After Overwatch won Game of the Year, I felt the need to wrap up a project I’d been sleeping on that argues that consumer perception of Battleborn is why it failed to initially get its niche, but that it’s oddness and creative quirks could be huge assets.
Ultimately I’m also arguing for a f2p model, but that Battleborn has everything necessary within that genre to gain a market share.
The TLDR of this vid: I also have an opinion on how to help Battleborn, and in light of the Winter Update it’s as simple as this: free-to-play demo. Give players the first two story missions, a level cap of 25, don’t allow them to use legendaries, give them all 25 playable characters, and allow them to perma-match into the quick mode. Twenty or Thirty dollars unlocks the whole game. That on top of the boosts, skins, and dlc sales on characters and Ops may just bring them enough profit to keep servers on and development going.
The video has three points, these are in counter to Overwatch winning GOTY, and Jane McGonical’s TED talk that gaming can change the world. I make these arguments from the lens of both fan, and someone who spent a significant amount of time studying and working on games for an indie and in college.
The three arguments are:
Games are a challenge to make, so it’s all the harder to expect companies to put that on creative risks when they fail. That Overwatch versus Battleborn was dictated on consumer opinion, but that opinion was largely formed via more effective advertising, putting female models in tight outfits, a combat loop built on instant gratification. Overwatch winning GOTY is indicative of their coordinating money into the sleazier elements of gaming culture. This counteracts Jane’s argument by saying all games aren’t made equal, behavioral psychologists are producing feedback loops of reward that don’t stimulate growth in a person.
As a sub note I mention the crash of 83, that if consumers get lied to consistently they withdraw their spending. I argue Battleborn deserves that spending for the hard work displayed by the devs.
This hurts consumers, games like Destiny or WoW that hold down a market share for a decade prevent competition like Battleborn, which stand to grow design, from getting attention. We are over-paying, pre-paying, and funding data driven, bottom dollar, dev work instead of competitors like LITTLE KING STORY, or BRAID, etc,. This would be okay if the game wasn’t largely a marketing device, I cite NO MAN’S SKY HERE.
The market is big enough, profitable enough, passionate enough, to give BB a share in it. BB having a share in the market, turning profit against all odds versus the juggernaut is a consumer victory. When games which dare to be creative or take risks succeed, we go closer to the ideal set by Jane – other designers of her ilk.
This video is not rhetoric, or have answers, it’s just thoughts where I primarily want to hear from you, engage discussion. Arguments on how BB gets a market share are simply speculative.
Randy saying there’s a demo, and the Winter update is not the same thing as I’m saying.
At this point, the F2P model doesn’t really matter. If this game came out as F2P with the level of grinding and micro-transactions at the start, the game may have had a different trajectory. 2k and GBX have made up their minds and right now, the game will continue to be under $20 and there will be aspects of the game that greatly benefit from micro-transactions but aren’t quite pay to play. Once the full season pass is out, they will release a demo version and then an upgradeable version from that too. Then after a bit, they will release a remastered version with better graphics or something and all the content with extra things (think handsome collection) but it won’t be full retail. Probably around $40. This will happen especially if borderlands release date is a few months away from the release date of the next generation of consoles.
But, it’s why I don’t advocate full f2p. Still 20 bucks to get the full experience, but allow people to get a feel for the game with some loot and progress while perma matching into quick queue to bolster the population.
I think the gameplay is good enough to hook
However, the video is more than a f2p argument, it’s exploration on what we’re buying in the market, and counter argument to some positive ideas postulated in game design.
I’m saying Battleborn can get a niche because the market is huge
That games like Battleborn selling poorly represents a trend which only hurts consumers
That in rewarding games which don’t push the boundaries of design, use lowest common denominator, and print out standard fps games with microtransactions, the positive ideas on game design building a better world are largely failing.
In conclusion I’m asking for your thoughts and conversation, and hoping that a Battleborn market niche represents that creativity, and consumer value, do get rewarded in the market.