raspberry jam, on 07 December 2012 - 04:14 PM, said:
If you do B (making something fun) in order to get A (what you actually want, money in this case), then A is the primary purpose and B is secondary to A. This is completely obvious lol. If B was primary, you'd do B because you want to get B, not because you want to get A. I'm sorry for calling you an idiot but this was really, you know, I actually laughed in real life.
It's nice to see a future game designer. That's not at all how it happens though, it's not the 80s anymore. Most games you see out there is not because Idea Guy met Programmer Guy and they made a jolly fun game and then they sold it to EA. It's because Programmer Guy already works together with Designer Guy in an existing studio, and either they make a generic clone rehash (e.g. Call of *ing Battlefield Shooter #79, Final JRPG XVII, etc.), and those are made 100% with profit predictions in them from the start, or they take one of the ten billion ideas floating around (because basically everyone in the world is actually an Idea Guy), make a profit prediction, and then start working on it.
There are exceptions. These exceptions are never, ever, AAA high-budget titles like GW2. Ever. They are games like World of Goo. Or they are games like Minecraft - oh wait, no they are not, Notch had a profit model right from the start as well (one that worked much better than expected, but still). But yeah, World of Goo, anyway.
Look, these people work for a living making games. If you had a job, or had to make your own money in any way whatsoever, you'd realize that you don't do actual work without getting paid for it.
You do B first (primary) in order to get A (which would be secondary). A is a result of doing B. You don't get A without doing B first. This is very obvious and was my point in the first place. If the game isn't fun, then who on earth would buy it? Aside from the odd retarded person - nobody. Nobody likes a boring game. Also, nobody would hire you if you made a boring game. They'd take one look at your portfolio and say 'well you made a bunch of junk which nobody was even slightly interested in. You're not going to make us any money.'
I know that's how it works in studios. More often than not, the publishing financial department comes down and says: 'look, you made us a lot of money with (insert name of generic shooter here). We want you to make a sequel. Do it. Now.' Then everybody loads up all of the saved work from the last project, creates a few maps, makes a few more textures, spends a few months recording new dialogue and then ships the game. Boom - instant profit - see you again for the next sequel in 3 months time.
But now you've shifted the conversation to generic AAA titles. I was talking about games in general, whether they're board games, outdoor games - any kind of game. They're designed to be fun. You get the odd designer who questions everything and decides to go back to pen and paper for the next game. It really depends if the new idea is good enough for publishers. This is how Mirror's Edge came to be. This is how Portal came to be. This is how Doom came to be. I could go on, but all of those games were designed to be fun. If a game is that good, they will sell.
Of course they'd want to be paid for it, but they should know that a fun game will sell well. I wasn't talking about generic AAA titles at all.
Arquenya, on 07 December 2012 - 03:34 PM, said:
Of course it's not that black and white - but obviously, there's a lot of decisions being made with money in the back of their heads. Look at the haloween events with the keys from the gem store, for example. Or this thread which basically says "I'd rather have a subscription based game because the gem store has too much influence on the game design".
In order to make money, games should be fun for a significant amout of people, so it doesn't exactly exclude one another. But there's a thin line where the game gets less fun but generates more cash and visa versa. And I don't have the feeling that ANet/NCSoft has the idea "lets make the best and most enoyable game possible because if it's really great, the money will come automatically."
This is true, especially in the case of MMOs. When you design an MMO, you obviously need to take into account the cost of everything. Actually, you need to do that with any game you design otherwise your pitch will definitely fail (the pitch is when you're trying to get a publisher to support you if you don't have one already). If you already have a publisher, they'll tell you what your budget is and it's up to the management to decide how to spend it. Obviously in the case of MMOs, they have an ongoing fee because of server costs, support teams, etc.
A system has to be put in place in order to make more money than spending it. In the case of (insert generic MMO title here), they rely on a subscription fee. That subscription fee doesn't only cover all of the expenditures - it also gives them a fair bit of profit. How do you think Blizzard could afford those fancy offices with statues of their most recognisable characters in the lobby?
In order to sell the actual boxes, the game needs to be fun. Or, at least look fun enough to buy. If it looks like junk and it plays like junk, then nobody will even think about it. Ideally, the price of the initial box fee will cover the development cost as well as provide a bit of profit. The ongoing price of the servers, support teams, etc should be covered by the subscription fee.
Now, Arenanet doesn't want their game to have a subscription fee. They also designed the game to be fun. Ignore all of the bugs and complaints for now because they'll just cloud the overall picture. The game was advertised as fun and the game gives a lot of fun (going by a lot of reviews). I'd take a guess and say that they sold more boxes within the first month of release than most MMOs have done previously. I could be wrong - I'm not going to look into it now.
Not only do they have to pay for the servers, support team, etc. - they also have to pay the employees whilst they develop content for free. So, how can they do all of this without a subscription fee? They're shooting themselves in the foot, aren't they? Well, yes, they obviously won't make as much money as Blizzard, but they can still do it with an in-game cash shop. How do they maximise the cash shop, though? How can they get enough money to pay for everything and still have enough to make a profit?
They sell options. Obviously they hire someone with a psychology background (it is quite a desirable qualification in the video game industry) in order to help with this. If people knew that content was deliberately locked out and they would have to pay for it in order to access it, they would be more inclined to not buy the base game. So, they sell optional upgrades, time savers and cosmetic items. If people aren't forced into paying monthly for the game and see an optional item for sale in the cash shop, they might be inclined to buy it. After all, £5 for an optional item in the cash shop is better than £10 a month, right? That's what goes through a customer's mind.
This technique of sales has been proven on the iOS app store. Just look at Angry Birds - a fun game packed with content and sold for only 69p. The average consumer will think: '69p is nothing compared to all of the other games that are being sold for £4.99!' This is why Angry Birds is now a best-selling game and probably one of the top grossing as well. As of today, yeah, it's at number 19 on the grossing chart and that's their latest release, which was in September or October?
And when they want more money - they release more content and charge people for it. I'm fairly certain an expansion is in the works already at Arenanet. And this is how they make money without ruining the game for everyone. Selling the base game and selling options.
Edited by Robsy128, 07 December 2012 - 05:13 PM.