1st June 2011 by julien
A few weeks ago, Thomas and I attended the Nordic Game Conference in Malmö, Sweden. Although most of our time was spent meeting with representatives of the very impressive Scandinavian game development industry, we had a chance to see some of the talks, and came back with a few thoughts on current trends in the online games business.
26th April 2011 by Thomas
As a follow-up from my previous blog post, intentionally quite theoretical, I thought I would give two very specific examples of what I consider good development to push the service side of a game.
While a lot can be done to improve the quality of the service of a game, I really believe that it is when a company is dedicating its most precious resource (developers) on pushing the level of the service quality that you know it has a genuine will to develop a service strategy. More than, say, opening a dedicated Customer Support department with hundreds of dedicated staff and limit the developers to only build new content and gameplay features.
It may be biased by my own personal experience, but I have seen a bit too often CS departments used as a stop gap for development shortcomings. It is too common to see a bug left unfixed by the development team, that would require a couple of days of an engineer’s time at worst, to have hundreds of hours of CS staff spent hotfixing the issue. But I digress.
31st March 2011 by Thomas
I am a regular speaker at game related events, and there are a lot of topics I am very keen to weigh in on. Last year, I decided to tackle the notion of Game as a Service. It is difficult to convey how important this topic is for me and how much I feel we need, as an industry, to improve on that front, but I went for it and tried to cover it all in the allotted hour.
It proved to be impossible to fit everything in, so after the first few iterations of the presentation, I did some pruning and made it leaner (and hopefully better). The first thing I cut was the definition of service. In retrospect, that topic alone could take up a good hour of discussion, and it was overly ambitious to include it with such limited time. So, I renamed the talk to “Your Game As A Service: Designing Beyond Gameplay” and focused it on the practical side of designing the player experience.
I do think that the definition of ‘game as a service’ could use some proselytism in the industry, although I have a hard time imagining conference attendees being willing to sit through an hour of theoretical discussion about it. So, here are some of my thoughts on the subject in easily digestible form.
21st February 2011 by Diane
The predictions exercise, as we did last year and the year before, is becoming a bit more difficult as it seems we’re bound to repeat ourselves in some ways. The evolutions of the market are rarely totally surprising, and most of the major trends have been cooking for the past few years. This time, we really feel like most of the big changes are there indeed, as online gaming is finally becoming the mainstream, and industry actors following a traditional model are finally realizing they are in big trouble. Nevertheless, the evolutions are still very interesting to look at and comment. So, what do we think will be the main trends for 2011?
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16th December 2009 by Diane
As the European online games market is becoming increasingly competitive, we are starting to see some casualties, games and companies not meeting the success they planned and closing operations or shutting some games down. In the recent weeks, the following closures have been announced, all in the Free to Play category:
- Italy-based Gametribe portal, operated by Game Media Networks, subsidiary of Digital Bros, a retail videogame distribution company, will be closing down on December 31st. The portal had already lost or not renewed the license for Dekaron from developer GameHi since September. It also operated action online game Infinity, cel-shading MMO Dreams of Mirror Online (DOMO) and football session game Kicks Online.
- UK and Spain-based company Rourke Online has seen its portal Key2Play and game servers disconnected after failing to pay for the hosting at the end of November. They were operating F2P MMOs Priston Tale 2 and Ys Online. Ys Online’s service termination had already been announced.
4th November 2009 by Thomas
Developed in Spain and presented as an MMO for kids, there hasn’t been much noise around Planet 51 Online. The wikipedia page of the movie doesn’t mention it, there has been one article on it in the media in the past month (and it is the announcement about the fact they use the Trinigy Vision Engine), and the launch of the game was pretty low key, but since yesterday, the game is “live”. While the website is definitely presenting the game as fully developed and ready to go for mass consumption, the client is bearing a Beta flag. Read the rest of this entry »
7th August 2009 by Thomas
MMOs often don’t get localised, and those that are often offer very few languages. Compared to almost all other video games with a budget in the same range, an MMO will be featured in 10x fewer languages.
Why is that?
The main reason is probably player expectations. The moment a game is announced to be available in [X] language, a seed is planted within that player community about the kind of experience they can expect to have. Since an MMO is much more a service than a product (and we can go on about that for days!), it’s not unreasonable for players to expect that the service will include thorough, good quality localisation. It’s very important for developers and publishers not to be daunted by these expectations, but to grasp and manage them thoughtfully from the beginning. Read the rest of this entry »
15th July 2009 by Diane
The lecture went really well, even if Thomas didn’t have time to insert a few Bastille Day jokes ! The slides can be downloaded here and seen below:
To renew the disclaimer in the presentation, a lot of the numbers are estimates based on various sources. If you have official numbers for any of those games, please contact us and we’ll update it!