Mobile Dev Foresees Free Skyrim Analogue Making Millions

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Susurrus:
They had a similar thing in Dragon Age Origins - they had a character trying to take you to Warden's Keep, with a dialogue option "Purchase Warden's Keep DLC" or something. It was annoying as hell, and every time I saw the guy afterwards, it yanked me right out of any immersion I felt.

Wait there was something like that?
I heard that DA:O was good, and was going to buy and check it, but now I feel disturbed about that game :(

PrinceOfShapeir:
Only from gamers would you see the offer of free stuff met with such boiling hot rage. What is -wrong- with you people?

The boiling rage isn't due to the offer of "free stuff": it is frustration at the certain prospect of being badgered for money every 5 minutes. Think of the beggars in AC, except that now they're breaking your immersion while they're at it.

blackrave:

Susurrus:
They had a similar thing in Dragon Age Origins - they had a character trying to take you to Warden's Keep, with a dialogue option "Purchase Warden's Keep DLC" or something. It was annoying as hell, and every time I saw the guy afterwards, it yanked me right out of any immersion I felt.

Wait there was something like that?
I heard that DA:O was good, and was going to buy and check it, but now I feel disturbed about that game :(

As he said: it's an NPC in your camp with a problem, but in order to do his quest you need to purchase the DLC. It's annoying, but as it's an isolated issue I wouldn't call it game-breaking just yet. I still recommend giving it a try, as it's very good even after factoring this in.

Kargathia:
SNIP

In fairness there was only one instance of this, and you can get a fairly cheap copy of DA2 + awakening + all DLC so it shouldnt be a problem, but it is in a recurring area, and whilst there is no obligation to talk to him, unless you buy the DLC, the actor's only point is to get you to buy it.

The problem I see here is the whale model so common to f2p games. In sum, 10% of the people pay 90% of the cost, so for a game to have equivalent revenue to a standard-model game, either the market must grow tenfold (unlikely) or the price for the full game must grow tenfold (probable).
This is the same principle visible in almost every new f2p release - MS Flight, for instance, where the "free" part of the game is about 10% of what FSX offered, and doubling your content will cost you about $40. In other words, the same amount of money nets you 1/5 as much game.

Take this to its logical conclusion with a hypothetical F2P Skyrim and you have what is essentially a demo tied to a $300 outlay for what used to cost $60. Everybody (but the publishers) loses - the people who shell out pay five times as much, the people who don't get what is essentially a demo, and $60 nets you a fifth of what it used to.
Any questions?

"I don't see what the problem is... It's not like we don't have DLC now..."

...I'm just waiting for the day when day-one and pre-order sales come to a screeching halt because the majority of gamers realize that in a few months the "Game of the Year" edition will have the ugly bugs patched and include most or all of the DLC, likely for the same price.

It used to just be the "standard market model"- you paid the retail price and you got a finished game. But, you know what? I'm actually okay with paying $50 or $60 to not have my game experience interrupted by reminders that I could be playing a slightly cooler game or spending less of my time doing gratuitous busy-work in that game if I would just slip the company another tenner.

Oh, and, quick show of hands... Does anyone else find it both incredibly arrogant and markedly ridiculous that in the face of all the media company consolidation and absorption, all the rise in development budgets, all the attendant risk aversion and franchise-sequel-stagnation, that someone still has the chutzpah to suggest that audience complaining is "the reason we can't have nice things"?

We have concerns about the way they're running the show. We didn't roughhouse in the living room and knock over the fucking lamp, Auntie Mabel.

I imagine this idea is under the title 'Immersion killer 1.0'?

PrinceOfShapeir:
Only from gamers would you see the offer of free stuff met with such boiling hot rage. What is -wrong- with you people?

Because it's not "free", it's "free now, pay later, pay often".

It's like giving you a brand new car for FREE! Oh, but it costs $1000 every time you start the motor. And if you want to drive more than 10 miles in a day, that's an extra $500. But, hey, you get the car, and the experience of owning the car for free. You just have to pay for any enjoyment afterwards.

at best isn't this just the same as the current demo-full game setup?

at worst: "Hello fabled warrior! Insert coin to continue!"

So basically this guy is saying, lets make a game..... chop it in 3 and then release each part at full price and call it a trilogy? Is that really his argument? I guy a game I want the WHOLE THING.

Yeah, well, Mass Effect and Assassins Creed make you pay the 60 up front, then they have you fork over more cash for the DLC.

MorganL4:
So basically this guy is saying, lets make a game..... chop it in 3 and then release each part at full price and call it a trilogy? Is that really his argument? I guy a game I want the WHOLE THING.

No, this is, "Let's make a game and chop it up into three parts, then sell each part for $20, so people don't notice or mind paying $60 in one go for a game they get bored of before they finish. But if they like it, we can add more $20 parts to string them along as long as they enjoy the game."

I know some people hear these kinds of predictions and react violently towards them but honestly freemium games just give gamers more choice, and that is a good thing. Traditional single player games won't disappear. As long as a company like Bethesda can make a game like Skyrim and make millions of dollars and generate sales for years afterwards (I remember people were buying Morrowind GoTY more than 6 years after release) someone will do it. The games industry is very young, especially compared to other modern forms of entertainment, like the movie industry. Just as movies have grown more sophisticated with time so have games, this will only continue. We are experiencing something of a sea change in gaming, with all these new payment models making all kinds of games possible. Five years ago nobody would believe you could make more money giving your game away than charging for it up front. More recently we are seeing that some games no big publisher would touch can get enough support from the public to get made with the recent Kickstarter successes of Wasteland 2 and Double Fine's adventure game.

Overall it is an exciting time to be a gamer. There may be growing pains, like Origin's poor start and some DLC that seems to only exist to squeeze a few extra dollars out of fans, but in the end we'll be much richer for all these new payment and funding models.

The problem with this this supposed "free-to-play single-player gaming with microtransactions" thing is that I'm not comfortable trusting publishers to be fair and benevolent with their pricing.

Developers and publishers are running a business. I'm sure a lot of them are passionate about what they do, but at the end of the day, most developers are motivated by sales. Publishers are even more interested in the money aspect. So I don't doubt that if there's some way for them to get customers to willingly part with more money, they'd be all for it. On paper, it's ideal to say "pay $60 in smaller chunks for the full game so that you can pick and choose what you want," but it would be all too easy to price it so that unlocking the "full game" actually costs more than $60.

Suppose I start playing one of these F2P games. The more time I spend with it, the more invested I become in finishing the experience. I like what I'm playing and I want to experience more of it, so I invest $20 in the next "content pack" and do this until I've spent $60 on the game. And then I run into a critical cliff-hanger near the end of the game that asks me to pay $10 to play the last 90 minutes. I might be totally pissed-off and indignant over the issue, but odds are I'll think to myself "Well, I'm already heavily invested in this game, what's an extra $10 to get proper closure and finality to the "full experience," instead of just ending the experience abruptly and unpleasantly?"

Besides just the financial side of things, I have to wonder how microtransactions would affect the pacing of game content. As it stands now, I find a lot of the $10 "DLC campaigns" for games like Borderlands and the recent Fallouts extraneous and uninteresting, because they're not integrated with the full game experience. They're deliberately designed to be optional and inconsequential side-attractions, that wind up feeling rather disjointed without much thrust behind them. So I worry that the "F2P microtransaction" model might carry over these same side-effects where a majority of the game content comes off feeling extraneous with non-integral pacing.

Yes, that's a great monetization formula; sell CORE GAME CONTENT extra. I paid Day 1 price for Skyrim, but I would never have paid for it if it had only let me play the story up to the Western Watchtower and then had to pay for the rest of Act 1, then Act 2, then Act 3, then adding on the guilds. Not a chance.

And I say that as a proponent of DLC!

Icehearted:
Many F2P games still have a cover charge. Guild Wars 2 won't be free to get, but it will be free to play and work much like you've otherwise described, more or less. I think Diablo 3 is about on that level as well, except with the odd choice of making players pay each other real money for fake goods.

The weight of anything you have to say immediately drops 10 out of 10 points when you take games that you pay full retail price for and call them 'free to play.' Or, Skyrim would already be 'Free to play.' As would Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty all of them, Sly Cooper, Infamous, Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros, every Metroid game ever made, and, in fact, every single game out there that doesn't actually follow the free to play model.

Calling Guild Wars free to play is a slap in the face of the intellegence of anyone who reads it and doesn't realize it's no more free to play than any other multiplayer game you buy at retail.

No. I want to buy a complete experience. That's what I'm paying for when I pay for a game. Anything else is cheating on the part of the developer.

I already hate DLC, there is no way I will support this in any way. Stupid idea and I hope it fails horribly. We don't need more ways for publishers to fuck over it's consumers.

Rensenhito:
No. I want to buy a complete experience. That's what I'm paying for when I pay for a game. Anything else is cheating on the part of the developer.

While I think the ideas here are terrible, you missed the point. These would be games like Dust 514, where you can download them and play them (or in this case, some parts of them) absolutely free. As for DLC in most games, it depends if it was just butchered from the game or actually added. IE, The House of Valour in KoA is clearly butchered from the game meaning that the game is incomplete without it, whereas Knights of the Nine and Shivering Isles were not part of Oblivion and were additions that made the game better.
If you can't see why one of those is a great thing for gamers, and why one of them is fairly deplorable, then discernment is not your strong suit.

Faerillis:

Rensenhito:
No. I want to buy a complete experience. That's what I'm paying for when I pay for a game. Anything else is cheating on the part of the developer.

While I think the ideas here are terrible, you missed the point. These would be games like Dust 514, where you can download them and play them (or in this case, some parts of them) absolutely free.

Actually, this is about developing a game, chopping it up into bits, then giving out the first bit for free and charging for the others.

Buretsu:

Faerillis:

Rensenhito:
No. I want to buy a complete experience. That's what I'm paying for when I pay for a game. Anything else is cheating on the part of the developer.

While I think the ideas here are terrible, you missed the point. These would be games like Dust 514, where you can download them and play them (or in this case, some parts of them) absolutely free.

Actually, this is about developing a game, chopping it up into bits, then giving out the first bit for free and charging for the others.

Rather similar to what I said. I was pointing out that he's not paying for a full experience in this case.

I know everyone is raging, but I think this would work. I see all these companies trying to sell me a bunch of DLC, and I keep thinking the DLC would look more worth it if it was longer, even if it was more expensive, and also if I hadn't just paid full price for a game.

But you have to do it well.

Don't call it a free game. It's an episodic game that has the first episode free.

The free part needs to be self-contained and complete, and narratively important. The DLC are episodes.

So, imagine this is like a superhero story. The free episode entails your character's origins. It has a definitive end, but also works as a jumping point. This isn't your lame 'or is it?' ending for games that want to have DLC, the DLC is woven into the narrative.

Each piece of DLC is an episode of the story. Each of them is self-contained and usually they can be played in any other. The game is structured so that you don't need to buy them. If you created your character to be super gritty you don't want to buy the Alien Crystal Dragon episode and that's OK.

But if you do buy all the DLC you do get benefits. You'll be able to get a season pass, of course, but also free content. For instance, maybe there'll be a big DLC in which your character gets to fight a big mob boss. Its story relates directly to three other mobster-based episodes. You can buy it, but if you've bought the three other episodes you get it for free.

The trick is to make it in such a way that the player doesn't think 'ugh, I have to pay a lot to get all the content' but rather 'hey, I can save money by skipping content I don't like'. If it's well done it'll be the kind of thing I can see myself spending a bunch of money and time on.

And if it's not... well I'll keep this business plan to myself.

The problem, I feel, is that many people play free to play games because of friends. One of the real appeals of the F2P model is that you and your friends can try it for free or you might have friend(s) already playing and they want you to join, you think "Hmm, this looks interesting and its free so what the hell", hours pass and you are having fun so you see a weapon that looks really awesome for $2 so you buy it because, hey its $2. More hours pass and you see a skin that makes you look bad-ass for $6, again you think "what the hell, $6 isnt much"...a month later you have sunk $100's, You probably have friends that you gained in-game and you dont want to leave it and you progress.

I fear with the single player game, people will not feel that they need to keep on going, there wont be much of a draw to keep going with the lack of people playing.

Also, this would cause piracy to jump far worse then DRM, you think people find it easy to rationalize stealing a $110 game? try the rational for a $2 purchase.

freemium monetisation

*cringe*

Stupid buzzwords. Don't like them one bit. "Here's a game, let's see how far we can milk suckers players for maximum profits!" I'm sorry, when all you're doing is thinking about how much you can make people pay for each chunk of gaming content, quality and creativity will suffer. I highly doubt you could create a deep, immersive singleplayer experience on this sort of model. I would much rather pay a lump sum for a full game which I can play whenever I want without having to think about my bank balance before playing another quest. That totally breaks the immersion.

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