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Games, Greed and Business models

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Originally posted here http://guildwars.incgamers.com/forum...ront-of-MMORPG
I thought it deserved a blog post as well, since its an important issue imo.

Quote Originally Posted by Shrandar View Post
Quote Originally Posted by RDarken View Post
The EA argument drives me up the wall. Aside from my personal experiences with them, the complaints just makes me want to punch every single person complaining. It's not so much that the complaints aren't valid - they often are. But the fact that people still buy the games is what bugs me. You can't support a company and then complain about everything they do. That's like pooping on your floor and then complaining that it smells like poop in your house.

Did anyone see that launch day BF3 screenshot? There was all this talk about boycotting BF3 for whatever reason (it was pulled off Steam? Maybe?) and someone posted an XFire or whatever screenshot of all these gamers and like 95% were playing BF3. DDdrrr

I think that part of the problem here is that there simply is not enough counterweight in the current game industry. Atm I know of two relatively large gamecompanies that distinguish themselves on the commercial front with a clear customer minded attitude. One is CDproject and GoG (Goold old Games- online retailer) the other is Anet. There are probably more but these are the ones I know of. CDProject made name with both Witcher Games, updating them, and releasing enhanced versions of them for free (new features, content etc) for those that had bought the original game. On top of that: when it turned out that Witcher 2 suffered heavy performance problems due to DRM they removed the DRM in one of the first patches shortly after release. GoG only yesterday with the release of the enhanced edition of Witcher 2 offered a free digital backup for everyone who alreay owned the game, nomatter where you had bought it from originally. This backup is fully patched, includes all DLC's (which were for free to start with I might add) and is updated with the enhanced edition. Anet probably needs no further explanation here.

The point is that we are conditioned to expect the worst when it comes to game companies, a good example is all the knee-jerk reactions to the casshop leaks recently. Even though Anet has been pretty clear in their policy about micro transactions and has a good reputation when it comes to GW1 there were still a lot of people ready to believe that Anet had completely abandoned their ideals and turned to unaldulterated greed. And if it was not Anet then it was probably NCSoft.

What makes things worse is that the discussion among gamers in relation to these issues is often so convoluted. Two examples: Funcom recently announced that their new MMO The Secret World (TSW) will have a subscription accompanied with a casshop which according to to them will sell mostly convenience, cosmetics and account services. This announcement stirred quite a lot of discussion among the TSW community, suspecting Funcom trying to double dip. A lot of players decided to hold of on buying the game or even abandoned the idea all together but more worrying was that about as many didn't see a problem with this whatsoever; Funcom is a business after all, their main goal is to make money. The other example is SWTOR: at the release of the large content update 1.2 recently they send a mail to players to thank them for their loyalty and dedication and offered by way of thanks a free month of subscription. The nag was though that this mail and free month was only for level 50 players. Naturally this created an outrage at the forums, and worse a huge split in the community, with a lot of level 50 players accusing the ones that were not for being incompetent, idiotic and not deserving anything, after all if you cannot reach level cap in 4 months there must be something seriously wrong with you. The main problem (at least imo) that game play gets rewarded with real money rewards and in the process divides the community in two was hardly even recognized. Ofcourse everyone was supposed to be happy when after a day Bioware decided to widen the requirements for the free month.

As an afterthought: TotalBiscuit in his lates Mailbox discusses the viability of the b2p model in GW2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mx0w...AAAABAA#t=9m5s
What is basically comes down to is that he has strong doubts wether their intended business model will succeed. For GW1 it worked because it was not a real MMO (aka no persistent world) but with GW2 being one he doesnt see how they will be able to fincance that (assuming the casshop will be completely optional). He considers a freemium model like for expample DDO uses as the best possible option for a f2p MMO.