Gunwhat??, Commercialisation and gaming.

June 9, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Posted in games, me | 1 Comment
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Gunbound.  I quit this game two years ago.  Its just a choose your angle, choose your power sort of tank game.  Just the sort of thing a physicist would play.    Projectile motion galore.  Utterly eradicating other players who think “feel” or “intuition” is a good way to shoot.  No.  Formulas and spreadsheets are the way to go.

Anyway,  I’d just like to talk a bit about business.  When a business provides a service, be it food or a game or whatever,and becomes rather successful, there are several things to consider if you want the success to continue.

You not only aim to attract new customers/clients but also go to lengths to keep the old ones on coming back.  How do businesses do that?  Adding new stuff and/or increasing the “value” of their products/services.  What does this all mean?  Real life examples:

1) Mcdonalds – not satisfied with providing fast food to the population of HK, Mcdonalds introduces McCafe  selling coffees and pretty cakes.  Stuff from McCafe is more expensive, and tries to promote a more relaxed, slow approach to eating.  Even going as far as to introduce free wifi internet access in the vinicinities.  I find it an interesting juxtaposition, a chain of sub-restuarants with its slightly more expensive food and drinks promoting the illusion of a slower and more relaxing “experience”.  But McCafe is just an attachment right next to the regularMcdonalds branches, where food is fast and the focus isn’t on relaxation.  And opening more chains around the place doesn’t hurt profits either.  On top of that, a 24 hour opening schedule draws in yet more customers, providing a cleaner, brightly lit,  more comfortable place than the streets outside.

2) Delifrance.  Was once a self serving, push your own tray,  find your own seat, dining experience.  Now it has upgraded a proprotion of its restuarants to “bistros” or whatever.  Here, you are given a seat, order from the seat to a waiter and pay 10% service charge.  And expanded from a bakery to add pastas.  Basically charging more for what appear to be services and products with higher value.  Simliar case with Oliver’s sandwiches.

A similar thing occurs in online gaming.  Companies must continually provide new content, new services to keep the old customers and rein in new customers.  Most successful example ever – World of Warcraft.  Periodic expansions and activities that give great self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement keep players hooked.  They don’t even have to have people hooked onto playing, just hooked enough that customers keep on paying their monthly subscription fee = $$$.

However, there is an issue with adding new content and goodies.  It is VITAL to keep everything balanced afterwards.  Unlike Gunbound, where they added new ranks to level up to, new tanks and new maps to play around with.  I didn’t mind the periodically new “items” (clothing, etc that affected in game statistics) one could purchase for small amounts of money, that was their businesss model (free to play, but profit from selling lots of small ingame items that looked more stylish).   I didn’t mind the levelling system, adding new shinier, higher ranks was the only way to make the older players continue playing.  I really didn’t mind the new maps to play on, even though they were badly designed, we could opt not to play on them.  But what I really hated were the new tanks to choose from.  Some of them extremely easy to use while also dealing large amounts of damage.  But the ones I really hated were those that slowed down gameplay.  Tanks that get more powerful over time = faster games.  Tanks that made other tanks weaker over time = faster games.  Tanks that reduce attack power, or Tanks that make it difficult to shoot  = MUCH SLOWER GAMES.  Slow games are boring.  And don’t give good rewards for the time spent.  Hence my quitting two years ago when those changes were implemented.

So those out there thinking of making online games, you have been warned.  Be wary of the pacing.

Anyway, so I downloaded it from school and reinstalled it on my computer the other day.  Then spent a total of 4 hours or so slowly downloading the updates and patches on my 56 k modem.  And tried it out again.  Not many players on, but it was an American server and US is currently asleep.  Final few moments of the second game ever in two years:

20090609_turtless_thor

My memory was a little bit rusty, but still capable of pulling off stylish killer shots.   There are more tanks, not just ones that look suspiciously like turtles.  I’m not going to link to the site, I don’t really reccomend the game.  Try http://tigdb.com or http://tigsource.com for independant games that might rock your interests.

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  1. Gunbound is similar to worms is it not?

    Oh yea, and another thing about companies releasing new content for games.

    Valve does the same, releasing a new “character” patch which introduces new items and gameplay options to a certain class for TF2. At the same time, they also have a “free weekend” and lower the price of the game to an affordable price.

    Marketing genius.


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