The Biggest Idiots in the (Gaming) World

8 04 2012

Nobody in the world acts as dumb as game developers.  Constantly, I see companies releasing their little-engine-that-could titles against power house players, and expect solid results.  This year, we’re going to see three companies completely neuter themselves in this fashion, because the people behind the games are mentally incapable of rational thought.

Now, you’re probably thinking “Diem, wtf.  They’re game developers, they must be geniuses.”  And in that regard, you’re right!  (Congratulations!)  The games that these companies have produced (and we’ll go through that.) are, even in beta, extremely well made games.  But it takes moer than developers to get a game published and ready to sell!  There are marketing directors, producers, financial advisers and more.  In this case, those people are clearly not doing their job correctly.

When you’re making a game, a few things have to be considered.

  1. Is there a market for it?
  2. Do we have the talent to ensure the success of our game from a directive and gameplay standpoint?
  3. Do we have the money to complete the project in a fair amount of time?
  4. What is our budget, and what does it compare to the competition?
  5. Wait… Is there competition?

In this case…  YES, IDIOTS.  THERE IS.

  

Arenanet is making Guild Wars 2, which will directly compete with the Korean MMO Tera, made by En Masse games.  The glaring issue is simple.  Mainstream players are going to Guild Wars 2.  This is an obvious statement.  But since it’s still going to be a bit before we even get a release date for the game, En Masse is hoping we all care enough to purchase their game which comes out on May 1st as a place holder.  This really isn’t a bad strategy, if it weren’t for another company making games similar to the companies listed.  (which is the point of the blog, OOOOOH SUSPENSE!) We’ll come back to that.

As for Guild Wars 2, they face roughly the same issue, but again, we’ll come back to that.  It’s more fun that way.  Trust me.

Moving on, we see our third, and very unknown logo.  Grinding Gear Games.  This New Zealand based company has put an extraordinary amount of effort into a game called Path of Exile.  (Really terrible name for a game.  Maybe okay for a band that plays dive bars, and nursing homes!)  PoE is a Hack n’ Slash game very similar to the Diablo series.

While Arenanet is at least somewhat established, all three of these companies are still too small to be able to fight off the power house, that is Blizzard.  Especially GGG.

First off, if you’re going to release an MMO, why in the goddamn would you EVER release a game anywhere near Diablo 3?    This is company suicide.  GGG even has the audacity to release their game after Diablo 3 comes out?  I mean, maybe play the market’s souped anticipation in hopes of catching some word-of-mouth for the people who are direly awaiting their chance to follow Deckard Cain’s orders back into impending doom, but after?  The entire genre’s success is based highly on the fact that Diablo2 was one of the best games of all time!  And you think your free-to-play mini online-RPG is going to hold a candle to this?

Gamers are a stubborn, awful breed in constant need of entertainment and satisfaction.  Diablo3’s sales are already phenomenal, and once the world finally gets a real chance to play the game for it’s worth, you can expect that to triple or double.  Between Starcraft2 and World of Warcraft, Blizzard has a clear strangle hold on their target audiences.  If for some reason those players start slipping away, then can start tossing money into a woodchipper that Activision positions over their houses, and rain bits of love down on them in anyway possible to ensure they come back and stay there.

Sure.  Free-to-play.  It can be for the Diablo fans out there without a few bucks to throw away.  But the current business model is going to allow micro-transactions, meaning you’re going to wind up spending money on the game either way, if you wish to be competitive with the rest of the world.  But in the end, the game is free-to-play, which means you could theoretically get your Diablo3 rocks off without actually purchasing the game.

But, that f2p versus Blizzard.  What if you actually think that you can get people to PURCHASE YOUR GAME, AND PAY A MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION FEE?  Then what?

Easy.  You’re a fucking dead man.

You can’t mess with Blizzard.  Hands down.  EA bought Bioware, and together they spent tens of thousands of man hours to make an MMO based not only off of one of the most highly regarded games of all time, but fucking Star Wars, too.  They’re struggling.  EA, the people who bought the NFL license, have been voted the worst company of all time, and who have more money to waste than anyone on the planet, and a company who creates nothing but fan service RPGs got destroyed by the shadow of World of Warcraft.  Every analyst on the planet agrees that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be free-to-play inside a two year time span.  I couldn’t imagine disagreeing with that in the slightest.

So, how is a no name company with an RPG hardly anyone has heard of going to try and keep the pricing plans of giant corporations, with their almost insignificant (albeit fun as HELL) MMO?  Oh, right.  They aren’t.  They’re lining themselves up for slaughter.  Tera‘s sales already are rumoring to be somewhat on their initial estimate, but they’re taking advantage of the markets nagging want for Diablo 3.  The game plays similar to Monster Hunter or Phantasy Star Online, so the player base from those games are desperately seeking a new adventure, but those games’ player bases are small.  Confined to Asia, or handhelds, players are going to have to spend a lot of money on PC components to be able to handle Tera.  I have a fairly expensive rig, and even I hit a few bumps here and there.  It’s a big turn off to a lot of players.  Which is why even though PC has insanely better graphics, a huge modding community for your favorite games (meaning hours of added fun and excitement.), and much better support and trouble shooting, the PC still lags behind in sales compared to consoles.

Tera is releasing, officially, on May 1st.  This is two weeks prior to Diablo 3.  Now, I agree with the general public on this:  I’m twitching right now.  They announced the release date for Diablo 3 less than a month ago, and everyday I get a bit closer to insanity, waiting for the life-sucking bastards at Blizzard to finally allow my pre-downloaded game to connect to a server and let me live out my remaining days in peace. (And hellfire.)  And with that constant nagging itch, I’m eagerly and constantly looking for something to fill the void that the promise of Diablo3 has left on my now exposed heart.

But the question is…  Is that anticipation going to push me towards spending $60 on a game that is kind of fun?

Hard to say, really.  Even me, a guy who does close to nothing besides play games is having a hard time justifying a purchase for what I think is a great game.  Tera is a breath of fresh air to the community’s eyes.  Similar in design, like I said, to Monster Hunter, the game’s systems and function of adventure play more like an MMO than a dungeon crawler.  But, I know that my competitive nature is going to pull me to the mainstream Diablo3.

But now, there’s long term competition.  Tera also has to compete to keep their monthly revenue growing from Guild Wars 2 down the line.  Guild Wars is a franchise with a large (and loyal) enough fanbase to completely level En Masse’s hopes and dreams.  Especially with their out of the box, free to play model.  Unfortunately for both companies, the longer we wait, the closer we get to the impending armageddon that is WORLD OF WARCRAFT!

Mists of Pandaria, the highly anticipated fifth entry into the series, promises players a new race, a new class, a complete rebalancing, and more new content than you could shake a Sword of 1000 Truths at.  Players will be flung back into the major battle that the Alliance and the Horde have been holding off on to ensure that Lich King Arthas or Deathwing the Destoyer didn’t destroy the world that they hope their faction to rule soon enough.  Now defeated, the threats of old are silenced, and players are going to go back to war with each other, vying to try and reach teh requirements for their brethren to take over the fucking world.

See?  Even if you don’t play WoW, you have some idea of what is going on.

Let’s not even mention that League of Legends and DotA2 exist to keep players who want a quick experience everyday happy.  League of Legends effectively destroyed World of Warcraft’s arena playerbse, by giving people a free to play player vs. player model, with a ton of customization options!  But, that’s a discussion for another day.

Back to the fruittree, Arenanet, while a much larger and stronger company than En Masse or Grinding Gear Games, will now also be directly competing with Blizzard.  But instead of the revival of the Diablo series, they have to fend off the mother ship.  The game that has broken more gaming companies than any other franchise on the planet.  The MMO-Killer.  The genre-killer.  The life-destroyer.

Even if you suck at games, and your life revolves around Wall Street, or being a nuclear engineer on a Submarine, the name World of Warcraft is going to be a name that you recognize.  It’s a brand name.  When you think of MMOs these days, you go to WoW.  It’s like trying to make cotton swabs.  You don’t even know what they are.   They’re Q-tips.

It’s all about branding.  Established, bell ringing brands that are larger than the product itself.

So, when you have companies that are struggling to enter a market, and take the players away from other games to ensure your success as a company, you essentially have two options:

  • Ensure the market is dry of new content
  • Make the best game ever fucking made.

Now, since three very hyped MMOs are coming out this year, along side Diablo 3 and Mists of Pandaria (we can only assume it’s this year.  Safe bet, though.), I can confidently say that there is no chance of the market being in a famine of content.  So, that leaves us with the only possible, logical conclusion:  These idiots think they’re making history.

These idiots think that their game is good enough to fight off Blizzard, and truly make a mark in the history of gaming.  Somewhere in their diluted minds is the idea that the games they’ve created will be good enough, popular enough to compete with two of the biggest franchises in the gaming world.  These companies think the player bases of MMOs and Online RPGs will be so enthralled by Tera, Path of Exile and Guild Wards 2, that they will be able to compete with the biggest company in game development in the last 5 years.

Well, I only have one thing to say to that:

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5 responses

8 04 2012
kyle f.

Yo, really good read.

Its funny how you have this way of making complecated things seem obvious….

Like, you’d think that a small unknown developer would know better than to make a game and put it out at anywhere near the same time frame as the the sequel to the game that gave them the reason, and market to make their game in the first place. That would be like if Skullgirls came out the same week as street fighter x tekken. They were at least smart enough to put it about a month and a half back from it

8 04 2012
diembrandon

Skullgirls has the best release window ever.

It’s more than just a yearning for another fighting game, as the FGC is still so sour over the execution of SFxT, that most of them are dying for a new game to play!

The small pricetag, and window of release’s strength is multiplied by the fact that we just didn’t get what we want. My initial expectation of sales for Skullgirls I think has close to doubles.

I, personally, am very excited.

Two other games had very strong release windows for their games in the past few years. Namely, Borderlands, and Battlefield 3. Both positioned themselves near a Modern Warfare release, but just far enough for it to still be riding the hype train. Battlefield’s word of mouth was a powerful wildfire.

Borerlands? Come on. Show me a cool person who HASN’T played Borderlands!

9 04 2012
Dazwa

haha, yeah, never played borderlands, what a joker…

ha….

9 04 2012
thiocyanide

Don’t forget that, for a massive number of people approximately somewhere around the 2 million mark, Diablo 3 is free provided they pay for World of Warcraft for the next year.

With this Blizzard has effectively cornered the market on both Diablo-style games AND MMOs for the next year. Just generally not a good year to release a game in any genre Blizzard is publishing a game in.

9 04 2012
diembrandon

Keep in mind, that a lot of WoW subscriber base is hackers. Roughly 6-8%~ at any given time.

But yes, so many people were tucked into to Blizzard’s bed of manipulation and amazingness that was the annual pass. Not only do they commit to playing WoW for a year (Which means an extremely likely buy of Mists of Pandaria), but a guaranteed play of Diablo 3.

This effectively kills the choice of MoP vs GW2, and D3 vs PoE for well over a million people.

With the non-disclosure agreement on GW2, a lack of info is really putting them on the back burner. PoE was barely able to handle 10,000 concurrent players. There is little hope for the online RPG and MMO genres outside of Blizzard.

Luckily, Blizzard’s products are GODLIKE.

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