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Default Rampant Games - Serving Two (Or More) Masters

September 20th, 2013, 03:56
The Rampant Coyote has a new post talking about how developers have to compromise to release games.

Anyway, I don’t really want to talk aboutDiablo III. It’s just kind of a big-profile example of a problem facing all game developers. The point was brought up in a panel with the Romeros at Salt Lake Comic Con, reiterating a position Brenda Romero has stated on numerous occasions. While it was mostly applicable to “free to play” games, as I recall they mentioned the Diablo III auction house as another example. The problem with these games is that the designers are forced to serve two masters – game design versus maximized revenue stream. Guess which one wins out when the suits run the show?

This is hardly unique to anybody. Any kind of game that is intended to extract money from players as they play – instead of acting as a product that you pay for up front – is going to face exactly this problem. With a product, it’s straightforward – you make the absolute best game possible that players will absolutely love, and they just can’t help themselves but want to buy and tell their friends about.

But when a game is more of a service, a recurring revenue generator, things get… weird. To make the game successful, you have to keep asking the player for money. You have to keep providing them motivation to part with their money. To borrow an analogy from the Comic Con panel, to pay for the free meals at your restaurant, you may have to charge for the plates and utensils – not to mention exorbitant charges to use the restroom! While many of the goals to make the “best game possible” run parallel to making “the most profitable game possible” (after all, if the game sucks, nobody will spend any money on it…), there are points where the two may diverge. Lots.
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September 20th, 2013, 03:56
<soapbox> Basically, gaming went to *expletive deleted* when publishers realized they could make millions off of the hobby instead of just squeaking by and making digital art. Back in the 80s and early to mid 90s it was all about giving gamers/hobbyists what they wanted and staying true to each genre's roots and core features….shoot ahead a decade and you have publishers bullying developers and forcing them to churn out cookie cutter garbage intended to merely drain money from the pockets of the desperate or easily entertained.</soapbox>

People are waking up though, and this is just the beginning.
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September 20th, 2013, 19:51
Summed up perfectly. Another example of what happens is when freeware starts seeing dollar signs when donations come in. Look what happened to adaware and what's happening with Wikipedia.

The only company that ever did this well in my memory is id software and Doom. The shareware model lead to wide distribution in which people could use to simply get the full game. And they didn't hit you over the head with it.

You see increasingly in mobile free games hitting you over the head in their Lite versions.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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