Candy Crush Dev: Microtransactions Are The Future of Games

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Johnny Novgorod:
What the fuck had this guy been snorting?

oh i think we probably both know the answer to that...

"God's way of telling you you are making too much money"

Free To Play works well for certain types of games. Hearthstone, for example, is a pretty good free to play game.

But the idea that Free to play can even apply to many genres is stupid. How could you possibly make a free to play Mario or Megaman game, for example? It would break the core of the game. And what about a Metroidvania? It just doesn't work. In fact, most core game genres don't really work as FTP games.

This guy might as well have said "I don't know anything about game design and I really, really want to be hated by gamers."

Darth Sea Bass:
Yes massah I surely will fall in line. Egotistical prick. You know what? If it happens that this becomes the norm rather than the exception is the day i quit gaming it's not like i don't have a backlog to get by on.

Same here, I've got 500 games on steam I still need to play, plus my consoles, this idiot seems to think everyone is addicted to the newest shiniest games and can't/won't play anything less. While there are some shallow people like that I'd like to think most players wouldn't trade their dignity for slightly more particles esp now that graphics have practically hit the peak with nowhere for them to go.

Are you guys really...really...that frigging stupid? Exactly...what KIND of candy do you have over there? Because I'm thinking meth. I made a comment at the R&P section here that my hatred of all the morons in the world is completely without favorites, that my judgement of fools is based upon merit and deed.

This is one such deed.

You, like everyone before you who keeps blurting out this crap, are out of your mind. Fall in line? Like hell! Go peddle your wares somewhere where they haven't heard of you, because this is it. You're done. It's over. You're labeled. You're shit. Nobody's going to want anything to do with you. You're telling the customer what to do...right smack dab in the middle of the time where people don't like that. Apathy is going away. People are getting pissed. You represent one of the many companies who will be frantically spinning their wheels with no headway until death.

Surely it can't be that long until some countries begin to put regulations on F2P games since they're becoming so similar in impact to the user as gambling.

Not even gonna' waste more time than necessary with such statements. One good laugh and then i proceed onwards. With DkS 2 and BoI:Rebirth coming my next ~300-500 hours gameplay are set for this year anyway.

Push comes to shove my friends and i will stick to our steadily growing numbers of boardgames, P&P RPGs and MTG - and replaying old stuff which those greedy cunts can't take away from you.

100% F2P leads to badly designed games, because every game has to be built around the monetization. If i just slightly try to fathom what Dark Souls or Deus Ex would look like in such a world >.> *shiver*

Dude, just shut up. Your "fall in line" attitude is not doing you any favors, and this is coming from a guy who spends most of his spare time on TF2 and Dota 2.

"Free to play" games are all to often "Free to wait or give me money", actively putting obstacles, that you can pay to remove, in the way of the player. This is not, in the slightest, appealing to me and I've so far avoided all games that are free to play on these grounds. I don't want the damn game pestering me to buy things, just like I don't want to pay to watch TV-commercials.

F2P in itself isn't bad although it can be and is a lot of the time. That being said, this guys point is essentially that once all your alternatives are taken away then you'll naturally love all the options that you have.

Let's say you're deathly allergic to peanuts and you get trapped on a desert island with a few people and a lifetime supply of peanut butter and bread. Of course you can eat only bread and you'll survive, but now take that bread away and your trapped on a desert island with an endless supply of food that will kill you if you eat it, and a whole bunch of well-fed people. And while your starving to death trying to make the decision between death by food or death by starvation, according to this guys argument "free to Play" Games aren't gonna sound to bad then now are they?

free to pay model certainly brings in a lot of money for them, but what the developers need to realize is that with free to pay you have to actually make a good game and expect people to buy it later, becasue they can no longer ask full price ahead for a shitty one.

I also would like to make a prediction that gamers will "Fall in line" with this model as much as they "Fell in line" with always on Xbox.

Can EA just buy out King Games so they can plow each other into the ground? That'd be swell.

Not like they had much of a reputation before, but this is not going to speak well of their practises.

I'm going to enjoy watching them crash; I'll give it a year.

And this guy is a game guru?

I want to say "lol".

putowtin:

erttheking:
I do enjoy some free to play games with microtransactions, but the idea that ALL games should have them? NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! A THOUSAND FUCKING TIMES NO! Please tell me how Dark Souls would be improved by microtransactions.

I hope this guy steps on a lego brick in the middle of the night.

ohh the pain the pain!

Steven Bogos:
"If you talk to many hardcore gamers, they're not happy about it right now, but if you asked them about the long term, 'do you want to continue playing your favorite game for years to come?' And the answer will be yes," he said.

that's right, because they've already paid for the fucking thing!

Burn and Crash King

All of this. I agree so much. How can anyone be this oblivious.

Hahaha how many times have we heard this nonsense now. I'm still not seeing it come true.

Doubtful. The F2P+microtransactions model can work well in many genres, but I'm sure even this game guru hasn't come up with an idea to make this model work properly with, say, triple-A story-driven single player experiences like The Last of Us or Bioshock: Infinite.

Then again, now that I think about it... having to type in your credit card number as fast as you can in order to pay Elizabeth for the stuff she throws at you, that could make for a whole new gameplay element. :)

Nope, in the long run you're just gonna get even more hate. You see its not even just about the price of this shitty idea, its the practice itself that is kinda ruining my experience of games. Because seeing that shop icon on the screen or knowing that a game is somehow free-to-play comes with a stigma and knowledge that the people making it don't care about my experience, they put their profit before my gameplay. Because no matter how you look at it, that comfortable feeling of knowing you actually have the whole game in your hands is gone, because there is always something else they will sell, whether it actually belongs in the game or not.

Free-to-play is a rather shitty practice, even without the absurd prices we've seen so far.

I hope this industry gets its head out of its own ass at some point, it can't be good for them.

Steven Bogos:
Candy Crush Dev: Microtransactions Are The Future of Games

Permalink

Except that pre-packaged games are designed to be fun.

Free-to-Play games are designed to be painful, and then temporarily make the pain stop if you pay.

Source: Gamasutra.

Edit: Oh, great, so they changed the content of the article in response to pressure from King's CEO. Way to censor the internet. Well, it doesn't matter. We all saw the article as it was originally written, and we all know that F2P developers of games that are coming out now took their cues from that version of the article. This is just a thin layer of P.R. paint over the top of it. The entire business model is built on coercion, with the notable exception of a handfull of games, such as LoL (until they started selling rune sheets, that is. Sigh.)

If we're going to be F2P, then there better be a good system for it. Personally, I favor the system used by TF2 and War Thunder, mainly that the microtransactions are there, but the things you are purchasing are side-grades at best. TF2 can be played excellently using only the default weapons, and most of the better items can also drop randomly or be crafted. As for War Thunder, while the premium planes do exist, they do not necessarily give an advantage on the battlefield. Yes, your shiny new Pe-3 may come with all the upgrades pre-installed, but it's still a Peshka. It will still explode in a great ball of fire if another plane so much as turns in its general direction. Everything is a sidegrade, and the game can be completed in a reasonable amount of time with the same level of skill without buying anything. If there is a microtransaction system, that is how it should be implemented.

WarpZone:

Steven Bogos:
Candy Crush Dev: Microtransactions Are The Future of Games

Permalink

Except that pre-packaged games are designed to be fun.

Free-to-Play games are designed to be painful, and then temporarily make the pain stop if you pay.

Source: Gamasutra.

Edit: Oh, great, so they changed the content of the article in response to pressure from King's CEO. Way to censor the internet. Well, it doesn't matter. We all saw the article as it was originally written, and we all know that F2P developers of games that are coming out now took their cues from that version of the article. This is just a thin layer of P.R. paint over the top of it. The entire business model is built on coercion, with the notable exception of a handfull of games, such as LoL (until they started selling rune sheets, that is. Sigh.)

I remember seeing those additions and thinking it looked like they were added grudgingly under the coercion of lawyers. These companies are almost identical to gambling houses. They use the same psychological tricks, the same systems of play and even the same behind the scenes language. "Whale" is a gambling term for a problem gambler. As we've seen, over 50% of F2P profits come from 0.15% of the player base.
(Personally i don't think a lot of the Data social gaming people come out with in terms of demographics is believable. More than 80% of the player base for Candy Crush in 2013 for example was middle aged women. They used this to counter claims they were monetizing children. But other parts of the industry keep trying to portray their customers as "just regular gamers". It does not stack up.)

Free to play has no upper limit of spend. That's why the accountants and marketing people love it so much. 99% of free to play games are what gaming looks like if you remove anyone who even has a passing interest in game design from the decision making process.

"If you talk to many hardcore gamers, they're not happy about it right now, but if you asked them about the long term, 'do you want to continue playing your favorite game for years to come?' And the answer will be yes,"

Well if the current companies turn their franchises into f2p, they won't be our favourite games anymore. People didn't accept the new Dungeon Keeper, it's universally hated. If the majority of developers took their products that way, they would pretty much crash the whole market, but good ideas and creatively made games will pop up and get attention and praise, renewing the development of proper games. A lot of people can lose their jobs over this greedy short-term strategy and some already are, we've seen studios being turned into mobile-game departments and subsequently shut down.

If it was Valve or Riot saying this, I'd grumble, but give them a pass.

Considering this is coming from the dickhead "Hurr durr copyright anythign with Candy in the name or Saga in the name, hurr durr" company, I am not going to give them a pass.

Especially when they basically tell us "Fall in line and do as you are told or else the games you like will cease existing". That just riles me the hell up.

If we just "fall in line" you know what the future holds? Dungeon keeper mobile style cons. EVERYWHERE.

So this "game guru" can go do something very rude to himself for all I care.

Adam Jensen:
We will fall in line? What a fuckin' dumbass. I hope his company crashes and burns and everyone forgets it existed.

That's right. We didn't ask for this.

Scrumpmonkey:

WarpZone:

Steven Bogos:
Candy Crush Dev: Microtransactions Are The Future of Games

Permalink

Except that pre-packaged games are designed to be fun.

Free-to-Play games are designed to be painful, and then temporarily make the pain stop if you pay.

Source: Gamasutra.

*snip*

I remember seeing those additions and thinking it looked like they were added grudgingly under the coercion of lawyers. These companies are almost identical to gambling houses. They use the same psychological tricks, the same systems of play and even the same behind the scenes language. "Whale" is a gambling term for a problem gambler. As we've seen, over 50% of F2P profits come from 0.15% of the player base.

I read that article, and was sadly aware of most of those tactics, but I did not know about the age-specific exploitations of psychology.

In any case, it's rather horrifying to consider, from two perspectives:

1) I'm going to sound like a hipster old man, but this exploitative mentality just screams "Gaming I knew is moving diametrically away from me." Video Gaming has always had exploitation of some sort, but the sheer volume of these F2P scam-games is just getting overwhelming. As a demographic, I'm simply not that relevant anymore, partly because I'm "wiser".

2) At what point do these things cease being "games" and start being "scams"?
I cannot think of any other product or service where someone pays to be deliberately inconvenienced or jerked around.

When a game demands you to spend real money to retain some metric of progress (purely artificial progress) you already worked for, we seriously need to stop and ask ourselves "What the unholy fuck am I doing?!"

(Personally i don't think a lot of the Data social gaming people come out with in terms of demographics is believable. More than 80% of the player base for Candy Crush in 2013 for example was middle aged women. They used this to counter claims they were monetizing children. But other parts of the industry keep trying to portray their customers as "just regular gamers". It does not stack up.)

It makes sense if you add a specific qualifier: Middle aged women...who have children and credit cards.

Remember: "Whales" spend copious amounts of money on the spot. Who is more likely to do that? Mom who plays Match-3 on her smart phone on break from her job to help raise her family, or her kid with far more free time and no realistic grasp of fiscal responsibility?

I remember reading an article last year about the growing issue of credit card debt from kids running up insane bills on these kinds of games (especially in Japan). While my hypothetical situation is certainly not absolute, I'm willing to believe it over anything from King; they're definitely not telling us the whole story.

Free to play has no upper limit of spend. That's why the accountants and marketing people love it so much. 99% of free to play games are what gaming looks like if you remove anyone who even has a passing interest in game design from the decision making process.

I've played the remaining 1% that are pretty decent, and even then, in all instances I was ultimately convinced that those games could have been made much better if they were sold as full packages.

-Mechwarrior Online is just a shinier version of MW4 with grind.
-HAWKEN is an Unreal Tournament 3 mod with grossly overpriced skins and grind.
-Tribes: Ascend is just Tribes 2, but utter shit.
-Warframe doesn't even have host its own game on its own servers; it's all Point-to-Point with a governing matchmaking system that holds your save file hostage on an account.

The multiplayer-centric components of these games make F2P-server centricity appealing, but in the end I just gave up on all of them mostly because I just got tired of grinding all the time. The only F2P games that I haven't felt were total wastes of time thus far were the MOBAs: DotA2 and LoL (well, I quit LoL for good, but for technical reasons)

While I've tried to remain impartial and objective about F2P (especially as of late), I honestly cannot ignore the obvious problems with the model anymore. It's not even a matter of just me not liking it subjectively, but the fact that it's just a flat out worse deal for the gamer on the whole.

The name "Free to Play" is extremely misleading.
"Free" implies freedom of cost, but these games are among the most costly possible (not just money, but time too; which itself is being directly monetized now).

Atmos Duality:

Free to Play CAN work nicely but under very specific circumstances.

1. The game has to be built from the ground up with a fair free to play system in mind and be a genre conducive to a f2P environment. It is EXTREMELY difficult and actually requires a great degree of talent and innovative thinking. The best suited genre i can think of is digital CCGs like Hearthstone. The amazing thing about Hearthstone is that it HASN'T been done so well before. If you have the right talent and go thought the OCD levels of balancing required to make a full CCG work then a micro-transactions model is basically the original model for that genre.

Again, in this scenario you have to combine the right ethos with the specific genre and then everything within the design process has to be geared towards making your game exceptionally well balanced. The things that make a F2P game brilliant instead of merely average can be very minute because you're not just worrying about a game-play system. You are worrying about the environment as a whole. You are basically squaring the things that can go wrong.

2. IF the game is being adapted or 'made free to play' then the revenue has to come from items that are optional extras leaving the core of the experience completely intact as if it was a retail game. TF2 did this will a great degree of elegance. It's all about balancing item drops and making the 'money' side of the game seem completely optional. Load-out tried this too but sadly seems to be failing to convince players it isn't just a tired old F2P game. It's sad that the image problem is actively killing a good game.

Again this can only work if the systems in place are fair like drop-rates etc. It, for all extents and purposes, needs to function like a retail game with an optional item store.

3. You can, you know, actually make a free game. A real free to play game like Kyntt or any number of titles released for the love of it. No revenue systems. No catches. Just something created and released for the point of it. This is what "Free" used to mean. The term has been bastardized beyond redemption.

Stop calling yourselves "game developers", now!
If every game became free to play (with micro-transaction) , I would drop the hobby and never fucking look back.

Arcades died out because people didn't want to keep paying endlessly to play a game, and the home consoles offered a better price, and gave people ownership and control.

If this is the future, if every game is "free to play (with micro-transaction)" then Mr. Ebert was right all along.

EA, you know how you've done that thing a lot, where you buy a company and then destroy them?
Buy these idiots, destroy them, monopolize their garbage apps however you want but for god's sake, gross monetization and abusive policies are YOUR realms, not these young punks. SO GET BACK IN THE SADDLE AND GIVE US CANDY DUNGEON CRUSH KEEPER 2 ALREADY.

Has the guy even made a game that cost more than a case of beer and a large pizza to make? Of course he can turn a profit on that with microtransactions. But I have never seen a big F2P game last any amount of time, exceptions would be League of Legends and DotA, but that is mainly due to the competitive scene.

DrOswald:
Free To Play works well for certain types of games. Hearthstone, for example, is a pretty good free to play game.

But the idea that Free to play can even apply to many genres is stupid. How could you possibly make a free to play Mario or Megaman game, for example? It would break the core of the game. And what about a Metroidvania? It just doesn't work. In fact, most core game genres don't really work as FTP games.

This guy might as well have said "I don't know anything about game design and I really, really want to be hated by gamers."

Simple. You do it the way most F2P games get made:

- Step 1: Start with a good game.

- Step 2: Break its kneecaps.

- Step 3: Sell crutches.

- Step 4: The crutches need to be bought again every time you play.

See? Simple! We call this the Dungeon Keeper Formula, and it's THE FUTURE OF GAMING according to these guys.

FalloutJack:
Are you guys really...really...that frigging stupid? Exactly...what KIND of candy do you have over there? Because I'm thinking meth. I made a comment at the R&P section here that my hatred of all the morons in the world is completely without favorites, that my judgement of fools is based upon merit and deed.

This is one such deed.

You, like everyone before you who keeps blurting out this crap, are out of your mind. Fall in line? Like hell! Go peddle your wares somewhere where they haven't heard of you, because this is it. You're done. It's over. You're labeled. You're shit. Nobody's going to want anything to do with you. You're telling the customer what to do...right smack dab in the middle of the time where people don't like that. Apathy is going away. People are getting pissed. You represent one of the many companies who will be frantically spinning their wheels with no headway until death.

I guess now we know what went on behind closed doors in that "How to Reduce Backlash" panel.

"The best way to reduce backlash is by telling your detractors that it's my way or the highway. Also: Fight each other over the whales, they're providing more and more of our actual revenue for some reason."

METRICS! :D

Scrumpmonkey:

Free to Play CAN work nicely but under very specific circumstances.

1. The game has to be built from the ground up with a fair free to play system in mind and be a genre conducive to a f2P environment. *snip*

Genre is restricted, I'll grant you that. PvP is a certainty, PvE as a minority at best (Bots in MOBAs; Warframe was overwhelmingly PvE, but the way the server system was designed it might as well have been sold as a regular game)
As much as I loved my DotA1 LANs, I realize that the main appeal of the game requires player diversity.

So for skill based games, I maintain that F2P is best to engage in what I call "MMO-like" design: Where you have a large population of players, but the game state is confined to small matches instead of plopping them all in one big digital world. What separates this from contemporary "hybrid" Singleplayer/Online-Multiplayer titles is the benefit of centralizing the matches.

As for "ethos", it's a matter of not letting your players pay for direct advantages, or gating them into paying money (at which point it ceases to be a game, and becomes a scam or ante-game).

2. IF the game is being adapted or 'made free to play' then the revenue has to come from items that are optional extras leaving the core of the experience completely intact as if it was a retail game. TF2 did this will a great degree of elegance. It's all about balancing item drops and making the 'money' side of the game seem completely optional. Load-out tried this too but sadly seems to be failing to convince players it isn't just a tired old F2P game. It's sad that the image problem is actively killing a good game.

I am wary of games where random-reward is a driving element. Historically, most games use Random Reward as the final stage in "Skinner Box-ing" a game; that is, where they turn the grind dial up to 10.

In a F2P environment, the urge to exploit that is magnified greatly; to the point where it can quickly devolve into gambling (many digital CCGs do this; especially Eastern digital CCGs).

These are issues that packaged games can avoid entirely, since that model innately has little to no incentive to push grind onto the player, barring the usual artificial methods (like selling a service-centric game as a package *glares at Diablo 3*).

For F2P, at best, we can only hope that random reward elements are purely optional and/or player-involved as Valve's efforts have shown (DotA2 and TF2). But in practice, that system is an extreme minority.

Simply put: It's trivial to point to games that are sold as complete packages even today, but the new business paradigm is trying to push more easily exploited service-centric games. The latter is what I'm opposed to and to me, it just seems as though the practical benefits of F2P are grossly outweighed by their restrictions.

In any case, the market will have to work extremely hard to obtain my trust of the F2P model going forward.

3. You can, you know, actually make a free game. A real free to play game like Kyntt or any number of titles released for the love of it. No revenue systems. No catches. Just something created and released for the point of it. This is what "Free" used to mean. The term has been bastardized beyond redemption.

Well, yeah. Free can also retain its actual, literal definition too.

Atmos Duality:

Scrumpmonkey:

Free to Play CAN work nicely but under very specific circumstances.

1. The game has to be built from the ground up with a fair free to play system in mind and be a genre conducive to a f2P environment. *snip*

Genre is restricted, I'll grant you that. PvP is a certainty, PvE as a minority at best (Bots in MOBAs; Warframe was overwhelmingly PvE, but the way the server system was designed it might as well have been sold as a regular game)
As much as I loved my DotA1 LANs, I realize that the main appeal of the game requires player diversity.

So for skill based games, I maintain that F2P is best to engage in what I call "MMO-like" design: Where you have a large population of players, but the game state is confined to small matches instead of plopping them all in one big digital world. What separates this from contemporary "hybrid" Singleplayer/Online-Multiplayer titles is the benefit of centralizing the matches.

As for "ethos", it's a matter of not letting your players pay for direct advantages, or gating them into paying money (at which point it ceases to be a game, and becomes a scam or ante-game).

Going off on a tangent, a LOT of the revenue models we see companies like King or Zynga do are actually lifted from Korean/ Japanese MMO titles are are designed with the express purpose of being "Pay to Win". These games are essentially money games that work on the direct principle of who pays most money wins. The evolved in very insular gaming environments (The Japanese market especially is famously fiercely Xenophobic when it comes to games) where wide-scale competitive play and rankings hold a lot of weight. The MMO companies essentially sell these people self esteem boosts letting them buy wins. Like the Gamestrama and many other articles F2P "Whales" in the east are treated like high rollers and must spend thousands of dollars a year in remain competitive.

Now the gaming environment in the 'social'/touch space is very different but some components of this model remained. The ideas come from the same roots. Ultimately this has caused a pretty toxic industry environment. PC gaming is very different in Japan and Korea. They are languishing in a huge pile of these awful F2P money game MMOs.

WarpZone:

Edit: Oh, great, so they changed the content of the article in response to pressure from King's CEO. Way to censor the internet. Well, it doesn't matter. We all saw the article as it was originally written, and we all know that F2P developers of games that are coming out now took their cues from that version of the article. This is just a thin layer of P.R. paint over the top of it. The entire business model is built on coercion, with the notable exception of a handfull of games, such as LoL (until they started selling rune sheets, that is. Sigh.)

Right enough, at least the "gamers will fall in line" line has been taken out, maybe more, and without the usual "Update" or "Edit" label by the Escapist.

Censorship indeed, I hope someone took a few screencaps or something.

image

1. Who the hell are you to say this? Where's your qualifications? Oh, one good small F2P game that any competent developer could do? Woah, look out then guys. He totally knows what he's talking about.

2. There will ALWAYS be a good variety of games both with and without microtransactions. And seriously, do I really have to tell anyone why? Just look at the history and current state of gaming. If anything, the variety of games out is actually EXPANDING.

Free to play isn't a bad model in of it self. Of the games I play most often, three of them (TF2, Hearstone, and DOTA 2) are all F2P. There are some more I would love to play, such as Planetside 2, but can't because my computer doesn't have the RAM.

What is the difference between these games and Candy Crush? They are not trying to monetize frustration. No "oh, this level sure is hard, it would be oh so easy if you just paid to get past it," or "wow, some ultra bombs would be nice for this level, wouldn't they?"

Dota 2 gives me all the playable content, FREE. I can be any hero, any time of the day I wish. All they ask me to pay for is for hats or gloves or announcers that change NOTHING of the game-play. Just like how Farmville eventually fell apart, King games will find their customers leaving in droves for the next cow clicker.

WarpZone:

DrOswald:
Free To Play works well for certain types of games. Hearthstone, for example, is a pretty good free to play game.

But the idea that Free to play can even apply to many genres is stupid. How could you possibly make a free to play Mario or Megaman game, for example? It would break the core of the game. And what about a Metroidvania? It just doesn't work. In fact, most core game genres don't really work as FTP games.

This guy might as well have said "I don't know anything about game design and I really, really want to be hated by gamers."

Simple. You do it the way most F2P games get made:

- Step 1: Start with a good game.

- Step 2: Break its kneecaps.

- Step 3: Sell crutches.

- Step 4: The crutches need to be bought again every time you play.

See? Simple! We call this the Dungeon Keeper Formula, and it's THE FUTURE OF GAMING according to these guys.

There is a way to to port a "Mario" or a "Metrovania" into a, sort of, free to play model.

Let players play the first world/castle/area/whatever your calling each part of the game, free and sell the rest. It effectively is a demo, allowing players to judge if they like the game and it's mechanics before they buy the whole thing. I know several games have adopted this model (although the only example I can think of off the top of my head is the iphone port of Ghost Trick).

Anyone who uses "TEH FUTUREZ!!!11" in order to try and sell me on something, or worse, try to "convince" me I actually like, or am supposed to like what they're selling is not going to fare well once I take over the world.

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