually comes to be about equal with what I'd spend in monthly fees since standalone games typically don't last as long since they aren't constantly updated like an MMO. I don't currently play any MMOs but when I did I could easily play 50 hours a month for a $15 fee. There are plenty of games I've paid ~$50 and not gotten that much play time in. They can have high total costs but for many players it's worth it.
     
  9. Roskoken

    Roskoken New Member

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    The gaming industry was fine

    Until they turned it into a financial bubble to service corporate greed and now its going to burst.

    **** you capitalism and **** you for ruining my one true passion in life.
     
  10. javaman

    javaman May irritate Eyes

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    See I can't see the value, I played solidly for 2 years managing 4-8hours a day. Yes new content comes but as soon as it arrives the old content is broken in terms of the new patch and the world is so big with mostly power levelers that instances are boosting sessions. Cross server groups solved this a little bit since it was easier to PUG but old content just gets in the way, ie. 90+hours to work from 1-80 only for the next release to come out. All level 80 content becomes pointless as patches and level 81 gear makes it walkable alone. All that content payed for and broken.
    Top it off steam do so many sales that £8.99 a month could get me two games easily. Not as many hours as wow gametime but sure as heck better value in the long run.

    I understand people get more out of wow than I did, your certainly one of them. Just my views and ultimately value was why I quit wow. I just wasn't willing to pay plus getting value from having less free time.
     
  11. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    Apparently you've got no clue about EvE Online. Sure it does take a good amount of time to train skills, but you can play the game to it's full extend from day one... just make sure not to play alone!

    The system of EvE is the only one that works imho, as it's the only one providing open end content, where you don't get bored after you've cleared all quests and raids. Oh, and as I allready said, you can take part in all of this from day one, without having to grind to LvL 50/80/100 first.

    Subscription-models are the only MMOs I play as they reassure, that every player is playing on a level playing-field, not being able to buy victory like in all of the crap F2P-games, especially when you're interested in competitive gameplay.

    The only other working model is B2P, like GuildWars is doing it.
     
  12. gosh

    gosh Member

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    i fail to see your point other than "this is a thing, look at it". quit my last subscription MMO over a year ago and now most play f2p/browser games and working through my steam backlog - not spent a penny on any of those mmo's yet and almost all of them any cash transactions shorten your grind (and grind is an arbitrary term, if i am having fun playing why would i want to shorten my playtime to the next tier).

    currently playing world of tanks, in which (other than 1 particular tank that has since been removed from store) cash-bought tanks are actually inferior to earnt tanks but just gain you more in-game credit, and you can pay to earn the money/exp to unlock a new tank if you are finding the 'grind' troublesome - doesn't hurt the game at all.

    while the warcraft buy game then buy subscription model may need a re-think (i'd play with some cheaper time-limited scheme) it's still doing perfectly well and games that give easy win gear to paying players are often shunned, plus i see no problem in the microtransaction to save in-game grind time (some people have jobs and would rather spend an hour at work than 5 in-game to get an item)
     
  13. Sviatoslav

    Sviatoslav New Member

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    Games have become more like films nowadays and it is understandable due to the need to make money from a wider auditory. I really miss the past difficulty of the games! I remember someone telling me about the game coming out soon with all the usual difficulty levels and the hardest one titled "1999" :) One should only take a look at the LA Noire which is pretty much a film with conversation topics (I didn't play it much to have an in-depth opinion, but it has become a definite trend nowadays). My only hope is for gaming companies to collect as much money from a wider audience for now and in future invest in games desired by gaming fans. It is, afterall, what gamers want, as is evident by the soaring success of the Minecraft and alike.
     
  14. thil

    thil New Member

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    Once again, another article working from the flawed premise that Farmville is the exact same sort of game as Deus Ex, or that EVE Online is the same as Grim Fandango.

    And, of course, the ol' chestnut: that multiplayer games are exactly the same as single player games, and that whoever is happy playing one is perfectly happy playing the other.

    "Lol, they both use pixels, code, they're called games, therefore they're perfectly interchangeable!"

    It's another article that, as many people in the industry like to do, completely refuses to find who the CUSTOMERS are, and what THEY want. Zynga isn't even on my radar, normally, nor is it one many other dedicated gamers' radars, I'd wager. But it gets a lot of press because it appeals to those who matter more than the consumers: the people with shares in it.

    Really, I'm getting sick of being told what I'm supposed to like, and then being told I'm just being silly when I dissent.

    Farmville? It's like saying you're looking for a new novel to read, and someone offering a copy of FHM. Yes, they both have words. Yes, they're both printed on paper.

    No, they're not the same damn thing.
     
  15. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    I'd second this. There are also cases aplenty of games that just don't come to market because the publisher pulled the plug on them - in some cases after years of development. These don't tend to make the headlines for obvious reasons, but should reinforce the point that existing business models kill great games pretty effectively too.
    I'm more mixed on this - clearly many games suffer cuts in order to make deadlines (especially in the run up to Christmas). In some cases, patches can make up for matters but otherwise what is worse - having an extra cost expansion (good sales of which might spur development of a sequel) or not having that extra content at all?
    It's probably fair to say that the major publishers hold the gaming public in little more than utter contempt and that the public are guilty of supporting this. We do see this elsewhere - the film industry (unskippable trailers, HDCP DRM on BluRay) and the fast food industry (McDonalds putting together the cheapest batch of chemicals they can devise and labelling it "food") so it's not unique to gaming, but the growth of publishers into multi-billion dollar corporations is clearly making it worse.

    One key thing is information - I bet that most PS3 owners didn't know that Capcom's games required online activation until the PSN network went down and none of their games worked. Similarly many PC gamers seem blissfully unaware (or worse, uncaring) of the potential problems with activation systems used by Origin, Steam and Direct2Drive.

    In practice, it probably won't be until we see a few more DRM disasters (the Steam hack could be one in the making given that Valve still haven't disclosed details on it yet) as we saw with the music industry (with DRMed services like Yahoo Music and Virgin Digital costing users money and/or inconvenience when they shut down).
    Agreed!
     
  16. sub routine

    sub routine Archie Gemel

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    good article, ta. It`s been something thats been incresingly starting to worry me about the gaming industry. I see it as a big problem though as the gaming industry becomes more profitable more and more middle managers are drafted in to make decisions rather than the games designers.
     
  17. DaBigDog

    DaBigDog New Member

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    If you play an MMO your generally in it for a reasonable period of time, you do get free content updates and the like but you go into it knowing full well what the costs are (for me, @£1100 all in for WoW with three people in the house playing it for many years).

    The you have the "commercially minded" games like Battlefield Play 4 Free, which just feels like an cynical excerise in lightening my wallet by giving substancial advantage to premium goods with the overall development of game taking a back-seat to collecting money from the gamers.

    You then have the third area where non-affiliated developers and companies can use the free to play model to get people into a game they might not have tried if they had to buy it, where it's reasonably balanced for all players but premium users do get some advantages.

    For my money the best balanced at the moment is World of Tanks, where 95% of the game is accesable without spending a single penny (of course I have spent money!!), but I don't feel disadvantaged when I don't use it.
    It's a great example of a well developed game where the "Freemium" model has been balanced to give Freebie and Premium players a great experience. My only issue is the abuse that Premium players get for using cash tanks and equipment, remember Mr Freebie players - Premium players are subsidising the game you like.. maybe a thank you would be more appropriate.... :)
     
  18. Kilmoor

    Kilmoor lurker

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    Great article.

    As a 35 year old gamer, my impression of how games should be paid for is up front and one time. If it is a good game, I'll buy the sequel.

    I recently quit EVE with six active accounts, mainly due to the grind, lack of new mechanics, and slow-to-arrive new content. Even with the ability to pay for subs without paying out of pocket (PLEX), I found I couldn't keep up with the daily workload. Bummer, but at least I'm now back to standalone titles that I can approach when and how I wish... at least until they start with the DLC!
     
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