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02/04/15 - Update From The Founders


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02/04/15 - Update from the Founders    First, I hope that you guys caught that we put our full team names/pictures/mini-bios on our site earlier this week.  We’re very grateful that we’ve been able

Pretty sure this was previously answered, but we are *NOT* f2p.  It's not the right model for this experience in our view.  More details on the Crowfall business model will come out before the countdo

Shutup and take my money!

How you fund the game before launch is important, but my greatest concern is how it will be funded after launch. I implore you not to go down the dreaded F2P route. Even if you stuck to the most honorable form of this business model, it still disrupts the potential of in-game cosmetic items (as that is what a fair f2p model would sell). I much prefer a subscription model, and I think those who are interested in this kind of hardcore experience do too. 

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.

- Nietzsche

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I am against early access at Full Retail Launch. That gives people way too much advantage. I find it very lame in every MMORPG that does that in any kickstarter. Everyone should start off 100% fair and square at launch. Of course there should be rewards for backers, but it shouldn't give anyone an edge at launch.

 

So much this. 

 

Early Access kickstarter reward systems is something that concerns not only me, but my gaming community as a whole. It is something we have just recently been bitten by and leaves a sour taste in our mouths. It creates a pay wall where if you want maximum benefit you have to accept paying double (and convincing enough of your organization as well) the cost of a normal box release game for the luxury. With a market saturated with competitive, and even indy competitive, MMO titles meta gaming communities are getting increasingly more cautious about the ones they invest in. That said Early Enrollment is just a single warning sign. 

 

MVP or Minimum Viable Product is another warning signal. Honestly, until recently I had not heard this concept used outside of single player or pre alpha contexts. I used to relate the term to testing core concepts well before you decide to market it. Expecting a steady stream of income each month for an incomplete game, while promising more in the future, has done a lot to erode consumer confidence in titles that subscribe to that mindset. It is essentially asking players to accept a completely not fun game for the privilege of being more powerful when the game actually becomes fun years later. You are essentially asking customers to buy into your design document, while giving them a persistent alpha in the mean time. I am sure this is a successful way of getting immediate capitol and increasing investor confidence. In my opinion that comes at the cost of eroding consumer confidence. 

 

High pay walls does the same thing. Asking us to donate around what it would cost to buy game cash or the game itself is completely reasonable. It shows that we are confident enough in your title to buy in before we can even try the game. A hundred or more dollars just to buy in, however, is essentially asking gamers to buy in at a premium. A thousand dollars to be an alpha tester is essentially just giving the most rampant fan boys a way to feel like internet hipsters. Additionally the ones most invested in your title are generally the ones least likely to criticize your game. It is a simple sunk cost fallacy. 

 

Lastly the crowd funding in game goody bags and later the cash shop. Nothing makes me cringe more than the term "convenience item". For example, I can build a structure in three months with rare items and an even rarer schematic. Someone else can buy the same camp, or an even better (indestructible) one with a huge lump of money. You can say that it only convenience, because I too can make an item somewhat similar, but it is still a buy in advantage. I get the item immediately, and in a lot of cases my store bought one can not be burnt to the ground. Taverns, camps, experience potions, trophies, weapons, locked archetypes, and the like should stay well away from the fund raising and shop options. Offer all the tu tu's, sparkle ponies, skins, and velvet couches you like. I love cosmetic shops, as does my community. It is an easy way to gift a friend without worrying over the mailing process. Adding in "convenience" items doesn't just make me feel like the game allows a pay to win scenario, it makes me think the developers are not confident in their brand and are thus scraping for anything that keeps them working. 

 

 

TLDR: Gaming communities are cautious about fund raised MMOs (and getting more so as more hit the market), but how it is handled will likely determine how well they are received. 

mael4.jpg


 

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 O.o, yea I'll say.  :o

Fair is what the market says is fair.  If they can sell enough alpha accesses for $250 to hit the # of testers they want in alpha, they'd be silly from an economics standpoint not to ask $250.

 

If they want more testers, then they can ask $50.  If less, $500.  Simple matter of economics.

 

Most companies want a small # of testers for true alpha, internal testing.  When they hit beta (or what many companies are calling alpha these days), it makes sense to have a good # of folks in there.

 

In the end, them getting the target participation they want/need and the most funding they can get benefits all of us that will play the game.  

Edited by dawgs4ever
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So much this. 

 

Early Access kickstarter reward systems is something that concerns not only me, but my gaming community as a whole. It is something we have just recently been bitten by and leaves a sour taste in our mouths. It creates a pay wall where if you want maximum benefit you have to accept paying double (and convincing enough of your organization as well) the cost of a normal box release game for the luxury. With a market saturated with competitive, and even indy competitive, MMO titles meta gaming communities are getting increasingly more cautious about the ones they invest in. That said Early Enrollment is just a single warning sign. 

 

MVP or Minimum Viable Product is another warning signal. Honestly, until recently I had not heard this concept used outside of single player or pre alpha contexts. I used to relate the term to testing core concepts well before you decide to market it. Expecting a steady stream of income each month for an incomplete game, while promising more in the future, has done a lot to erode consumer confidence in titles that subscribe to that mindset. It is essentially asking players to accept a completely not fun game for the privilege of being more powerful when the game actually becomes fun years later. You are essentially asking customers to buy into your design document, while giving them a persistent alpha in the mean time. I am sure this is a successful way of getting immediate capitol and increasing investor confidence. In my opinion that comes at the cost of eroding consumer confidence. 

 

High pay walls does the same thing. Asking us to donate around what it would cost to buy game cash or the game itself is completely reasonable. It shows that we are confident enough in your title to buy in before we can even try the game. A hundred or more dollars just to buy in, however, is essentially asking gamers to buy in at a premium. A thousand dollars to be an alpha tester is essentially just giving the most rampant fan boys a way to feel like internet hipsters. Additionally the ones most invested in your title are generally the ones least likely to criticize your game. It is a simple sunk cost fallacy. 

 

Lastly the crowd funding in game goody bags and later the cash shop. Nothing makes me cringe more than the term "convenience item". For example, I can build a structure in three months with rare items and an even rarer schematic. Someone else can buy the same camp, or an even better (indestructible) one with a huge lump of money. You can say that it only convenience, because I too can make an item somewhat similar, but it is still a buy in advantage. I get the item immediately, and in a lot of cases my store bought one can not be burnt to the ground. Taverns, camps, experience potions, trophies, weapons, locked archetypes, and the like should stay well away from the fund raising and shop options. Offer all the tu tu's, sparkle ponies, skins, and velvet couches you like. I love cosmetic shops, as does my community. It is an easy way to gift a friend without worrying over the mailing process. Adding in "convenience" items doesn't just make me feel like the game allows a pay to win scenario, it makes me think the developers are not confident in their brand and are thus scraping for anything that keeps them working. 

 

 

TLDR: Gaming communities are cautious about fund raised MMOs (and getting more so as more hit the market), but how it is handled will likely determine how well they are received. 

 

I've never had anyone reach into my mind, and pull out everything I was worried about this update in such a succint way, ever before.

 

Bravo Charlie, Bravo.

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None.  Those people might not have kickstarted, but if the game turns out good, then if they would have been interested in CU before, they would still subscribe when it goes live.  It's not like somebody is going to skip playing a game that sounds great just because it kickstarted.  lol.

 

Really? Cause I've already done it, I have no further interest in CU when the developers think that no one that is willing to pay them over hundred bucks just to participate in the testing phase well, can be excluded from the test. Developers like that have no real grasp of how difficult balancing the game and tweaking it till its final shape is, and you don't do that with "people willing to pay 100 dollars to help you", you pick a sample of gamers who volunteer for the job and hope you get good ones, of course there are other methods such as inviting them directly as well.

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The reason alpha was set so high is because they wanted to put it out of reach for the average person. They made sure people understood it was a REAL alpha. Plus they didn't want to have 5000 alpha testers, that would mean spending more money on servers.

 

I'm going to have to disagree here,

 

The reality is that different people are willing to pay different amounts for the same thing.

 

Imagine this

1000 people are willing to pay 1$ for an item.

100 people are willing to pay 10$ for an item.

10 people are willing to pay 100$ for an item

1 person is willing to pay 1000$ for an item.

 

If you release the item at a market value to maximise adoption, in this case 1$, you would get 1111$ in revenue.

 

However if you gated the initial release, and slowly lowered the price over time, you would get

 

1000+1000+1000+1000 = 4,000$. Thats a 360% increase in revenue. Now, of course this is an extreme example, but hopefully it explains why high initial prices are 100% about profits and generating revenue and not about "Gating it for people who care"

 

Ultimately, its about "Gating it for people who care enough to pay a premium to get in".

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I'm going to have to disagree here,

 

The reality is that different people are willing to pay different amounts for the same thing.

 

Imagine this

1000 people are willing to pay 1$ for an item.

100 people are willing to pay 10$ for an item.

10 people are willing to pay 100$ for an item

1 person is willing to pay 1000$ for an item.

 

If you release the item at a market value to maximise adoption, in this case 1$, you would get 1111$ in revenue.

 

However if you gated the initial release, and slowly lowered the price over time, you would get

 

1000+1000+1000+1000 = 4,000$. Thats a 360% increase in revenue. Now, of course this is an extreme example, but hopefully it explains why high initial prices are 100% about profits and generating revenue and not about "Gating it for people who care"

 

Ultimately, its about "Gating it for people who care enough to pay a premium to get in".

 

If you only want your alpha testers to find bugs, then the high bidders will do a decent job. If you want them to give you feedback on whether the game seems complete enough to move to the next stage, they will break their thumbs raising them up regardless of how it will be received by more cautious or frugal investors. 

 

That is my experience at least. 

mael4.jpg


 

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It's worth noting that Todd and I, i.e. the founders, were also the first two investors.  Neither of us are "rich" -- historically, we're hired guns, paid to make games by other people or companies.  We believe in Crowfall -- so much, in fact, that we've invested our savings and went without salaries for over a year to get this venture started.

 

This really says so much!!

LW_sig_concept2_zpsgdrsfl7n.jpg

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Really? Cause I've already done it, I have no further interest in CU when the developers think that no one that is willing to pay them over hundred bucks just to participate in the testing phase well, can be excluded from the test. Developers like that have no real grasp of how difficult balancing the game and tweaking it till its final shape is, and you don't do that with "people willing to pay 100 dollars to help you", you pick a sample of gamers who volunteer for the job and hope you get good ones, of course there are other methods such as inviting them directly as well.

That's fine.  Losing a few players while gaining the money they needed to fund the development of the game is a small price to pay.

 

I'll take a game that exists and loses a few people who didn't feel committed enough to the game to kickstart it, over a game that doesn't exist at all.

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I'm going to have to disagree here,

 

The reality is that different people are willing to pay different amounts for the same thing.

 

Imagine this

1000 people are willing to pay 1$ for an item.

100 people are willing to pay 10$ for an item.

10 people are willing to pay 100$ for an item

1 person is willing to pay 1000$ for an item.

 

If you release the item at a market value to maximise adoption, in this case 1$, you would get 1111$ in revenue.

 

However if you gated the initial release, and slowly lowered the price over time, you would get

 

1000+1000+1000+1000 = 4,000$. Thats a 360% increase in revenue. Now, of course this is an extreme example, but hopefully it explains why high initial prices are 100% about profits and generating revenue and not about "Gating it for people who care"

 

Ultimately, its about "Gating it for people who care enough to pay a premium to get in".

Sometimes the developers also want to limit the # of people involved in earlier stages of testing to minimize the flow of feedback early on or because of server load issues.  

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How you fund the game before launch is important, but my greatest concern is how it will be funded after launch. I implore you not to go down the dreaded F2P route. Even if you stuck to the most honorable form of this business model, it still disrupts the potential of in-game cosmetic items (as that is what a fair f2p model would sell). I much prefer a subscription model, and I think those who are interested in this kind of hardcore experience do too. 

 

Pretty sure this was previously answered, but we are *NOT* f2p.  It's not the right model for this experience in our view.  More details on the Crowfall business model will come out before the countdown ends.

Gordon Walton, ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.  [Rules of Conduct]

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

 

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Pretty sure this was previously answered, but we are *NOT* f2p.  It's not the right model for this experience in our view.  More details on the Crowfall business model will come out before the countdown ends.

So I guess this could go the way of the subscription or "buy once" model. Glad to hear that it is not F2P.

 

In place of doing a Kickstarter (and I am not entirely opposed to that method, though it does come with a certain stigma), I would simple like to see some form of founders packs as a crowdfunding campaign. Tiers of $10, $15, $25, $50, and maybe $100 are great amounts because it allows ALMOST everyone to get in if they are willing to save some pennies.

Edited by Dynimix

LW_sig_concept2_zpsgdrsfl7n.jpg

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