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The 'Achievements', 'DLC', InAppPurchases' Syndrome?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Amon, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Amon

    Amon

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    So, achievements in games, DLC, and inAppPurchases; is this the new era where to get what you purchase to be fully working you have to pay over the odds, more, for features that should have been there in the first place?

    Is this trend of developing something and it being half finished but allowing you to purchase addons to bring it up to par gone too far?

    Are you happy with the current state of the gaming industry regarding the above?
     
  2. TylerPerry

    TylerPerry

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    No, I'd rather just sell my game then it is all included.
     
  3. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Did you see DLC quest, its a game parodying it. Unless there is a hardcore revolt I think its here to stay, look at IOS where you have people paying $60+ for a free game. You can already see games like dead space 3 starting to incorporate some of the practices - for example coin doublers (or whatever). You are seeing more and more day1 DLC. Basically if they can train the new generation of gamers to accept it (social engineering) its all over but the crying.
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92911011

     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  4. Cameron860

    Cameron860

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    AKA Game Design.

    If such systems in games are getting in your way, they're just badly designed games, simple as that.

    As a game designer you control the entire end-to-end experience, making this kind of stuff work is your responsibility - there's no magical rule that means you must or must not do anything this or that way.

    Stop thinking about things as being so black and white, just design good experiences.
     
  5. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    To expand on Cameron's post, that it's about the end-to-end experience - what if you have an episodic setup, as in Half-Minute Hero? Sure the Hero 30 mode has some 30 quests, but what if your game was entirely composed of just 30-second mini-JRPGs? In this situation, DLC is a great thing, because you could push out a new episode every week for your gamers to keep coming back to.

    As far as achievements go, they are another design tool that is there to encourage the player to play the game differently. ExtraCreditz has something to say on this subject. In my little Zelda 2-based Sidescroller, I intend to use achievements in this way, for instance to encourage players to do 'Mage Runs' where they use magic to beat the game, instead of their sword (which is the core mechanic, and will require a major paradigm shift to how the player approaches the game.)

    In app purchases are more about business, but also affect the experience. As a user, why would I want to close my game to buy that shiny new episode that was just released, when instead I can just buy it from the app, play some other level, then when I've got my new level, play that? It's a convenience thing for the user, unless you can't implement it.

    Gigiwoo2 once said: "Shipping is the most important feature your app has. Make sure it gets in!"
     
  6. Swearsoft

    Swearsoft

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    DLC:
    I'm not against DLC, it can be used to extend the life of a title. I'm against the practice of chopping up a game in order to make DLC.

    Achievements:
    I never really care about them. Some funny ones from left 4 dead maybe (ridiculous scenarios), but in general not interested enough.
    Now using XP is a bit more tolerable (access to weapons or matchmaking use), but again not essential.

    InApp purchases:
    lamest idea ever, I detest the fact that it has worked. Now instead of playing a demo, I get a 'free version of the full game', each level has a 'BUY NOW' button and making the game more fun depends on me buying bombs for example. How ridiculous.

    In-game Ads:
    Ads I can live with, with an option to remove, since they also get on my nerves sometimes.

    Generally playing a small demo and then being able to buy the full thing was enough for me. This whole trend also seems so artificial, it is transparent to me that the game developers are trying to make money while I'm playing the game. I want to buy the game and then play the game, not get constantly pulled into the 'real world' for some transaction.
     
  7. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    Can you imagine if you wanted to watch a movie and it was chopped up into 10 pieces and you had to stop every 20 minutes to but the next part?
     
  8. flaminghairball

    flaminghairball

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    Can you imagine a TV show?

    :p
     
  9. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    Watch any Let's Play video on YouTube. :)
     
  10. PrimeDerektive

    PrimeDerektive

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    Cameron is spot on here. To blanketly state that these systems are bad across the board is disingenuous, there are plenty of games that implement these things in intuitive ways that are beneficial to the user.
     
  11. Swearsoft

    Swearsoft

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    That's why a tv show has so many ways of working around this. Each advert break has some cliffhanger, once an episode ends it also has a cliffhanger, but at the same time most tv shoes can be followed to a degree even if you are just randomly watching an episode.

    Now that's why people download/stream/dvr tv shows and why I usually don't watch stuff directly on tv or play free2play games. Would I prefer more media functioned the way I prefer it to work, yes, do I force my self to consume media that doesn't function the way I would prefer, not really.

    Can my none preferred method work? Obviously yes. Does that mean I should like it. No.
     
  12. DexRobinson

    DexRobinson

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    I hate this new trend of free to play games. IOS is the biggest contributor to this. Phone games back in the day would cost around 6-10 bucks, for a bad game. Now if the game isn't free your downloads drop BIG TIME! My paid version of my game sold 500 copies, then I made it free for 2 days...and had 10k downloads. 10k in 2 days! It's insane that, that many people wanted to play my game...but that many people couldn't stand the thought of parting ways with a dollar to play it.

    The biggest thing I hate is that games are designed around micro transactions. Farmville or any other game where you wait for something to build. These games would be cool in my option, but in order to play them I have to spend a buck each time to make my building finish faster. I wouldn't mind paying 5-10 bucks for a good city builder game and then lower the time down to like a minute or so, but trying to nickel and dime me for as much as I am worth is what really gets to me, needless to say I hate city builder games now.
     
  13. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    Agreed. Why, back in the day, even the episodic approach I talk about was thought of too: the Expansion Pack! Just pay a few dollars for new, well-tested content, access to better equipment, and new, empowering game mechanics (for instance, Gemcrafting in World of Warcraft made gems that you could slot into pieces of armor in The Burning Crusade to customize that armor towards your individual needs.)

    I'm thinking about building a downloadable Android game around both business models concurrently. If you buy the full version, you don't get advertisements, and can still download Expansion Packs as they become available. If you download the free-to-play version, you'll need to pay for your content a bit at a time or purchase up to the full version. I recognize that not all gamers have a ton of money (for a long time, I didn't either), but I'm not running a gamer charity. I am using my time and talent, and want to make some money from it, darn it.
     
  14. lmbarns

    lmbarns

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    In some ways it's just a modern twist on the arcade machine you used to put quarters in.

    Some implementations are worse than others.

    If people pirate your game it doesn't affect you, they either pay to unlock or don't.
     
  15. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    There is something to be said for giving less incentive for piracy when a large portion of the game is already freely available. There are also obviously scenarios where someone really loves a game they're playing and are more than happy and excited to buy whatever add-on thing to enhance or extend their experience. That's ok, if that's what they want, good for them. It's not surprising that companies `making money` would attempt to optimize for that person and try to create manipulative scenarios that persuade them and others to `want to/need to` purchase something. Otherwise they're going to go out of business. There is a comfort level surrounding how much is too much or how to go about it in a way that isn't like some pushy salesperson. But nothing has really changed here, it's just another form of trying to make money in a different climate.
     
  16. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    I think that's the big reason that developers are pushing Free to Play and DLC models; everyone was touched by the Great Recession, and the game industry quickly adapted. People have less money? Ok, charge them less, but keep the exchange rate of currency to features the same. How to do it? Charge by the feature. It makes perfect sense, from a business perspective.
     
  17. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Oh lord! I can't take credit. That idea came from Spolsky in his article, The Duct-Tape Programmer, "Shipping is a feature. A really important feature. Your product must have it!"

    @OP - I wish I could just sell my product, straight up. But I can't. Free is the new economy. Unfortunately, knowing 'free' is the right model, and knowing HOW to integrate 'free' into my product, are 2 different things. After 2 years, I think I've figured out the right balance. But I won't know until my 5th product comes out in a month or so.

    Gigi.
     
  18. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    It's not Apple's fault. The browser I'm using to write this was free. I found this article by Google'ing it, which was free. Linux is free. Television is free. Wikipedia is free. Internet news is free.

    I railed against 'free', until I realized I was a hypocrit. I expect things to be free, so why shouldn't my customers? That means, it's my job to figure out how to monetize in a free economy. ...

    Now get back to work! And ship something worth buying for free!

    Gigi.
     
  19. DyrdaOrg

    DyrdaOrg

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    Star Wars? ;) and Hobbit for crying sake...
     
  20. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    In most cases I don't consider DLC to be stuff that "should have been there in the first place". There are a few obvious exceptions such as games that use DLC to enforce DRM - a core feature or sub-plot comes as "free DLC" so that pirates and/or second hand purchasers are required to pay or miss out.

    My hobby game's development is somewhat based around this kind of concept. Instead of spending several more months finishing extra features we decided to polish and release what we had, and then release more features via add-ons later on. While it's a constant work in progress we don't consider it to be "unfinished". Also, a lot of what we're adding is included in free updates, rather than paid add-ons.

    To us, the important question was "why delay sharing the game?" Based on public reception thus far people who played what we had wanted to play more of it. We could give them nothing until the whole thing was "finished", or we could give them what we had and keep adding to it later on. We saw the latter option as mutually beneficial, because it meant players had something to play sooner, and we'd get the benefit of their feedback and potentially a little cashflow to put into furthering the game.

    I don't play "freemium" stuff, so I can't talk to that. But for the games I do play I don't feel that paid DLC is an issue. In most games I find that it's inconsequential or has little value, so I just ignore it. In other games where it does add value I think it's cool to have the option - and it's mutually beneficial. (Again, though, I don't share the "it should have been there in the first place" perception.)

    I think that achievements are a mixed bag. Some games use them well, an example of which I think is Guild Wars 2 where they're used to encourage you to try out new things or challenging things and are generally all very much in line with the game's core design. Other games use them quite poorly, in ways that either don't enhance the experience or, worse, work against it. Any multiplayer game where team members routinely sacrifice team coherence to "get an achievement" is an example of the latter. Why the hell encourage people to behave in ways that directly work against your carefully crafted and balanced gameplay?
     
  21. Forge Vault

    Forge Vault

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    Unfinished games is a grey area... If you can pull off that "soap opera" feel and leave the player satisfied(and hopefully wanting more) then its great, otherwise it's like ordering a burger and getting two buns "sorry sir it's a WIP, come back tomorrow for the meat" - the customer may think twice about buying the next game and thus it hurts your fellow developers. It's all execution, at least that's how I see it.
     
  22. Zeblote

    Zeblote

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    Most games that allow you to download the whole thing for free and then unlock parts of it with a serial key / login / whatever can be unlocked a different way that doesn't cost any money

    In fact it's really easy for many games

    So I'd say that it's a huge security risk to do it that way
     
  23. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    I would rather that too and unfortunately, I've learned that's not an easy path. On the upside, I've found at least one way to make that work. My core audience comes from my popular line of free products. And a small portion of them will cross over to ones that are non-free. I've found a varied approach with a large product line to be the most effective.

    One product didn't work for me - which is where the 'Answer To Every Can-It-Be-Done' thread came from.

    Gigi
     
  24. derf

    derf

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    Does it really bother you that much that there are games out there that require additional funds to improve a user's game experience?

    If Joe Blow wishes to spend 14.99 to unlock the Industrial Complex zone in a survival game; or they just have to have the BFG now, let him; who cares!?

    I can understand more with player vs player game play or even co-op play where one person can have equipment and stats far beyond what another player can get; because they bought their way, instead of playing through the many-hours of in game play, to achieve the same stuff; but still if they want to, than don't worry about it and let them.
     
  25. AndrewGrayGames

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    Here's my philosophy with Achievements - it's all in the name.

    There are two ways you could take an Achievement system:
    1: Proposal of alternate strategies
    Type 1 Achievements are to me the most interesting - suggestions to the player of 'nonstandard' ways to play a game. This whole platform presupposes some convention that the player and the developer agree to (e.g. in a JRPG, level up as high as you can and defeat The Big Bad; in a sidescrolling shooter, defeat bosses by using your ship's weaponry.) The achievements - e.g. pacifist runs, low-level/minimum-heart/no-customization runs - get the player to consider how they would play the game without the benefits of these carefully crafted systems.

    2: A Goal in and of Themselves
    Type 2 is a different beast altogether. The game has no story, and in theory nothing guiding player actions. The role of an achievement in this atmosphere is as a a goal unto itself. Given that Achievements can grant goals (World of Warcraft, Halo 4), this can be a viable means of guiding the player to do certain things or provide the player with a way to rate their progress through the experience.

    I dislike the 'Inevitable Achievements' idea - if you're going to do it anyhow, why not reward the player for figuring out the best way to do it?
     
  26. derkoi

    derkoi

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    This.
     
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