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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » The hardcore sandbox "niche" is not very small despite what you think

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  Sirmaki

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/09/06
Posts: 119

9/25/12 10:17:27 AM#61
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by Kasmos

I hear this argument all the time; "developers don't make sandbox games because it's a niche market" or when people discuss new developing games they say, "they shouldn't implement "x" idea to cater to the sandbox niche".

The definition of niche is as follows:

A. Situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature

B. A special area of demand for a product or service

No where does that imply that the niche has to be small, despite that connotation being made all throughout gaming forums. But you're right, there certainly is a sandbox niche out there and we've been dying to find a good game to support. Does everyone think that all of us who grew up on games like Ultima Online just disappeared? The fact is, there just haven't been games worth playing since WoW watered down the market.

There are a large amount of people who have been waiting for a good sandbox MMO for a long time, and only recently have developers started taking chances at breaking the current mold and trying different things. Look at the success of EVE as a perfect example of this, as well as Darkfall.

I myself joined Darkfall when that game launched, and haven't had that much fun in an MMO since Ultima Online. At launch, so many people wanted to buy the game the purchasing system crashed. The point is, sandbox games are making a comeback, and to those that think there are not a lot of us excited about that and won't be returning for old school MMOs like Darkfall: Unholy Wars, you're completely wrong.

You've presented an item for argument (argument meaning a discussion or debate), that being that the hardcore sandbox niche is not small.

And yet no where in your thesis do you present any evidence or even support of any kind for that position.

What reasons/evidence/experience led you to this conclusion?

This. Also, the OP has mininterpreted the definition of niche. The use of the term "specially" indicates it is not broad or general in nature. Other wise it wouldn't be special in anyway. MMO's have a broad following, open world PvP with full loot is a niche inside that broad following.

 

Also this reminds of me of the reportor who, when Nixon won, commented to the effect how could he win? Everyone one I know voted against  him!! For the low information voters in the crowd, if you only hang with the Darkfall crowd, then of course 99% of the gamers you know like OW PvP...

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

9/25/12 10:39:43 AM#62
Originally posted by Kasmos

I hear this argument all the time; "developers don't make sandbox games because it's a niche market" or when people discuss new developing games they say, "they shouldn't implement "x" idea to cater to the sandbox niche".

The definition of niche is as follows:

A. Situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature

B. A special area of demand for a product or service

No where does that imply that the niche has to be small, despite that connotation being made all throughout gaming forums. But you're right, there certainly is a sandbox niche out there and we've been dying to find a good game to support. Does everyone think that all of us who grew up on games like Ultima Online just disappeared? The fact is, there just haven't been games worth playing since WoW watered down the market.

There are a large amount of people who have been waiting for a good sandbox MMO for a long time, and only recently have developers started taking chances at breaking the current mold and trying different things. Look at the success of EVE as a perfect example of this, as well as Darkfall.

I myself joined Darkfall when that game launched, and haven't had that much fun in an MMO since Ultima Online. At launch, so many people wanted to buy the game the purchasing system crashed. The point is, sandbox games are making a comeback, and to those that think there are not a lot of us excited about that and won't be returning for old school MMOs like Darkfall: Unholy Wars, you're completely wrong.

Kasmos,

I tend to agree with you that I believe the market for this type of game is being underestimated. Developers/Publishers build products not based on what the market actualy is...but on what THIER PERCEPTION of the market is. It's really hard, even for companies that spend a ton of money on market research to get a good handle on the market. If it wasn't then we'd hardly ever seen products released that underperform... clearly that's not the case.

For quite a number of years now, Publishers/Developers have been blinded by chasing after the same markey segment that WoW holds, which is admitedly pretty huge as far as the MMO audience goes. That's no different then when Movie Studios or Single Player Game Studios try to chase after the same audience that a prior Blockbuster has captured by releasing a new title with similar qualities. However, they made (IMO) a critical miscalculation in that MMO's unlike Movies or Single Player Games don't have a short shelf life, where people are "finnished" with them in a couple of months and are ready to move on to a new iteration of the same thing. They are alot more similar to long term Service industries...like where you get your haircut, where you get your taxes down, car repaired, etc....in that if a customer is generaly satisfied with the offering they are going to tend to stay with that offering year after year, unless the new offering coming out is VASTLY more compelling then what they are used to using.  In other words that meant that every new game that came out aimed at the same target audience as WoW was going to have to compete with WoW for that audience...in essence it would have to offer a vastly better WoW then WoW itself...not an easy thing to do by any stretch of the imagination.

Clearly that was a tough market for any new product to compete in. Even if the conventional wisdom is correct and it's by far the largest segement...it's still a finite market....and with the amount of competition for that market any new entrant in that market is going to have to fight very hard for audience share. I believe the lesson that Developers may have finally begun to learn is a pretty basic business lesson (amazing that it took them so long to recognize it), in a heavly saturated market, your best chance for success is to look for a market segment that is currently underserved and find a way to deliver a product to them in a profitable manner. In other words, there is nothing wrong with targeting a "niche" audience as long as that "niche" is large enough to sustain a game and still make a proffit.  I think "sandbox" easly qualifies for that...and I think you are starting to see some developers recognize that.

Note there is a tendecy here among posters on mmorpg.com to dismiss ANYTHING that doesn't match thier exact preferences as a "tiny minority" or "niche" because they have anxiety that fewer offerings will be available within thier prefered preferences if Developers see anything outside those preferences as viable enough to target a product at. Sad but understandable.

  Jaedor

Elite Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 916

9/25/12 10:41:36 AM#63

You can't talk about "hardcore sandbox" without defining it.

Your sandbox might include FFA PvP with perma-death, while mine includes a smattering of missions, no PvP and a small death penalty. Can't even have a decent discussion unless you establish parameters.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12283

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

9/25/12 10:42:26 AM#64
Originally posted by Felheart5
Originally posted by Sovrath

Each one of these games has a specific audience and in the case of the former it isn't clear that everyone is signed up for the "open ended" experience.

 

I know it's not quite comparable, but how about the The Sims series of games, arguably one of the bigger game IP's out there although it's golden days may have passed(?). Entierly open ended sandbox gaming experience. ;)

Massive single player following for years, but barely any interest in The Sims Online.

Minecraft is another example of an extremely popular single player sandbox experience but only limited interest in anything multiplayer beyond small group and immediate friends/family.

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

9/25/12 11:01:30 AM#65
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by Uzik

Pretty sure there was this fairly big sandbox RPG released called "Skyrim" or something like that.  I've also heard some buzz about this whole "DayZ" thing that is supposedly pretty hardcore or something like that.

 

And I mean, not like the original wave of MMO's like UO, AC, and EQ had open PvP and looting or anything.

 

 

 

Wait a minute.......

Yeah, but you aren't really thinking that statement through.

So Skyrim sold (according to a figure I saw, feel free to pull one that is better) 3.4 million copies in the first two days. Let's say that it eventually made it to 4 million. Pretty impressive for a sandbox right?

Except, who bought those copies and even more telling, were they really looking for "a sandbox"?

Part of that number will be Elder Scrolls fans. They pretty much know what they are getting into. But what of everyone else?

 

of the 5 people I know who bougth skyrim only one plays it for the open world sandbox game play. The other 4 only did the quests they could find and then stopped. Of that 4 two of them said that the game was too open and they would have preferred more structure.

So, of those 4 million players, how many actually bought it because it was "sandbox"? how many actually enjoyed the open ended game play or even eschewed the quests and just played their own way?

Or is there a greater number of players who lost interest because of the open ended nature? Or maybe they bought it, played it for 15 minutes and moved  on to something else.

I suspect that a portion of those skyrim players weren't all gung ho about it being "sandbox". Or for those who have a more strick definition of sandbox, "open ended".

I see that in August DayZ surpassed 1 million players. But how many of these players are in it for "open pvp which is hardcore" over a "complete sandbox experience".

Each one of these games has a specific audience and in the case of the former it isn't clear that everyone is signed up for the "open ended" experience.

 

You could say the same is true for pretty much ANY product...including Themepark Games....

- How many people bought and played WoW because it was set in the Warcraft Universe and they were fans of the RTS series.

- How many bought it because it was heavly advertised and happened to be one of the few MMO's around at the time they got reliable broadband internet access?

- How many people bought it because thier school buddy Ben was playing it and they wanted to hang out with thier buddy.

- How many people bought it because they saw Chuck Norris and Mr. T. on TV?

- How many bought it and play it because they enjoy the unique irreverent humor it features?

- How many bought it and play it simply because it IS a well done game, regardless of it's style?

- How many bought it and play it simply because it's the only MMO they've really heard about or known...and it's familar to them?

I mean clearly WoW is immensely popular....but by the same token you've raised it's kinda hard to quantify exactly how much of it's popularity is due to it specificaly being a "linear themepark" rather then some other factor?

P.S.  It may surprise you to note, that I generaly consider myself a "sandbox" fan and many people might consider me "hardcore".  I bought and played vanilla WoW for about 1.5 years, I enjoyed my time there. I don't really have anthing bad to say about it....but I bought and played it INSPITE of the fact it was a linear themepark not due to it. It simply was a well done game. I probably would have enjoyed it more and played it longer (and definately that holds true for LOTRO) had it featured more "sandbox" elements.

Edit: Does the fact that I bought and played WoW and LOTRO make me a "linear themepark" fan?  Or does it simply mean I'm willing to play them, even if they don't match my preferences, if other factors are sufficiently present?

 

 

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

9/25/12 11:21:38 AM#66
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by Malcanis
Originally posted by Yamota
Originally posted by Failings

The entire MMORPG market was concidered a niche before WoW made it main stream. Things evolve and nobody is capable of telling the future.

I always grin when I see someone throw random crystal ball predictions like "FFA PvP will always fail" or "sandbox MMOs will only ever be a niche".

What if for example Titan turned out to be a sandbox game and it was an interstellar smash hit, what then, fortune tellers?

The thing is that there has not been a single big budget sandbox MMO created, ever. Yet people say they would not work. How do they know?

Obviously big money producers dont believe so either, as they are not funding any, but one day one will take the leap and create a 100 million dollar sandbox, possible ThemePark hybrid, and it will probably blow every other MMO of the map.

There was a time when everyone in Hollywood knew that big-budget Science Fiction films could never make money.

Then Terminator was released. Had the world completely changed the day before, or were all those "me too" producers wrong?

 

EDIT: Ditto big-budget Fantasy films, Lord of the Rings.

Where do you guys get your information from. Terminator was released in 1984 and yes was quite successfull.

Before then there were:

ET (1982), Star Trek the motion picture (1979),

 Star Trek the Wrath of Kahn, Star trek (1982),

 Star Trek the search for Spock also came out in 1984,

BladeRunner (1982),

Star Wars a New Hope (1977),

Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars Return of the Jedi (1983)

Iceman (also 1984),

The Andromeda Strain (1971),

Logans Run (1976),

 Superman (1978 – I will give this as not really science fiction though),

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978),

Solaris (1972),

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977),

Alien (1979)

Just to name a few movies that raked it in at the box offie and won numerous awards. 

 

I don't think there been a time since the 50's or 60's when Hollywood didn't believe there was a ton of money to be made in Science fiction.

 

And just like Hollywoord, Face it, just like the movies.  Developers and Producers are watching this Industry.  When they see something that they will will make money, whether it be sandbox or not, they will build it. 

edit -for fantay there have been a few, however most of the fantasy out there as far as movie go is kinda garbage.  But again, if they think money can be made at it they will do it.  But bad scripts, low budgets, bad actors is not the way to make money - parallel to games.

VengeSunsoar,  I think the larger point he's making is that there is an "accepted common wisdom" factor where many people in an industry simply assume something is true because it's what they've seen so far......and therefore it creates a bit of a self-fullfilling prophecy effect where an industry resists change for awhile until something comes along and smacks it in the face to challenge it's preconcieved assumptions. Taking the longer view, we've seen this time and again in history...

- Oh those new fangled horseless carriages will never replace the buggy.

- Oh TV will never supplant radio as a medium.

- Oh PC's will never become more popular in industry then mainframes.

- Oh this internet thing is just a novel niche that only appeals to a limited audience of academics and nerds.

Etc....

It's easy to understand the common Perception of something is, it's really hard to understand just how well that Perception matches up with reality.... especialy true with something as fickle and complex as human tastes and preferences in entertainment.

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

9/25/12 11:29:49 AM#67
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Uzik

Gotta love the people demanding some sort of scientific study that sandbox gaming is becoming more popular.

 

OP was expressing a feeling that he has, and there are PLENTY of recent examples that show a trend towards sandbox games.  It will probably take awhile for that to translate into a successful MMO title, but everyone here acting like every themepark game since WoW was a huge success needs to stop being so blind.

Yeah well feelings are not good enough. You don't get funding based on a hunch. State those examples. Let us scrutinize them. OP already showed error in his reasoning.

Well according to recent quotes from Smedley , he wants to start adding more "sandbox elements" to his future releases. If that's true it sounds like the OP's hunch is shared by someone with significant ability to ACT on it.  I'm also seeing alot more "sandbox" oriented games on the horizon, some of them backed by significant business entities ...for example Pathfinder Online and relationship with Paizo Publishing.... You know the PnP game company who's product is actualy beating out Wizards of the Costs D&D offering currently.

  Tardcore

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/13/09
Posts: 2370

"A strange game. The only winning move is not to post."

9/25/12 11:32:20 AM#68
While I'm sick of these "Candyland" themepark games. And while Shadowbane is still my favorite MMO of all time. I empahtically disagree that sandbox MMOs must only be hardcore, FFA, full loot games to be successful or fun. Just giving players the option to make their own mark in the game world would be amazing. IE let them control and work a resource mine, build a village, create a trade hub, etc. Instead of just running around like a dazed fat kid at an amusement park, gobbling up all the sweet stuff and riding the same rides over and over again until they puke.

"Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "

  VengeSunsoar

Elite Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4834

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

9/25/12 11:41:01 AM#69
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by Malcanis
Originally posted by Yamota
Originally posted by Failings

The entire MMORPG market was concidered a niche before WoW made it main stream. Things evolve and nobody is capable of telling the future.

I always grin when I see someone throw random crystal ball predictions like "FFA PvP will always fail" or "sandbox MMOs will only ever be a niche".

What if for example Titan turned out to be a sandbox game and it was an interstellar smash hit, what then, fortune tellers?

The thing is that there has not been a single big budget sandbox MMO created, ever. Yet people say they would not work. How do they know?

Obviously big money producers dont believe so either, as they are not funding any, but one day one will take the leap and create a 100 million dollar sandbox, possible ThemePark hybrid, and it will probably blow every other MMO of the map.

There was a time when everyone in Hollywood knew that big-budget Science Fiction films could never make money.

Then Terminator was released. Had the world completely changed the day before, or were all those "me too" producers wrong?

 

EDIT: Ditto big-budget Fantasy films, Lord of the Rings.

Where do you guys get your information from. Terminator was released in 1984 and yes was quite successfull.

Before then there were:

ET (1982), Star Trek the motion picture (1979),

 Star Trek the Wrath of Kahn, Star trek (1982),

 Star Trek the search for Spock also came out in 1984,

BladeRunner (1982),

Star Wars a New Hope (1977),

Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars Return of the Jedi (1983)

Iceman (also 1984),

The Andromeda Strain (1971),

Logans Run (1976),

 Superman (1978 – I will give this as not really science fiction though),

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978),

Solaris (1972),

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977),

Alien (1979)

Just to name a few movies that raked it in at the box offie and won numerous awards. 

 

I don't think there been a time since the 50's or 60's when Hollywood didn't believe there was a ton of money to be made in Science fiction.

 

And just like Hollywoord, Face it, just like the movies.  Developers and Producers are watching this Industry.  When they see something that they will will make money, whether it be sandbox or not, they will build it. 

edit -for fantay there have been a few, however most of the fantasy out there as far as movie go is kinda garbage.  But again, if they think money can be made at it they will do it.  But bad scripts, low budgets, bad actors is not the way to make money - parallel to games.

VengeSunsoar,  I think the larger point he's making is that there is an "accepted common wisdom" factor where many people in an industry simply assume something is true because it's what they've seen so far......and therefore it creates a bit of a self-fullfilling prophecy effect where an industry resists change for awhile until something comes along and smacks it in the face to challenge it's preconcieved assumptions. Taking the longer view, we've seen this time and again in history...

- Oh those new fangled horseless carriages will never replace the buggy.

- Oh TV will never supplant radio as a medium.

- Oh PC's will never become more popular in industry then mainframes.

- Oh this internet thing is just a novel niche that only appeals to a limited audience of academics and nerds.

Etc....

It's easy to understand the common Perception of something is, it's really hard to understand just how well that Perception matches up with reality.... especialy true with something as fickle and complex as human tastes and preferences in entertainment.

exactly and thats what I'm arguing.  Is that actually happening.  He cited Terminator and sci fi movies as evidence that that does happen.  I stated it didn't happen then, I'm not sure it's happening now.  In all the cases you mentioned I'm sure there was someone somewhere saying it won't happen but what the people/developers/business people as a whole thinking?  What was the market thinking.

Just because an individual or even a collection of individuals think that something could never happen, is there actually "many" that do, or is it actually their thinking that "just not right now", or "it may be there but we need more credence to justify the cost"

I think when you get right down to it, there are a great many people/perhaps the majority who think there is a market for sandbox, however each design decision reduces the number of people that will play that particular sandbox.

Lets play with some made up numbers just to illustrate a point.  North America ha 50 million MMO gamers.  60% are f2p

1.  Your subscription model cuts your audience down by half.  now there is only 25 milliion.

2.  Pvp?  Down by half again 12 milion and in there if you say ffapvp, I say that cuts you down to less than 1 million right off the bat.

3  casual friendly or grind fest?  6 million

4.  Can it be soloed or must there be a  group for everything? 3 million

5.  Loot drops?  yes?  Crafting better than loot.  What reason to adventures have to go hunting, what reason do crafters have to try and bulid a market.  1.5 million.

6.  How good are the graphics?  1 million

...

So by the time the game is actually made and released there may only be a market of 500,000 to 1 million that will actually even try your game, of which you will need a good chunk of those people to stay and actually play something.  I heard somewhere that the best retention is only about 30% of all the people that tried WoW stayed for longer than a month.

This is what needs to be shown to developers to justify spending 50-100 million on a game.  Right now several themparks have shown they can sustain 200,000 plus subscribers/players out of a total of 50 million and they require that much to justify the cost.  A sandbox will have to do the same to justify the cost of developing.  And 2 games out of the 15 year history of gaming doesn't lend that very much support right now.

A developer would be smart to do what Eve did, don't spend 50-100 million, spend 10-20 million (Eve didn't spend that much but translate into today's MMO dollars).  However what would you sacrifice?  and would that sacrifice kill the game?  I'm not sure but am not positive about the answer.

 

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17231

9/25/12 11:41:43 AM#70
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

 

You could say the same is true for pretty much ANY product...including Themepark Games....

- How many people bought and played WoW because it was set in the Warcraft Universe and they were fans of the RTS series.

- How many bought it because it was heavly advertised and happened to be one of the few MMO's around at the time they got reliable broadband internet access?

- How many people bought it because thier school buddy Ben was playing it and they wanted to hang out with thier buddy.

- How many people bought it because they saw Chuck Norris and Mr. T. on TV?

- How many bought it and play it because they enjoy the unique irreverent humor it features?

- How many bought it and play it simply because it IS a well done game, regardless of it's style?

- How many bought it and play it simply because it's the only MMO they've really heard about or known...and it's familar to them?

I mean clearly WoW is immensely popular....but by the same token you've raised it's kinda hard to quantify exactly how much of it's popularity is due to it specificaly being a "linear themepark" rather then some other factor?

P.S.  It may surprise you to note, that I generaly consider myself a "sandbox" fan and many people might consider me "hardcore".  I bought and played vanilla WoW for about 1.5 years, I enjoyed my time there. I don't really have anthing bad to say about it....but I bought and played it INSPITE of the fact it was a linear themepark not due to it. It simply was a well done game. I probably would have enjoyed it more and played it longer (and definately that holds true for LOTRO) had it featured more "sandbox" elements.

Edit: Does the fact that I bought and played WoW and LOTRO make me a "linear themepark" fan?  Or does it simply mean I'm willing to play them, even if they don't match my preferences, if other factors are sufficiently present?

 

 

 

I wouldn't disagree.

But that's my point. You can't say that the reason anyone buys a product is becuase of "x".

The point of this thread is that "the hardcore sandbox niche is not small".

One then holds up skyrim and my experience with a few people who play skyrim is that most of them DON'T like the open ended game play. Granted a few people doesn't a smoking gun make. But I find it telling that people I meet outside my circles complain about the open nature.

so wouldn't a better example be a game that is an open ended sandbox where the average person touts that very feature? I can't buy into an example when there are too many other variables that come into play.

This is also one of the reason why I don't agree with people who point to WoW and say "look, there are millions of players in WoW who would readily jump on X niche mmo game if only they were shown the light".

Though there is crossover (venn diagrams!) the hardcore wow players are hardcore wow players. They aren't necessarily mmo players. And again, my experience with the average everyman who plays wow shows me that they have no idea as to what other mmo's are out there. This is not to say that WoW hasn't brought people to the genre who might be interested in other games. But it's not like 10 million people are buying each big mmo that comes out. It's usually more like 1 million ish for the large titles. So that leaves a huge segment of WoW players who aren't really that interested in other mmo's.

I would say the fact that you purchased WoW and LOTRO does mean that you either like parts of linear themepark games or that the downsides of a linear thempark game aren't a detriment to your enjoyment. Which is your second statment. Which is all the more reason to note that any game that is purchased might have people who are not there for a particular defining aspect.

You would have to show me a hardcore sandbox game where million + people purchased precisely because of the sandbox/open nature. But I don't really see 1 million + players interested in these sandbox mmo games.

Or more reaslistically, talking with average people outside yoru circles who all seem excited about the open sandbox nature of it. Not excited about the game because it's fantasy or because of the IP.

 

 

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

9/25/12 12:10:08 PM#71

@Sovrath,  the point I was getting is that your arguement that it's difficult to look at the "sandbox/themepark" factor in isolation, which you very aptly make, cuts both ways...

It means that the OP doesn't have reliable data to support his assertion that it's "not very small".

But by the same token...

Those who have made assertions that IS very small also don't have reliable data to base thier assertions on.

The only thing that one can reliably contend when one doesn't have a way to isolate the data so that it can accurately be measured is that it's size is UNKOWN.

 

 

 

 

  Dewm

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/29/09
Posts: 1341

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

9/25/12 12:22:04 PM#72

Has anyone heard of a book called "the 5000 year leap"?

 

I think of WoW this way, with its player base..

If WoW has been like all of the other themeparks to come out, the average population of a themepark game today would be around 300k

But WoW was the hit it was for whatever reason, and brought in millions and millions of themepark fans into the genre.. so now we have a very lopsided playerbase.

 

I think overall there are the same (roughly) amunt of people that would enjoy a really good sandbox MMO... but so far the sandbox genre hasn't has its "5000 year leap" so we are evolving much much slower.

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17231

9/25/12 12:24:14 PM#73
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

The only thing that one can reliably contend when one doesn't have a way to isolate the data so that it can accurately be measured is that it's size is UNKOWN.

 

 

 

 

YES!

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

9/25/12 12:28:43 PM#74

VengeSunsoar,

I actually agree with you. I think the best bet for pretty much any developer right now is to go in with a much smaller budget aimed at a targeted audience and build up his maket from there. I think that's something along the lines of what PFO and several other MMO's in the works are doing.

The thing, I think, it's important to understand about number of "successfull" themeparks vs number of successfull sandboxes is to look at the PERCENTAGES and also try to isolate for other variables. Yes there are considerably more themeparks then sandboxes with high subscriber bases.....but how many AAA sandboxes have been released compared to AAA themeparks? Going strictly by PERCENTAGES your odds of being "successfull" with AAA release statisticaly are probably higher with "sandbox" then "themepark".  Most of the sandbox's released in recent years that have done poorly have been underfunded titles made by small, inexperienced studios. If you look at themeparks in the same category...I don't think you see those produced by inexperienced studios and underfunded doing markedly better, do you?

I'm not really trying to content that the "sandbox" audience is large or small...though I have a suspecion that it's being underestimated.  Mostly I'm trying to contend that it's size is far less well determined then most people assume it is.

 

 

 

  VengeSunsoar

Elite Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4834

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

9/25/12 12:29:53 PM#75
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

@Sovrath,  the point I was getting is that your arguement that it's difficult to look at the "sandbox/themepark" factor in isolation, which you very aptly make, cuts both ways...

It means that the OP doesn't have reliable data to support his assertion that it's "not very small".

But by the same token...

Those who have made assertions that IS very small also don't have reliable data to base thier assertions on.

The only thing that one can reliably contend when one doesn't have a way to isolate the data so that it can accurately be measured is that it's size is UNKOWN.

 

 

 

 

Except the OP did not point out any data at all, reliable or not, that shows any indication that the sandbox crowd is large. He just stated that it isn't small.

The people who are saying it is small can at least point to the several dozen sandboxes that are out right now of which only 2 has ever broken 300,000 subscribers and use that as credence to their claim.  Now the reliability or credibility of this is still open to debate however the OP did not present anything. 

edit - I actually think sandboxes can do better subscriber/player wise than the currently are and it will take a bigger budget game to make that happen.  I myself, even if I had the money, just couldn't justify spending 50 million to make it without more data. 

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  laokoko

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 1916

9/25/12 3:16:08 PM#76

No matter how bad the game is.  If it is the only game for the genre and you love the genre you should be playing it.

So why are you not playing the several hardcore sandbox on the market right now instead of whinning that they are not AAA.

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5546

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

9/25/12 3:16:22 PM#77
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Uzik

Well according to recent quotes from Smedley , he wants to start adding more "sandbox elements" to his future releases. If that's true it sounds like the OP's hunch is shared by someone with significant ability to ACT on it.  I'm also seeing alot more "sandbox" oriented games on the horizon, some of them backed by significant business entities ...for example Pathfinder Online and relationship with Paizo Publishing.... You know the PnP game company who's product is actualy beating out Wizards of the Costs D&D offering currently.

Smedley is a poor authority to pull. He remains a one-hit-wonder unless he proves otherwise.

And the Pathfinder Online... well taking into account that their "tech demo" wasn't a tech demo but a weird clip showing them talking about what they want to do (not even how they want to do it). I am not convinced and I don't like to be mislead.

Sandboxes have been subpar nearly across the board. Devs make all sound fantastic but the day-to-day, play-by-play gameplay is shit. Sandboxes are synonomous to poor quality which make them appealing to even smaller audience they could potentially have.

Investors are not interested. If I would have to put my money on some sandbox dev, I'd put my money on Zombie Labs or CCP. However, Zombie Labs' is somewhat exotic and risky being a zombie survival FPS for consoles and CCP is notorious for unfinished delivery.

Jeff Strain, now that's a proper veteran game developer. Smedley my ass...

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  adam_nox

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2068

9/25/12 3:54:11 PM#78

look up minecraft numbers.  then take it times 2 or so for how many people pirate the thing or just play the demo.

 

some mods have practically turned it into an mmo. 

 

it's proof that there's a wide market just waiting for a good sandbox mmo.

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4773

9/25/12 4:20:33 PM#79

Here is the problem with Sandboxes. FFA PVP. Not that it, in and of itself, is a bad thing. But the way it's incorporated into MMOs is. It only serves combat orinted characters. What about the merchants? What about the crafters? They are left going WTF?

Now, Imagine a system where you have a mercahnt who can do a "FFA PVP" attack based on the specialty of thier trade. Oh, sure you combat profs can corpse camp all day long, but then he goes and begins a hostile takeover of your stuff, and if he is able to pull off a successful market attack, can loot something from your bank. Or something along the lines where they can use their areas of expertiese to bring to bear against other players. THEN, we'd see how a real society with concequesnces players can't control in a mob rule setting pans out. 

People would think twice about pissin off anyone at any time with a real fear of retaliation.

It's the sad state of the genre. The next big title has as many threads discussing issues with it's business model than issues with the game itself.

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5546

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

9/25/12 4:47:15 PM#80
Originally posted by adam_nox

look up minecraft numbers.  then take it times 2 or so for how many people pirate the thing or just play the demo.

 

some mods have practically turned it into an mmo. 

 

it's proof that there's a wide market just waiting for a good sandbox mmo.

Like many have already pointed out. Sandbox MMOs are far from single player sandboxes. Often the other players ruin your experience. Also, many SP sandboxes wouldn't work in a multiplayer environment.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

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