Free2Play vs Premium
I'd like to know the opinion of as many space combat fans as possible. What would you guys prefer as a model for GoD Factory? Would you prefer a Free 2 Play game, or pay an upfront cost and maybe some DLC afterward? Or a subscription cost? I really need to know what YOU think would make you the most interested in such a game, not what you think would be most popular.
To be honest I've never been a fan of paying for MMOs. The only exception I ever made (from what I remember) is EVE Online, which actually really deserves its money. Other than that, I've played only free2play games. Over the years there have been many games out there that I would've liked to play but I didn't like them enough to actually pay a monthly fee for them, however as soon as those games became free2play I joined the band and dumped a lot of my time in them.
So, bottom line is, out of all, my personal favorite is Free2Play.
This has always been a tough one for me because it really depends on the quality of the game to be honest. I have always loved depth and content and will gladly pay to get it. I have always liked the Guild Wars 1&2 model of paying for the game and getting online for free and of course you pay for the content updates as they come out. Which might be an option since you did mention that God Factory was going to stretch over more than one game.
I have never really played a F2P game long, maybe a month tops because usually the games skimp on the content to make you use the cash shop. And P2P games I will play on occasion but they have to be a solid game with the depth and content I like in a game. Most F2P games gets that initial flood of gamers and then after 30days then what do you do?
For instance take Moon Breakers, its a F2P twitch combat shoot'em up like Star Conflict and has similarities to GoD Factory. It is now in trouble (after about a year) and probably doesn't have much longer before they shutdown and then another MP only game will bite the dust, Black Prophecy had the same fate as well. EVE Online is a big player in the space and as SolCommand said it is the gorilla in the room and you have to be close to it in gameplay if you want to charge a monthly fee.
You will get a core group of players to play this game for sure, but will it be enough to pay your bills which is the most important thing so you can work on your next project. That's why ask almost every developer if there is going to be any single player element to the game. Also platform saturation is probably the best way to be successful but it also increases development time. Definitely a tough question to ask and to think on Guillaume.
Another possibility you can do is sell a client/server game so people can host their own and provide modding to allow players to create their own modded servers. This might be the better way to go, you can still offer your server for everyone to play on as well. Plus it gives your game more life because if something happens and you have to close the servers the player base is out of luck.
Just some thoughts.
Thanks for your answers both of you!
I definitely want to make sure the game can live on even if Nine Dots were to go under, so these modding tools and player hosting is definitely an option. So far the Guild Wars 2 model is the one we are most likely to replicate, although with a lower entry fee. We'd rather charge people for new content than charge them for advantages over other players.
If you'd sell the whole game for less than Â£15 then launching at this price or lower is around impluse buy range. I'd buy it to see if i'd like it.
This is a nice point as well de5me7, I have to admit I impulse buy as well when I see sales on Steam or Gamersgate for games that looked interesting. So many slighly lower game price with a micro transaction store could be an effective. I don't envy the devs at all in todays gaming environment because competition for peoples time is so tough and peoples attention spans are less for games these days, and people hop from one game to the next.
Really in the end it comes down to content and keeping the user engaged with GoD:Wingmen, good word of month and reviews will do any game wonders.
Our plan so far is indeed to have the price point lower to provoke impulse buys and make it like a sure deal. Then if you appreciate the game you can buy more content, but it's always a matter of variety, never about buying an advantage over others.
You're right DarkOne, the competition is fierce but then again, more than ever you can break even with a low number of sales since we can get up to 70% of our sales while being featured on big distribution channels such as XBLA or Steam. We don't need to give an incredibly unfair cut to a publisher, we don't have to give anything to retailer, we don't have to stock in a physical place, etc. So all in all, the market allows devs to engage with smaller communities and stay profitable without having to always please everyone.