Modern gaming business practices

Steam, Deals & More.
User avatar
Mantis
Landlord
Posts: 1233
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 pm
Location: The Grid

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Mantis » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:56 pm

I think it's kind of naive to think that these big publishers don't push the agenda of lengthening gameplay in order to encourage people to spend money on time skips. Once the MTX had been removed from Middle Earth Shadow of War the devs immediately released a patch that cut progression time down to balance things back out.

My argument is simple. If there is a section of a game that people feel they'd rather pay to skip than play through, then that section probably doesn't need to be there at all, or at least would benefit from being shorter.

Funny how if a player wanted to skip through levels prior to all this nonsense they just used to use a cheat code. Want double XP? Up, up, down, left, up, R1, R2, X. Now you have to buy an XP booster pack that lasts for 48 hours.

User avatar
Snowy
Posts: 512
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:57 am
Location: Ballhang

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Snowy » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:12 pm

Mantis wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:05 pm
Welcome to the light side, indie gaming has been where it's at for five or six years now, if you can search through the deluge of piss poor titles there are some all time greats to be found. I think I play maybe one AAA title a year now, if that.
DjchunKfunK wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:53 am
I wouldn't believe that stuff about AC Odyssey I think it's way off base and manufactured to feed the anti-microtransaction agenda.
I'm sure it's been exaggerated slightly because the internet thrives on hyperbole, but I still don't doubt for a second that the experience is dragged out unnecessarily to allow for level-skip MTX to be implemented. Something like Assassin's Creed has absolutely no need to be 100 hours long when an enormous amount of it is built on repetition of generic side quests. It is dragged out with busywork to try and tempt people into spending money.

When I saw the pre-release material of the dev bragging that the new game was the biggest ever I immediately knew that I wouldn't be buying it.
First, I can't watch Jim Sterling. The bloke just grinds my gears in all the wrong ways, even when I agree with him.

I am also gonna step in in defense of AC:Odyssey. This game is expansive, with a bucketload of content. I simply don't get the suggestion that the game doesn't need to be 100 hours long - why on earth not? Give me a title I can get lost in and not have a little piece of my soul die whenever that vile % completion pops up showing that "Hey bud, enjoy it, you are almost done here". There is so much incidental detail in the game, here is a piece of software I can just drift in for hours, the perfect cure for my highly stressful work life. I fucking love it.

Plus let's jink a little to the right here. The Witcher 3. I have one playthrough of the game, which has me at 110 hours logged. It is the complete edition, and I never did get around to finishing the last DLC (the one set in kinda-France with all the plate-wearing knights), but I don't hear anyone crying that it was too long. AC:Odyssey borrows quite a bit from TW3 so having it be of similar length - no problem for me.

As for modern gaming business practices - they won't go anywhere till people stop buying them.
RCHD wrote:Snowy is my favourite. He's a metal God.
08/10/2003 - 17/08/2018
10501 :-({|=

User avatar
Mantis
Landlord
Posts: 1233
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 pm
Location: The Grid

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Mantis » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:17 pm

Don't get me wrong, if there is genuinely 100 hours of content there then I have no objections against a game; but the cynical side in me knows that many games (not necessarily the new AC title, I don't know, I haven't played it) will say they have 100 hours of content, but then you soon find out that there was nowhere near enough creativity or effort put into making those hours meaningful, like say some AC games in the past, or indeed many Ubisoft titles which I have always found to drag the experience out.

I have absolutely no problem with games offering lengthy meaningful experiences. Hell, sometimes you think you'll only get 30 or so hours out of a game and then you end up pushing 200 because it just strikes the perfect chord for you.

User avatar
Raid
Posts: 797
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:07 am
Location: Keep of the Lead Lord

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Raid » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:23 pm

Exactly. When it's just identical activities repeated forty times with slightly different locations, that's not worth my time. Forty well written side missions however present a completely different experience.

User avatar
Snowy
Posts: 512
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:57 am
Location: Ballhang

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Snowy » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:09 pm

Mantis wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:17 pm
Don't get me wrong, if there is genuinely 100 hours of content there then I have no objections against a game; but the cynical side in me knows that many games (not necessarily the new AC title, I don't know, I haven't played it) will say they have 100 hours of content, but then you soon find out that there was nowhere near enough creativity or effort put into making those hours meaningful, like say some AC games in the past, or indeed many Ubisoft titles which I have always found to drag the experience out.

I have absolutely no problem with games offering lengthy meaningful experiences. Hell, sometimes you think you'll only get 30 or so hours out of a game and then you end up pushing 200 because it just strikes the perfect chord for you.
No and that is a fair point. Odyssey has a lot of content, but a lot of that content is the same style of activity, and in that I completely understand that it can be seen to drag the game out.

The map is a work of art. I felt the same with Wildlands, and even though Wildlands was also much of the same content repeated across a vast space, because each one offered different tactical nuances I really enjoyed it (and would have loved it to be as huge as Odyssey in that regard). Ubi have the creating of an amazing backdrop nailed.

Odyssey does not do meaningful like TW3. There is a reason why TW3 is in my top all-time list and Odyssey is just in my 'really bloody good' list, the immersion, the detail of the quests, the way incidental quests loop into main arcs, all the things that TW3 does so well Odyssey only apes. It does so though in a way that I am really enjoying, even if I know that they haven't quite hit the bar.
RCHD wrote:Snowy is my favourite. He's a metal God.
08/10/2003 - 17/08/2018
10501 :-({|=

User avatar
Sly Boots
Bar Staff
Posts: 2331
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:34 am
Location: Hampshire
Contact:

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Sly Boots » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:32 pm

This morning watched the Angry Joe review of AC Odyssey. There were three of them doing a round-table chat effectively, of the three only one had finished the game - the others said it just became too repetitive doing the same tasks over and over in order to level up enough to continue the main story (both said they stopped playing around level 40 for reference), while the third said he only pushed through to complete the game through sheer bloody-mindedness and he didn't really enjoy the last quarter or so of the game due to that grind.

I think for any game like this is comes down to how much you enjoy the activities involved particularly if you're effectively forced to do at least a certain amount of them to play the main story, if you don't enjoy them or they become to repetitive after a while then that's bad design. If the game then offers the chance for those people to continue the story by paying an extra amount on top of what they've already paid for the game, then that's cynical and manipulative. The longer or larger the game then those issues are likely to be magnified.

For me, it just seems wrong to gate the story for people who maybe just have had enough of those activities and simply want to see the end by doing the remaining story, but hey.

User avatar
Raid
Posts: 797
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:07 am
Location: Keep of the Lead Lord

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Raid » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:54 pm

Thing is, if the developers wanted to give players with less time the ability to progress the story or experience the rest of the game's content, regardless of the quality of said content, they could easily do it for free. It almost feels like we're so used to seeing charges for this sort of thing that we forget that it's an option. We're already paying them for that content in the first place.

Progression-based microtransactions are not about choice, they're about making money.

User avatar
Mantis
Landlord
Posts: 1233
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 pm
Location: The Grid

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Mantis » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:55 pm

Exactly, Sly. I find repetitive quests to be very menial much of the time. When the game starts to feel like a chore I very quickly lose interest. Given the choice of paying more to see the rest of the content or just giving up and moving on to a new title, I will always choose the latter.

It's reached a point now for me where I'm not just doing the same menial tasks in one game, but the quests are very similar across multiple games made by totally different companies; such is the lack of innovation within the open world genre. The only big open world game that I've been drawn into in the last few years is Breath of the Wild, precisely because it does away with much of these issues and consistently offers up snippets of new content and ideas. Even that game isn't perfect though.

User avatar
DjchunKfunK
Bar Staff
Posts: 890
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:02 am

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by DjchunKfunK » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:01 pm

I think it's kind of naive to think that these big publishers don't push the agenda of lengthening gameplay in order to encourage people to spend money on time skips. Once the MTX had been removed from Middle Earth Shadow of War the devs immediately released a patch that cut progression time down to balance things back out.
I never said this never happened, just that assuming every game with time saving microtransactions in has had the game artificially lengthened is wrong.
My argument is simple. If there is a section of a game that people feel they'd rather pay to skip than play through, then that section probably doesn't need to be there at all, or at least would benefit from being shorter.
And who is the arbiter of this? Opinions around games vary so dramatically that I don't think you can make blanket statements like that. Ultimately I'd trust the people trying to make the best game they can over some focus group or collection of gamers.

User avatar
Mantis
Landlord
Posts: 1233
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 pm
Location: The Grid

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Mantis » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:13 pm

I am the arbiter.

Logically, if there's a portion of the experience that you feel you could happily skip in any shape or form then it is clearly not an integral part of the experience.

It's bad game design. Everything should serve a purpose and make the player feel like they want to do it. If people want a longer experience because they love the mechanics of the game so much then they simply replay the game, they don't care about repeating the content.

What would you say about a movie where you can probably just skip 45 minutes in the middle without really missing out on the key points of the plot?

User avatar
Achtung Englander
Posts: 563
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:37 pm
Location: Wokingham

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Achtung Englander » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:25 pm

Having read the numerous opinions about this, I think Raid hit it on the head. Games do not need to add MTX to game mechanics to make it easier, that can be done under the game options. Remember easy, normal, hard. Well players who do not want to graft can be given the option to choose easy and get more XP, weapons, loot or whatever the game reward system is based on. Similarly a game can be written so that easy players do not do any side-quests or some side-quests and just stick to the main narrative.

I recall that some games lock you in on the choice of difficulty right from the beginning, so if you choose easy and find it too easy halfway, tough you are stuck with that option setting.

You only have to see the sort of money MTX is bringing in to appreciate that the bulk of game revenue will be MTX. Just look at Fortnite and GTA V Online. These games just print money while traditional games like PUBG which require payment upfront lounges behind. The AAA are looking very closely at the mobile model and I would not be surprised in the slightest if from next year we will get AAA games that are funded solely by MTX. It is sad state of affairs but money talks. Publishers will continue to experiment with new revenue streams and see what works and what does not work. In the last 10 years we have seen so many business ideas come and go. For example, paying for online access on second hand games - EA, paying for mods - Bethesda, market place for loot gear - Valve, Season Pass payments for content not yet announced - EA, Ubisoft, Activision. Loot boxes - Warner Bros, EA.

MTX is shit thrown against the wall and this time it stuck. It is not going away....until something even more repellent (but brings in even more money) replaces it.

I hope that indie games keep up the good work in providing the alternative and I truely champion AA like Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.

I believe the days when you could pay one fee for a big narrative games are soon coming to an end. Only Nintendo and Sony's 1st party games are currently bucking this trend. The success of God Of War and Spider Man and Breath Of The Wild are done purely to keep fans loyal to their hardware, but how long until they too will give in to the lure of MTX and disruptive game mechanics.
Games playing : ENSLAVED™: Odyssey to the West / RIME / S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl

User avatar
DjchunKfunK
Bar Staff
Posts: 890
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:02 am

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by DjchunKfunK » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:49 pm

My main issue with this whole discussion and why I stepped in in the first place is that it's all so arbitrary. The argument has basically gone like this:

Origins is really long, most reviewers like it, it has time-saving microtransactions in it, that's OK you can just ignore them.

Odyssey is really long, some reviewers don't like it, it has time-saving microtransactions, it must have been artificially lengthened to sell us the microtransactions.

The only reason one gets criticised and not the other is because critically one was better received.

I'm all for taking microtransactions out of a game, especially ones like these as no matter what the truth they sow the seed of doubt into people's minds, but making pronouncements on the thinking behind design decisions based purely on critical reaction is seriously flawed.

User avatar
Sly Boots
Bar Staff
Posts: 2331
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:34 am
Location: Hampshire
Contact:

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Sly Boots » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:30 pm

DjchunKfunK wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:49 pm
My main issue with this whole discussion and why I stepped in in the first place is that it's all so arbitrary. The argument has basically gone like this:

Origins is really long, most reviewers like it, it has time-saving microtransactions in it, that's OK you can just ignore them.
I didn't really get this the first time you said it, either. I saw loads of people criticising Origins for having microtransactions. Mack was one such.

User avatar
Raid
Posts: 797
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:07 am
Location: Keep of the Lead Lord

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by Raid » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:55 pm

I think even if we give developers and publishers the benefit of the doubt, and say that the addition of paid progression marketplaces in games does not in any way influence the length of a game, can we at least agree that the concept of charging for game progression, when there has always been the option of providing this for free (cheat codes being the obvious method), is a shitty business practice? I just cannot think of a single good reason that a player should pay to experience content they've already paid for.

I don't believe that to be the case, but I'm willing to accept that this is my own cynicism, informed by the opinions of others, on games that I have not personally played. I'm not really sure how a developer would be able to prove it wasn't the case, and frankly I'm speaking out of a really shitty real-life situation that may be feeding my negativity. I still think my logic is sound, but my thinking may be warped.

User avatar
DjchunKfunK
Bar Staff
Posts: 890
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:02 am

Re: Modern gaming business practices

Post by DjchunKfunK » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:59 pm

It's not the criticism of microtransactions in general that I'm talking about Sly, I'm all for stuff like this being taken out of games, it's the claims of Odyssey being artificially lengthened that I have an issue with.

Post Reply