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The games are being destroyed by IAP to please 1.5% of players.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sisso, May 27, 2014.

?

You know what this thread is about?

Poll closed Jun 2, 2014.
  1. New rage thread agains f2p, IAP and mobile.

    62.5%
  2. Games are being designed for only 1.5% of players that paid 50% of revenue.

    37.5%
  1. Meltdown

    Meltdown

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    F2P is badly implemented when it sacrifices good game design for the sake of monetisation.

    COC is the perfect example of how IAP is ruining the game industry.
    Yes, its making good money, but the game is designed around getting money out of your pocket more than anything else.

    It is this 'design' that is causing problems in the industry, because now instead of people designing games to be fun and challenging to play, they're designing games around getting money out of you, while all other game design rules are thrown out the window.

    Yes some people will enjoy pay to win, but in my opinion those people are muppets and have no real appreciation for good, well designed games.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  2. makeshiftwings

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    If the whiniest of the hardcore really want to protect non-IAP games, they should start buying lots of them. But they don't. They mostly pirate everything they can get their hands on, and then run around loudly proclaiming that everyone loves paying full price for games and will gladly do it. "Be the change you want to see." Stop pirating, and start buying full-price games.
     
  3. Murgilod

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    That's a pretty ridiculous generalisation about piracy.
     
  4. Saxi

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    Well there is 4 million reasons a day the game is working. People wouldn't pay if they were not having fun.
     
  5. Murgilod

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    This is a pretty ridiculous assumption. A lot of IAP is specifically designed not to be fun, but to convince you that you're making progress. Skinner box mechanics are kinda designed around that, and that's how most IAP is handled.
     
  6. Saxi

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    If that was the case, they wouldn't be making millions a day consistently for over a year and growing each day.
     
  7. Deleted User

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    This, take CD Projekt Red for example. They made it big for many reasons, but their business practices were a focal point. The amount of people who support them even if they're not a massive fan of the Witcher franchise is not an amount to be sniffed at. These paywall games / poor quality indie games with paywall are just annoying the masses and it's reflecting badly on everyone. It's pretty sad that companies get praised for not trying to trick their user base. On a side note it's not doing favours for large outfits, even if there is a pay to win userbase.

    We need people to take risks on start ups, but we have to give them a reason to.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2014
  8. JasonBricco

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    Maybe people hate the pay to win in Clash of Clans but love the game enough to still play it despite that. Who is to say it wouldn't do even better if you took the same game and used a different model?
     
  9. Meltdown

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    Try reading my post again.
     
  10. Murgilod

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    ...Yes they would. That is literally the way the psychology works. It's the same way casinos make money.
     
  11. Sisso

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    This thread is not against IAP (originaly), but it was the tool that allow the brainless guys with a lot of money (< 2%) complete control the market (+ 50% $$$).
     
  12. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Only 1.5% of people are paying for anything. So say your game got 10k downloads you are only going to get 150 customers, if you got 100k downloads only 1500 customers, if its all like $1 a pop you are only going to make $1500. You would need to get 1 million downloads to get $15k. Imagine if the 99% were willing to pay $1 for a game, you would only need to get 10k purchases, rather then millions of downloads.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  13. Sisso

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    If you like pay2win ok, good for you. But it is not the way that most of us like.
     
  14. Sisso

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    And how do you increase your gains? Changing your game to attract more of theses 1.5% that pay and love pay2win.
     
  15. Windexglow2

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    Almost all console and PC games are pay to win.
     
  16. Deleted User

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    I'd be highly intrigued how you came to that conclusion.
     
  17. zombiegorilla

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    Well, if the primary design/goal of a game like COC is separate a player from their money, it could be argued that it is failing in that respect. It may appear that way when looking at a single aspect (like revenue), but looking at the ecosystem of a game like that as a whole, that strategy would be a complete failure. (and more often than not it is).

    COC (and similar games), generate most of their revenue from the top 10% of players. Usually around 80% of players never pay a dime, or at most a couple of bucks. (usually below the marketing/advertising cost to acquire them in the first place). So if the design goal is separate people from their cash, its failing 80% of the time (as are Candy Crush, Hey Day, etc...). Actually much higher when you figure in installs that don't retain.

    Certainly an effective/creative monetization strategy has to considered at some point on the design level, but it can't drive it. The best psychology/strategy/'trickery' in the world is meaningless if people don't enjoy playing the game in the first place. Even more so in a game like COC, because the social/competitive/scale aspect is critical to the game's survival. That 10-20% generating the revenue can't exist without the other 80%.

    I wouldn't disagree that this happens. But I would disagree that this unique or extraordinary with regards to IAP. Anytime something works for one dev/studio/company, others try to replicate it. Often without understanding why it works. Flappy Bird, Farm Games, Slender, Zombie games, demos, ads,freemium, bolted on social features, games based on films, etc... Everyone is looking for the secret sauce, and the natural first place to look is at those who have succeeded.

    Yes, the top games in that arena make silly ass-loads of money. But like GTA/CoD/etc, There are really only a handful of games/companies that are succeeding at it. The big players are lucky if they can replicate it 1 out of 10 times. Take Zynga, who really opened up this strategy, they only were able make it work a few times. Most people don't remember (or never saw) the 20-30 huge games they had that tanked (or failed to launch). And the many millions of dollars required to get a COC scale game out of the gate often means the fails are pretty huge as well. (Cityville2, Dream Kingdom, etc..).

    I agree that many developers are jumping on that bandwagon, but like the flappy clones, most simply fail. At least with flappy, people were copying the mechanic, which was more important to why it worked than the ads. Copying COC's (and others) monetization strategy can only work if there is a core game that can keep ahold of the other 8 out 10 people playing who are unwilling to pay to win, or spend for any reason.

    There may be some truth to that, but there are also the 80% who play the same game with the same fervor, who don't pay. But is that a bad thing? If a small amount muppets are happy paying silly amounts of money that results in game being free for a vast majority of players who simply enjoy the game for what it is, does their motivation really matter to anyone other than themselves? The whales don't make a game successful, a successful game attracts the whales. It is the mass amounts of players that create the ecosystem that allows for whales.

    IAP/Freemium products/Micro-transactions simply aren't a factor to a vast majority of the players of these types of games. Many (arguably most) players won't monetize. For a variety of reasons. And the opposite is often true for whales. For whatever reason, they are fine paying whatever the cost to win or simply be a completionist. In practice, to be successful with Freemium/IAP, you have to build for the non-payers, and the potential/occasional payers. And to do that you have to have enjoyable gameplay. If you don't enjoy a game, you aren't going to enjoy it more by throwing money at it. IAP/Freemium doesn't work without enjoyable gameplay at its core.
     
  18. drewradley

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    No, most of you, and by you I mean you specifically, want everything given to you for free. Paying for video games is not a new concept. In fact, it's as old as video games themselves. All that is happening is there is a new way to pay for them. Used to be, you put a coin in a slot and played for a few minutes and put another coin in the slot. Then you could to buy a console and what did that console come with? Nothing you had to buy the games to put in the console. Then came computers which could play the most awesome games! But only if you paid for them. Now mobile gaming has come up with a way for even cheapskates like you to play awesome games for free and you're complaining about it. I find that funny.

    Unless you pirate your games, you have to pay to play and you can't win if you don't play.
     
  19. Deleted User

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    Not really, their are tons of successful companies in the A / AA and AAA sector. Not many attempt it because of the inherent risk involved, that's is why small IAP games are attractive. You don't have much to loose..

    Also depends on what you call a success, is $20 - 40 Million classed as a success for a A / AA game? If not then you could argue it isn't. But I'd say it is..

    @Drew: Pay to play and pay to win concepts are completely different from each other. For e.g. of Arkham City, are you paying for software or are you paying to win? I pay for MS word and I don't exactly win anything :D..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2014
  20. zombiegorilla

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    Not at all. Casinos make money because everyone has to pay to play, and the odds are fixed and known. The simple fact that the house plays in every single game, means those odds are realized in a direct way. If you play a game where you have a 60% chance of winning and play 10 times, the results will be all over the place. They get better if you play 100 times. Casinos millions and millions of games a day. Those “odds” become pretty much fixed at that scale.

    Freemium games don’t remotely operate like that. Despite the simple fact that casinos don't have "free" players, here are no guarantees, and freemium games fail at comparable rate to other games. More now that everyone is trying that method, and few have the resources or intelligence to pull it off. More accurately launching a freemium game is like being a player at a casino, not the house.
     
  21. MaxieQ

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    This. If it was me, and if I started a team, I would aim to get maybe £1m, and consider reaching that a hell of a success. That £1m could fund a couple of guys for a year during which one can work on more ambitious games. It sometimes sounds like some devs aim to replicate the most outlier successes out there - the GTA 5s and the Angry Birds - and consider everything else a failure. Getting £1m as a startup is somehow considered a failure.
     
  22. RockoDyne

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    I'm pretty sure that if I spun the argument to say "hard core gamers are ruining games as developers try to please 1.5% of players," it would be just as factual.

    I hate to say it but mobile games are for casuals. EA develops for the casual market. Why the F*** should anyone care about these if they want something beyond a casual experience? If you're looking around and finding that most games aren't for you, then so what. Your tastes are in the minority, get used to games being popular.
     
  23. zombiegorilla

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    What I was meaning to say was succeeding at making silly ass loads of money (in the millions+ a day range). The comparison everyone is drawing is with COC, which like GTA is the exception rather than the norm.

    Ahhh... there is the tricky part. It's all about economies of scale.
     
  24. zombiegorilla

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    Indeed. If you are profitable, I would count that as succeeding.
     
  25. Sisso

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    Your comment make absolutely no sense. It is not about IAP is bad, it is not about pay for agame is bad, it is not against free 2 play. Start again from page one, read the posts and the links.
     
  26. Sisso

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    Yes, and this is my main problem. It is becoming a standard, you can't develop more for 98.5% of public because they get used to not pay at all. If you want to be payed you must satisfy theses 1.5% that pay crazy values to win.
     
  27. Gigiwoo

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    I had this angst years ago. I spent months researching, and discovered books like 'Free' by Andersen, which helped me understand that Free is a by-product of abundance (aka digital reproduction has a near-zero cost). I learned that Free is not unique to games. To entice customers, bars provide free peanuts, casinos provide free drinks, and time-share's provide free casino trips.

    I release titles that were pay-up-front and titles that were free. So, I truly understand the angst expressed by both the 'Threes' devs who struggle with copy-cat clones and the makers of 'The Room' - Game of the Year, which only claimed a meager $5M in revenue. I've watched top F2P studios like Supercell net an amazing $5M/day, and yet, they continue redefining what F2P means by releasing Boom Beach. They are AWESOME game devs, and they are paid for it.

    Over time, I realized that designing a pay-up-front game is easier than building a successful F2P. With that as a challenge, I'm giving it a go. Maybe you could too.

    Gigi
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  28. Sisso

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    Yeat, another post without read the inital links.
     
  29. Gigiwoo

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    Youth much? Awfully bold of you to assume I've not read news that is literally months old. Never mind that I've lived it with 6 products and 200,000 customers.

    Gigi
     
  30. Sisso

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    Because this topic is not against or how to create a f2p game. It is about the games are being designed for 1.5% of players that paid 50% of revenue. And how theses 98.5% are getting used to not pay at all.
     
  31. drewradley

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    I suspect that the 1.5% you are so fond of throwing out there actually amounts to the pretty much the same number of people who pay for games on computers and consoles. There are just significantly more people who play free games on their phone.
     
  32. Sisso

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    I added a poll in hope to bring discussion to the initial topic before it is come to late :p
     
  33. imaginaryhuman

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    That is a point... # of people would download free pc games vs those who would pay for them is probably in a similar low percentage.
     
  34. Sisso

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    It is ok for a f2p game. The problem is when there is 0.1% inside this 1.5% and pay so much to win that represent 50% of your revenue.
     
  35. Saxi

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    Welcome to business. You don't design for people who don't pay you.
     
  36. lmbarns

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    At free with IAP you simply get more installs, more attention, more exposure to attract the people who will pay for it. In multiplayer apps the free users are even more important to make the world populated for paying customers.

    You also have less to worry about piracy......

    It doesn't have to be pay to win.
     
  37. Sisso

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    You don't, but in current scenery that whales pay2win give you 50% of all revenue, and the others are getting used to not pay anything will give no options in the long run.
     
  38. lmbarns

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    Then they don't have to play the game....it's simple.
     
  39. Sisso

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    I don't think so, most of us still design for a good and fun game. This specialization in design for users that pay most is the root of the problem.

    99% of players will play games don't designed for them, but they will play for free :p
     
  40. Sisso

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    Yes, but how do you expected to gain money? for the others that don't pay?
     
  41. drewradley

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    Best-selling video games are counted in terms of millions of sales. Most-downloaded mobile games are measured in 100s of millions downloads so, yeah, they are almost identical in terms of paying customers.
     
  42. angrypenguin

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    Assuming that's true, it's true of a specific target market defined as the "average mobile gamer" or some such. If you don't want to compete for that market, pick another one and go for that instead.

    Other target markets happily pay for games over and over. See: Steam's audience, people who go to game stores, PS Vita players (that's even still a mobile platform, but gamers are willing to pay reasonable rates on there because it's designed for gamers).



    Edit: But also, why do you care about catering for people who specifically aren't interested in paying for your work? You have no obligation to them. Paying customers should be the driving force for any business, games are no different (if they're a part of a business).

    I don't know about you, but when I'm working for a living I've absolutely no interest in donating that time to people who aren't able and willing to pay me. If I want to make something that I know won't make money then that's a hobby project, not a commercial one (and to be completely honest I'm still not going to aim those at people who don't value my effort in some way, even if it's not direct income).
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  43. Sisso

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    Move the market is a delay for the problem. It is starting to affect pc/console. Yesterday I read some rage posts agains battlefield 4 microtransactions.

    Here come the nightmare. You must care because they will bring those that will pay. But if you focus in those that most pay (if this is true), you will develop a F***ing pay2win game.
     
  44. angrypenguin

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    First, you seem to be confusing "markets" and "platforms". Check out Monument Valley on iOS - it's on a mobile platform, but it is not aimed at the same market as your typical F2P stuff.

    Secondly, you only need to care about giving stuff out for free to attract people if you're sticking to the F2P model that you're complaining about. Again, I reference Monument Valley, which has a completely different business model. Seriously, you need to think about more than just how much you charge and when you ask for money. There's a reason successful people call it a "business model" and not just a "price".
     
  45. arkon

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    I doubt you will find many developers that really like the free to play IAP model. I for one would much rather charge $10 for the full game and thats that. No free version with all the whiny ungrateful reviews left about what a crap game it is. It's free FFS! I spent half a year on developing it, you can at least pay a dollar to get rid of the adverts but your won't. You will moan about the lack of a full version and would rather pay upfront for it, not the underhand IAP stuff, but you won't. The 98% of 'Bystanders' who only want free, and moan and leave bad reviews because I dared to put adverts in the game, which can be removed for a quarter of the cost of a cup of coffee, are getting exactly what they deserve.

    If you don't like the current situation, get off your butt, learn to develop and actually release a game, then either make it totally free with no IAP and no adverts, or full price and lets just see how you get on. I guarantee you one thing, it will be your one and only last development you do.
     
  46. Remiel

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    Why are you making games?

    If it is to make money, stop doing it, do something else. You will become unethical, compromising, money driven asshole corrupting the game industry.

    If it is because you want to make a great game, one you would enjoy playing. If it is because you truly love games and want to share your creations with the world, the money earned just being to cover the expenses and make future games - do it. Game industry needs more people like you.



    Make a great game. Decide what funding model suits your type of game best. Don't force IAP, don't force up front pay. Decide by examining which model would suit your game - that means enhancing the gameplay, providing the best experience to the players. Do not concentrate on which would make you the most money. If you do things right, people will recognize it and money will come.

    If you choose IAP, make sure that it is not impacting your game design in a negative way. Don't make your games addictive money draining pay to win crap most such games are. IAP when done right can be beneficial for both paying and non paying customers - making each of them have fun. For example, you could offer paying customers extra skins, special effects etc, that do not impact the gameplay in a large way but is just an eye candy or something to brag about. Path of Exile is a good example. The game is free, but there are purchases that grant paying customers benefits, such as increased inventory space, special particle effects for weapons, special forum badges etc. It makes paying customers happy because they get to have awesome effects, badges and some things are more convenient. And it makes non paying customers happy because they get to play the SAME game as the paying customers. No pay to win or feeling that by not paying you cannot reach the same heights as paying customers.
    When I play path of exile, I want to support them and give them money, because they made a great game and they are honest developers not trying to wriggle money out of you. Other players must feel the same since POE became a very popular and successful game.
    When I play candy crush or COC I feel sad how psychological conditioning is ruining the game industry. I don't want to pay for such a game because it is meaningless. It is not a game I want to play. Even if I was a rich bastard that could pay to win I wouldn't want to. Because I can see past the conditioning to underlying principles - and it is not a good game.

    Most gamers can't see it. Most of them are not game developers or psychologists. They are so used to such games that they fail to see just how crappy, from a game design perspective, they are. There are countless other examples - games that become extremely difficult and near impossible to pass without extensive grinding or IAP. This is bad game design, yet many people still play it. Why? Many reasons. Social pressure, hope, perceived fame and worth, conditioning, addiction, need for closure, and many more. Some are having fun, some truly believe they are having fun. It can sometimes become quite difficult to perceive that the emotions you are experiencing are not truly "fun" but rather expectation of future fun or something else entirely.

    It is extremely difficult to find a great free to play game. It is easy to ignore a upfront pay game because you don't know if it is good until you pay for it and therefore most upfront pay games get ignored.

    So what should you do?

    If you do IAP - do it right. Don't design your game for just paying customers. Love all your gamers! Even a non paying gamer that loves your game is a great customer. Why? Because he will share it to his friends and gain you more customers. Chances are one of those will be a paying customer. Don't force or manipulate your gamers to do what you want them to. It is unethical. Yes, most games do it. And it is not just games. Just google weight loss and you'll see countless weight loss plans and pills taking advantage of their customers, manipulating them into buying it. And quite cleverly so, you won't even notice you are being manipulated.
    When you hear how cheap facebook likes and twitter followers are these days, do you want to pay someone for those 1000 false likes? Or amazon authors that pay for people rating their books. It would be easy to fall into that trap and do it.
    Yes, they get a lot of money. But do you really want to earn money that way? Do you really want to live your life like that?
    Wouldn't you rather be ethical and live your life without regrets? Would you rather regret not earning a lot of money, or regret manipulating and deceiving people?
    In the end the choice is yours. Most people will choose money over morality. After all, today's measure of success is in $ not morality points. But that is a problem with society in general.


    If you choose not to do IAP. Make sure that you offer your gamers a chance to try out a game before they buy it. Offer a demo, or offer a free version that has just first 10 levels playable, and players need to purchase in game unlock to unlock the rest. If players like those 10 levels and want to continue playing, chances are they will. IAP is not the only way.


    And for the end: don't expect most people to understand you or agree with you. Everyone wants to feel important, moral and successful. Everyone wants to be right. No one wants to admit they are being unethical or manipulated. They are going to flame you and endorse that their way is the right way, that they are not doing anything wrong. That you have a problem and not them. That they are better than you. They will tell you to shut up, that you are stupid, that they don't want to be here and talk to you etc. Some are in denial and have a need to prove their self worth, some truly believe they are right.
    Don't take it personally. Don't get mad or agitated. Stay true to yourself. Internet is a place where everyone can take out their frustrations and be rude without consequences. So people do. Don't ever expect people to pat you on the back and say "You are right!". They will most likely do the opposite because the angry ones are the most vocal ones.

    Remember,
    People that are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.

    Just do what you think is right. If you truly believe in what you are doing than no one else matters.


    P.S. Sorry for the long rant. I dislike forums so I often don't participate in the conversation, however I felt the need to say something this time.


    P.P.S. And to conclude for those that didn't bother reading, games are not being destroyed by IAP. They are being destroyed by greedy businessman and bad game design. It just so happens that they are using IAP most of the time to do it. Remember how piracy became popular? Because those same businessman started charging unreasonable prices for games and not offering a demo so you can see what you are purchasing.
     
  47. goat

    goat

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    I didn't vote because that money the 1.5 percent spend is their money and they that vote with their purchases. They either buy the game you make or not.

    And I'm not entirely sure that's it not more than 1.5% of the entire population the regularly plays computer games anyway. 12 million switching back and forth between CoD, Diablo, and whatever in the US sounds about right.
     
  48. angrypenguin

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    That's an exceptionally idealistic and naive way of looking at things. I can only assume you've never made a game large enough to have 3rd party investment into your budget?

    Sure, making games with the sole intention of making money is flawed for many reasons, but the fact is that big games require big budgets. Unless you happen to be a millionaire playboy you aren't going to get your hands on such a budget without demonstrating that you can run a business, with all the trappings that involves. Your budget comes from some form of investor, and the very meaning of an "investment" is that they intend to get more money out than they put in.

    What this means is that people making big games aren't shilling you for every cent they can get because they don't care about games. They're just trying to keep their investors happy so they can keep making games.

    They probably like some of the money making strategies about as much as you do.

    So go ahead and call people greedy, corrupted assholes if that's what you want to believe, but at the core of the game development part of the business there's still a bunch of creatives who are there because they want to make games, are willing to take risks to make it happen, and need to get paid and have resources to be able to do it.

    Or are you one of the people who believes that Starving Artist Syndrome is a thing we should strive towards and that we shouldn't recognise their value?

    (Also, consider that if the developers themselves weren't in it for the love of making games they could take their skills elsewhere and get paid more. So the idea that they're doing it just for the money doesn't really hold water.)
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  49. Remiel

    Remiel

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Posts:
    101
    "I can only assume you've never made a game large enough to have 3rd party investment into your budget?"
    You mean getting a publisher?
    I've never needed or looked for a publisher because I've managed to secure the money using other channels. Besides, I'd rather not have someone above my head that knows nothing about good game design trying to turn the game into "more profitable" one.



    Have you ever worked in large AAA studios? :)
    Most developers in a several game dev studios I am thinking of when writing this have lost their love and passion for their work.
    Mostly because the large businessman are dictating how things should be to squeeze the maximum profit instead of pleasing the target audience themselves.


    "big games require big budgets"

    Indeed they do. But are you familiar with an average budget split on AAA games? I might have forgotten, but I believe $5 out of $60 game price "goes" to covering the development costs.
    Regardless, just because you can make money making bad games doesn't mean you should. Why not make the same amount of money making good games? Why would making good games with good payment models make your less credible and worthy to investors?



    Call me idealistic and naive as much as you want. I don't mind. :)
    I'd rather be idealistic and naive than greedy and manipulative.


    P.S: I am not just a game designer that doesn't know anything about running a business. I am actually running my own business, quite successfully too, so I guess I must be lucky.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  50. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Posts:
    12,024
    No, I mean any form of 3rd party investment.

    Fair enough, but at some point that's likely to impact the budget available to you, so there's a balancing act where at some point you'll probably have to compromise something, somewhere.



    No, I have not, and this is precisely why. I'm hesitant to blindly generalise all games industry business people as greedy and/or corrupt and/or manipulative, though. It purely comes down to having a different point of view, and me (like you) wanting to do things differently.

    Why not be none of the above? Why not be realistic and positive? I think that'll get you the optimum results in the long run.