Corey and Lori's Quest Log


Corey and Lori’s Quest Log

Power to the People – Changing the Game

The Internet has dramatically changed the worlds of economics, finance, and work. Gamers are responsible for many of those changes, and everybody is a gamer now.

But this isn’t just a passive change. Gamers have real power. You have a voice that can no longer be ignored. It’s time to use your voice and make some changes.

Mass-Market Mediocrity

Power to the MeepleBefore the Internet – say up to twenty years ago – you had no power at all. Companies developed products they could sell to the “mass market”, generic products for generic people. They didn’t know who you were, and didn’t care about what you wanted.

Big corporations have high overhead. They don’t stay in business selling customized products one or two at a time. It’s cheaper to make a million identical widgets than 500,000 custom ones.

That’s why adventure games died back in the 90’s. Each game scene was hand-crafted, with custom art, animation, and sound. They cost too much to develop, and their sales didn’t justify the expense.

First-person shooters brought joy to the game publishers’ bookkeepers. The early ones had a lot of generic hallways and grungy backgrounds. Cheap to make, and they sold at least as many copies as adventure games. The fact that all the games looked, played, and felt alike didn’t seem to matter to the players… and it certainly didn’t matter to the publishers.

Adventure games died, the developers moved to farms, and nobody much seemed to care… except the players who missed games with depth, puzzles, and story.

Working the Web

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” – Network

Things started changing rapidly in the last decade. The Internet became the new mass media, and the Web is fundamentally different from newspapers, radio, and TV.

You don’t choose products the way you did twenty years ago. Back then, we all got our impressions from the same mass media. Now, with the Web, you decide which sites you want to visit and support. The Web lets you vote with your clicks for the products you prefer.

Not everyone wants to play the same games. A lot of gamers love first person shooters, and they still have plenty of new games to play every year – Good for them! But if you want something else, you need to look a little longer and push a little harder.

It’s time to tell the developers what you really want.

The Long Tail of the Law

Speaking up might not be enough by itself. Big publishers still want to make big profits, and most of them are still mired in 20th Century thinking. They still only care about the mythical mass market.

But there is another way, as companies like Amazon have shown us. The Web makes it almost as easy to list 100,000 titles as 1000, and it turns out that the total profit from 10’s of thousands of low-selling titles is as high as the total from the top 1000. This is the “Law of the Long Tail”, and it breaks the old mass-market rules.

Can a few thousand adventure or role-playing game fans convince a big company to make a ten million dollar game in their genre? Probably not. But there are other ways. The Long Tail applies to companies as well as products. Now, with the power of the Internet, thousands of small companies can prosper by making niche products to exploit the long tail of gamers.

Kickstart the Games You Want to Play

Making high-quality games is expensive and game publishers are risk-averse. In the mass-market economy, that meant that there was no place for originality and innovation. A game that doesn’t appeal to the masses – or the publisher’s idea of what would sell – would never get funded. Players who wanted to try something different were out of luck.

Until now.

Crowd-funding web sites such as Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) and IndieGoGo (www.indiegogo.com) have opened the way to a new vision of game development.

The big studios are no longer the only ones in charge. Now the players help call the shots.

Kick and IndieHere’s how Kickstarter works. First a company or individual comes up with a great idea for a product they would like to share with the world. They create a Kickstarter project, talk about their plans, and set a goal. They also create “pledge levels”, each with a reward, just as public TV stations ask for pledges to support their programming. The developers tell people about their project, and hope their fans will help spread the word.

Players like you visit the Kickstarter site and pledge to support it. This costs you nothing unless the campaign succeeds. At the end of the Kickstarter campaign, if the project has met the goal set by the developer, you pay the amount you pledged. After that, the developer is responsible for sending you your premium and making the product they promised.

Thanks to crowd-funding, a developer with a great game idea can appeal directly to you – the player. If you find a project that deserves support, you can “vote” for it by pledging as much or as little as you choose to pay. Your “votes” determine which games get made. How cool is that?

It’s your turn. You have the voice, and you have the power. It’s time to change the game!

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Comments

  1. Corey Says:

    Thanks Elven! We hope we will be able to make the new game and that you will find it even more worthwhile than our previous games.

  2. Elven Says:

    I didn’t know about QFG , KQ and many other good old games until about 6 yrs back . I was born somewhere between QFG 2 and 3 and when I started gaming at age 13 , I was only exposed to the new games at the time . I was more into RTS\strategy games which I still like . But I did get frustrated with all the monotonous FPS and Arcade games and the few adventure and RPGs weren’t adventurous , RPG-ish or fantasy-ish enough for my tastes . I began searching for MY kind of games and I didn’t even really know what it was . That was when I came across the AGDI remakes and felt like I found a hidden treasure trove . I quickly began collecting and trying all the good old goldies of games .

    The QFG games in particular are just incredible ! I loved the beautiful graphics , the characters and plots with such depth , the palpable mystic aura of mystery, fantasy and magic , equally mesmerising music . Incredible doesn’t cover it .

    Best of Luck to all of us for the success of the Hero-U Kickstarter .

  3. Corey and Lori’s Quest Log » Blog Archive » A World Full of Heroes – The Power of We Says:

    [...] an idea that is an important part of Lori’s and my beliefs. In fact, just two months ago I posted Power To the People – Changing the Game on exactly this [...]

  4. Lori Says:

    When I write a blog, I think about what the point I’m trying to make with my words. This becomes a goal. Then, like Zen and the Art of Archery, I focus on the goal rather than on the words that get me there. I may wander from the point a little, but I’ll eventually hit my target. Then again, I treat blog writing like game designing – if the blog article isn’t entertaining and fun – it doesn’t matter what its point is. As much as I hate to edit my writing or Corey’s, it’s a very necessary skill to develop.

  5. Wayland Says:

    ~chuckles~ Corey, I know how that is. Whenever I’m excited about an idea, that’s what I do too. Cram it all in and then half the time discard it later, because I lost the point and don’t know how to fix it. Must be nice to have editors. :)

  6. Corey Says:

    NEWS!: Lori and I will be on the Two Guys from Andromeda podcast this coming Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 6:30 pm Pacific Time (sorry, European fans – that’s 2:30 a.m. UTC).

    We plan to talk with Chris Pope about our plans for our new game and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

    More information at http://guysfromandromeda.com/andromedanpost/

  7. Corey Says:

    There’s a reason my posts take so long. :-)

    First I write a post. I typically get about halfway through, then despair that I’m trying to fit too many points into one post, or that it just isn’t going in the right direction. So I set it aside for a while and go on to other tasks.
    Then I come back to the post, get excited about it, and get it done. I send copies off to Lori and sometimes Michael (our very talented son, the marketing and copywriting expert).
    One or both of them says, “It’s really good, but…”
    Three or four complete rewrites later, I get an article we’re all (or at least Lori and I) happy with.

    So… I don’t think Lori wrote a single line of that article, but her stamp is all over it. These really are collaborations.

  8. Lori Says:

    Thanks for the support, Alistair! Actually, Corey wrote this article with some serious editing and coaching from me. I’ve got an article ready to publish on Monday, so you can see some of my style then.

    But you got that right – Rule Number One – the Game must be Fun. That’s the one thing we’ll always keep in mind.

  9. Alistair (Spikey) Says:

    Good article, Sir and Lady Cole (although my guess is LC wrote this). Exciting to hear all the news you’ve been leaking lately, QFG was a great series and you guys made my favourite game, Shadows.

    The game may have changed, but the credence is still the same: Because games should be FUN.

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