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djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

IronSaber posted:

Due to recent events, I want to ask what you dev types think about loot boxes, hopefully in a more impartial and analytical way than I have seen on the social medias.

Do you think they are good/bad? Do you think they COULD be good/bad? Do dev's see any of the extra money that comes from loot box purchases? Do you think they add value/take away value from the game you worked on?

EDIT: Forgot, the major headline here should be that devs almost never make these decisions. These kinds of business model decisions are not made by individual developers on games at any company I've heard of. No programmer or designer is choosing (as far as I'm aware) how much to sell loot boxes for. Obviously that may not be the case everywhere, but in my practical experience devs focus on making the stuff, and then other folks figure out how to get money from people for it

On the other hand, some devs see, in some form, money from loot boxes, either through bonuses/profit sharing/etc. Maybe some game companies give equity? I'm not aware of any off the top of my head, though.

There's a couple different ways to think about loot boxes from the PoV of a player assuming you're talking about loot boxes vs. just paying outright for things.

The advantage of loot boxes from a player PoV is that you might get the thing you want more cheaply than if what the company might price it at if you were to pay outright. The disadvantage is that you might pay more (in some cases quite a bit more). Another advantage is that, sometimes, the act of opening loot boxes is fun in the same way slots can be kinda fun.

It's important to remember that the business model doesn't really add value to the game directly. The design can be influenced by the business model, but it is a rare thing, from my point of view, that the interaction of the business model makes the game better directly. But it is a reality that games exist to make money, and games that make more money tend to get more resources, so from that point of view, if loot boxes are a good way to get people to spend more money on a game, that money *could* (emphasis on could) correlate to more resources being spent on the game and thus potentially a better game. On the other hand, it's entirely possible the business model interferes with the gameplay and detracts from it.

Basically, when we get luxury gay space communism and all games can be free, then I don't know that any game will ever contain loot boxes just to make the game better.

There are regulations in China and Japan that I think are good overall for loot-box driven games. China forces you to publish the odds on items in loot boxes, and Japan requires that a given item is guaranteed to drop after a given number of loot boxes (this is a reaction to Gatcha systems that would have a 1/20 chance to give you the body, legs and arms of a mech and then a 1/1000 chance for the head, for example). I think both of those are reasonable regulations and I'd be happy to see them applied to games in the EU/USA.

Ethically I personally guess I have issues with loot boxes because I don't feel good about not being direct with players about how much they need to invest in a game to get the things they want, but I also understand the financial and economic reality that leads to loot boxes, because companies have discovered that loot boxes are a better way to get money from players than releasing fixed price DLC/purchases, and companies fundamentally exist to make money.

In short, at the very least, I really do think some equivalent to the Chinese regulations should absolutely be applied here.

djkillingspree fucked around with this message at Nov 15, 2017 around 06:59

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Mother
Sep 30, 2004

You are help Orz with *parties*.

Not going to wade into discussion of loot boxes, loot box morality and the like, but from a straight-up analysis standpoint:

In 1986, I bought one of my all-time favorite games, Starflight. It was made by a team of five. They worked for three years, which was unheard of at the time and caused the game to be perpetually on the verge of being cancelled. The price on the box was $54.99.

In 2017, I bought Destiny 2. It was made by Bungie, who is about 800 people. Also contracted for the game were: High Moon Studios, Vicarious Visions, FXVille, Blindlight, Axis Animation, Blur, and Digic Pictures. That game also took about three years to make. The price on the eBox was $60.

Assuming fuel for my time machine is free, Starflight would cost me $125 today and Destiny 2 would have set me back $27 (only six mows of the neighbor’s yard) in ‘86.

See where this is going? Starflight was almost certainly less than a million to make (adjusted). Take a wild stab at what Destiny 2 cost. Yet, the sticker price….

If you’re not a fan of loot boxes and F2P and so forth, but are a fan of AAA games, I think you’re going to be sad in the future. The only way this hobby of ours continues, at the AAA level, is if the price of making a game drops by an order of magnitude (which is why so many people are working on PUBGs and Rocket Leagues) or AAA can reliably get more than $60 from a player.

MissMarple
Aug 26, 2008



Whether or not this is an indictment of the publishers using them, the important thing to understand is that those are not “extra”.

The game got green lit on the basis of the expected total revenue, against the expected total cost. Loot boxes, DLC, or other micro transactions are part of that.

Obviously players see it as “extra” because it is an extra purchase to them above the base game, but it was all part of the original forecast (there will be some exceptions where stuff gets bolted on later).

As such that money isn’t some extra cash lying around to divvy up, it’s recouping the costs of development as much as the $60 up front. Or, increasingly, supporting continued live content.

Overwatch’s committal to “every map and hero we add will be free” is paid for by loot boxes. As and when players wane from spending on them, Blizzard will either have to increase the efficiency of the content creation, or slow down it’s cadence, or find some new way to monetise.

Battlefront 2 has had a litany if executional errors in what they are trying to do. But I think that up front if you say “Ok we’re going to do Battlefront again but just better” that game doesn’t get made. If you add some additional revenue from micro transactions, and a long progression grind that means people are still playing when the DLC rolls around (and reduces second hand sales)... that’s a better business case. In a pitch, it de-risks some elements. The game players wanted to see would never have seen the light of day.

There’s a whole bunch of other underlying stuff there about how you are meant to, quarter by quarter, act in the interests of shareholders. Or how games are a hit driven business trying to be turned into a dependable industry. Or how expectations and costs are escalating year on year. But the tl;dr version is; fewer games are seen as viable without these models.

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

This user's endless pedantry is kept grey.

Key words: nutrition, philosophy, regulatory science, law, shallow realpolitik, fake cheese, game design fanfiction.

It’s worth noting that the reddit posted calculation of time to unlock heroes that was the fountainhead of this was, at best, misleading about the time investment involved.

That pattern of social media attack based on inaccurate claims seems to be becoming common.

TheFace
Oct 4, 2004

Fuck anyone that doesn't wanna be this beautiful


Mother posted:

Not going to wade into discussion of loot boxes, loot box morality and the like, but from a straight-up analysis standpoint:

In 1986, I bought one of my all-time favorite games, Starflight. It was made by a team of five. They worked for three years, which was unheard of at the time and caused the game to be perpetually on the verge of being cancelled. The price on the box was $54.99.

In 2017, I bought Destiny 2. It was made by Bungie, who is about 800 people. Also contracted for the game were: High Moon Studios, Vicarious Visions, FXVille, Blindlight, Axis Animation, Blur, and Digic Pictures. That game also took about three years to make. The price on the eBox was $60.

Assuming fuel for my time machine is free, Starflight would cost me $125 today and Destiny 2 would have set me back $27 (only six mows of the neighbor’s yard) in ‘86.

See where this is going? Starflight was almost certainly less than a million to make (adjusted). Take a wild stab at what Destiny 2 cost. Yet, the sticker price….

If you’re not a fan of loot boxes and F2P and so forth, but are a fan of AAA games, I think you’re going to be sad in the future. The only way this hobby of ours continues, at the AAA level, is if the price of making a game drops by an order of magnitude (which is why so many people are working on PUBGs and Rocket Leagues) or AAA can reliably get more than $60 from a player.

You're not factoring in the customer base being much larger now than in 86. Video games were a fringe thing, especially at home back then. Sure they were starting to pick up traction with things like the NES, SEGA master system, however Starflight sold 100,000 copies in it's first year (according to Wikipedia), eventually (over likely years) it sold over a million. Destiny 2 sold 50k in the first week...

Sindai
Jan 24, 2007
i want to achieve immortality through not dying

Customer base growth covered the extra costs (and more) for a long time, but it became insufficient years ago. Now publishers are making fewer big budget games and seeking add-on revenue to compensate.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

MissMarple posted:

Whether or not this is an indictment of the publishers using them, the important thing to understand is that those are not “extra”.

The game got green lit on the basis of the expected total revenue, against the expected total cost. Loot boxes, DLC, or other micro transactions are part of that.

Obviously players see it as “extra” because it is an extra purchase to them above the base game, but it was all part of the original forecast (there will be some exceptions where stuff gets bolted on later).

As such that money isn’t some extra cash lying around to divvy up, it’s recouping the costs of development as much as the $60 up front. Or, increasingly, supporting continued live content.

Overwatch’s committal to “every map and hero we add will be free” is paid for by loot boxes. As and when players wane from spending on them, Blizzard will either have to increase the efficiency of the content creation, or slow down it’s cadence, or find some new way to monetise.

Battlefront 2 has had a litany if executional errors in what they are trying to do. But I think that up front if you say “Ok we’re going to do Battlefront again but just better” that game doesn’t get made. If you add some additional revenue from micro transactions, and a long progression grind that means people are still playing when the DLC rolls around (and reduces second hand sales)... that’s a better business case. In a pitch, it de-risks some elements. The game players wanted to see would never have seen the light of day.

There’s a whole bunch of other underlying stuff there about how you are meant to, quarter by quarter, act in the interests of shareholders. Or how games are a hit driven business trying to be turned into a dependable industry. Or how expectations and costs are escalating year on year. But the tl;dr version is; fewer games are seen as viable without these models.

I think it's extremely difficult to argue that Battlefront (or insert other game here) again but better would not be profitable. The question is whether or not that game would be more or less profitable than the same game with loot boxes/microtransactions/etc. That's the determination that these companies are making.

It's important to remember that companies (especially publicly traded companies) exist to, as efficiently as possible, turn money into more money. Making games are the means to that end, but they are not the end in themselves. The question is not "how do we finance making the best games possible", it's "how do we make games such that we can earn a maximum return on investment from our capital". This isn't even like a "publishers are evil" thing - I think publishers are doing what they are supposed to do, which is generate RoI for investors - it's just the heart of corporate capitalism. Also, some companies feel like making the best games they can is the way to most effectively make money, but that's not a requirement and I wouldn't expect that behavior from all companies.

djkillingspree fucked around with this message at Nov 15, 2017 around 21:39

Mother
Sep 30, 2004

You are help Orz with *parties*.

TheFace posted:

You're not factoring in the customer base being much larger now than in 86. Video games were a fringe thing, especially at home back then. Sure they were starting to pick up traction with things like the NES, SEGA master system, however Starflight sold 100,000 copies in it's first year (according to Wikipedia), eventually (over likely years) it sold over a million. Destiny 2 sold 50k in the first week...

No, I am taking that into account -- that growth is what got us here. When gaming grew large enough to matter to the big players, they started to compete, and that's what has driven the arms race.

Scale helps to offset increasing dev cost, for sure. But the rate of increase in development cost has vastly outpaced the growth of the audience. Vastly.

That alone is enough to cause a problem, but we're additionally in a period of very high fragmentation and competition which makes *effective* audience a lot less. If you were a gamer in '86 and a good-ish game came out, you bought it (well, you at least got it somehow). There just weren't many games.

Today, there's a larger audience but there are more games trying to get players and there are more players who are primarily dedicated to a game or a very small set of games for a long period of time.


Having 100x (just to illustrate) as many possible players is great, but that doesn't make things any more tenable if you're looking at 500x the dev cost and a 50% decline in the market price for your game.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Sindai posted:

Customer base growth covered the extra costs (and more) for a long time, but it became insufficient years ago. Now publishers are making fewer big budget games and seeking add-on revenue to compensate.

Ehhh, publishers are also posting record profits year after year. If anything "falls short" it's that they fall a couple percentage points below projections which are just made up numbers. Disney Infinity was canceled during an earnings call where they reported record earnings that also fell 2 or 3 percent lower than projections.

There are legit mid- and small-sized devs that struggle to make payroll, but the idea that rising dev costs are hurting huge publishers to the point where they have to go all in on predatory pay-2-win garbage and still charge full price for entry is in my opinion disingenuous.

mutata fucked around with this message at Nov 15, 2017 around 22:02

Mother
Sep 30, 2004

You are help Orz with *parties*.

mutata posted:

Ehhh, publishers are also posting record profits year after year. If anything "falls short" it's that they fall a couple percentage points below projections which are just made up numbers. Disney Infinity was canceled during an earnings call where they reported record earnings that also fell 2 or 3 percent lower than projections.

There are legit mid- and small-sized devs that struggle to make payroll, but the idea that rising dev costs are hurting huge publishers is in my opinion disingenuous.

Right.... But ... they're making those record profits because they've been doing the loot box / F2P stuff. If they stop doing that, they won't be posting record profits....


Look, if you're sitting in a room at EA and your boss asks "hey, our FIFA ultimate team thing is on track to making a billion dollars of revenue a year - do you think we should do more of that", the CYOA is pretty much:

A) Say "yes."
B) Throw self out window.


Despite backlash, I'd bet on the high-cost AAA side moving more and more down this path.

ninjewtsu
Oct 9, 2012



obviously individual preference and skill is a big factor in this question, but in general, are there any particular genres that you think are harder to make a game in than others? i imagine some genres are harder from a programmer perspective but lighter on design work, while others are vice versa, would anyone mind explaining what's uniquely difficult about making a game in the genre they're involved in/know a lot about?

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Except previous years when they were... still posting record profits. It's just now they're posting even HUGER profits.

I get it. Capitalism blah blah. I accept the inevitability of it. I'm pretty ok with various monetization schemes. Like game mechanics, they need balance, and they can easily go off the rails, and when they do it's not unreasonable to call them out.

SupSuper
Apr 8, 2009

At the Heart of the city is an Alien horror, so vile and so powerful that not even death can claim it.


Yes, games are a business, they cost money and suits will go for whatever has the highest profit margins. So does everything else in capitalism. What's in it for the customer? You can't justify every decision with "it makes money" or every industry would be a dystopian nightmare. If AAA dev costs are doomed to keep rising, eventually something's gotta give, surely? Because customer wallets aren't infinite, if anything they have less time and money to spend on each game every year. There's gotta be another answer than just "keep finding more ways to milk the product".

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

SupSuper posted:

So does everything else in capitalism. What's in it for the customer? You can't justify every decision with "it makes money" or every industry would be a dystopian nightmare.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/201...-for-teen-blood

Applebee123
Oct 9, 2007


Loot boxes let developers discriminate prices based on the amount people are willing to spend. There are people who are willing to spend $50, $500, $5000 or more on their favourite game that they spend hundreds or thousands of hours playing. With loot boxes you can monetise the people with large amounts of money to spend, while also benefiting from mass market appeal from people who just pay the $50.

As the average age of gamers drifts higher you have more and more people earning $100-$150k+ a year who play games and there is an incentive to monetise them.

Applebee123 fucked around with this message at Nov 16, 2017 around 15:52

CodfishCartographer
Feb 23, 2010

Gadus Maprocephalus


I’m not sure where else to post this, but since there’s been loot box chat here recently I think it’s as good a place as any. It's not really game devs a question, but I figure it can spark some conversation. I feel like most console/pc gamers have more or less ignored the mobile market as “that place where moms play candy crush” and haven’t realized the true levels of insanity that the mobile F2P market has truly reached, and the grim glimpse into the dystopian future it can provide. This is gunna be a lot of words, but I find this particular game endlessly fascinating in just how purely evil it is. Today I’m going to talk about Game of War.

Now, I’m sure many of you have vague recollections of maybe hearing about Game of War at some point? It sounds like something you’ve heard of but you’re not sure. That’s completely intentional - the name is vague, so that if you see it on the app store (say, while searching for “Game of Thrones” or “war game”) you’ll feel like you’ve heard about it, and try it out. Or it’s possible you remember it from the tacky Kate Upton commercial during Superbowl 49. Anyways, you install it, launch it, mash through the tutorial, and get to see this:



Wow, that’s loving ugly, and that UI is terrible. It’s intentionally so. A screenshot doesn’t quite capture the ugliness, because almost EVERYTHING on that moves, even slightly or subtly. The game is specifically designed to be ugly, obtrusive, and overly complicated. They overload the player with stats that can be upgraded and technologies to research - 167 different stats to upgrade, and 237 different technologies to research (each with 10 tiers). Why make it so complicated? Because they want to hit you with that sunk cost fallacy HARD. You took all the time to figure out this obnoxious UI, no loving way I’m stopping now. It’s basically the Nigerian Prince of F2P games: it’s specifically trying to weed out everyone except a select few - the type of people who are going to muscle through obtuse UI and complex systems and get too deep into the game to quit out.

In case you’re some kind of mad man and thought that the above didn’t look too bad, here’s what you find when you tap the plus sign in the bottom-right corner:



And yes, there’s more options if you continue scrolling down.

Okay so the game’s ugly and confusing, whatever. How’s it play? It’s more or less similar to Civilization - you build a fortress, construct an army, send the army to go wipe out other fortresses. It starts slow and ramps up FAST. All those stats I mentioned earlier? They’re super important, because other players will be attacking your fortress even when you’re not playing. You can spend all day building up an army and building fortifications, only to wake up in the morning and find half of it destroyed. Okay, so let’s upgrade all 167 stats or whatever. Of course, this takes time - at first, only a few minutes, then a few hours, then a few days, then a few weeks, then a few months. Enjoy waiting literally six months for your next upgrade!…Or you could pay some of the in-game hard currency, gold. How do you get gold, by spending money, of course!

Okay, let’s spend some cash then. The game screen is loving plastered with ads for promotions and deals and etc after all. The basic purchasing packages for gold come in three basic levels - a 4.99 package, a 19.99 package, and a 99.99 package. Quite a big jump there, huh? Well whatever, let’s buy the 19.99 package because my loving poo poo keeps getting destroyed. Fast-forward to the next day: Oh, the poo poo I built using that gold I bought got destroyed by someone else, so that 20 bux is down the drain. Whatever, let’s try buying the cheaper 4.99 package, maybe that way when we lose it, it won’t feel like such a waste

Oh wait, you can’t buy the 4.99 package, or even the 19.99 package now. Once you buy a package, it’ll be disabled for six months, thus meaning you can only buy a more expensive one. It also disables any packages cheaper than the one you bought. Now we can ONLY buy the 99.99 package. Fast-forward five months, we get frustrated and decide to buy the 99.99 package. Now the timer has reset, so if we want to buy the 19.99 package we’ll need to wait ANOTHER six months. So we wait six months, and the 19.99 pack unlocks! What about the 4.99 pack? Well we’ll need to wait an additional six months (without making ANY purchases) for it to unlock, of course!

Literally the only way to succeed in the game is to continuously buy the 99.99 package over and over to beef up your defenses, because if you don’t they’ll just get stomped on and obliterated. People have been complaining about how Battlefront 2 punishes players who don’t spend money, but Game of War is a step ahead of that - they don’t want to punish players who don’t spend. If you don’t spend, they don’t want you playing their game at all, and the game will actively try to push you away and alienate you to get you to stop playing.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

I'd counter and say that yes, many of us DO understand how bad mobile games has gotten. I know people who work on those games and I know how much pure raw money they make. 7 figures a day kind of profits.

My personal issues with loot boxes actually stems from my pure, raw apathy towards mobile gacha games. I have absolutely no desire to play them and very little desire to work on them. It's just not the gig I signed up for when I was a kid and fell in love with games and certainly not why I went to college to study art and lived away from my wife for months to get my first internship etc etc etc.

I do like working for companies that can make payroll so I'm all for game devs and publishers making money, but to me it's a spectrum of greys and if mobile gacha is deep, all-encompassing black, and Overwatch is light grey, then Battlefront 2 (to me) is several shades too dark.

There's been a LOT of conversations and debate among devs at various levels about this lately. I do appreciate consumers voicing their concerns about this stuff. Whether it trickles upward to the decision makers, though, we'll have to see.

CodfishCartographer
Feb 23, 2010

Gadus Maprocephalus


Oh I wasn't trying to write it out as a "pfft don't be mad about loot boxes when there's worse poo poo out there " I just find the manipulation in the game really fascinating. Loot boxes definitely are heading in a sketchy direction, and I agree people need to voice their problems with them, and I figured it'd be interesting to look at how bad some other games have gotten. I suspect a lot of (all?) of the devs in this thread understand how bad the mobile market can be, I meant more that it feels like the average gamer doesn't.

CodfishCartographer fucked around with this message at Nov 16, 2017 around 17:20

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

No worries! I wasn't trying to argue as much as add a synopsis of my thoughts to the subject.

Here's a Twitter thread from a F2P game designer about loot boxes and how easy they are to screw up. I've seen it passed around from some other devs today. It should be helpful to the conversation as well:

https://twitter.com/ZenOfDesign/sta...809632859344896

mutata fucked around with this message at Nov 16, 2017 around 17:50

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

This user's endless pedantry is kept grey.

Key words: nutrition, philosophy, regulatory science, law, shallow realpolitik, fake cheese, game design fanfiction.

The player perception that led to the backlash against Battlefront 2 was about non-lootbox unlocks, and was based on a pretty obviously misleading set of assertions about the amount of time involved. The setup of the reddit post that kicked things off made it pretty clear that the author was looking to kick off a backlash, and that coverage and a significant part (though not all) of the poster's audience complied with that framing.

edit: I'm now seeing that dumb reddit post about the heroes was a parallel, lesser shitstorm than the lootbox complaints, which appear more understandable. My apologies for my confusion- digging into how that "40 hours" came up really annoyed me.

Discendo Vox fucked around with this message at Nov 16, 2017 around 18:16

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

Make way for the Urinal Parade.

Edit: ^^^Oh, gotcha. Understand. I'll leave my below post I'm any case.

You seem to be poking at the likelihood that that person was wanting to start some poo poo, which is probably true but that doesn't negate the concerns. Lots of reviews and articles have come out digging into the retail game's systems expressing similar feelings.

Personally, I had already looked at other articles that discussed the unlock progression system in general (of which loot boxes and their conversion funnel are a core part) and decided that unfortunately I wouldn't be buying the game despite wanting to.

For me, it came down to the plain fact that I wanted to buy the game they were advertising in their marketing but not the one that they were actually selling at the $60 price point, and I'm a guy who has bought and been known to defend Overwatch's loot boxes.

mutata fucked around with this message at Nov 16, 2017 around 18:26

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

This user's endless pedantry is kept grey.

Key words: nutrition, philosophy, regulatory science, law, shallow realpolitik, fake cheese, game design fanfiction.

It's mostly that captain spreadsheet did his darndest to put his thumb on the scales, then when lay press covered his post, they played along by not mentioning the distribution of hero prices, and taking his (by most other reports, incredibly inaccurate) math at face value. User entitlement and outrage in these settings is extremely frustrating, especially when it can be militant and organized enough to sink a game.

edit: by way of explanation, I'm a fairly hardcore payday 2 player.

Discendo Vox fucked around with this message at Nov 16, 2017 around 18:57

CodfishCartographer
Feb 23, 2010

Gadus Maprocephalus


I'm also curious how valid the math for "it takes 4200 hours to unlock everything" is.

Triarii
Jun 14, 2003



mutata posted:

I'd counter and say that yes, many of us DO understand how bad mobile games has gotten. I know people who work on those games and I know how much pure raw money they make. 7 figures a day kind of profits.

My personal issues with loot boxes actually stems from my pure, raw apathy towards mobile gacha games. I have absolutely no desire to play them and very little desire to work on them. It's just not the gig I signed up for when I was a kid and fell in love with games and certainly not why I went to college to study art and lived away from my wife for months to get my first internship etc etc etc.

I do like working for companies that can make payroll so I'm all for game devs and publishers making money, but to me it's a spectrum of greys and if mobile gacha is deep, all-encompassing black, and Overwatch is light grey, then Battlefront 2 (to me) is several shades too dark.

There's been a LOT of conversations and debate among devs at various levels about this lately. I do appreciate consumers voicing their concerns about this stuff. Whether it trickles upward to the decision makers, though, we'll have to see.

I work for a developer that transitioned from making console games to free-to-play mobile games a few years back. It's more like designing casinos than making games, and it took me from being excited about my job and interested in what we were creating to just collecting a paycheck.

I feel like, if lootbox-type systems continue to become more prominent, people in general are going to start mentally slotting video games into the same category of entertainment as casinos, which will eventually bring social stigma against them as well as legal regulation (as has already happened in China and Japan).

Anil Dasharez0ne
Sep 9, 2016

Can't Snuff The Guff


When it comes to monetization schemes, how much do devs get to decide versus how much is dictated by publishers?

John Murdoch
May 19, 2009

I have special eyes.

Just think of all the cool stuff I can see.


mutata posted:

No worries! I wasn't trying to argue as much as add a synopsis of my thoughts to the subject.

Here's a Twitter thread from a F2P game designer about loot boxes and how easy they are to screw up. I've seen it passed around from some other devs today. It should be helpful to the conversation as well:

https://twitter.com/ZenOfDesign/sta...809632859344896

This was a good thread, though I vehemently disagree with him w/r/t Blizzard games. From a certain perspective he's right that they do MTX "right" but I'm increasingly tired of people brushing off the problems with Blizzard's monetization schemes because they simply aren't as bad as the current source of controversy.

Triarii posted:

I feel like, if lootbox-type systems continue to become more prominent, people in general are going to start mentally slotting video games into the same category of entertainment as casinos, which will eventually bring social stigma against them as well as legal regulation (as has already happened in China and Japan).

I feel like it says a lot about these companies that they will only do things like disclose drop rates when compelled to by law. Companies could start disclosing that information tomorrow, worldwide if they really wanted to...but they won't.

Triarii
Jun 14, 2003



Anil Dasharez0ne posted:

When it comes to monetization schemes, how much do devs get to decide versus how much is dictated by publishers?

In the games I've worked on, we could make suggestions to the publisher but they had final say over everything, and usually made it clear what kinds of monetization were expected up front, eg "this game is going to have gacha, limited stamina that can be refilled for money, and the ability to pay your way through content that you can't beat." One publisher wanted the ability to pay money during an actual PVP match to give yourself an advantage over the opponent, turning it into a literal spending competition - we managed to talk them out of that on the grounds that it would kill even the small amount of competitive spirit that PVP had and nobody would play it.

John Murdoch posted:

I feel like it says a lot about these companies that they will only do things like disclose drop rates when compelled to by law. Companies could start disclosing that information tomorrow, worldwide if they really wanted to...but they won't.

Not that much of a mystery - it would make them less money, in the same way that a casino would be less profitable if they made it clear up front that you're going to lose money on average.

Risc1911
Mar 1, 2016



CodfishCartographer posted:


Oh wait, you can’t buy the 4.99 package, or even the 19.99 package now. Once you buy a package, it’ll be disabled for six months, thus meaning you can only buy a more expensive one. It also disables any packages cheaper than the one you bought. Now we can ONLY buy the 99.99 package. Fast-forward five months, we get frustrated and decide to buy the 99.99 package. Now the timer has reset, so if we want to buy the 19.99 package we’ll need to wait ANOTHER six months. So we wait six months, and the 19.99 pack unlocks! What about the 4.99 pack? Well we’ll need to wait an additional six months (without making ANY purchases) for it to unlock, of course!

This is just evil genius. I love it!

John Murdoch
May 19, 2009

I have special eyes.

Just think of all the cool stuff I can see.


Triarii posted:

Not that much of a mystery - it would make them less money, in the same way that a casino would be less profitable if they made it clear up front that you're going to lose money on average.

I was being sarcastic.

CodfishCartographer
Feb 23, 2010

Gadus Maprocephalus


Well this is a thing that happened.

https://www.ea.com/games/starwars/b...e-launch-update

It's real surprising that they cut off such a huge planned revenue source so last-minute. Obviously it's more likely than not that it'll be reimplemented, but still surprising.

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

get into shit let it out like diarrhea
got burnt once that was only gonorrhea


CodfishCartographer posted:

Well this is a thing that happened.

https://www.ea.com/games/starwars/b...e-launch-update

It's real surprising that they cut off such a huge planned revenue source so last-minute. Obviously it's more likely than not that it'll be reimplemented, but still surprising.

It's a great way to get everyone complaining now to BEG to pay for those loot boxes in a couple weeks.

SubponticatePoster
Aug 9, 2004

Every day takes figurin' out all over again how to fuckin' live.


Slippery Tilde

CodfishCartographer posted:

Well this is a thing that happened.

https://www.ea.com/games/starwars/b...e-launch-update

It's real surprising that they cut off such a huge planned revenue source so last-minute. Obviously it's more likely than not that it'll be reimplemented, but still surprising.
May have something to do with this: https://venturebeat.com/2017/11/16/...n-make-changes/

Bob Iger had a phone conversation with EA's CEO today. Which may have consisted of Iger saying "I'm getting calls over this poo poo and if you damage our brand you'll never make another SW game again."

Digirat
Sep 14, 2011



Every day, EA's games inch closer to hareraiser.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouvi-fwrfIY

SupSuper
Apr 8, 2009

At the Heart of the city is an Alien horror, so vile and so powerful that not even death can claim it.


Triarii posted:

Not that much of a mystery - it would make them less money, in the same way that a casino would be less profitable if they made it clear up front that you're going to lose money on average.
Fire Emblem Heroes discloses the odds and it still makes money hand over fist so I'm not sure it's that straightforward.

Shy
Mar 20, 2010



Triarii posted:

in the same way that a casino would be less profitable if they made it clear up front that you're going to lose money on average.

Like every compulsive gambler knows that and they don't care.

MissMarple
Aug 26, 2008



People are bad at probabilities and odds. Even if you front face them in a game it will set weird expectations.

80% Chance to Hit? Can’t fail!
0.1% Chance to Drop? Might get lucky!

The job of the designer is to make it so people feel happy with the outcomes. If you understand people’s misunderstandings, you can be manipulative, but in a GOOD way.

Re: Game of War if you want the two most insidious things it does...
1/ The price of currency is up to 80% cheaper outside of the big events. Given that prolonged battles are basically “who had the biggest warchest”, this means that warring factions are basically silent bidding against each other. If you don’t spend more money than your opponent before the fight even starts, you’re going to be paying 5x the normal rate to make up the difference.
2/ The rate of inflation in the game is something like 20% a month. That means every offer is the best ever offer. It means all that stuff you invested in last month? It’s already lost value. There’s a new normal now. Even if you are paying, you can never stop because whatever you bought is redundant in no time at all.

SirDrone
Jul 23, 2013

I am so sick of these star wars

As someone who's about finishing up their Game Design course at a AIE campus, would it be wise to take up a short course on Programming as I'm still struggling with most C+ Scripting. Most of my Portfolio when it comes to stuff I've done by myself looks just amateurish as my projects do more with level design then anything else and I honestly feel nailing my head into coding would allow me to try different things with Unity or Unreal.

Gerblyn
Apr 4, 2007

"TO BATTLE!"


Fun Shoe

SirDrone posted:

As someone who's about finishing up their Game Design course at a AIE campus, would it be wise to take up a short course on Programming as I'm still struggling with most C+ Scripting. Most of my Portfolio when it comes to stuff I've done by myself looks just amateurish as my projects do more with level design then anything else and I honestly feel nailing my head into coding would allow me to try different things with Unity or Unreal.

Anything that helps you work with scripting languages (like Unreal Script or Lua) would definitely be an advantage. C++ and C#(*) themselves are probably less useful, so it would help if you could find a programming course that focused on the basics principles of programming, rather than learning those specific languages.

(*) Scripting languages often share syntax and keywords with C++/C#, so it's not totally useless to learn them.

Tei
Feb 19, 2011



Stupid idea: if your work looks amateur you could spice it up with good artwork.
I am always wrong on the internet, but I fail to see how this one is wrong.

I did some artificial life programs back in the university and they where bland and bad until a friend helped me with the art.

Programmers work is hard to impossible to appreciate by random people. Even or specially other programmers, because us programmers want perfection, but we still don't know how it looks like.



This painting represent the software world, running from a fad to the next.




This image represent a group of indies about to release a game to the world.

Tei fucked around with this message at Nov 23, 2017 around 10:50

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Whistling Asshole
Nov 18, 2005



SirDrone posted:

As someone who's about finishing up their Game Design course at a AIE campus, would it be wise to take up a short course on Programming as I'm still struggling with most C+ Scripting. Most of my Portfolio when it comes to stuff I've done by myself looks just amateurish as my projects do more with level design then anything else and I honestly feel nailing my head into coding would allow me to try different things with Unity or Unreal.

Take it, especially if it's at no extra cost to you or whatever. Any kind of programming course you can take will inform your ability as a designer. If your goal is to become a professional game designer, you will absolutely need to understand the basics of how programming languages work. I've had to do programming tests as a designer, so you better know your poo poo.

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