Customers Care: The Radiohead Strategy that Worked with 2D Boy

21 10 2009
World of Goo

World of Goo

2D Boy asked consumers to name their price for World of Goo until the 19th, but just as it worked with Radiohead, it did with them. Now, in case you still haven’t bought World of Goo, you’ve got a second chance…until the 25th.

If you don’t know what this is about and why 2D Boy and Radiohead have something common, check the previous post “Catering to the Consumer”.

Though publishers, developers, and service providers might worry about tending to their customers, truth be told: In the end it’s about the profit. A business cannot maintain itself without making money and that isn’t something new. The novelty arises when different strategies are used to cater to the consumer and obtain income simultaneously. 2D Boy acted in that sense by allowing customers to pay what they wanted for the game World of Goo for the duration of one week.

The response came through statistics released by 2D Boy via surveys and interestingly revealed that though consumers do care about those developers, publishers (not so much), and service providers who treat them well, in the end it is how much they can afford that matters. According to the sale results, 2D Boy’s Ron Carmel deduced “Few people chose their price based on the perceived value of the game. How much the person feels they can afford seems to play a much larger role in the decision than how much the game is worth.” At the time, 22.7%  of the buyers had confirmed in a post-purchase survey that they paid what they could afford. Read the rest of this entry »





Catering to the Consumer: Name Your Price for “World of Goo” and Create your Character in “Dragon Age”

18 10 2009
World of Goo: Name Your Price!

World of Goo: Name Your Price!

Part of being successful on the game industry relates not only to making great games, but also establishing a healthy relationship with your consumer. Many developers and publishers fail to see their gamers as legitimate consumers and when that happens, sales tend to drop. These scenarios have been witnessed before, be it with aggressive DRM implementation or broken promises. On the other hand, allowing for player customization, such as mods and plug-ins, and providing free DLC through ongoing development are known strategies that have led to the growth of loyal gamer communities. No developer or publisher is perfect, but a consensus remains that usually it pays off to treat your customers with due respect.

In this sense, aiming for similar strategies, World of Goo developer, 2D Boy, has just announced that you can name your price for their game. Starting at one cent and normally being charged at $20 USD, customers have now the opportunity to pay what they think their entertainment is worth. Some might may this business strategy is flawed, but RadioHead would disagree. They did it before and simply revealed that new business models demand new forms of pleasing your customer. When it came to World of Goo’s birthday, 2D Boy took the opportunity to come up with a nice surprise. No matter the cost you pay for your Linux, Mac OS, or Windows version, you’ll certainly be sure that the developers are aiming for something than your money. That extra something you’re paying is your potential loyalty. As in the future, it is only natural that we, as consumers, tend to favor those who in the past have done good deeds. Be fast though, their benevolence ends on the 19th. Oh, and 2D Boy, please release the statistics tracked for prices over the week.

Dragon Age Origins: Character Creator

Dragon Age Origins: Character Creator

Bioware has also adopted a seen-before-strategy to cater to the customer. However this time unrelated to the music industry. By releasing their Dragon Age: Origins Character Creator, the developer is allowing players to create and customize a player character which they can save and use when the PC game launches. Spore did this before and the number of assets (or weird creatures) created through their Creature Creator before the release of the game was huge. Dare I say it generated a lot of talk and buzz about the game itself, but ultimately (given the reviews on the final product) the creator itself became more popular. Regardless, consumers felt honored by getting the chance to actually create their aberrations before the game was out and make up their minds whether or not they would like to take part once the game hit the shelves. Now you can save hours of character creation before Dragon Age is released and when the game is out, you’ll already be itching for a long time to be playing with your human noble, commoner dwarf, or magi elf. This time, the strategy is not about paying less, but staying in tune with the potential product you’re about to acquire.

In the end, the one that strives is the one who pleases the consumer. No longer are we gamers playing simply for the products themselves but the services that accompany them, be it innovative DLC, up-to-date patches, customizable add-ons, and better integration with a social network.





Curricular Games

18 07 2009

StarCraft

StarCraft

Back in January (2009), Kotaku let the world know about a peculiar initiative involving two (apparently) very distinct elements: learning and StarCraft. It was confirmed that UC Berkeley had a class on the “Art of Competitive StarCraft”.

The class focuses on applying critical thinking, quick decision-making, and game theory skills throughout an in-depth analysis of how the theory of war is conducted within the confines of the game. Prerequisites include a working knowledge of StarCraft strategy and the suggested readings are The Art of War by Sun Tzu and Crazy as Me by Lim Yo. Impressive isn’t it? To see games be taken so seriously among an academic environment. Truth be told, electronic games emerged as an entertainment medium, but in time their uses proved to be far more varied. Read the rest of this entry »





Counter Strike e EverQuest desproibidos!

22 06 2009

Recentemente, a gigante Electronic Arts confirmou que os efeitos da sentença que proibiu o Counter Strike e o EverQuest, proferida pelo Juízo da 17ª Vara Federal da Seção Judiciária de Minas Gerais na ação civil pública nº 2002.38.00.046529-6, foram suspensos. Trata-se de Medida Cautelar n° 2008.01.00.010959-9 mediante a qual foi possível a autorização para comercialização e utilização dos jogos.

Ou seja, Counter Strike e EverQuest estão liberados! …por enquanto…

Counter Strike

Counter Strike

Ocorre que essa decisão não é definitiva. Os processos ainda não chegaram ao fim e é importante acompanhar o andamento da Ação Civil Pública e da Medida Cautelar. Com mais informações poderemos usar essa novidade a favor da mídia dos games e contar com o apoio de mais pessoas a fim de revelar o valor cultural e artístico que os jogos possuem. Sou a favor da classificação indicativa, pois acredito que os jogos, assim como outras mídias, possuem conteúdo para variadas idades e esta é uma alternativa eficaz e razoável para a proibição judicial. Read the rest of this entry »





Games e Futuros Desejáveis

12 06 2009

No dia 10 de junho eu participei do evento Crie Futuros no NAVE (Núcleo Avançado de Educação). Um movimento transdiciplinar semeador de imagens de futuros desejáveis para motivar, orientar escolhas e inspirar inovação que dedicou um dia para a questão dos games. O encontro multinacional aconteceu nas instalações da Oi Futuro, no Rio de Janeiro, e foi transmitido simultaneamente para outros sete países, com a participação presencial e online de “crie-futuristas”.

Crie Futuros & Games

Crie Futuros & Games

Foi sem dúvida uma ótima experiência poder participar e representar o Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade da FGV, que é o centro de pesquisa do qual faço parte. Foi um momento ideal para mostrar para a sociedade que os jogos são uma ferramenta que pode ser utilizada para diferentes finalidades, mas precisa – antes de mais nada – ser compreendida como um veículo da expressão cultural e artística. Junto, participando ativamente, estavam figuras aliadas da indústria nacional de jogos eletrônicos como Guilherme Xavier desenvolvedor do Capoeira Legends; Yves Albuquerque, Marcos Venturelli e  Bruna Lombardo da Magus Ludens; Roger Tavares do GameCultura e figuras externas como Marcio Burochowsky da Campus Party e Adailton Medeiros do Ponto Cine.

Acho que a melhor parte foi o agradecimento de uma pessoa que ao final do evento veio me falar que sua visão sobre os supostos (inserir adjetivo negativo) games havia mudado.

Para quem quiser conferir o evento e a minha participação seguem as instruções: Read the rest of this entry »





Blizzard Writing Contest

30 03 2009

Blizzard Entertainment is hosting its first global writing contest.  This is a spectacular way to write your own fanfic and not be sued, but rather be prized for it.

If you enjoy the Blizzard Entertainment universes, such as the lore from StarCraft, WarCraft, and Diablo, feel free to grab a pen (preferably a keyboard) and elaborate a fantasy fiction between 3,000 to 10,000 words.

The stories need to be written in English, but even if the title has “global” in it, Brazilians (among others) are going to have to let this one go. Only residents from the following countries are allowed to participate: United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, France, Belgium, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Ireland, Russia, The Netherlands, and South Korea.

The deadline is April 12th. I’m eager to read the results.

For more information visit Blizzard’s web site.





Gamasutra’s Top 20 Game Writers

4 03 2009

On February 20th Gamastura posted a list of gaming’s Top 20 Writers in recent times. The article was well received and six days later Gamasutra posted the audience response.

First of all, this is a huge and notable step forward. The writing niche in games isn’t nearly as big as others, such as programming and design, despite its important. I am not, however, trying to preach that story is the most important thing in a game. I think, in fact, it is not. If applied incorrectly, it can even hinder the game’s flow. Developing games is about creating and experience, not about summing up different parts and hoping they’ll form a nice result. If the story isn’t contextual to the interactive experience, it beats the point. If, however, it relates to the gameplay offered and enhances its potential, then its purpose has been fulfilled.

Storytelling is essential to the experience, but that also involves knowing when to stand down. Make your stand at the appropriate moment and context, however, and you’ll follow the example of games that wouldn’t have ever achieved the cult status they have today, were it not for their narrative. Yes, games such as Portal, Grand Theft Auto IV, God of War, Braid, and Call of Duty 4 wouldn’t have become so popular if they didn’t reveal GLaDOS’ instability, Niko’s immigration, Kratos’ wrath, time’s poetry, and the horrors of modern war, respectively.

Therefore, I’d like to pay my respects to all the writers mentioned, as well as those who weren’t. Industry notables or not, the act of writing and telling stories is most likely a passion that drives us and to be able to live and attain success through it is the dream of many. A lot of motivation in one’s career comes through the advice and knowledge shared by the experts. In that sense, I am thankful and encourage more comments through writing peers and professionals like Susan O’Connor, Drew Karpyshyn, Tom Abernathy, Andrew Walsh and Rhianna Pratchett among others who participated.

Do yourself a favor and check out the Original Feature and the Audience Response.

What I’ve written is is merely a foreword. If, at all.








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