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Is this the start of the Paymium generation?

Is this the start of the Paymium generation?

Fri 29 Nov 2013 7:30am GMT / 2:30am EST / 11:30pm PST
PublishingDevelopment

New consoles, new business models - but the reception to "paymium" has been anger and outrage. Until its instigators start respecting their customers, that won't change

We need to talk about paymium. It's a very serious topic and emotions tend to run high around it, but in light of the next-gen console launches, it's a conversation we can no longer avoid.

Almost all of the flagship titles for the Xbox One boast some kind of paymium system, suggesting that Microsoft has adopted a policy of normalising in-game transactions as standard on its new console. Sony is clearly less committed to the notion, but still willing to experiment - first-party title Gran Turismo 6 will feature in-app purchases when it launches on PS3 next week. To describe this move as "unwelcome" within the early adopter market who pick up new consoles and core games would be like describing a hungry fox as "unwelcome" in a henhouse; the reaction has been less like a cold shoulder and failure to offer a cup of tea, and more like unbridled panic, flapping and squawking all round.

"Any discussion about paymium must begin from an understanding on all sides that the existing game development business model is no longer fit for purpose"

There are two sides to the discussion we need to have, both of them legitimate and neither of them particularly bolstered by heated shouting matches. On one side, there's a pretty significant group of consumers who feel that including premium currency systems borrowed from free-to-play titles in full-price games is downright abusive - who argue with conviction that the design changes made in order to push players to spend money on consumables and currency result in a significantly worse experience for players who just want to buy a game for £50 and enjoy it. On the other side, there are the publishers and developers who have watched the costs of game creation ratchet up rapidly over the years, only for the growth in average unit sales to stagger to a near halt in recent times - meaning that it costs more to make games than it used to, but games don't make any more money than before. Moreover, with the industry increasingly hit-driven - meaning that only a handful of huge games make any proper money, with everyone else fighting over scraps - the risks associated with funding game development are higher than ever, and the rewards haven't grown much, if at all.

Something has to give. Any discussion about how paymium (the English-language-mutilating moniker for full-price games with in-app purchasing mechanisms) works or does not work must begin from an understanding on all sides that the existing game development business model is no longer fit for purpose. It's genuinely a sad thing, but unless the market for core games starts growing strongly again (which is entirely possible but not happening right now), it is simply no longer commercially viable for a game creator who wants to build a rich, modern, fully-featured console game with high production values to stick that game in a box with a £50 price tag. The games for which that model does work are outliers - the handful of breakout hits we see each year (most of them from established franchises) or, well, Nintendo games. Pretty much everyone else faces losing money from that approach, perhaps not on the level of individual titles but certainly from a publisher's entire portfolio, with its fair shares of hits and misses.

In other words, if we don't find a way to make the business model work better - either by selling more games or by making more money from the games we already sell - there isn't going to be a games business, at least not at the AAA end of the market. Yes, there'll still be video games - the extraordinary flourishing of the indie sector, bubble market or not, guarantees that there will still be interesting and exciting things to play, no matter what, while the sheer financial resilience of a handful of creative firms (Nintendo, Blizzard, etc.) and franchises will ensure that games themselves won't disappear. But with the entire middle tier of games - the A and AA titles, the mid-budget games which made up the bulk of the catalogue for consoles like PlayStation and PS2 - already swept away by industry changes, the next tier to disappear will be AAA itself. Big-budget development will get costlier and riskier, revenues won't rise and lo and behold, we'll end up shorn of basically everything apart from the biggest of big-ticket, low-risk, long-franchise action and sports games.

"Indie is great, mobile is fabulous, casual and social are wonderful, but if the core game development sector collapses we'll all lose out"

Now listen, I know there are a lot of people who will shrug their shoulders at that notion and say, "so what?" - and the reality is that yes, this might just be evolutionary selection in action. I've talked before about the notion that today's indie scene shows us some of the bright green shoots that are going to break through once the forest fire presently raging through the core games industry burns itself out, and I firmly believe that to be the case. That does not, however, mean that there is any excuse for being complacent about putting out the forest fire. The studios impacted by the disastrous decline of sub-AAA titles and now even of AAA titles themselves provide employment to vast numbers of the industry's most talented and creative people. They provide the medium with many of its most high-profile, beautiful and immersive experiences, and even if they may not push interactivity or narrative forward in some of the radical directions which indie creators have shown us, they do constantly challenge technological, graphical and production boundaries, giving the medium opportunities to work with the finest talent from around the creative industries and providing a kind of stable core to the industry which is necessary to bring in investment and support. Indie is great, mobile is fabulous, casual and social are wonderful, but if the core game development sector collapses as its traditional business model crumbles, we'll all lose out.

We have to accept that as the basis for discussion - and I don't think it's unreasonable, since if you're annoyed enough at paymium features in your games to complain bitterly about them, presumably you'd be even more annoyed if that kind of game simply ceased to be made. Don't get me wrong, though - that's an argument for saying that people need to keep in mind the purpose of paymium, not an argument for saying that people should just accept paymium as it stands, suck it up and move on. It's not "paymium or bust"; other ways and other models exist. The discussion we need to have is a broad based one, asking "how can we make core game development pay?" - and "is paymium the right approach?" is just one of the questions on the table.

Let me show my cards at this point. I don't think paymium is intrinsically evil or wrong. I'm a strong believer that F2P games can be fantastic when they're done right (which isn't all the time, or even most of the time, but when the stars line up on a good F2P game it can be genuinely engrossing, enjoyable and perfectly ethical in how it makes its money), and the same is true of paymium titles. Just as it is possible to create DLC for games which players genuinely welcome - opportunities for them to deepen their enjoyment of the game, exploring new facets of characters or challenging new scenarios - it is possible, in theory, to create a paymium system that enhances the game experience for those who choose to pay without damaging it for those who just want to play the game they bought without reaching for their wallet again. It's possible, in theory. It just hasn't happened yet, I fear - and herein lies the gaping maw of danger for publishers presently leaping in this direction, and particularly for the Xbox One, as I am very much afraid that its strongly pro-paymium policy may attract a damaging reputation as a platform lumbered with games that are defective by design, created to suck money rather than deliver entertainment.

"Sell me a broken product and you can be damned sure I'll want to extract some value back from it to put towards something less cynically sabotaged"

One of the primary criticisms I hear of paymium is that it's "free to play but not free", which sounds facile but actually digs right into the heart of this issue. Free-to-play games have a very unique relationship with their players, because you are truly that - a player, not a customer. You've not paid for anything. The game is free; in a good, well-designed free-to-play game, you could genuinely keep on playing forever without paying a penny (even Candy Crush Saga, often the bÍte noire of core players who despise F2P, doesn't extract cash from most players - 70% of those who finish all of the game's levels have never paid a penny). In this situation, it's not unreasonable for the game to prod you quite indelicately towards making purchases - deliberately introducing "friction" in the game design which you can overcome with a micropayment of some kind.

The relationship of a paymium game to its players is quite different, because every player is already a customer. I've paid a whole lot of money for a game, and by god, if that game turns around in the first several hours of play and asks for more cash in order to do something that it seems should be a normal part of a paid-for game, that game is going to get a swearing-at that will make Kinect shut off its microphones in sheer horror. If that game feels like it's slowing things down just in order to make me impatient enough to spend money to get them back up to speed - often a crucial aspect of F2P design - then that game is probably getting switched off and, bluntly, traded in, and to hell with anyone who makes a horrified noise about second hand trade-ins - you sell me a broken product and you can be damned sure I'll want to extract some value back from it to put towards something less cynically sabotaged.

In other words, if your paymium game genuinely is "free to play but not free", you've screwed up. You've implemented a bunch of systems that have no place in a paid-for game, you've completely failed to understand the psychology of the game mechanics you're putting in place, and absolutely worst of all - you've utterly failed to show respect to your customers, the people who have just gone out and dropped more money buying your game than the vast, vast majority of F2P players will ever spend on a game they download. Every single core gamer who buys your game is already a "whale", to use a mucky and (thankfully) increasingly unfashionable F2P term, and if your game can't find it in itself to treat that status with the absolute respect it deserves, then your game deserves every ounce of opprobrium which will be heaped upon it by justifiably enraged consumers.

"The salvation of core game development will lie, in some way, with a strategy that allows players who are deeply engaged with a game to spend more money on it"

This doesn't mean that paymium, or something like it, can't work. Honestly, I can see the appeal of paymium in some hypothetical situations. I'm not the most skilled game player in the world (I died about 15 times in a row in a single gunfight in Uncharted: Golden Abyss this evening) and I don't have a whole lot of time on my hands, juggling work, research and brave attempts at both a relationship and a social life. I suspect many people my age are in the same bracket - deeply enamoured with games but honestly not in a position to play them very much, thus condemned to a) suck at them and b) never be able to finish them. For players like me, for whom money is less a concern than time, a game which gives me a sack of "premium" gems at the outset which I can use to boost my character's power for a while to get me through tough bits faster, with the option to refill the sack for a few quid if I run out, wouldn't be a bad thing at all - if, and only if, the underlying game was designed just as it would have been without the paymium feature. In other words, if you deliberately added friction to a paid-for game just in order to encourage people to pony up some cash - breaking the game and asking me to pay to fix it - then you've done something that's genuinely unethical and deserves to be severely punished by consumers.

This is a minefield. That much should be apparent. There will, I have no doubt, be games that get it right - and even those games will receive some criticism, because there will always be players who hate paymium no matter what, just as there are still players who sport a rage-on at the merest mention of DLC, no matter how good the content may be. The salvation of core game development will lie, in some way, with a strategy that allows players who are deeply engaged with a game to spend more money on it - be it on content, merchandise, premium currency or some combination of all of those things - and some people will always regard that with suspicion and contempt. Right now, though, paymium efforts are almost universally being met with suspicion and contempt - and until those responsible for them start respecting their customers, toning down the aggression of their tactics and generally getting things right, that contempt is never going to fade.

64 Comments

Popular Comment
Well, everyone is experimenting with some sort of transaction model but some pay minus elements such as the XBONe panzer dragoon is one step waaaay too far. If that's the future of games, I ain't touching it with a digital barge pole.

Posted:11 months ago

#1

Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica

74 34 0.5
Good games will make money after releas in such a short time.. GTA, CoD, AC, SC, Diablo, Star Craft, X-Com, Nigth of the Rabbit, Mario, and so on.. As it is now the Big Companys just want more and more and more.. Paymium is not "unwelcome" is strait up wrong.

Companys forget this days that thy have to satisfy consumers and stay in touch with ther needs. To drag a game just for the fact to cash in is wrong.

PPL are willing to play 100 to 200h if the game is good, and thy are willing to play 10$ extra for good content.. PPL are not willing to play the game 100 - 200 h if the gameplay is boring and thy feel ript off if thy have to pay 60$ for this game and another 50$ for a car...

Microsoft did it all wrong the last 5 years with all ther big products. That a company can stay out of touch with ther customers needs like this is stunning.

Posted:11 months ago

#2
Popular Comment
Honestly, I think the issue isn't in 'how we get more money'. The issue is in development costs rising... And lets not be naive, it's not like development costs rising are entirely out of control of the industry. We decide how much budget and polish a game should have.

Personally I think the a business model of 'yeah we can afford to spend £400M on this thing, we'll just charge people for the game and then make it Paymium' was a flawed notion to begin with... It should be a case of 'here is our expectation on how much money we think this will make, and so heres the budget reasonable to generate that return'... What we're doing now however is the equivalent of racking up a ton of credit card debt when unemployed and wondering how you're going to pay it back a year later... As it stands it looks like we're turning to the corporate equivalent of 'a life of crime' to pay it back...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Green on 29th November 2013 8:51am

Posted:11 months ago

#3

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
Popular Comment
@Stephan: "Paymium is not "unwelcome" is strait up wrong."

Can't agree more.

I would put GTA Online as another example: Not only they put micro-transactions in a game you already paid for, but you can see in which outrageous way Rockstar tries to press you into buying in-game money by "nerfing" every quest reward that becomes popular with the players via updates. You would think that 29M games sold would be enough money, well... seems it's not.

The final result is there for everyone to see: It's almost impossible to enter in a game in which 2 or 3 persons are not trying to reproduce the money glitch. Rockstar tensed the game economy so much by pressing the players, that the former is now broken beyond any salvation (and almost impossible to make any profit from it)

Posted:11 months ago

#4

Nick Parker Consultant

290 161 0.6
A fair way to go I think before the model is tried and tested for console games. Ongoing analytics and game improvement are key to f2p for online and mobile games we are familiar with. Console games are on the whole finished articles so traditional publishers need to work out how to provide value for money in the development process if in game transactions are to become intuitive and honourable for the console gamer.

Posted:11 months ago

#5

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

896 1,337 1.5
Popular Comment
It's interesting that in the options you offered to make developers profitable, reducing insane dev budgets never got a mention.

I find all the whining amongst the paying public a bit tiresome tbh. You just can't make games the size they think they want 50 bucks, not as a general rule. This has absolutely nothing to do with greed, and everything to do with developers just trying to find a way to sustainably exist. If there is resistance against microtransactions, lets go for the option of doubling the retail price for a bit and see if they like that. If that doesn't go down well either, then quarter the content.

Or maybe we have to revert back to making games and not massive interactive movies that get ever bigger. It works for Nintendo. It works on mobile. It could probably work on console too if the price is right.

You just can't get a new Ferrari for twenty bucks even if everyone wants that. But they'll happily buy a Ford econocar for the right price and not even moan about it.

Posted:11 months ago

#6

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
We decide how much budget and polish a game should have. - Adam Green

It's interesting that in the options you offered to make developers profitable, reducing insane dev budgets never got a mention. - Paul Johnson

Exactly. This is like deciding you're going to have a huge party exactly the way you want it and then expect people who are coming to pay whatever price you have decided upon. Now, it might be that the party is to the liking of everyone and the ticket cost is bearable... but then, it may not.

Surely the games industry has data on what gamers will accept? I mean, I remember those calls for transparency last year and earlier this year (especially with respect to digital sales) but is this happening? Or is everyone still thrashing around in the dark?

I'm quite happy with the level of games we've had for the last 10 years and I'm pretty sure people will accept that as well. The new consoles and development environments appear to make getting those experiences easier so we're improving on that front. Just get rid of the idea that the average consumer is calling for 16x antialiasing, 4k resolution, 1000 player maps and billions of polygons on their characters. Sure, consumers like the best looking things (as Paul said) but that doesn't mean that they'll settle for less!!

Posted:11 months ago

#7

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

202 1,107 5.5
The biggest problem of console gaming is the cost of entry for games. 50$+ is a lot. Even the people who don't have any money issues, they think if that another Assassins Creed is worth that much, or if they are rather going to wait a few months and get it for 20$. Thus, Paymium is not the answer, it is part of the problem. It is the same as if you went to a cinema and the film was interrupted by commercial breaks. Unthinkable. You pay premium in cinema and you want premium experience in return. The same applies for console games.
I am OK with letting people skip some grinding in exchange for some extra money, but the moment you put any content behind a paywall in a premium game, or make the grinding obviously too painful, you deserve all the hate you can get. Plain and simple.

As it was already stated before, budgets are the problem of the games today. Yes, games are getting better-looking and more complex, but the tools grow with that. Honestly, I have seen better-looking PC games a year ago than anything that we will see for PS4 or XB1 in years. "Next generation" is already here for some time. No need to raise a budget.

Quite frankly... if your Canadian or US studio can't operate under the budget you have, there are many great teams in central and eastern Europe that will get the job done. And probably many more around the globe.

Posted:11 months ago

#8

David Canela Game Designer

58 106 1.8
I'm not sure if "just spend less on development" actually works in the AAA sector. There will always be financially powerful competition that will simply outspend you and make you look bad in comparison, resulting in a loss of sales.

It's an arms race that I'm not sure if it's easy to opt out of.

Posted:11 months ago

#9

Justin Shuard J - E translator

45 176 3.9
Maybe, just maybe AAA game developers should try making actual video games again instead of funneling millions away in a vain attempt to create barely interactive Hollywood movies.

Posted:11 months ago

#10

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 183 0.2
One of the biggest issues is this does really affect the gaming experience, it isn't a rewarding experience.

For one thing some of the premium stuff you can buy a lot of people would view as overpriced. But another thing is it turns some games into 'pay to win' games. Do you want your game to be seen as a battle of skill or a battle of wallets? I'll admit I'm playing one right now, The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middleearth. I've made some great friends in that game and my alliance doesn't like to spend a lot of money. So we work hard on these events that keep coming up but the ranking tables are clear. Some people are throwing some serious money in the game so I'm sure for the developers, amazing! Some excellent money to be made from these people who put down half their weeks wages buying extra troops, speed ups etc. You look down the ranking table and you can see how ridiculous the gap is between the paying teams and the ones who barely spend anything. How is the gaming experience going to be for them when they play a game where they know in their heads they stand no hope unless they match money with money?

Yes it costs some serious money to produce a big game, but the idea that you can commit some time in a game, become better at it, learn all the quirks and everything etc. then for someone to come along, pay for extras and wipe the floor with you, that just doesn't have any appeal to me. It just sucks the soul out of a game.

Posted:11 months ago

#11

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

305 389 1.3
As an example of paymium done fairly well, TF2 was temporarily paymium, before it went freemium instead. It may well be that the model simply only works for certain types of games, no matter how well intentioned?

Posted:11 months ago

#12

James Boulton Tools & Tech Coder, Slightly Mad Studios

133 171 1.3
The solution to this is easy enough. Stop paying for in-game stuff if you don't want it. If people stop paying, the developer / publisher stop making money, and it no longer becomes a viable choice. I'm old fashioned and will quite happily pay for a game if I think it's good -- play a demo, buy the full game, like in the olden days. Some games have missed out on money from me, as they are using the micro-transaction model, however there are obviously enough people out there still paying that it's the viable choice.

Until people stop paying, we're stuck with it.

Posted:11 months ago

#13

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

202 1,107 5.5
The idea that you need to outspend your competitors is stupid. Millions of people were OK with buying greatly inferior versions of Assassins Creed or Battlefield this year, even though there are much-better looking versions available. Minecraft is by all the definitions an ugly game. Have anyone seen how "bad" does WoW actually look?

You don't need to spend a million dollars on a fish AI. You simply don't need to.

Posted:11 months ago

#14

Kai Moseley Analyst/Programmer

1 0 0.0
Guild Wars 2 is a 'paymium' game (sure, it's a MMO so people are used to the idea of an in game store so it's not the same as shoehorning it into a racing game) but that has handled it really well. Not only can you buy everything in the store for in game currency (even if it may take some time), there is also nothing in the store *required* for the player to enjoy the game. Futhermore, it does not allow the player to simply skip ahead and buy the best items ala Forza.

So if someone needs an example of a well made paymium game, Guild Wars 2 is where to look. Cosmetic fluff, ways to speed up progression a little (but ensure base progression is not arbitrarily slow - in GW2 the progression is faster than most MMOs), and convenience items (but don't make the underlying mechanics INconvenient) are the way to go. I'm not saying it's easy, Arenanet are a bunch of damn good designers, but it can be done. It's not like GW2 is struggling for cash based on the NCSoft earnings report.

Posted:11 months ago

#15

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,136 1,174 1.0
@Kai
Regarding Guild Wars 2. Just this week, some of the cosmetic fluff was removed from the gemshop after a feedback shitstorm. In Guild Wars 2, real money can buy you the maximum level and the maximum armor, if you so desire and are willing to spend around $30 for both combined. (buy gems, trade for gold, then level by learning all crafting professions) Even though you get your character stats pruned when entering low level areas, the difference in how difficult the game feels is massive. Not all is idle sunshine, on paper, you could think Ryse and Guild Wars 2 were basically the same.

But on the other hand, the amount of hours of fun you get in Guild Wars 2 for the base price of admission, puts nearly every other game to shame. Guild Wars 2 still has flow, if you do not go to the gemshop. If you play Guild Wars for more than hundred hours, then going to the gem shop after that is nowhere nearly the insult some recent games dare to serve you after 90 minutes.

Posted:11 months ago

#16

David Canela Game Designer

58 106 1.8
You mean the much better-looking versions that come with the hefty premium of getting a new console/pc? That's a rather weak sample of data to support your theory, because the cost for the consumer has such a strong effect on the outcome. Can't be compared to similar games competing on the same platform; that would be a relevant comparison.

Not saying spending millions on fish ai is good thing, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking the production value arms has no effect.

Posted:11 months ago

#17

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 183 0.2
The solution to this is easy enough. Stop paying for in-game stuff if you don't want it.
That's already the case though, the people who don't want to pay for in-game stuff aren't buying any of it. Like myself. :P

But the people who do want to pay to win, are seriously paying like crazy to win. It's inbalanced, just because we're not paying it doesn't mean you can stop others from paying. So despite the time we spend with teamwork and coordination, we get trounced because someone pays for our defeat.

Posted:11 months ago

#18
Popular Comment
I agree with most of the posters, AAA devs need to sort their insane budgets out first and foremost. There's no intrinsic need for any console/AAA games to introduce in-game purchases. Publishers are doing it for exactly the same reasons folks on mobile are - they don't want to miss an opportunity at the trough. The difference is that player experience matters a lot more on console. Because the urge to include payment-unlocks in a game has nothing whatsoever to do with making the game better - in fact they encourage devs to make the game somewhat worse - console publishers have a huge chance to get this catastrophically wrong. Time and again when we've seen big publishers introduce payments into a game they royally fuck it up because they have no principle or reason for including them except cash. My great worry is that just when consoles ought to be reasserting their bona fides with a new generation of gamers, they actually smash the last nails into their own coffins because of a criminal lack of confidence. People need to take a breath and remember that all the main f2p games that do well are casual games and are not selling the same gaming experience as consoles and have a very different audience. The higher up the chain of a publisher you go the less this distinction matters, the more likely the chance that vast fuck ups of policy get rammed down the throats of their already big-paying end users. This to me is the future where mobile theoretically could devour consoles - not through better games or easier play but because console publishers, cleaning their weapons for this new battle, shot themselves in the face.

Posted:11 months ago

#19
The problem is that freemium or paymium can't be done right unless you're one of the market leaders (like Minecraft etc) and in that case it would probably still have still been profitable with the "old" business model. Developers are finding that they do have to change the design negatively to get people to pay.

The biggest issue for AAA and AA etc is that gamers now buy COD or GTA online and don't buy another game for 3 to 6 months because it can be played online. Paymium will probably just end up making those games even more profitable and do nothing for everyone else.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Owens on 29th November 2013 4:55pm

Posted:11 months ago

#20
"Just stop paying" ignores a well known fact: Even the "mature" games, the God of Wars, the GTAs and etc are actually targeted largely at children. And it's not their money and they don't care. Mommy and daddy will just give them the money and they'll keep the machine running. Assuming the end-user has the ability to think rationally is usually a mistake in any software development, and as much as we like to see ourselves as rational beings and examples of the core target audience, surely we can realise the truth is nowhere as nice.

Posted:11 months ago

#21

Brian Lewis Operations Manager, Aeria Games Europe

134 84 0.6
I am not sure that people are understanding the ROOT of the issue. Paymium isnt a terrible idea, just as F2P is not terrible, or any other business model. What needs to be looked at is WHY it is being implemented in a way that doesnt meet basic consumer needs.

AAA development costs have skyrocketted.... but at the same time, some AAA games have come out as smash hits, without the need to use Paymium to recoup cost. Even with these high costs, it is possible to create a game that will ship enough units to pay for itself (ignoring other business model options for now). The problem occurs when the publisher/developer knows that they need something additional to cover the high cost, and then tack on additional payments to try to compensate.

Development costs are high... but they can be managed. The REAL problem is what is being developed vs what is in demand from the consumers. A great (and highly publisized) example of this was the amount of voice acting that was included in SWTOR. This was a HUGE cost... but in the eye of the consumer, a LOW value. AAA games are more and more extravegant, with less payoff for the players. Customers are willing to pay the extra, if they feel that they are receiving a good value... but they dont. Because of the cost/value disconnect, there is a need/desire to try these odd/forced payment methods that ultimately result in failure.

AAA needs to better look at the ROI on game development... and spend the money in the places that result in a more enjoyable game overall, not a quick expensive thrill with little long term value. I (and) many other games are still playing games made 5-10 years ago... because they were quality games. New games that come out may be flashier/prettier but the majority of them just dont have what it takes to sustain over time. They certainly dont have enough to make me want to spend MORE on an already questionalbe purchase.

Posted:11 months ago

#22
Even in F2P it's a fine but definite line between "NO, RIOT! Please stop taking all my money!!!!" and "Wait, wat? You are STILL begging for me to pay for your useless overpriced crap, EA? Okay, Tapped Out is getting uninstalled right now". And even in your original paymiuns.I know I've bought my fair share of promotional clothes, character slots and etc in the original Guild Wars, but I felt outright abused when TF2 told me I could buy a hat for 12 monies and kept shoving those chests in my face, which always felt to me much like a phishing attempt.

Posted:11 months ago

#23
@Brian - I don't think you understand the root of the concern people have with free/paymium.

Once you start modifying the gameplay based on how much people can pay you are fundamentally altering the game and that is a terrible idea.

I have no problems with DLC or episodic games because that's merely splitting the game into chunks. But introducing grind, removing unlockables without paying or modifying the balance will ruin the experience for those that don't pay and ironically even for those that do pay (unless you think games are better with the cheat modes on).

Posted:11 months ago

#24

Sandy Lockie Games Designer, Preloaded

1 0 0.0
For me, a key element that's (seemingly) missing is the company's understanding of the player's perception of the model. Microsoft could have taken the opportunity to ease players into the concept, potentially allowing gamers to spend in-game currency to buy select items of post-launch dlc instead of using real-world money. I understand this may lose them money in the short term, but in the long term, they're getting players used to the loop and presenting it in a positive light as opposed to gating off features that are on the disc which was always going to appear unfair. This means that future iterations and dlc can take bigger steps into games being an ongoing relationship as opposed just purchase and play.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lockie on 29th November 2013 5:59pm

Posted:11 months ago

#25

Ste Hickman Writer

17 9 0.5
I'm against this wholesale, I won't lie.

Game prices have already risen this gen to soak up the jump to XB1/PS4 and the majority of what's available are merely cross gen games that run fine on 360/PS3 and Wii U. We're not paying for killer apps here, just evolutions of last gens formula at times implemented in an inferior manner. Locking content off in anyway and introducing pay-walls in to retail titles is cynical in the extreme, especially when said content is on the disc that you've already bought.

This next part isn't pro Nintendo sentiment just a thought: I wonder how many stars SM3DW would have if it was a XB1 launch title instead of a Wii U game?

20?

50?

Why can Nintendo deliver a full, value filled package with no gouging of the consumer and MS can't?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ste Hickman on 29th November 2013 6:39pm

Posted:11 months ago

#26
Costs for games are exhorbitant, if one cannot manage a AAA dev team well, and costs balloon, its not the customers fault to fork out eye watering £54.99 prices.

Posted:11 months ago

#27

Rogier Voet Editor / Content Manager

71 31 0.4
Paymium - I don't mind optional paid stuff that will make players progress faster (as long it;s not MP), but making a game a grind in order to make me buy DLC is crossing the line. If I want that, I should play one of those horrendous F2P-crap titles.

It's true that prices have been the same (actually lower because of the insane promotions)
I bought GTA V on Day One for 46 euro's in Holland. Did used games and re-pricing games kill of the idea that you can actually sell games at different price points? You know the thing that works so well on Steam.

The problem has largely been the increasing amount of budget to produce a game. But if you see how inefficient some studios work to produce games (the larger the game, the more overhead and less productivity). Why do larger studios not see the rule of diminishing returns. 80% increase of budget to get a 20% shinier game is NOT a good deal, why do managers don't see that.

Also a lot of money is spent on modes, and content that barely will increase the value and playability of a game

Scope Size and Scale
Don't tack on MP because of marketing (no one will play it, save a lot of money on qa and servers as well)
Be picky on features and modes (it's better to do 3 modes right than 15 about half)

Posted:11 months ago

#28

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

415 988 2.4
While I personally would never ever pay for any of this paymium content, Im also a guy who doesnt see the need to pay more than 20 bucks for jeans or 4o for shoes. YET as we know there is a lot of people who like to pay over 100 bucks for sneakers, and the same for tshirts and jeans? why ? because I guess they want to show off and basically say look at me.. you suck..

So as more and more of the younger generation get their ego mixed between their real life and virtual, I unfortunately see many being suckered into buying additional content in order to show off .. Look at me.. you suck

I mean this is just the logical next step, epeens in MMOs have been around forever. People would literally waste a ton of their real life all in order for the character to get some different color sprites on their characters. Look at me.. you suck.

So while many of us would never be interested in buying this virtual crap, as I watch walmart shoppers beat on each other over some poorly made chinese merchandise, I'm afraid Im not too confident that can be said for the rest of humanity.

So Im sure this urge of people to show off will be exploited, and to be honest I dont think it will add anything to help advance gaming itself, it will fatten some wallets of some developers however. Of course perhaps game consumers will see through this whole charade and see the stupidity of trying to find meaning and self worth via the color of some character sprites, but looking around at society, Im not too confident of that happening anytime soon.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 29th November 2013 8:00pm

Posted:11 months ago

#29

Donald Dalley Freelance writer

52 38 0.7
Nobody has used the word "subscription" yet.

That's what on-line allows - one release, continuous updates. That's what some devs do anyway, so why not model it into the release?

Posted:11 months ago

#30

Paul Jace Merchandiser

942 1,428 1.5
I don't mind developers trying to get more money as long as it's not too intrusive on my play experience. I've yet to come across a game that does that and hopefully I won't.

Posted:11 months ago

#31

Andrew Dougherty Studying Computer Science, Drexel University

1 1 1.0
While I do understand the complexities that face publishers and developers alike that have forced micro-transactions (paymium is an awful sounding term) to the fore-front of gaming trends, as a consumer (and hopefully eventually a developer of games myself), I just see bad decisions that have arisen from a systemic problem. As others in this comment section have pointed out, game budgets are out of control. When games like Tomb Raider, Hitman Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs are all considered failures by Square Enix despite shipping over a million units each, leading to major restructuring of their organization, there is a serious problem in money management. Part of this is due to the gigantic successes of a few games. Publishers are all about minimizing risk, as such they are much more willing to spend their money on sequels to popular games or clones of popular games and when they spend that money they only want to do it once (one large chunk over the development cycle of that game when it reaches its milestones). This is the systemic problem. How do you get that next big successful game when you are too afraid to spend money on anything novel? What publishers should do is budget out 30-40% of their budget for established IPs and 60-70% on new IP, allowing each effort worthy of quality approval to reach consumer hands (I'm not counting the % of budget spent on legal costs, marketing, advertising, etc, just the development budget). I've read more than my fair share of stories of publishers killing hundreds if not thousands of games due to the risk and fear of investing. If consumers were allowed to make that decision like they are with PC games the majority of the time I think publishers would find they'd be getting more than 1 big hit a year to hang their hat on. Also staggering out the scale of the games the publishers bring to market would do wonders. Not every game needs to be the motion-captured, Hollywood voice acted, spectacle publishers keep wanting to make games thinking that's what gamers want. Nintendo makes more money than they know what to do with with Mario games that visually have not progressed all that much in 20 years. Sometimes games can be made to fulfill niche audiences and those niche audiences would gladly pay for the experience. Not every game needs to be marketed to hit every demographic and dumbing down games to do so ends up just watering down the experience for everybody.

This leads me to micro-transactions. I am not inherently against them, though I do think there is a right and wrong way to do them. I do not think they should be in paid retail games. Any implementation of them, regardless of how harmless they might be in context always comes off as nickel and diming the consumer. DLC has become barely tolerable in this respect but at least DLC is still normally just aesthetic flare that enhances the gameplay experiences versus changing it, which is what micro-transactions are all about. Regardless of whatever expensive cost the game might have incurred to make, publishers and developers will never be seen in a positive light if they add another paywall to playing the game on top of the substantial cost of games.

Carrot and stick tactics are another problem I have with micro-transactions. Telling players they can get any item in the game naturally just by playing it but then making said items obscenely expensive. Then dangling said item in players faces when they would most find it useful. This is usually done in games where any actions that would grant whatever the in-game currency is do not happen frequently enough or do not give nearly enough currency to reach the cost of the item in question. The idea being it becomes far more practical to buy the item then spend weeks grinding away to get it naturally. This is the classic arcade scam job of putting the really awesome prizes out for everyone to see but making them 1 million tickets. Since every game in the arcade would only give a fraction of a fraction of that amount it meant people had to spend at least as much as the item was worth if not more (often more) to get the number of tickets needed. Only difference here is in most arcades you couldn't just buy the prize for its retail value straight up.

When micro-transactions are done right is when they are in free-to-play games and nearly invisible to the player, yet readily available. What this means is that the micro-transactions should never be shoved in the players face without them wanting to see it. Games that do this right usually have a "store" menu which can be accessed like any other menu. Giving reminders about the store during loading screens is acceptable but anything past that and it becomes a distraction, and if its a distraction to gameplay it kills the experience for the gamer and leads to the negative feedback.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Dougherty on 30th November 2013 8:21am

Posted:11 months ago

#32

Luke Kemp Editor, Critical Gamer

7 12 1.7
The solution is simple: make these games cheaper. A title that leans heavily on microtransactions cannot justify a traditional price tag, easy as that. Think selling a AAA game at launch for less is a gamble? No way. Can you imagine the attach rate if Forza sold for half as much as its peers? While not a direct comparison, consider Rayman Origins. Wonderful and microtransactionless, yet it floundered at retail on release. Once it received heavy discounts almost everywhere, people bought it in droves. People are more likely to buy something if it's cheap. It's not rocket science.

So if we DO end up with mid-price games riddled with microtransactions, they'd sit halfway between "Freemium" and "Paymium". We'd need a new tedious PR buzzword. Fraymium? Peemium? I like Peemium. Let's go with Peemium.

We need an industry-wide code of conduct when it comes to pricing games. A retail product that does not use microtransactions at all would be allowed to be sold for full RRP (let's say £39.99, which is the maximum a savvy consumer will ordinarily pay). The publisher of a game which includes purchases to speed up progression would have to accept a 40% hit to RRP; for a game that locks content behind a price tag completely, 60%. And let me remind you once more that a AAA game sold cheaply will see better sales. Remember how Skyrim bounced back into the charts after widespread retailer discounting?

I'm under no illusion that this has any chance of actually happening, but I'd be interested to see what people think.

Posted:11 months ago

#33

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

160 434 2.7
I find the mandatory price points on games annoying. AAA game? $50. Budget title? $20. Or the same in pounds, because for some reason currency conversion doesn't apply to the cost of things.

But in the last couple of years, particularly, there have been games I would *gladly* have paid more for, especially after I played them. Skyrim. Seriously, who wouldn't have popped £75 on Skyrim and had no regrets? A game I could sink into up to my ears like a warm bath and spend months of my time immersed in it. Make it £80. Not quite a hundred, I couldn't afford that.

I would rather pay more and get the size of games I'm used to than stay at the current price point and keep getting minigames with "repeatable content". All games have repeatable content - it's called playing it again, and that's all repeatable content is barring a few minor touches,

In short, I very much disagree with Luke on the idea of an industry-wide standard for pricing games. Charge what the consumer will pay for them based on their content. Bring back the days of widely-available demos that are incredibly hard *not* to get your hands on. Get us hooked and then take us to the cleaners for what we love and dangle low prices for what we wouldn't otherwise buy. Seriously, why does tat launch at the same price as stuff we're all begging for?

Posted:11 months ago

#34

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
The position to be in, whether you are selling GTA or Hay Day, is one where the customer desperately wants to give you money for the experience you are going to give them. Just the same as paying to watch a soccer game or going to the cinema.
How they pay this is down to the monetisation mechanic of the game. Some games are best paid for up front, some with an ongoing "service" fee. Some can be paid for with advertising, such as Angry Birds in China. Some with a combination of mechanics.
It is vital to plan the monetisation before designing the game. Or at the very latest concurrently (less good). Monetisation as a bolt on is doomed to failure.
But what must always be paramount is looking after the customer. If you can deliver an experience worth $1,000 then there is no harm in charging this. In fact you would be a fool not to. However cynical game mechanics to rip off the customer are very short term and damage the whole industry.

AAA games are a blind alley. Visually stunning movies with a bit of gameplay in narrow genres. With ever escalating production values and costs. Eventually they will max out and the bubble will burst, as has happened many times in the history of Hollywood.

It doesn't cost a lot of money to deliver a lot of high quality gameplay, And this is the route that mobile and PC are following. Ultimately these are more compelling experiences reaching vastly bigger audiences. Then you can charge five cents a week and still get a far better ROCE than the AAA blockbuster does at $60 a pop.

Posted:11 months ago

#35

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
gaming is mostly doomed the quality of release outside of Nintendo is shockingly poor. Mobile is pretty much a joke if you want quality

Posted:11 months ago

#36

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

896 1,337 1.5
It depends on how you judge quality. If you actually think skin tone shaders and physicing facial hair makes for a good game, then mobile will never be your thing. But if you want great gameplay for a few bucks a time, there's an embarrasment of riches available.

In fact I'm going to flat out say it. If you think there are not loads of good quality games on mobile, you've not looked, and thus you shouldn't be commenting on it.

Posted:11 months ago

#37

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Funny. I don't play mobile games regularly, but I sometimes find myself having to recommend some to people who think I do. So, I've been keeping a list based on trying out stuff on friend's devices when I can. A lot of games are good and fun, but most grind to a halt when that digital coin-drop pops up and you're asked to pony up or wait a bit. While I can see people getting used to that, I was pleased to find that Doctor Who Legacy surprised the hell out of me by not only having NO paywall at all, but by being 100% FREE and a fun little Puzzle Quest-like RPG at that.

That said, Paul: Combat Monsters and GBWG are on that list of stuff I tell people to try out first over some more popular (in name only) titles. I only put about an hour or so into CM (I had to stop because I was getting hooked in), but it's really a ton of fun!

Posted:10 months ago

#38

Oliver Jones Software Developer

21 21 1.0
+1. Totally agree with Rob Fahey on this topic.

Posted:10 months ago

#39

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

896 1,337 1.5
@Greg, my last comment was aimed mainly at Steve Goldman, but I'm happy to hear you find our games worthy of recommending. Thanks man! :)

Posted:10 months ago

#40

Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor

400 196 0.5
I'm confused.... surely DLC was a version of the Paymium model that worked?
People seemed happy to hit that for the Skyrims and Borderlands of this world not to mention that the collection packs extend the shelf life of the main product.

As Paul J has mentioned already, maybe spending the same amount of money on your advertising budget as your product is a mistake? If your product is good then all it's going to do is stretch the sale time as word spreads more by mouth.

Posted:10 months ago

#41

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
I would rather that games start being more expensive from the upfront, than having to do Paymium micro transactions. Micro transactions completely toxify a game for me. I can't stand them. It cheapens the whole experience. It's like sitting down to watch 2001: Space Odyssey but instead of the Stanely Kubrick version it's some weird SyFy Channel knock off.

Posted:10 months ago

#42

Matt Jeffries Senior Producer, Telstra

18 17 0.9
Great article and great discussion, but something that no one, including Rob, has mentioned is the (relatively new) pay-to-play multiplyer issue. This is simply a variation on the models listed above, but is just as insidious in my opinion.

Paying $50 for a game and then being told you also have to fork out extra cash (via Xbox Live Gold or PSN+ membership) to access the multiplayer component is just similar to those bait and switch FTP mechanics, but no one seems to be raging against Microsoft or Sony. Is it that as an industry we are so used to this that we don't notice it anymore?? Or are devs and publishers just thankful they don't have to pay for the servers and admins and network maintenance etc etc that they are ok to turn a blind eye and let Microsoft and Sony soak up the cost and the bad pr? I'm not sure either, but would like to hear other people's opinions.

"Oh but you get all these extras for your membership. You can watch Netflix too!!". No, I just want to play BF4 multiplayer, which I thought was included in the $50 I just paid for BF4. You know, like when I buy a PC game from Valve, the multiplayer is included in the price (or at least free to access the servers).

Posted:10 months ago

#43

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
I think Rob's idea of a sack of "premium gems" is a great one, though I'd want to see most (not all) of the completion achievements tied to not using gems, or not using more than a certain number.

I think that this brings us to the real problem with microtransactions/pay-to-win/whatever you want to call that sort of thing: it's not that they destroy gameplay, but we're not looking at for whom it destroys gameplay, and to whom it's acceptable and to whom it's not.

Having put a lot of time (thousands of hours) and a fair amount of money (a thousand dollars or so) in to World of Tanks over the last year and a bit, I'm starting to feel as if I understand it fairly well. The customers seem to divide in to three categories.

1. Those who never pay. These are, for the most part, people who simply don't have money. Some are good players and can still do fine anyway (albeit they have to play about 50% more than a playing player to grind out new tanks), and some are poor players who are just more or less stuck.

2. The serious (and usually good) players who pay moderately, in the $100-$1000/year range. $1000/year sounds like a lot, but given that my overall gaming budget has been a couple thousand dollars per year for years now, that a game that takes up more than half my gaming time these days should take up half my gaming budget doesn't seem at all wrong to me. Most of this money I spend because I have it to spend on games; I could do just as well in the game and spend a lot less, though I'd be missing most of my rare collectable tanks.

3. The ones who "pay to win." I've met several people in game who have spent well over a thosuand dollars on the game in the last year (last guy I talked to had spent $7,500) in an attempt to skip most of the grinding. This generally doesn't work, and they tend to be poor players both inherently and because they're not getting the experience they need with the game to become good players. They end up in high-tier tanks without the skills to play them well enough to grind the amount of in-game credits they need to keep running in the high tiers, and they compensate with cash.

Now this third group has destroyed the game for themselves; the result of spending money in an attempt to avoid having to learn to play leaves them in a depressing cycle of having to spend yet more money to try to compensate for being unable to play. I have no idea how they could even enjoy this, but here's the key: they evidently do.

I think that this sort of "pseudo-pay-to-win," where you don't actually win (any more that using a cheat code to skip the final boss battle is really a "win") but you can give people with a lot of money whatever satisfaction they get from spending it, is probably one reasonable approach to getting more money out of your players with fewer complaints. But I don't think a lot of non-F2P publishers are analyzing their monitisation at this level.

Posted:10 months ago

#44

Matt Jeffries Senior Producer, Telstra

18 17 0.9
For some Asian market perspective, and maybe a pointer of where this is all heading, people should read this article from 5 years ago (yes, it is from way back in 2007):

Gamble your life away in ZT Online
The main Southern Weekly article on ZT Online follows a gamer as she first becomes interested in the game, through her rise to power, and her eventual disillusionment with the money-sink it had become.
http://www.danwei.org/electronic_games/gambling_your_life_away_in_zt.php

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matt Jeffries on 2nd December 2013 3:58am

Posted:10 months ago

#45

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

280 810 2.9
I wanted to write an incisive comment for this, but Barry Meade just said everything I was about to say. Like the cow in that moo joke.

I second Barry. To the letter.

Posted:10 months ago

#46

Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

111 198 1.8
If I spend £50 on a game ideally I should be able to get at all that content without even playing through the rest of the game. That's why we've always had Freeplay-type modes and cheat codes, so you can still get at your content you've paid for but that the game designers have locked away behind a progress structure. But that's just the intended way of experiencing the content, it doesn't have to be the only way.

Suddenly many commenters are kinda becoming okay with the ideo of people paying to shortcut the grind, but to my mind it's all part of the same problem. If you've paid for the content, paying again to access it more easily is madness. I can't think of any other medium where content is blocked off like this. Arguing that the progress structure is the game is like arguing that a boxset *must* be watched in order because it's so integral to the experience, but I can't see a world where customers would put up with a boxset forcing them to watch episodes in order or demanding payment to skip to a later episode if they choose.

I believe its a game's duty to find a way to offer all the content to players that they've paid for if they want it - it's not up to developers to nanny their players and force them to progress through the game 'as designed'; once the game is in the hands of a customer and it's been paid for, it's morally wrong to restrict the customer's access to all of that if they want access. We can define a play structure and manage fair play in multiplayer scenarios but there is no reasonable argument I can think of that says I should need to pay money to skip to the part of the game that I want to play if it doesn't affect any other players. Practice modes, Unranked modes, cheat codes - these are great, safe and proven ways to do this, I'd be very surprised if a game designer couldn't think of an alternative way to offer unbridled access to the content the player has already paid for and legally has every right to access as they choose.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jed Ashforth on 2nd December 2013 11:16am

Posted:10 months ago

#47

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Bruce

"what must always be paramount is looking after the customer. If you can deliver an experience worth $1,000 then there is no harm in charging this. In fact you would be a fool not to. However cynical game mechanics to rip off the customer are very short term and damage the whole industry."

That is correct. We are talking about experience after all and that is what the final user wants and that is above if your product is sold as "product" or "service"

"AAA games are a blind alley. Visually stunning movies with a bit of gameplay in narrow genres."

This is simply not true and a tremendous generalization. Skyrim, Starcraft, Assassins Creed, Far Cry, Ratched & Clank, GTA and a lot more offer more gameplay than most of mobile games. (And notice how I mentioned 6 AAA from 6 different genres there ;) )

"With ever escalating production values and costs. Eventually they will max out and the bubble will burst, as has happened many times in the history of Hollywood."

There will be no bubble because there is a reduced number of Studios making AAA games. Unlike mobile market, inwhich the number of studios is just too big. Only this month we lost around 5 mobile studios and only 1 console making one (which was not even a AAA focused one).

"you can charge five cents a week and still get a far better ROCE than the AAA blockbuster does at $60 a pop."

So you say, but after more than 5 years we are still waiting for that one tittle. AAA blockbusters or indie games paid up-front (regardless of platform) are still the real gaming experience made for gamers ("gamers", not casual players). The idea of selling a game as a service and not a product, as you like that much, definitely works as we see in online game like WoW, FFF XIV and more... but gamers; the ones that will be there in the end, still see games as products and their word is law since they are the costumer.

"Ultimately these are more compelling experiences reaching vastly bigger audiences"

Of course, but because those experiences are appealing exclusively to those "vastly bigger audiences" that are not gamers, but casual users. It's another market, everyone can tell you that.

For example: how come no hardcore gamer that I know is interested in Mobile games? (MMO players included)

Posted:10 months ago

#48

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Steve

I think you missed 85% of the indie market in that statement... and around 90% of Nintendo's recycling.

Posted:10 months ago

#49

Mariusz Szlanta Producer, SEGA Europe

31 27 0.9
--> Rob Fahey

Why not to change difficulty level to "easy" rather than pay above-mentioned bunch of quids for overpowering player for some time?

Or have both options available?

Picking up on Candy Crush Saga - its difficulty level is twisted up to make player pay and I have yet to see that stat about 70% players who finished the game and never paid and then another stat comparing it to total number of players.

There is quite obvious "pay to continue" wall running right through the heart of core gameplay loop in this game. I'm not necessarily
opposed to it but I also don't like Candy Crush to be presented as completely innocent because it isn't.

--> Bonnie Patterson

Not sure if it was intentional but you just described expected behaviour of F2P user. If there are more gaming people out there like you, then I would not worry about future of any high quality AAA game, even if it's single-player.

Posted:10 months ago

#50

Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

52 81 1.6
@Matt Jeffries

Personally I supported the idea of paying for a subscription to pay online, when it comes to a $60 game with online multiplayer there's never a promise how long a publisher will support it by keeping the servers up, EA was most notorious for it's sport's title's servers. Like how they shutdown FIFA11's servers in January 2013, so that game's online play was only supported for a little over 2 years. With the cost of the servers shifted to Sony and Microsoft with subscriptions, these servers can be kept on for even longer, in fact it can be as long as they are still charging for subscriptions.

Posted:10 months ago

#51

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Mid Core on tablet is the future of gaming.
Players of simple mobile phone games will migrate up.
Hard core console players will migrate down.
Very powerful tablets will be sub $100 and games will be FTP.
Good quality gaming tablets will be sub $50.
Tablets capable of games will be sub $30.
The user base will be very many times that of consoles.
35 million tablets were shipped in just Q3 '13 and is ramping up quickly. It is the major gift this festive season.
Their main use is gaming: http://blog.flurry.com/Portals/41620/images/Flurry_Smartpones_vs_Tablets_CategoryUsage-resized-600.png

If you want to prosper in the game industry then develop for tablets.

Posted:10 months ago

#52

Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team

70 92 1.3
I'm curious Bruce - which / how many 'mid core' games are currently thriving on tablets now? (Tablets have already had a huge user base and more than enough computing power for quite a while, no?). I haven't checked all that much, so I declare myself pretty ignorant about what is being offered there, but if what you claim were true, shouldn't we be seeing an avalanche of mid-core games making good profits on mobile? New IPs taking off? And I mean something other than the few names we always hear about - Clash of Clans, etc...

I'm assuming your definition of mid core games is pretty on the "core" side of things if you are expecting hardcore players from to migrate down and drop consoles.

I'm convinced about social and casual being the strength of mobile / tablets. For the rest - still not...

Posted:10 months ago

#53

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Clash of Clans.
Hay Day
Godus
Heroes of Orders & Chaos
War of the Fallen

Posted:10 months ago

#54

Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team

70 92 1.3
Gotta check some of those. Thanks for the list.

Posted:10 months ago

#55

Donald Dalley Freelance writer

52 38 0.7
something that no one, including Rob, has mentioned is the (relatively new) pay-to-play multiplayer issue.
The way this was explained to me (as far as SONY goes), they did it so that they could (I presume) pay/support for new services. Not to say that there are not other things that could be done here, but this at least allows those who play off-line only to not get dinged by a service that they don't use.

Could be worse.

Posted:10 months ago

#56

Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike

117 127 1.1
As a core gamer - I haven't heard of any of those titles. I don't understand how a tablet could replicate the experience I get from sitting in front of a 42" High Definition TV, with a separate digital analog controller in my hand. The tactility of interacting with a touch screen for gaming, frankly... sucks. I just can't see how core gaming would transfer to tablets..?

Posted:10 months ago

#57

Donald Dalley Freelance writer

52 38 0.7
Try hooking a racing wheel or flight stick up to a table and see how far you get.

Oh, you want to tilt to steer? Be my guest.

Posted:10 months ago

#58

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,136 1,174 1.0
As part of my personal lifestlye choice, I shall get a release day consumer Occulus, hope for Assassin's Creed 4 to work with that thing and then be on the high seas singing along shanties until I am seasick. Shortly take off the Occulus rift to be sick on one of these $50 mid core "good quality" tablets,then put the Rift back on and furiously laugh at the notion of hardcore gamers making compromises in their gaming choice. Particularily when it comes to brain dead, choice less skinner boxes and other sad excuses for games. Because i like games that are games, not dumb addictive things that try to turn me into a numb worker drone that is trying to punch a hole into the screen to see some progress bars fill up.

Posted:10 months ago

#59

Matt Jeffries Senior Producer, Telstra

18 17 0.9
this at least allows those who play off-line only to not get dinged by a service that they don't use.
Thats a valid point, as I forget some people only get it for the single player campaign and don't bother about the multiplayer. But they are the minority these days.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matt Jeffries on 2nd December 2013 11:00pm

Posted:10 months ago

#60

Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team

70 92 1.3
Of the list you gave me Bruce none of those are actual action or adventure games.

Clash of Clans. - Top down camera RTS
Hay Day - Looks like a farming sim.... not much of a hardcore title. Top down camera.
Godus - Top down God game
Heroes of Orders & Chaos - Top down MOBA
War of the Fallen - Card Game

Do you see where I'm getting at? Touch controls can work for these types of games, but are inadequate for action titles (and many, many genres). I personally don't care for MOBAs and strategy or sim like games. Where are my platformers, shooters, fighting games, 3rd person adventures (like Zelda), etc, etc, etc...

There is no way hardcore gamers will abandon all the multitude of genres which have no real competition on the mobile space. And since the sims, strategy and RTS games still exist and work perfectly on "hardcore systems" (consoles and PC), I don't really see tablets as too much of a tempting alternative to replace consoles (or PC).

Posted:10 months ago

#61

Donald Dalley Freelance writer

52 38 0.7
I don't really see tablets as too much of a tempting alternative to replace consoles (or PC)
... for gaming.

Posted:10 months ago

#62

Tosin Balogun Studying International Business, Anglia Ruskin University

23 21 0.9
While i do not agree with Bruce, i think he does have a very valid point about the console bubble bursting. There is so much the consumer can take and if mobile does capitalize on this, then the core gamers will jump ship

Posted:10 months ago

#63

Samuel Verner Game Designer

131 243 1.9
"Paymium"? Oh come on... what happened to "Microtransactions"? Oh wait... the customer hates them. So renaming the thing means its much better now than before and everybody starts to love getting nickeld and dimed in a 60 dollar fullprice title? Brilliant idea... not.

And about the topic itself: How to make it work? Its very easy: Just don't.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Samuel Verner on 3rd December 2013 12:12pm

Posted:10 months ago

#64

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