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Ehm so whats wrong with this game?
General Discussion « The Chronicles of Spellborn
9/06/09 3:53:12 PM
At first, the division of Europe is key: Don't include the UK in the release plan, don't put any efforts into Scandinavia. Germany and France will have their own servers, so you make sure that nobody is left to inhabit the "international server". The few Benelux players will drop the game soon. You also remove all release momentum with this strategy and it creates a nice initial release atmosphere as a plus.
If the game would just not appear on the shelves, that's one thing. But you can do better. Combine this strategy with digital distribution to maximize the effect. Use the international, free, global internet and even make the game free to download and play (the first few levels). Just be sure to prevent the free playing by using extensive IP-Blocks. Now people cannot play the game with their friends and you prevent international guilds to pick up the game.
For the finishing move tell the few remaining players that they can play with the release of the game in their territory, whatever that is -- since you know, you made sure that you even divided Europe. Keep the confusion on a maximum level so you make sure the players lose motivation soon. The release of Wrath of the Lich King will also help a lot.
Then go into another beta for the new territory. It doesn't make sense, but remember: confusion is king. It also buys you time. Because in the meantime the developers are still releasing decent content updates and some players just won't go away. You can't have that. Claim that you will do marketing to keep them quiet. Time is on your side.
At some point just post a memo somewhere that the game is now considered "live" in the rest of the world. Since players have complained all the time, drop the IP as well. That's right. There is no need for it anymore anyway and you need to maintain good face. Just make sure that you don't do marketing with the good news or something, keep a low profile with that. Just continue with the confusion strategy: employ marketing terms such as Freemium to make sure that you neither the subscriber audience nor the free 2 play audience understands anything. Remaining players are effectively scared off by not updating news and with lazy community management. And when developers do to much: fire them. You can't have counterproductive developers.