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March 16th, 2013, 08:34
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
However, I think it is hard to look at all the other successful games and say they aren't doing as good, since most games, except for a few don't make multiple millions. The majority ask for a lot less.
Right and most of them don't come from people whose names are on top 100 games of all time lists. I guess it would be fair to compare them to other… let's call them "legacy projects" running the gamut from Star Citizen and Project Eternity to that Wizardry spiritual successor that made its debut under the title "Old School RPG." They're executing this far better than the low end of that spectrum but the pricing strategy is just bad. If you look at the limits on the tiers (the biggest ones are either already gone or nearly gone) they were expecting to sell through 3 or 4 price increases on the base tier to even make their goal. Basically they went with the combination of lowest non-joke slots and big-backer slots on offer not even being enough to reach the goal. Whether they were expecting a distribution of pledges wholly unlike every other successful big video game kickstarter to date or simply didn't do the math - I don't know.

Whether or not one finds it reasonable, there is a perception that the clarifications on design priorities and overall structure have been confusing or at least muddy. The problem there is not necessarily that answers haven't been given but that they've been given through a variety of sources and interviews and are not necessarily reflected by changes on the kick-starter itself. They're pointed to in updates linking to interviews, but if the language on the main page is not amended to reflect them without too much ambiguity then it would appear contradictory to someone hearing it out of order at the very least.

Both these things are marketing failures really (failure to gauge attractive pricing and some lack of organized concise communication in response to apparent lack of clarity, misconception, or dislike of aspects that are accurately communicated). The project itself is certainly not a failure and will almost certainly reach its funding goal. It could generate more revenue, more publicity, and more excitement though if these things are fixed. They can be and I hope they are - though admittedly one is a simpler issue.

The pricing could be made more attractive fairly simply. The easiest and most cost effective way is to introduce a lower priced tier with just the game while adding something to all higher tiers (behind the scenes look at something, pdfs of sheet music, a free download of Ultima IV, etc.) Since backers can change their pledge and anyone who already pledged would be getting more for the same they were already willing to pay, there shouldn't be too much grumbling about a cheaper entrant and looking at pledge distributions on other projects it seems that an unlimited bottom tier would bring in far more money than it would lose from people lowering pledges.

The problem of dissatisfaction with the clarity of vision as presented is half easy to fix. That half is to summarize all clarifications made so far clearly in one update and to amend the main description to unambiguously reflect those clarifications. Priorities and design goals which one might not find particularly appealing regardless of ambiguity would still be just that, but it's no good scaring away money over ambiguity alone.

Whether the design priorities/goals which some might see as sticking points morph in response to the community is something Lord British will have to decide. Those of us who want this to be first and foremost to be the modern heir to our memories of Ultima IV through VII probably aren't hoping for quite the kind of game Richard Garriot is most personally excited to create. This comes down to how much they can bridge his consistently expressed love of social gaming(more in the sense of his love of table top RPGs than facebook) and many old-Ultima fan's absolute prioritizing of the richness of the single player experience.

The only thing that can be done for that is for him to explain how far he can satisfy that without compromising his vision - but that probably needs to be in a video update. It will have multiplayer, that will be a major focus of development because it's what he's interested in most. He needs to explain to what extent he can provide a rich experience for those who want to play it wholly single player. To Garriot the experience with multiplayer is far more interesting - but he needs to give a better idea of how interesting the experience without it can be expected to be. Basically, he intends to make a great game when taken together as a whole including the multiplayer but he needs to better convey if and in what way it will still provide a great but not as great (from his viewpoint) experience for those who would forgo that. To what extent he can actually do that and how convincingly he can explain it is something I'd like to see.
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