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.

World of Goo: Soundtrack

26 01 2009

World of Goo is no news for those who know what “indie games” are. In case you don’t, think of it as a nifty-wacky-weird-puzzle-physics game or, as one of its creators (Kyle Gabler) put it, “a physics-based puzzle game about building things with eager little talking globs of goo.”

What matters to this post isn’t the game so, though, but rather its soundtrack. Recently released, it was something I eagerly awaited for when I first had my chance with those slimy goo balls. Approximately 49 minutes of surreal immersion that make you remember many stages and relive awkward moments of tower building and goo killing.

Kyle cites many “big movie guys” like Danny Elfman, Vangelis, Bernard Herrmann, Hans Zimmer, and Ennio Morricone as his sources of inspirati. Though I agree, I can’t shake that taste of Team17’s Worms away. The tunes and the goo globs themselves, it just sounds so seriously-wacky with a bit of high pitched “weeeee” on top.

On the other hand, the composition made up clearly reveals how different songs made for different purposes can fit in with game themes. There’s no way people can criticize games for having a specific-tuney-like soundtrack. By putting together a clever compilation, games like Jonathan Blow’s Braid and World of Goo defy that notion. You’ve got original compostions that never thought of accompanying gameplay, even if they might have been made for films.

Enough of my babbling, you just want the soundtrack. What? Pay? No no no! The current trend is “free“! So click here and start by listening to “Regurtitation Pumping Station”. At least, that’s what I’ve done for the past hours or so.

May the game development culture evolve on this path with a strong community relationship. Seriously, we’ve got free goodies. How could this go wrong?

Indie Games: Independent Games Festival

7 02 2008

Coluna originalmente publicada no site Game Cultura por Arthur Protasio

Quase todo meio de comunicação possui seus cerimoniais e seus eventos que premiam artistas e obras da área. O cinema, a música, a literatura e assim por diante.

Se você acha que os jogos eletrônicos, vulgo games, não deveriam ser incluídos nessa lista você está lendo a coluna errada.. Os videogames possuem vários eventos que o promovem, desde a Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) até o Tokyo Game Show (TGS). Da mesma forma como a indústria do cinema possui seus vários eventos para filmes comerciais, há também um renomado festival de obras independentes: o Sundance Film Festival. A indústria dos jogos eletrônicos também possui a sua “Sundance”, mais conhecida como Independent Games Festival (IGF), que se traduz como Festival Independente de Jogos.

O festival acompanha anualmente a GDC e no ano de 2008 ambos acontecem nesse mês de fevereiro. Criado em 1998 justamente com o objetivo de simular os mesmos efeitos do festival de Sundance na área dos jogos independentes, incentivando a inovação no desenvolvimento de jogos assim como o reconhecimento dos melhores desenvolvedores independentes. Além de premiarem os vencedores com dólares, a exposição dos trabalhos permite um reconhecimento em larga escala. Um artifício útil, e bastante atrativo, tanto para desenvolvedores independentes como estudantes.

Os prêmios variam em valor, desde USD 20.000 para o vencedor do painel principal até USD 2.500 para jogos vencedores de categorias específicas, como excelência em visuais ou o melhor jogo do painel de estudantes. Todos os jogos passam pelo crivo do jurado e é na cerimônia que o resultado é divulgado.

A cerimônia de premiação de jogos constitui apenas um dos quatro “elementos” do evento. Há também um salão em que todos os jogos ficam expostos em versões jogáveis, assim como uma seção dedicada a jogos para celulares e um painel de seminários e mesas redondas que promove debates e questões acerca de indústria de jogos independentes.

O evento é uma ótima forma de ter um início na indústria dos jogos eletrônicos. Dentre vários, alguns desses exemplos são N, Alien Hominid e Everyday Shooter. Todos os três são jogos independentes apresentados no festival que já foram ou estão sendo desenvolvidos para o circuito comercial. N, jogo de plataforma apresentado no festival em 2005, ganhou o prêmio de escolha popular e atualmente tem versões sendo desenvolvidas tanto para o Xbox 360 Live Arcade (XBLA), o Nintendo DS e PSP da Sony. Alien Hominid começou como um simples jogo em flash disponível no portal Newgrounds e depois de exibido passou a contar com o seu lançamento em versões para o PS2 e XBLA. Everyday Shooter faz parte de uma nova linha de jogos que promovem a sinestesia musical (que comentarei mês que vem) e terá sua versão comercial lançada na rede online do PS3.

A IGF acontecerá entre os dias 18 e 20 desse mês de fevereiro. Com uma extensa e atraente lista de finalistas, resta esperar para ver quem vencerá. A melhor parte é que vários dos jogos podem ser baixados de graça. A opção é dos desenvolvedores, mas muitos deles optam por nos dar essa felicidade.


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