Close
Are you sure? Are you sure you want to report this comment? I understand, report it. Cancel

Why I don't want every game I play to last forever

Why I don't want every game I play to last forever

Mon 16 Sep 2013 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
Development

CEO of nDreams writes for GamesIndustry International on the problems with free-to-play

For the last couple of years, free-to-play has been the buzzword of the industry. And now traditional publishers have woken up, and, scared of missing the boat, have leapt in with both feet.

Free-to-play can be great. Free-to-play (by which I mean being able to play a whole game without having to pay) works brilliantly well for games that players will play for 20+ hours. Most of the big free-to-play successes have been games designed with that in mind; games that encourage repeat play day in-day out over a long period of time. And with those games, free-to-play has generated huge amounts of revenue - so much so that some people have declared the battle over - free-to-play will take over and become the dominant model for all games. End of argument! Why consider anything else?

"The cracks are starting to show as traditional games try to embrace the free-to-play model and struggle"

But I believe the cracks are starting to show as traditional games try to embrace the free-to-play model and struggle. There are a large number of amazing games which simply don't and can't work when you try to make them last more than 20 hours and start thinking about retention loops, energy mechanics and daily bonuses. Narrative is highly incompatible with free-to-play, and a large proportion of the highest rated games over the last decade have been based around strong storytelling and great characterisation.

As publishers try to 'convert' these fantastic 8-hour experiences to free-to-play, I think you'll see the cracks grow even larger. I dread the day that I see Call of Duty or Tomb Raider going free-to-play. I don't want every game I play to last forever and require me to come back every day. I don't want every game to be devoid of great narrative with a powerful ending. I don't have the time to play more than one or two 'retention' games at a time. But I'll happily play many more fantastic games that last 6-12 hours and give me a euphoric ending and the feeling of satisfaction you get from having participated in a fantastic experience. I don't think I'm alone.

At the moment, console games, handheld gaming devices like the Vita and 3DS and PC games are still dominated by games which are not free-to-play. I think that is because people love playing those kind of games - and it's hard to find those experiences on mobile devices. So I think either those kind of games will come more frequently to mobile, or PC/console/handheld devices will continue to have a strong and passionate user base, and make the kind of money that allows Rockstar to spend $250 million developing a non-mobile game.

1

I suspect when TV soap operas arrived, people thought that this new format was going to take over TV. And soaps are still incredibly popular and addictive, getting viewers back five days a week every week, every year. They're great. But TV isn't back-to-back soap operas. People still love to watch (and pay for) films. They watch a series that has an ending. They go to the cinema or watch NetFlix. Reality TV was the same - everyone flocked to it for a few years, but it has settled down now as part of the mix. People love variety.

Plants vs Zombies 2 might be one of the first big examples of how free-to-play can go wrong. The first game was one of the best game designs ever made. Absolutely, bloody perfect. But EA decided that it needed to be free-to-play. Plants vs Zombies wasn't designed to be played for 20+ hours. It was a fantastic game with a core mission mode that most players could complete in 6-8 hours of solid play. But the sequel struggles in no-mans-land, torn between delivering overly hard levels (to require players to spend money), and being too easy to grind through. I strongly suspect, given its position in the 'top grossing' chart, that PvZ2 is way below the revenue targets that EA/Popcap had set out for it.

In some ways, I think free-to-play has become a sticking plaster for the App Store pricing model. High quality games simply can't make money being sold for 99c (69c after Apple's cut). And you can't charge 35 on the App Store yet. So free-to-play is a good solution for this problem. But it isn't the only answer. It works for some games really well; I'm still playing Simpsons: Tapped Out pretty much every day. But it simply doesn't work for many games. And too many publishers and developers seem to be falling victim to the hype and believing it's the only option moving forwards.

"Free-to-play has become a sticking plaster for the App Store pricing model"

I strongly suspect we're going to see many car-crashes over the next 18 months as traditional publishers bring existing franchises to free-to-play and watch them fail to generate the revenue they need.

Let free-to-play game designs use the free-to-play model . Let games that people play for 20-40 hours or more use the free-to-play model if it works for them. But don't pretend that all games need to be like this from now until the end of time. For other games, monetise them the way that suits them best. Give people free demos, show them your amazing game, then allow them to buy the full experience with in-app purchases. Or let people pay up-front, and allow mega-fans to buy bling show-off items in-game if you want to. But don't make your game free-to-play and start encouraging short daily bursts and putting in energy mechanics unless it's right for the game.

I strongly suspect that games (taken across all platforms) will settle into a healthy mix of business models. And when the mist clears, I think free-to-play games will account for 50 per cent or less of that final mix. Variety, not uniformity, will win the day.

33 Comments

Not a lot to add apart from, agree with all that.

Posted:11 months ago

#1

Jason Avent
VP, Studio Head

139 140 1.0
Popular Comment
I agree too I but I think the real fault is the industry's inability to be creative when it comes to business models. The approach shouldn't be to carbon copy the business practices from one type of game and imprint it on another type. The approach should start with the question: 'how might we create a free to play model from scratch that works for the type of game we're trying to sell?' Or at least the question: 'how might we get money for our games in new ways now that they're free to manufacture and distribute?'

I'm really happy to see the emergence of new ways of paying for downloadable games on console. The new subscription services seem pretty good. I think that's an example of progressive and smart thinking. Downloadable games shouldn't cost as much as retail games because there are no distribution, warehousing, manufacture or stock costs. What other try before you buy methods might there be? How else might we encourage some players to pay more so they subsidise those who don't pay?

Paying players have always subsidised pirates and those who trade games in.

Posted:11 months ago

#2

Wesley Williams
Quality Assurance

131 68 0.5
The trend towards a lack of endings has been bugging me for a while now. It's perfectly exhibited in the "endless runner" genre, where I find may really cool games that I'd love to play, but after five minutes I delete from my device because I realise there's never going to be an end and so what's the point? Completing goals is fine, but there has to be an ending and it has to be attainable by the majority, without taking a bazillion years to get to. You want me to keep paying for your games? Make them smaller, with a start and a finish, then follow it up with a sequel in short order.

Posted:11 months ago

#3

Eyal Teler
Programmer

77 77 1.0
F2P is not the solution for everything, and I don't think it has been applied as such. This is unrelated to game length. There are many games without F2P which are 20+ hours, and people love them. RPG's are a good example, as are strategy games. There are many mobile games which aren't F2P either, and although it's common for mobile games to offer in-app purchases, they're often not mandatory.

F2P is a matter of implementation, that's what makes it palatable or not. It's also a matter of taste. I'm sure we'll see publishers going this way and that, trying to find what works best. I'm sure some players like the F2P nature while others like it less. As for game length, some people do want their experiences to last forever. That doesn't preclude having an ending, and continuing to play another story in the same universe, or just playing multiplayer.

Posted:11 months ago

#4

Nicholas Lovell
Founder

185 170 0.9
"how might we get money for our games in new ways now that they're free to manufacture and distribute?'"

This, +100

F2P is just a tool. It is a tool to address that question.

Posted:11 months ago

#5

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

274 177 0.6
Well, first of all any free-to-play game as an ending when it is shut down (mainly because of profitability issues). Secondly and joke aside, F2P model does not differ much to MMO P2P model in that regard, or to go back further more in time to arcade.

None of those, while they still had their "golden age", did disappear completely today nor did overwhelm the others at the time. On the other hand, I highly question this argument "F2P shall be applied to all games" as even being considered a valid one by the people constantly putting it forward as it is utterly obvious that it is totally unrealistic to even think this is possible or worse that "others" would like you to go there.

To mention the strategy F2P MMO genre (which occurences happened both on social media, browser and mobile platforms) Ubisoft, for exemple with Heroes of Might and Magic: Kingdoms, found a way to end servers and reward players for actually doing so (heritage system) of course if they where to start a new round. Travian did something similar with their Travian game by ending servers as well. Without going into a lengthy explanation to get the point accross it is also possible to design F2P games with endings and it has been done.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 16th September 2013 11:59am

Posted:11 months ago

#6

Nicholas Lovell
Founder

185 170 0.9
More broadly, the challenge we face is this:
- Commercially, it is getting harder and harder to get people to pay full price for all but the most exceptional games. And with open platforms, a race towards free is common, making players accustomed to free games.
- Design-wise, F2P does make changes to the game, and it is often badly done.

I disagree that F2P will < half the market. I do agree that some people should "let people pay up-front, and allow mega-fans to buy bling show-off items in-game if you want to." The debate often gets polarised by people thinking that F2P = Farmville style design.

More broadly, I agree that there will be many business models. Almost all of them will allow people who love what you do to spend lots of money on things they truly value.

Posted:11 months ago

#7
Nicholas - I'd love to see some comparison data with estimates for the total annual game revenue being made on App Store, Google Play, Steam, PSN, XBLA and retail stores. I've heard anecdotally that Steam is doing over $1bn per annum. Has anyone had a stab at this?

Posted:11 months ago

#8
Is the 'race to free' a reality outside of the AppStore?
I noticed that, for example, digital music sales were up from $5.2 bn to $5.6bn in 2012. So singles and albums (both primarily digital with no fixed manufacturing cost) are still making significant amounts of money, and record companies aren't giving them away for free in order to sell much more expensive items to true fans.
Movies and TV series are also still generating big money - both from Netflix type subscriptions, and physical/digital sales. They're not being given away for free anywhere I can see (you can't count piracy!).
I'm not sure games are so different, which is one reason why I'm a long way from being convinced about the 'race to free' for digital gaming.

Posted:11 months ago

#9

Jason Avent
VP, Studio Head

139 140 1.0
Spotify and Netflix are effectively free. The subscription cost is so low that on a per view/listen basis, I consider it free. That's progress in my book. As long as the artists and studios generate enough revenue to make the next great product. Seems like they do. Maybe not as much as they used to with the same volume of users but they're doing good numbers. And this is kind of the race to zero really. You pay for the service but get the content for free. In both cases the cost of a monthly subscription is half the cost of the real world product. (Although I have no idea how much a CD or DVD costs now because I haven't bought one for years because of these services).

After getting first contact through these services, fans go to concerts, buy DVD's for the films they discover on Netflix and buy merchandise. That's a good parallel. The great benefit we have in digital entertainment is that we can sell the merchandise directly within the first contact product.

Posted:11 months ago

#10

Nicholas Lovell
Founder

185 170 0.9
@patrick
For Music, YouTube and Spotify free.

Posted:11 months ago

#11
But Spotify has paid out around $1bn in license fees to record publishers?!
And on YouTube, this week's hot song/video', Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball", has had 105 million hits, with a 20 or 30 second non-skippable advert at the beginning. I suspect the revenue made is quite significant and definitely not 'free'.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Patrick O'Luanaigh on 16th September 2013 1:57pm

Posted:11 months ago

#12

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,069 998 0.9
f2p has become a glorified term for what basically is a demo for a game which uses old arcade style monetization schemes mixed with mechanics of a lottery. Only difference being that neither arcades nor lotteries ever were this disingenuous. It was simple Game Over, bend over, put in quarter. These days f2p games tend to offer you the option to totally waste your time until you realize you treasure your time more than your money and finally depart with it.

Ultimately, the insatiable appetite for hunting whales will be a evolutionary disadvantage of f2p. Players will grow tired of core gameplay loops being stretched to the breaking point and repeating themselves across different competing games.

As the article pointed out, f2p has a few no-go areas which classic sales models can leverage to be large advantages over any f2p experience.

Posted:11 months ago

#13

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,017 1,463 1.4
@ Klaus and in an arcade you could make it to the end, even if you had to put in more quarters to do so. I lose interest in an autorunner after 15 minutes, and then I play it once per month when I happen to be stuck in a situation when I have nothing else to do. I know I'm not alone on this. People aren't playing these games by choice. They aren't sitting at home going "Yeah, man, I could be watching TV/movies or playing console/computer games but instead I'll pull up Temple Run."

The problem with games that are endless and repetitive is that they are endless and repetitive! This isn't good game design. I'm not saying there aren't good uses of free to play, but I haven't seen it in a singleplayer experience to this day. It's logical for League of Legends, Dota 2, or MMOs. It's not even a little logical for Plants vs Zombies 2. That's monetization driving design, and as long as we allow that to happen we are compromising the art of the industry.

Posted:11 months ago

#14

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

274 177 0.6
f2p has become a glorified term for what basically is a demo for a game which uses old arcade style monetization schemes mixed with mechanics of a lottery.
@Klaus
Obviously there is not that much glory in the term, considering how many people are so prompt to shout/shoot it down. But where you discredit yourself as a knowledgeable person and commenter on the F2P model is when you put everything in the same bag with as little shades as any extremism permits and exclude the reality that F2P is much broader than what you attempt to reduce it into.
@ Klaus and in an arcade you could make it to the end, even if you had to put in more quarters to do so.
@Nicholas
You haven't played that many F2P games, did you? Well, there are many F2P games out there that you can access the whole content of the game (with a bit of patience though, a nice fat bit of it actually but still...) without using any "quarters to do so".
The problem with games that are endless and repetitive is that they are endless and repetitive!
Well, I wonder why people are still playing poker, chess, tennis... and so on and so on and so on. This is not only an old debate (a subjective one by the way) but it is also pointless because repetitiveness is precisely a fundamental principle of games (call it loop, call it as you like) and this not only in our narrow views of and on digital gaming but also as you may observe it in the physical world and in the nature. Additionally, this ode to games (or a style of games) that are not endless or repetitive (let me doubt on the last one again) in an attempt to say that F2P model is threatening arts or those games which the model itself has no intent to do. At the end, it seems like fears - and I would say groundless fears - are dominating the debate or at least the arguments in disfavor of the F2P model that we keep reading/hearing and it would be really nice if we could come to some more reason and a bit less passion (passion is something you need to be an artist to express, if you're not it will just look like a common and mediocre outbreak and that is not nice to see).
That's monetization driving design, and as long as we allow that to happen we are compromising the art of the industry.
And? If that is bad, don't tell it to me (as a player), show me the bright side, prove me you can do better.

Sorry Nicholas and Klaus, but those last two comments you've made just sound to me like "hater's speech" and haters usually know (if anything) their hate better than they actually know the subject it is directed at. And while Nicholas is a bit more tempered, I still believe "This isn't good game design. I'm not saying there aren't good uses of free to play, but I haven't seen it in a singleplayer experience to this day." tells only one thing which is basically what this quote, i believe attributed to Socrates "I know only one thing, that I know nothing" says. I know nothing on quantum physics, that doesn't make quantum physics less real for the people who are into it or doesn't diminishes it's mathematical reality.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 16th September 2013 4:24pm

Posted:11 months ago

#15
I think this article should be on a FAQ

Posted:11 months ago

#16

Robert Ilott
Build & CM Engineer

23 42 1.8
"Plants vs Zombies wasn't designed to be played for 20+ hours."

Then why does my Steam account say 90+ hours?

Posted:11 months ago

#17

John Cook
Senior Partner

27 12 0.4
Very sound, as usual Patrick!

Posted:11 months ago

#18

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,148 1,061 0.5
They aren't sitting at home going "Yeah, man, I could be watching TV/movies or playing console/computer games but instead I'll pull up Temple Run."
Heh... nope. That's why I still own portables like the DS and Vita. I won't go near an endless gamed again unless I get REALLY desperate and whip out my Master System and Transbot (yuck!)...

@Robert Mott: Well, falling asleep in front of your PC while the clock is running doesn't count (ha ha ha)... ;^P

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 16th September 2013 11:53pm

Posted:11 months ago

#19

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,017 1,463 1.4
@ Eric None of those games are repetitive, because they have an element of human challenge and socialism. Again I refer you to my point that these design sensibilities are fine in multiplayer. The burden of proof, sir, lies on you. Show me good game design built around F2P in a singleplayer experience. Don't just say "You're wrong! It works fine!"

Posted:11 months ago

#20

Saehoon Lee
Founder & CEO

60 41 0.7
Amen to all of that.

Posted:11 months ago

#21

Tat Wei, Yeap
Master Degree in Environmental Planning.

13 1 0.1
"When the product is free, you're not the customer, you're the product" - Excerpt from the internet

Personally, I'd like to see an online game with an end as well, not unlimited grind work, something with more story...more depth...I'm wondering sometimes if I'm asking too much. Wait a sec, hmm....Arenanet....GW2 models?....i sense the cricket singing...
While most "F2P" online games today are targeting audience at age 10 - 18, I know because I met them in the game.
I played a F2P game coughs* "online-ninja-suit thing" coughs* recently and met some kids who had no idea what is Google but had a paid avatar, he is 10 years old. Sure "F2P", and your glorious "micro-transaction" sells..for now...had the business analysis today actually look at a long term gaming model? Have you look at your game and say, hmm how to improve our user-base retention and returning players?

F2P model today are doing something similar to agriculture called "slash and burn", if you don't know what slash and burn is... I had bad news for you.

Posted:11 months ago

#22

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

274 177 0.6
F2P model today are doing something similar to agriculture called "slash and burn"
Slash and burn techniques have been used from the beginnings of agriculture and like everything, the danger lies only in excesses.
None of those games are repetitive, because they have an element of human challenge and socialism.
Well, I quite disagree with that as it convey the idea mankind is an infinite pool of diversity, which yet remains to be proved as if it was the case we would not have so few all-timer champions. In addition, whenever there is a human element of challenge and socialism, the mechanics remains repetitive and this is the essence of skill, the improvement through repetition and drill. Lastly, whenever the experience is involving a direct confrontation with other humans or not, there is always an underlying element of human challenge and socialism in the form of the rules or mechanics of the games that are indeed made by humans.
The burden of proof, sir, lies on you. Show me good game design built around F2P in a singleplayer experience.
Nothing lies on me for two reasons. Firstly I do not play any F2P single player game (except some flash versions on Kongregate) in an extensive enough manner to even dare commenting or judging. Secondly,
Don't just say "You're wrong! It works fine!"
I never said anything like that, far from it. What I am calling for is that those attacks on the model are put to an end. Why? Well, because it is just like commenting on "Slash and burn techniques" and concluding "fire is bad". And we know fire is not bad in itself as we also have found positive uses of it like heating or using it to cook (to say the less, as well the discovery of fire quite an important role in mankind's evolution...), and well also using it to burn wood to fertilize the ground like in slash and burn agricultural techniques. Problems only arise when there is a practical excess of it, and then it become an unsustainable method that may lead to a depletion state and to its own end.

My point being that as long as the people who are against this excess keep striking in the wrong places, nothing will change. If you have a problem with farmers burning all your forests, because they want and need to eat and they see no other alternatives other than create fields by cutting trees, you have then various constructive options to balance the phenomenon and prevent the damages to the necessary (to all) forests.

You can educate on the consequences and provide/teach alternative methods. Though for the people to listen to you, they need a full belly first, so pedagogy alone won't work. But what will certainly not work at all is telling them how stupid they are to do something that will provide a solution to their immediate needs today but kill themselves in due time, because well, their belly will win over your reasonable teachings. While there is no such things as vital needs to play a F2P game, should it be single player or not, the metaphor still applies to some extent.

You can plant trees and regrow the forest, though this is a slow process that may fail to balance the destruction occurring. Still, this would be more efficient than blaming the farmers or criticizing them right in their faces. The analogy has also its limits with the gaming F2P model, but again, it work to some extent and will arise from a very similar disapproval as the one expressed by people who currently are opposed to the model if they have the means to make alternatives happen and have the will to do that and plant the seeds of a better usage of the F2P model, get regulations or whatever is constructive enough to go along with the reality of the fact F2P has happened and will keep happening (including the excesses) for a bit of time, rather than try to stop it by a non-constructive method.

I do not pretend here to give all the solutions as I do not have the means myself to make change happens and hopefully some more saavy person or entity will make some happen. What I am calling for is that we look for those alternatives and move on from keeping trotting out how bad the F2P model is, to finally start looking for specific solution to address an issue we all (at least the people not directly benefiting of it) agree can arise. That only can solve anything.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 17th September 2013 9:04am

Posted:11 months ago

#23

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,069 998 0.9
@Eric:

being able to access all the content is the classic f2p spurious argument. It is an extension of the marketing speech "it's free". We know it is not free. On average, all users pay some money, the sum of that money recovers costs of development. It's either that, or bankruptcy.

The narrative of f2p marketing is hellbent to direct our view towards those users who pay nothing and give speeches aimed at leaving us with the aspirational feeling that we will be those players. This is the same fake fluffy feeling you get from watching some casting show with scripted reality component. You too can be Britain's next top talent. In this regard, f2p marketing is like a street magician. Direct attention to the left, do the dirty deed on the right.

Two things are objectionable. First, it is the initial marketing offer trying to lure us with the promise of free gaming and a "let others pay" attitude. That is basically the same justification piracy uses: you pirate for free, some schmuck will buy it, in the end, it even out.

Secondly, behind the facade of feel-good play for free advertisement, there is a dark side of cost recovery aiming to exploit any psychological weakness that can be exploited in a human being. All of that with the "why do you care, you can play for free and they are happy paying" attitude. That is not at all how we should look at fellow human beings, lest the games industry becomes something called "digital drugs", where some consume for free, blissfully ignoring those who are exploited in exchange.

While f2p is a broad enough term to include good and evil business strategies of recovering costs, the f2p games who make it to the top all look have at least some moral grey area no representative will ever publicly comment on. Compare that to indy gamers staking their house against the success of their game, or ask for money on kickstarter. You can clearly see, which "gaming culture" you want to be an evangelist for.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 17th September 2013 9:59am

Posted:11 months ago

#24

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

274 177 0.6
It is an extension of the marketing speech "it's free". We know it is not free
It is [free] for a vast proportion of the players. Remember the vast majority of the user base will never ever make a purchase in most F2P.
On average, all users pay some money
If that was true, well... it is not. Since more than 10 years, studies on the topic show that the average paying user base is between 2 and 10% of the total playing user base. There may be some exceptions with some games going above that periodically or constantly, but this is the average commonly shown by most studies.
Two things are objectionable. First, it is the initial marketing offer trying to lure us with the promise of free gaming and a "let others pay" attitude. That is basically the same justification piracy uses: you pirate for free, some schmuck will buy it, in the end, it even out.
Well this ""let others pay" attitude" is clear to the provider as well as to the users (isn't that some kind of socialism by the way?). They are still players who ignore the fact nothing is indeed completely free, but it is certainly not because of a conspiracy theory and most F2P companies are pretty transparent on the fact (which doesn't mean they boast or promote it of course, but still, they are not hiding anything either).
Secondly, behind the facade of feel-good play for free advertisement, there is a dark side of cost recovery aiming to exploit any psychological weakness that can be exploited in a human being.
Then this must be regulated by proper authorities. But blaming the F2P model is not the solution, it's a primitive feral reaction to change or new unknown things... "i don't understand or control it, so I must destroy it!". I do not deny possible excess and exploit of the model nor do I deny the actual exploitation and tricking of children and unaware customers in SOME (not all) F2P games. But that is NOT the rule and that is the only point I finally want to get across after commenting on this site about the topic for more than a year now.
While f2p is a broad enough term to include good and evil business strategies of recovering costs, the f2p games who make it to the top all look have at least some moral grey area no representative will ever publicly comment on.
Indeed, they are grey areas. Areas that are usually regulated in other fields by laws, though it seems we are actually failing to get the attention of the authorities on this. But that is another long debate, which is not only related to F2P, but to a lot of online business practices.
Compare that to indy gamers staking their house against the success of their game, or ask for money on kickstarter. You can clearly see, which "gaming culture" you want to be an evangelist for.

I still have the choice and that is all I want to protect here, my liberty to choose. Deal with the excesses you deem unfair, but don't decide what is best for me, don't tell me (as a gamer) that F2P is bad for me, that it tricks me, because I got enough experience to know it is not true and I play those F2P games long and regularly enough to know that yes, while I am constantly reminded of the advantages of paying by the UI, it is not much more aggressive than any GoogleAd or Youtube advert, or 10 minutes tvspot breaks every 20 minutes of my sunday evening movie on most occurences of F2P games (with of course tons of apps and games that overdo it, no denial on that, but I am also free to pass on them, it is not like if there was not plenty of choice). I am calling for a moderate and balanced approach and solution to the issues you mention, that is all.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 17th September 2013 10:57am

Posted:11 months ago

#25

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

734 429 0.6
The problem with games that are endless and repetitive is that they are endless and repetitive!
Well, I wonder why people are still playing poker, chess, tennis... and so on and so on and so on. This is not only an old debate (a subjective one by the way) but it is also pointless because repetitiveness is precisely a fundamental principle of games (call it loop, call it as you like) and this not only in our narrow views of and on digital gaming but also as you may observe it in the physical world and in the nature.
@ Eric Pallavicini:

I think the conversation around this point is getting stuck on different definitions of "endless" and "repetitive". Chess, poker, tennis all have an end-point and so are definitely not endless. They are also not repetitive in the sense of the word that I think was being applied to games in what we would normally refer to as "grind". i.e. Hitting the same or similar enemy type in order to advance arbitrary numbers (see cow clicker).

Those games you listed are very popular because they are not repetitive because humans are not repetitive - at least not in the identical sense. The analogy to your counter point is 1) playing chess against a computer opponent that always plays the same opening, or 2) playing tennis against a ball launcher that does not vary its launching velocity or direction. If those were the only manner in which you could enjoy those two games then I can tell you in all certainty that they would not be as popular.

Posted:11 months ago

#26

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

274 177 0.6
Those games you listed are very popular because they are not repetitive because humans are not repetitive
The analogy to your counter point is 1) playing chess against a computer opponent that always plays the same opening, or 2) playing tennis against a ball launcher that does not vary its launching velocity or direction.
Well then that is bad AI programming... programming being done by a human that is supposed, according to your definition "to be not repetitive"... (I would somehow disagree on that... but it's another long debate).

If a tennis ball throw, a pawn move opening could be different from one another because of the human initiating the action, why it couldn't be the case with the programming of a game? Both game rules and components are of human origins and what applies to the rules and components of a game could also apply to the rule of programming an AI. Which by the way is a very very very abusive usage of the term (for marketing purposes) in the gaming industry for many many many years.

Now, even machines like your tennis ball thrower will have variations at some points, maybe because of heating up for example. But anyway, that kind of scope is not exactly where I wanted to go, and I fail to see where those details are actually relevant to the discussion.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 17th September 2013 11:09am

Posted:11 months ago

#27

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

734 429 0.6
If a tennis ball throw, a pawn move opening could be different from one another because of the human initiating the action, why it couldn't be the case with the programming of a game?
I think you're missing the point, Eric. They can - gameplay in these games tends not to be - hence the specific analogy. I mean, if you've ever played a chess computer/AI you know they don't only use one opening (unless asked to for practice!) and the better tennis launchers randomise their output as well...

Posted:11 months ago

#28

Jason Avent
VP, Studio Head

139 140 1.0
The race to free doesn't mean zero associated revenue for the artists/developers/manufacturers/marketers. It means that consumers or players don't have to pay (unless they want to). So Spotify, YouTube and debatably Netflix all qualify as successes in the race to free in other media.

Posted:11 months ago

#29

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

274 177 0.6
They can - gameplay in these games tends not to be - hence the specific analogy. I mean, if you've ever played a chess computer/AI you know they don't only use one opening (unless asked to for practice!) and the better tennis launchers randomise their output as well...
Well I don't think I missed the point. What I missed is obviously that we are saying the exact same thing from two different angles.

At the end "these games" where "gameplay tends not to be" and which annoys a lot of people are quantifiable and identifiable as individual games and as unique occurrences of the phenomenon being debated. Whenever it is a majority or a minority does not matter at all in the generalization process leading to say those games are representative of the model, which I claim is the wrong thing to do because it is not only lacking scientific foundations but is also unfairly condemning possible occurrences where it is actually done in the right way - and it is not yet scientifically proven by the anti-F2P people that this assumption "that F2P model can be applied perfectly fairly to a game" is invalid. Empirically it tend to show that while there is no absolute fairness (which is something Jason just suggested after your post here above) there are games out there, based on the F2P model (at least the multi-player experiences, though I am sure it is possible to dig for some single player ones and actually find them) that are indeed fitting this description:
The race to free doesn't mean zero associated revenue for the artists/developers/manufacturers/marketers. It means that consumers or players don't have to pay (unless they want to).

Posted:11 months ago

#30

Felix Leyendecker
Senior 3D Artist

181 200 1.1
All players on this platform have several other revenue streams, including licensing deals, radio, and brick-and-mortar sales.
I don't see how you can compare this to a digitally released game.

Posted:11 months ago

#31

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

734 429 0.6
@ Eric - Yeah, I'm not sure why you're arguing with (at?) me because I was just pointing out a very small part of the larger conversation that I though people were getting mixed up in. I didn't touch on anything else in your post just now. :)

Posted:11 months ago

#32

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now