P2P Isn't Dead, Your Game Just SucksBy: Zanpakutou posted at May 24, 2012 3:41 pm
This is a reply to this article http://www.joystiq.com/2012/05/23/analyst-estimates-amalur-ip-worth-20-million-38-studios-employ/
One thing I have to say is that P2P gaming is not dead. It has not been dead nor will it ever be. The problem with P2P gaming nowadays is that it has to compete with other services that often offer a better deal. The Xbox Live and Playstation Network services basically offer you a full year of online play for all your games and it only costs $50. On the other hand, playing just a single MMO will cost you $15 a month most of the time. You also need to buy the game first, which is another $50 or so just to even get started. If you compare a pay to play MMO to any sort of other game, it is far more expensive even when you factor in buying a console vs buying a computer to play. For every MMO that you play, that might be $15 a month and that can add up quickly. You also have to remember that you are essentially buying pieces of the MMO with various expansion packs.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is a bad example to use as a P2P MMO because of how their launch was handled. Unlike other games, SWTOR essentially reached its peak on day 1 because almost everyone who pre-ordered the game got in early to play. Once people got into the game, SWTOR experienced the same sort of population loss that all MMOs experience. People decided that they did not like the game and quit. Very rarely do MMOs actually maintain their numbers or even grow. Players usually only return when a new expansion pack is released and then the population drops again afterwards. P2P MMOs rely on this model to keep going.
SWTOR suffers from a major problem that all Western games are beginning to suffer from. They have too high of a development cost and tons of it is blown on advertising. There are times when spending $20 million to hire 300 people to make a game is okay, and times when that is probably not the best way to do things. More often than not, more is spent on advertising rather than development and they attribute the cost of advertising to the cost of development. It definitely increases the exposure, but a lot of it just adds up to wasted money. They always have to increase the prices of their games in order to make a profit and not realizing that at some point, players just do not think a game is worth it. Dropping $70 for a new game is a huge purchase and so is all the extra money you have to front up for the pre-order. Potential customers might actually stand back and wait a second to see what they are paying for rather than consider it something that is a good deal or must have.
It is also important not to forget the fact that there are TONS of free to play games out there that they have to compete with as well. The industry is growing, but you have to remember that there are numerous MMOs competing for a limited customer base. You have to think about what is considered good in that region of the world. Some games are more popular in one area while others might sell more in another. There is a reason why millions of copies of Call of Duty are sold in the US and millions of copies of Final Fantasy are sold in Japan yet things might be different if you just switch the region where those games are sold. The MMO market is tapped by all gamers and they have a limited amount of time and money. If you want their money, you have to consider what they want. You cannot just push out a game and expect people to want it. What is it that makes your game unique? Rebranding existing ideas is NOT something unique either. It has to be something that is actually original or just something rare in MMOs.
The cost of being a gamer is actually increasing and that mostly has to do with the cost of games going up. Gaming is become an expensive hobby where people have to pay for fragments of the game through DLC and they have to spend probably $100 on a game if they buy it new and want most of the DLC. If they buy a game during every major release period, they will probably be spending a good $400 to $500 on just gaming a year. This is quite expensive for a lot of people. Being a dick about buying used games will only make things worse as well (looking at you Electronic Arts).
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