Tag Archives: free to play

Be more Disney, less Vegas

IGN’s Seth G.Macy reporting from PAX East:

“Any item that affects game play,” he told the audience, can be acquired “through grinding.” He compared his ideal F2P model to Disneyland, saying that when a person visits the park, they have the choice to spend money as they see fit once inside, but they can still enjoy and experience all the park has to offer. He contrasted that with Vegas, where the push to spend to increase enjoyment is non-stop.

“Be more Disney, less Vegas,” he said. Bleszinski also said that Boss Key is watching and taking note of the people on the forums and on reddit who are offering suggestions and participating in the community, hinting that they will be rewarded for their participation.

This seems like a very misguided comparison. Bleszinski seemed to skip the part where you pay to enter Disneyland. Get the most out of a $99 single park ticket means a Disneyland guest will spend anywhere from 11 to 16 hours in the park. Guests can bring food and drink into the park, but the realistic chances of anyone bringing in three meals plus snacks sounds overly ambitious. Needless to say, food will be purchased. And if a guest has gotten by without spending a dime inside of Disneyland, they still paid to enter. This is no where near a free-to-play model.

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Kate Upton and Game of War

Paul Tassi writing for Forbes:

It just seems like a strange pairing, and I think if Upton or her support staff understood the industry more, they’d realize that Game of War is a relatively spammy title compared to other offerings in the video game industry, and rather beneath one of the most famous supermodels in the world. Though I suppose what was almost certainly a multimillion dollar paycheck for no more than a few day’s work will draw all the kind words the game requires.

It’s an interesting, unsettling age we live in where games can be bad by nearly anyone’s standards, but still be hugely profitable with enough marketing to herd easily-addicted players toward a microtransaction-stuffed title. It seems to be working quite well with Game of War, but I’m not sure how long these kinds of titles can continue to find success, as they seem to have a short shelf life once players get tired of being milked endlessly.

While I find the Game of War marketing campaign adolescent and lazy, I don’t have a problem with Upton being placed in ads or the game itself any more than I do Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I’m sure she was offered a fine deal for her likeness. In-game celebrity is something we should be getting used to. (Peter Dinklage voiceover in Destiny, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood)

Regarding Tassi’s thoughts on the longevity of “these kinds of titles”, Transformers: Age of Extinction grossed $1.09B. Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles grossed $474.4M. I hope you see what I’m getting at here. And I’m a huge TMNT fan.

UPDATE: It looks like Game of War has released a new version of their Twitter campaign, reading “Will you be the hero?” vs. “Will you be my hero?” Note that the banner image differs as well, with less of an upfront focus on Upton. Context suggests “the” seems more in-line than “my”, but is this a variant or a rebrand?

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Keith Stuart, The Guardian:

A big announcement at Sony’s press conference was that the PlayStation 4 would be able to easily handle free-to-play games and that dozens are already in development. You could almost see the tumbleweed blowing across the stage. Core gamers don’t want to hear that. Core gamers, weirdly, cry for innovation then cheer loudest for old stuff they recognise. You know, when games were games and you paid once and they were yours forever.

Stuart continues:

It is no wonder Sony and Microsoft are crawling over each other to sign the indies. No wonder they’re looking at the procedurally generated space game No Man’s Sky and Capy Games’ adventure Below with awe and wonder. These are innovations they understand – they’re not about business models, they’re not about new audiences who are hard to predict, they’re about new ideas within the scope of traditional games. Indie developers are nostalgic but they have the freedom to take the mechanics forward and play with them, just as Tim schafer played with the idea of point-and-click adventures in the 1990s.

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NYT: ‘Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball Video Game Tests Haggling Skills’

Stephen Totilo, The New York Times:

This is where Nintendo toys with convention. You’re supposed to haggle with Rusty, who, remember, is a virtual dog, not a living person. You’re supposed to get him to lower his price for the rest of Bat and Switch and for his other nine games. According to the plot, Rusty is stressed. His wife has left him. He’s overwhelmed by his 10 kids. He’ll bend to make a sale. One of his kids even coaches you about how to haggle with his dad, how to flatter, cajole or hardball your way to a lower price. Press Rusty well enough, and each game can be had for less than $2.

After playing along with Nintendo for a moment, I saw myself buying up every mini-game in this entry. Every hook seems perfect. This game will be a hit.

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Mobile is burning, and free-to-play binds the hands of devs who want to help

Mobile is burning, and free-to-play binds the hands of devs who want to help

Barry Meade of Fireproof Games writing for Polygon:

In 2013 mobile games made over $10 billion globally and allegedly this is great. $10 billion sounds a lot, it is a lot, but the makers of Candy Crush alone took almost $2 billion. Throw in the top ten and there’s most of your games market gone; hoovered up by ten cute grinding games that are clones of each other. Any remaining change from that money is scraped off the table and scattered across a games industry trying to service a billion devices.

A 2 percent “engaged’ audience does not seem towering in achievement for a creative industry that looks to draw its players into new experiences. We’re living in a world where Netflix’s content inspires hysteria in grown adults, so is mobile gaming really in the same league when 98 percent of its gamers spend more on pencil sharpeners than games made by our billion-dollar leaders?

In my experience, The Room sparks the same water-cooler conversations for non-gamers that Myst did. It appears Monument Valley is doing the same, as experienced with my non-gaming colleagues. I think “the binge” has hindered the TV water-cooler conversation now that everyone is on their own schedule. Delivery of challenging and original yet “polished” and “possible” experiences can bring back the general audience gaming conversations we had on the playground.

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