February 3, 2013
Kickstarter And Free-To-Play Are PC Gaming’s Future
Let’s be honest: you’re a pirate. I noticed it when you walked in the room. No, I wasn’t checking out your heels. Although, I think it’s adorable that you bother with heels that high. You’re probably in your late twenties, working a measly nine to five. Oh, you’re a contractor? That’s splendid.
The game developers have been watching you. They know all about that Dark Fleet 85 case that you ordered from Newegg less than eight months ago. They know about the graphics cards, as well as the i7 Ivy Bridge processor that you dished out $300 for. They know about the 2.5 terabytes worth of stolen games that you have packed into your five terabyte hard drive. And best of all, they have your IP address and online info.
At any moment, they can sue you for copyright violation laws that very clearly state you’re not allowed to download games for free, and most of all, without permission.
They could very easily demand $250,000 from you, and effectively sink you into a deep, dark pool of debt.
However, you don’t have that much money, and they know this. They can probably get you on a credit-based billing system that might get paid off in the next 40 years, if you get a decent job. Of course, you’d have to ignore college tuition and family expenses.
There are millions like you, and sadly, suing even one would not pull in enough profit, in enough time, to cover the development costs of their game. Hell, it probably wouldn’t even pay the court fees.
So these developers, who have made such a comfortable living in this industry at this point, have accepted video game piracy has rendered their jobs unfruitful for a few years now. They’ve watched their co-workers lose their jobs, and then, even lost jobs, themselves.
Those times are coming to an end.
The developers have found a new economic strategy that will help them make a steady profit, and the gamers can play the game for free.
Yes, I’ve said that right: gamers are playing these games absolutely free. It’s called Free-to-Play, and so far it’s proven to be a very beneficial tactic for games like Planetside 2 and Team Fortress 2.
Team Fortress 2 probably sounds more familiar to you, and with good reason. This game has been online since 2007, and since then it has been a first class hit with gamers for its team-based, competitive multiplayer.
Of course, most free-to-play games like Team Fortress 2 are utilizing competitive multiplayer scenarios. They’re more than likely doing this because multiplayer is an easy element to create and glorify with great game design.
Planetside 2 is one of the earliest releases of a free-to-play competitive multiplayer game, and it has garnered much attention and praise from PC gamers for its massive maps and amazing visuals, topped with RPG elements and a large variety of guns.
This is a gamer’s dream.
An entire world of advancement and fun, complete with hundreds of potential hours of game play and tactics, for free.
Needless to say, the development process is very risky. The companies risk success or failure, and regardless of who fails, you will succeed. When these developers are in the beginning processes of creating games, they are completely at the whim of the people. They make advertisement videos and two and three minute treatments to show how fun it is.
But Kickstarter is my favorite. Kickstarter is a group of 49 guys located in New York that make their website an advertisement hub. They attract people with a really well put together website, and they list projects individual people or large businesses want to create. The advertisements usually consist of four or five-minute videos, giving the reasons they believe their project should live.
The best part about these advertisements is people are allowed to donate money to see a project live. The idea here is the project will live because the people want it to, and thus will put their own money into its development. This is, quite literally, a flip of the switch on the traditional market of supply and demand that we see in retail stores.
The PC has a reputation for rapid piracy, with record breaking rates, striking developers all across the industry. You don’t have to do the math to know piracy is killing video games on PC and ruining the reputation for the platform.
These two elements of game marketing are proving to be very successful, and with good reason, they could push the PC platform into a new realm altogether. Of course, this doesn’t mean the days of $40 games are out the window for multi-platformers, but it sure is going to make its own way for PC developers to profit.
Image Credit: granata68 / Shutterstock