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June 21st, 2013, 23:05
Lol, with the rumors of Steam going to implement a game sharing system, it's rather funny.

Eventually that will become the worst decision ms ever did. The main problem is Torchlight series and Torchlight 2, ie A release at budget price since the release.

It's quite probable that, because the Torchlight team wants have fun and make new stuff and new challenges, more than exploit and develop a series, the series won't grow up to be a symbol of an evolution or possible evolution to AAA release at budget prices.

But there's a clear threat against any physical box system.

There's still two big barrier for digital:
  • The first is mainly coming from non adult players and young adult players with low income. The ability to resell games, and as a consequence, to buy through a large and recent choice of used games a bit cheaper. The digital seems bound to never solve this equation.
  • The second is coming from the immaterial nature of digital, its strength and its weakness. For sure Steam partially target this second problem but it's not a true solution, but it setup a base idea for a possible solution.

So let start first with the second point.

How make digital material?
The notion of collection, playing, stats, communities, comment games you own and not those you pirated, and so on, there's three existing systems that could throw on the table the base of a solution. Steam, lastfm and bandcamp users collections.

It's not a hazard if those three examples are pure digital actors, and on area the most concerned by digital, music (a disaster) and video games. There's clearly a slow clash coming and rising in video games, digital vs boxes, but the history already wrote the end of the scenario, dinosaurs died. But when is another question, possibly I won't be here anymore to see the evolutionů. not that I care.

Lastfm is the core of this possible solution because it has the base, be an aggregation not be a proprietary system like Steam and bandcamp are.

The goal is setup a system with accounts links defined by the user. Let name it lastplay, so lastplay provide:
  • A secured api to link to a lastplay acount, for example gamersgate adds it and the user choose or not to connect his gamersgate account to his lastplay account. On this base users can define authenticated games collection. No need to have a fully identified lastplay account, it's user choice.
  • Provide to users plugins allowing register their playing stats if they want. Not sure consoles are enough open to allow it but I'll ignore this point.
  • Provide to dev plugins/simple lib so they could submits in their games the achievements to lastplay, this allowing them use the label "lastplay support".

Ok the bases but why anybody will enter the system? Perhaps:
  • Entrance point, the users. Provide them plugins for as many platforms than possible, to compute if they want their game stats. Around this, communities, users created groups including private, rate and comment systems, lastfm model mainly, Steam a bit.
  • Second entrance point, still the users and open services. Allow access users stats through a user anonymous id, lastplay does the link between the real user and the id, and the user provides the id to the plugin and to lastplay. Also lastplay offers neutral accounts, no real names address and so on. This will allow first generations of users features, like game genre clouds (a cloud of game genres played for example RPG very big and small 4X or the reverse, based on users stats), top ten games played on a time elapse or all time, and many more, old school gamer label or rate (time spend on old games), it's open to let imagination and expectations have a free space.
  • Third entrance point, the dev and the achievements. Provide to dev api/plugin and a label "lastplay support", expect the users pressure on small indies then bigger indies, then on the whole market.
  • Fourth entrance points the lilliputian PC digital sellers, GamersGate, Gog, anything but Stream because Stream will be the last. Linked accounts, automatic collections filing, and finally authenticated games making digital concrete if the user wants it. There's no need to link with stats and each user hardware, only between accounts the user choose linked.

Ok that's a vision of future, sort of simple SF, but no imagination here, purely based on existing elements, it's more SF Ó la Jules Verne. :-)

So the second point, resell digital games. Well post long enough, business plan for another day.
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