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News & Features Discussion  » General: Jennings - 2009: That Horrible Year

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127 posts found
  TJKazmark

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/09
Posts: 116

12/23/09 11:16:31 AM#21

Despite the grim tidings of the article, I enjoyed reading the content.

Although layoffs have happened and are still going on, I still have hope for the future. As someone who is interested in getting into the industry (even if I go indie), I have an eye on seeing where the job market is going. It seems that considering the way the companies are acting, we may see the rise of new, smaller developer companies made up of the very people that were laid off. I'm keen to see if this will be the case. Any thoughts on this, Lum?

I won't talk about Facebook... it makes me too sad right now.

In regards to subscriptions, I think it's a time of experimentation. With Eastern games being more F2P with item malls, and Western games having a more subscription-based model, they were bound to interact eventually. I think, over the next few years, we'll continue to see this chaotic scrambling of payment models (cut-throat, in some cases) before it either separates again or finds a satisfactory middle ground.

"You think the place is trapped?"
"I don't know...send the rogue in first."

  brostyn

Novice Member

Joined: 1/29/04
Posts: 3120

Cynical? Me? Never.

12/23/09 11:27:00 AM#22

I happen to apperciate certain item shops. I like in EQ2 how I can buy a full bar of rested xp. In DDO, I love buying contract hirelings, and potions. The thing I don't like is how expensive it is(DDO has a fair price on some items others are laughable). I 've rarely bought the item shop enhancements, because of the ridiculous price. If it cost 15 dollars a month to play the game. I'm not going to buy too many 10 dollar potions that last for 2 hours(hello EQ XP potion that I never bought) . That is more than a movie, and it cost the devs nothing to get me this virtual item. If they slashed the prices in half they woud probably end up selling more. 

 

Another point is when one is deciding to continue one's subscription they will take into account the item mall price. I did this for EQ and EQ2, and I unsubscribed. The price of the game(sub + expensive item mall), and the lack of people just wasn't worth it. IMO, DDO got it right. Most items are fairly cheap, and lots of people are playing.

  Ceridith

Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/09
Posts: 3001

The more you hype an upcoming game in your mind, the more it will fail to meet your expectations.

12/23/09 11:32:49 AM#23

Very good article, and I particularly like the last point made.

Games should stick to either P2P or F2P. Value added services and item malls are nothing but greed driven money grabs in a P2P game. The subscription is supposed to cover the cost of the game and it's services, not to serve as the entry fee into a game where you're bombarded by ingame advertising for game related 'services' or a long line of charging your credit card to advance.

  Jaedor

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 807

12/23/09 11:33:44 AM#24

No offense, but I really get the feeling that readers don't understand economics.

Gaming companies were/are affected by the recession primarily due to lack of credit and tightening of credit rules/interest rates. No credit from lenders = less cash to shell out for new projects and in some cases, not enough cash to make payrolls. I get it that most of that is invisible at the retail end where we buy and play their games, but it's all connected. So it's not hard to understand that companies are looking for ways to generate more cash flow because business is run off it.

Nice article. :)

  Redemp

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/05
Posts: 1055

If I didn't respond to you, chances are you're a idiot.

12/23/09 11:39:30 AM#25
Originally posted by Jaedor

No offense, but I really get the feeling that readers don't understand economics.

Gaming companies were/are affected by the recession primarily due to lack of credit and tightening of credit rules/interest rates. No credit from lenders = less cash to shell out for new projects and in some case, not enough cash to make payrolls. I get it that most of that is invisible at the retail end where we buy and play their games, but it's all connected. So it's not hard to understand that companies are looking for ways to generate more cash flow because business is run off it.

Nice article. :)


 

 Good point.. almost.

 Your missing the fact that Gaming was/is considered Recession proof... so the impact of the tightening of credit applications is minimal, if anything banks would have placed more money in Devs hands based on the economic reports that its safe. Interest rates dropped.. so thats a non-factor. For every investor thats a Bank, theres an investor that has the capital on hand.

 

  LumTheMad

Novice Member

Joined: 11/04/09
Posts: 29

12/23/09 11:43:06 AM#26

Although games with established subscription bases have an income to keep them afloat, new company startups (which would ordinarily be thick as flies thanks to all the talented people looking for work) have been almost completely shut down thanks to difficulty in getting funding. 

  Redemp

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/05
Posts: 1055

If I didn't respond to you, chances are you're a idiot.

12/23/09 11:49:26 AM#27
Originally posted by LumTheMad

Although games with established subscription bases have an income to keep them afloat, new company startups (which would ordinarily be thick as flies thanks to all the talented people looking for work) have been almost completely shut down thanks to difficulty in getting funding. 


 

 

You also have to look at the indies that have and/or ARE releasing.

Darkfall, Fallen Earth, MO, Global Agenda, Earthrise... and the list goes on.

What promising Indies have been shut down? I can't think of any..

If anything the SUCESS of Indie Devs this year demonstrates the safety of MMO's in this "Recession".

 

  Teala

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/16/04
Posts: 7431

"Really officer, they're herbs."

12/23/09 11:50:31 AM#28

Might as well put 2010, 2011, 2012 and onward on your list because game designers lack creativity any longer and all they wish to do is give us the same old, same old, or poorly designed and implemented games.     It's all about how fast and simple they can push a game to market and or how some indie company pushes out a crap game that they hype up with tons of promises of innovative game play that they cannot deliver on.   Just look at games like DF, MO and FE.   Crappy animations, crappy graphics, crappy game play, crappy MOB AI, crappy combat, crappy worlds.  Though they tried, they failed miserably.   Better luck next time.

We need game designers that love their game enough to make it truly epic.   The old school designers of Asheron's Call, now they loved their game and it showed it.   Same goes for Blizzard and how they did WoW and payed attention to details.   old school DAoC with it's innovative RvR.    What we need is designers like these that have focus and creativity to design a game that brings back the magic that these older games once had.    What we're getting is garbage any more and I refuse to pay for it.

  TJKazmark

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/09
Posts: 116

12/23/09 11:52:14 AM#29

Ouch.

Does this mean indie developers will have to rely on working for free (or on a very low budget from smaller investors) to get their games created and published? How do you think this is going to affect the industry's future?

P.S.: I'm still VERY new to the developer's perspective, so please forgive the questions that may have very obvious answers. I'm still out doing research on my own time.

"You think the place is trapped?"
"I don't know...send the rogue in first."

  Redemp

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/05
Posts: 1055

If I didn't respond to you, chances are you're a idiot.

12/23/09 11:54:54 AM#30
Originally posted by TJKazmark

Ouch.

Does this mean indie developers will have to rely on working for free (or on a very low budget from smaller investors) to get their games created and published? How do you think this is going to affect the industry's future?

P.S.: I'm still VERY new to the developer's perspective, so please forgive the questions that may have very obvious answers. I'm still out doing research on my own time.


 

Indie Devs will always have to rely on a small budget. As I stated above.. the Indie Dev field was not hit like was stated... we have seen more Indie Sucesses this year than any other I've been around to see.

  TJKazmark

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/09
Posts: 116

12/23/09 11:59:56 AM#31

Ah, chalk another point up to my lack of information retention.

"You think the place is trapped?"
"I don't know...send the rogue in first."

  Redemp

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/05
Posts: 1055

If I didn't respond to you, chances are you're a idiot.

12/23/09 12:02:01 PM#32

Thats no it at all,  I won't pretend to be the end-all say on the topic. I just don't see the points adding up... its a typical " The Recession" scapegoat as I see it.

  Bob_Blawblaw

Novice Member

Joined: 1/11/06
Posts: 1314

12/23/09 12:02:01 PM#33
Originally posted by MMO_Doubter
Originally posted by Daffid011
Originally posted by kingtommyboy

2009 was indeed a terrible year.. but we're lucky it's almost 2010 ^^

Same thing was said in 2008, 2007, 2006....

 

I don't have high hopes for 2010 to be honest.

Indeed. I think there are still a lot of people working in the industry who simply don't deserve to be - judging by their results.

 

Agreed, but I don't necessarily blame the developers. It's mainly execs and marketing monkeys pulling the strings. And they've pulled pretty damn hard in 2009. The jury is still out as to whether or not they get away with all the crap they've pulled this year. And while we wait to see the verdict, the snake oil salesmen and women in the MMO industry will claim they're breaking new ground in the business, causing others to jump on board. Then the pendulum will swing. 2010 is going to be a doosy of a ***edit*** - up (borrowed from TUX), but I have high hopes for 2011 when publishers start to realize people are on to them, and that word of mouth/reputation is important (that's right I'm looking at YOU SOE).

  Nightbringe1

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/23/07
Posts: 722

12/23/09 12:05:26 PM#34
Originally posted by NoobTech

What game companies need to be doing is finding out why people stop subscribing to their games and add content that will either bring back former subscribers or bring in new ones. trying to squeeze extra $$$ out of already paying customers is just plain greedy and needs to stop...and i don't care if it's only 'cosmetic' mt's either.

lets hope 2010 is the year the companies start to listen to their customers instead of lining their pockets.


 

I don't think there isanything the developers can do about unemployed customers.

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
Benjamin Franklin

  Jaedor

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 807

12/23/09 12:14:09 PM#35
Originally posted by Redemp

 Good point.. almost.

 Your missing the fact that Gaming was/is considered Recession proof... so the impact of the tightening of credit applications is minimal, if anything banks would have placed more money in Devs hands based on the economic reports that its safe. Interest rates dropped.. so thats a non-factor. For every investor thats a Bank, theres an investor that has the capital on hand.

 

I get what you're saying, but at least as far as I've seen this past year, being considered recession proof didn't mean it actually was. Kind of like nice theory and all but... no. Lenders stuck together and adjusted rules, rates and criteria to stay competitive. And if the gaming company is public, it was dealing with a very volatile and emo stock market that drives the share value down and adds to the challenge of finding a lender to back your line of credit.

Enough about economics.

I was more engaged in gaming in 2009 than ever before, so I don't see the year as "horrible" at all for games. I tried a few new games (and left most of them) and stayed with others just like every other year. I look forward to 2010's rollouts for their creativity and imagination but that's based in appreciating what I already have.

And even though I don't agree with Scott a lot of the time, I really like the way he writes. :D

  Redemp

Novice Member

Joined: 7/30/05
Posts: 1055

If I didn't respond to you, chances are you're a idiot.

12/23/09 12:18:10 PM#36

 I love his articles... and I enjoy the perspective he gives. Its just this one instance I have to voice my points of objection.

 

  Elikal

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/09/06
Posts: 8067

“No path is darker then when your eyes are shut.” -Flemeth

12/23/09 12:20:16 PM#37

"Because in today’s economy the pocketbooks of your customers are as tight as yours are, the last thing they’re going to want to do is shell out $20 for a shiny +12 suit of Extra Special Value Chain Mail, and if you design your game so that +12 Value Chain Mail is necessary, your users will inform you that no, it’s not necessary because your game is not necessary."

 

If only these GOLDEN WORDS were hammered into every game developing company's entry!

 

From a gamer's perspective 2009 has not been so horrible, but at least full of mediocre stuff. And that Facebook thing. Isn't it fading already? I mean for a while I was active on it myself, but after half a year or so, I thought WTF am I doing here? And ever since I stopped my Facebook involvement at all. Quite a silly way to waste time IMO.

A forum is a place where people can discuss about different opinions. So what I don't get is, how people react offended when they come to a forum and then find... well different opinions. If a different opinion offends you, what are you even doing here?

  flydowntome

Novice Member

Joined: 2/25/09
Posts: 106

12/23/09 12:20:59 PM#38

It was a horrible year for sub and big-studio MMOs you mean. Both indies and free-to-play games seem to have done fine. I haven't heard of any of the f2p ones close at all, and there are tons active and thriving. They are so successful that western developers are now emulating their approach.

I've noticed that a lot of industry people have tunnel vision and tend to define "MMO" as "Western-Developed big-budget game." If you look at the larger picture, the market isn't as bad as you think.

  delateur

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 157

12/23/09 12:24:27 PM#39

Great article!

My thoughts on this went a few different directions.

1) There will ALWAYS be a market for MMOs. The pricing is reasonable for the entertainment you are given, so if someone puts out a great MMO, it WILL succeed, even in the worst of markets. It will probably do better than most other forms of entertainment, because the dollar will stretch a lot furter (heck, even playing an hour a day on average is completely worth the price of admission on a great MMO). As others have said, what we need is a truly great MMO, something with a great plot, some amazing gameplay, and the respect for the playerbase to not mictrotransact the bejeebers out of it (that link to the CO respec REALLY got me hot...).

2) It makes me very sad that even the gaming industry isn't immune to the recession. I have a variety of skills and a lot of education, and I too thought I would be immune to the recession, but found out rather surprisingly that I am not. Still, I found that while nothing can change the reality of how things are, my attitude toward such challenges has a tremendous impact on how that reality affects me. For those who are struggling during these difficult times, reach out to others, share your story and reinvent yourself in meaningful ways. The world, and the US especially, admires innovation, so direct such energies inward, and it will bear fruit. I know for me, one big step was when I stopped playing MMOs as a form of escapism, and began playing them for fun and social interaction.

Here's wishing you all a happy holiday!

  GreenLanternFan

Novice Member

Joined: 9/06/08
Posts: 380

12/23/09 12:32:00 PM#40

My favorite part of the article was actually the following caption, that you had next to a WoW race change ad/graphic:

When Blizzard just said,
"Oh well, why not, they'll buy ANYTHING."

The irony is, I'm starting to truly believe that this is the mindset of most of these companies today and therefore the real cause for the mess we are in and most likely the culprit behind these layoffs, as well.

These companies, ie Funcom and Mythic took us for a bunch of fools. Due to Blizzard's success, they had these huge dollar signs in their eyes with overconfident expectations and champagne and caviar dreams. All the while, trying to pass along unfinished products with misleading advertising, with their hands on our wallets and a snickering laugh.

Hopefully 2009 is the year where developers have learned that we are not the fools that some mistook us for and that we will not settle for half-finished garbage products wrapped in a golden bow of lies and deceit.

Your fail comment, failed.

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