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Online multiplayer is not a problem

Wait a second. You’re telling me that game makers spent years trying to find the formula to create games that people love to play online, and now that’s a problem? Gee, I’m sorry you have a fun game. I see two solutions.

First one is to start making crappy games that are completely one-dimensional and have no online multiplayer option. This might sell a few games, but then you’ll complain that you’re not selling enough and we’ll complain because we’re bored.

The other option is to, I dunno, try to exploit these good games to get more money. In other words, DLC. If your game is so popular that people are playing for dozens of hours at a time and thus NOT buying games, you then figure out how to nickel and dime players.

Space Mountain

What you don’t do is charge people to play your game online. In the majority case, gamers are already shelling out about $50 a year just to connect to the network. I can accept that, access is a fee-worthy case. But then you’re gonna charge me to play the game too?

That’s like paying $1500 to go to Disney World with my family, only to find out it’s an extra $10 every time I want to ride Space Mountain.

You either run it like a carnival, free admission but pay-to-play, or you run it like an amusement park, large up front cost but once inside, skies the limit. One or the other, not a combination of the two.

I’d rather be nickeled and dimed.

Exploiting DLC does work. If you have such a loyal fan base, you can charge $5-15 for minimal DLC and they will buy it. That’s been proven. So the big guys like Activision are just now seeing their future dilemma? Once you open the DLC doors the whole thing becomes less about new games and more about continuing to support old favorites. You still need new games to move forward, but people won’t accept new games that don’t run old content they paid for.

So…you make a really good game, like Call of Duty, and then you support the crap out of it with DLC. It doesn’t matter what type of game it is, support it. Charge me $10 for an add-on and I’ll buy it. Then do it again next month and I’ll buy that too. Getting $10 a month from several million people sounds like a good thing to me.

I know DLC has expenses but DLC can in no way have the overhead of a full, new game. The audience will support DLC costs and they want DLC for their games…good DLC.

Put a little more effort up front when building a game and PLAN for supporting content. Design the game with that in mind and you’ll have a game that will cost players $60 once, and then upwards of $100 a YEAR for the forseeable future. Even with a game that has a 3-year life span and only releases DLC every other month means $120 first year revenue and then $120 more until it dies. That’s $240 for ONE game…times millions.

Online multiplayer is NOT a problem. Don’t charge us to have fun with your game…charge us to have MORE fun.

Originally posted on Jul 20, 2010

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