Our friends at Gamasutra are running an in-depth interview with David Perry and his new MMO ( we call it Persistent Universe ) project 2Moons. Love him or hate him Perry has been a notable figure in the gaming industry.
"He has developed 35 games, working as lead programmer on 24 of them, that include popular titles like the Earthworm Jim series, MDK, Messiah and two based on the The Matrix movies."
2Moons is the rather odd concept of a free in-game advertising supported Fantasy MMO developed by the Korean developer GameHi and published by of all companies Acclaim. Yes you heard right. Acclaim is back from the dead. Or well at least the name and Dave Perry is working on their new title.
I have never real been a fan of Perry's work. Well ... OK ... I really liked MDK and I know Earthwork Jim was a huge financial success. Yet, Enter the Matrix and Path of Neo were terrible. For someone who is so influential his recent body of work is for the most part mediocre.
Does 2Moons feel a little too much like the dot com exuberance of the late 90s? Whether or not you like the idea of coke machines in the dungeon, do you think in-game advertising can support an entire online game?
Well, ignoring my thoughts on in-game advertising, I think that if a game is popular, then it should easily cover the cost of maintaining it without charging consumers to play it online. Advertising can really bring in a LOT of money if you have a major outlet for it (TV for example).
As far as the games, you mentioned the ones you liked and didn't like, but left out Messiah, which you included in the original list you wrote. I just want to say that I really liked that game, though it is far from a Christian game even if it's about God, his angel, and Satan. The concept of taking over bodies was quite well done, imho. I hated the end battle, though. It was a bit rediculous.
Besides, advertising is already done in games. Whenever you see a brand name in a popular game, you can bet the brand owner has paid for it.
Right. The issue is more a matter of where it is acceptable to place advertising. A Coke machine in a dungeon (as the title says) would really be inappropriate unless it was a modern or futuristic game rather than a fantasy game. Advertising in sports games works great and makes sense, but advertising in any game that doesn't take place on earth (other than sci-fi games where we are out in space and could have brought advertising out there with us), or where the game is set in the distant past, really are not appropriate locations for advertising.
Of course a Coke machine in a dungeon is out of the question, but I doubt any developer would be that silly in any case.
But it doesn't have to be that direct, you could have stuff or places "approriately" named, for instance.
And why not have, say, banks with the same name as today in a sci-fi game? Or cars, Toyota could well be making futuristic cars one hundred years from now (ok, you did touch this subject already).
As for advertising today, it's not just sports games that have this. It seems the question is rather how far this is pushed because already the advertising money is major income for the game companies. Will we see commercial breaks in games in the future?
I don't think we'll ever see major titles ever being sold for under the price we've seen for the past 10+ years ($50 when they first hit the shelves)... at least not for any but a few exceptions.
As for dungeons having such advertising, I think I've heard of that sort of thing already being done.
Of course the prices will not fall, but with most titles already not making money and the cost to produce them increasing, something's gotta give.
That's true. Yet I can't honestly say I would be willing to pay more than $50 for most games. They may cost more to make, but they aren't really that much better that I would choose to pay more for them. Especially lately (last 3-5 years), when most PC games coming out really don't seem to be that great. You can still get some really great ones, but I think that the average quality of all the new games coming out isn't really that great. Good, but not so good to get me to pay over $50. I'd rather wait and get them from e-Bay or some other second-hand source.
well the price point is up to the consumer... they raise the price and yet they still buy the games... so until consumers start refusing to pay high prices you're going to continue to see high prices
true development costs more, so they raise the price to compensate, yet people still pay it
if people don't want high prices then someone has to start a movement that is effective enough to hit the company in the pocket book forcing them to reevaulate their price points.
it's all supply and demand
True, and yet when was the last time that the "normal" price for new, top-end games changed? It's been around $50 for so long that I don't remember when it was less. It has to have been at least a decade now. Unlike just about anything else, that price has really stayed constant.
(Edited by WildKard (12186), Sep 22, 2006)Re: Coke Machines in the Dungeon
WildKard (12186), Sep 22, 2006
Right, people have gotten used to it. Therefore it doesn't seem like exceptionally expensive compared to what it used to be. On the flipside we've seen publishers trying to price their games for less, and at times the gamers don't even give them a shot because since the item is priced lower, there obviously must be something wrong with it. As you've mentioned before, the price of a game is not the same as the value of a game. However when someone is looking at store shelves for something to play, price is as much a factor as other aspects (like cover art, advertisements, word of mouth, loud video advertisements, etc) and low prices can be viewed suspiciously.
Rather, it will lead to companies to concentrate even more on sure-sellers (GTA, popular sports brands etc). That's the worrying thing.
Having said that, maybe the "new" game countries, Russia for instance, will keep the PC players happy with innovative new designs. They have produced some quite remarkable games lately (Sturmovik, Silent Storm, Space Rangers to name a few).
Yeah, I am really enjoying the Russian games. They seem to be putting out a lot of good ones.
Marko Poutiainen Wrote:
Exactly, for advertising to work... it has to "live" in the game, just like the players. That means that at it's most effective... the orc warriors can buy Band-Aid brand healing products and drink Fresca drinks to recover stamina and wear Calvin Klein designer clothing underneath their armor. Well at least that's the idea.... I can already hear some people groaning from my examples and some of you are probably thinking that those don't really fit well with the idea of a fantasy "medieval-ish" world. You could be right... I'm not the marketing department, but if it were my full-time job I'd certainly be putting a very critical eye to what products might be sold within the game and which are definitely hands-off.
There's definitely going to have to be an effort made to find what works and how best to sell to players within an online world. Because if it fails, we're back to trying to shove "traditional" advertising techniques (which are already under scruitiny within the mediums they work on) into "un-traditional" gaming environments. Square hole, triangular peg... shove it hard and might fit, but look ugly to anyone passing by.
Ea could pickup a lot more money if they were to do that for the Sims.
Yeah, a game like The Sims would work very well with in-game advertising.
Wildkard... I can't say I want to see Orcs drinking Fresca or wearing Calvin Klein clothes. That would just look really bad unless the game was specifically trying to be strange in that kind of way. Some games do take that approach to gaming (not specifically with advertising) and they work... most seem to fail, though.
Well like I said, the fantasy genre is probably more difficult to match a product to. I dunno. maybe a brand of swords that are sold over the Internet. or maybe a horse riding club advertised at the town stables or maybe a brand of fire retardant advertised for it's likewise effect on armor. *shrug* the problem is that we don't have very many "fantasy items" in our day to day lives in reality. So what exactly do you try to push for product placement? You have to end up being really really creative and first and foremost... being someone who understands the game before one can work with it. I haven't played any MMOs in a long time and I'm just tossing ideas out here... but I know that I personally wouldn't have a problem with Fresca healing potions, so long as they continued serving a purpose (healing mainly).
I'm always reminded of Space Quest V, while not online... all the inter-ship communication in the game was sponsored by Sprint. Of course truthfully... at the time I was playing it, I had no idea what Sprint was (they were not into Canada at that time).
Well, you mentioned that you were a World of Warcraft player. Blizzard has never run away from doing "strange" in their games. I think something like WOW where the world is designed with a nod and a wink to popular culture and silly jokes in the first place... would do better with marketing "reality"-based products than something that's pushing for "serious" roleplaying in it's online world and simply can't work the outside influences into it's carefully crafted universe.
Although it's true that WoW has humor and some references to the "real world," I still wouldn't want to see any out-of-place advertising in it and I'm sure most of its players would also not want to see that... especially on the RP realms.
SQ was a game filled with slapstick humor and would easily accomodate advertising of all kinds. And as far as Sprint being the communications carrier, that's not really a problem in the game. It is quite possible that if we move out into space, that Sprint will still be around and will have interstellar communications (though I'd put more money on some of the other companies rather than Sprint).
Anyhow, for a RPG, you really need to match advertising with the game's style. There are RPGs that are more traditional in that the world is fully fantasy and if you try to insert advertising into it, it will ruin the game. You may get away with naming a weaponsmith with the name of a real weaponsmith because 99% of people probably won't know that the name is real, but you couldn't advertise anything popular (Coke, Wal*mart, Mountain Dew, etc.) Other RPGs are more humorous and throwing in advertising in a way that is meant to make you laugh would work fine. Imagine Roger Wilco walking through the garbage ship in the beginning of SQ3 and seeing a can of Duracell battery on the ground... when he picks it up, he makes a comment like, "Wow! A real Duracell! They say these things keep going and going... maybe I can use it to finally power up my Sony radio." That would actually fit with the game. Having an NPC in WoW state that, "I'm going to run over to the Wal*mart to get some new Levis." just doesn't sound very good.
(Edited by WildKard (12186), Sep 24, 2006)Re: Coke Machines in the Dungeon
WildKard (12186), Sep 22, 2006
Change the word "Duracell" to "Energizer" and you almost have a Space Quest IV reference there :).
Yes, I don't want there to be a Wal-mart in WOW. I wouldn't however mind there being a Wal-Mart in Eve Online or in Anarchy Online or in... gee, those examples are all futuristic aren't they? Obviously it's much easier to fit a giant retailer into a sci-fi story rather than mideval fantasy one (King Arthur just didn't have big box stores). You obviously think the examples I've given are terrible... and they probably are... that's probably the huge challenge for anyone wanting to advertise in some of these fantasy worlds... trying to make it fit and "feel right" within the world. Like I said before, this is more an issue with games trying to keep themselves serious... but I can see how it might cross the line even on WOW.
But as I said, WOW's line is already fuzzy, what with Star Trek style teleporters and Frankenstein Monsters and skeleton mosh pits and goblin pod racer tracks and tons of references to other stuff in NPC names.
Sorry, you're right... Energizer, not Duracell.
Anyhow, teleportation is often considered something mages can do in fantasy stories. I'm not sure about the "frankenstein monsters" thing... what creatures are you referring to? Skeleton "pits" are usually graveyards are areas where many died in a long ago battle, so it's not unusual for a fantasy game to have them. And the goblin racing track... keep in mind that Warcraft treats goblins the way most fantasy treats gnomes... as tinkerers who tend to break things they tinker with (BOOM!). So, racing with what you tinkered with isn't really that unusual, either. I don't really see those as being unusual for the world. I really think the world in WoW is very well done and doesn't throw in anything that would seem that out of place.
(Edited by WildKard (12186), Sep 24, 2006)Re: Coke Machines in the Dungeon
WildKard (12186), Sep 24, 2006
Sorry, I was thinking about a Goblin teleportation device run by goblins named Spork and Scooty, not arcane teleportation which requires everyone to hold hands and kiss the magical portal.
But skeletons playing air guitar and dancing around in a mosh pit? This also wasn't around a "graveyard" persay, though I'm sure many had died there.
Heck, if Tatooine can have Pod Racers, I don't see why the Shimmering Flats can't have them too. I wouldn't be surprised if those Goblins/Gnomes "tinker" themselves a starship and introduce themselves to the Protoss. Speaking of which, I also seem to remember a certain goblin hat which carried satellite reception... don't be surprised when you can get glowing retractable swords either.
Except for every second thing. But I don't mind. Starcraft and Lost Vikings and Diablo did it too... and people love Blizzard because of it. It's not unlike the "modern" reference stuff that appears in those Monkey Island games (though there's nothing to indicate that Monkey Island doesn't take place in the present either)