EA’s lost the Battlefront but will win the war

If you play games and don’t live under a rock you’ll likely know that EA’s flagship Star Wars property Battlefront 2 launches November 17th. If you know that, you’ll also know that EA has been under fire from the gaming community because of it.

Firstly, EA got community backlash over their decision to put all progression into a loot box mechanic. Meaning, you’ll progress but your rewards are down to luck. EA have made changes to this but in early reviews, the progression system is widely considered the worst part of the game.

Secondly, EA made hero characters Luke Skywalker and Darth Vadar cost 60,000 credits to unlock. Based on the time it takes to earn credits, if you purchased nothing else, it would take 40 hours to unlock just one of the two. The gaming community applied pressure and the heroes now cost 15,000 credits.

So two wins for the community, but is it?

What bamboozles me, as a gamer, is why do EA continue to mask the real reasons for their progression decisions? They don’t need to come out with PR reasons. Gamers KNOW why they are using loot boxes.

Loot boxes aren’t fun per se. They are addicting. EA knows it. Gamers know it. EA also knows by controlling the % chance of rewards and the time needed to earn a loot box they can extend Battlefront 2’s lifetime value. Meaning, the longer you keep someone playing and the more appealing the carrot (on the end of the stick), the more likely they’ll crack and spend real money due to a whole host of psychology traits people have.

In all honesty, EA could come out and say “we know loot boxes, grind times and sexy rewards will earn us $$$”.  It won’t stop people buying the game and it won’t stop people playing it.  You could put the Star Wars brand on a stick you find in the woods and someone would buy it. It’s STAR WARS!

The fact EA (and others) don’t just say the truth is because of player motivation.  Saying the above will make gamers give up in the grind.  Yet EA could come out with a robust and honest reason to build trust otherwise it leads to other questions like…

Launching with heroes at 60,000 credits and then reducing to 15,000 looks like a calculated move. A means to say to the community “look we’re listening”. It’s the same tactic as in stores. When a sale approaches the prices go up and the following sale price then looks more appealing. The fact gamer’s see a 45,000 credit decrease makes it all seem reasonable but it just highlights these giant carrots dangling on the end of very long sticks.  It’s marketing.  Just consider this…

It is estimated via Star Wars Strategies that it will take 4,528 hours to unlock everything via the loot box progression or $2100. If this data is accurate, EA will definitely win the war as winning a battle means nothing in the long run.

 

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

The future of technology, not just gaming

Virtual Reality (VR) was the killer product in the not so distant past.  The idea behind Oculus excited more than just gamers. Educators, scientists, and creators flocked behind the idea and like any movement, investor hitched upon its back turning possibility into reality.

So… now we can see where VR stands, let’s be honest, it’s not exactly at the forefront of any development agenda – worst still, it’s not on many consumers wishlists. It’s bulky, it’s restrictive, it’s often nauseating, and worst still, it’s not all that exciting once the head tilt and warp-to-position mechanics are grown tired of.

VR could come to fruition once prices drop and technology matches expectations. Yet, long before that happens another technology, far more useful and interesting has leaped up into the periphery of educators, scientists, creators, and investors…

Augmented Reality (AR).

Why will this catch on, where VR failed to ignite?

Firstly, AR is accessible. It’s via your phone.

Secondly, AR is familiar. It’s like using your phone as a camera.

Thirdly, AR is all about the software. Granted, older devices can’t use ARkit but consumers change phones like they change socks, so ARkit ready devices will become common.

Finally, AR is useful. From scanning barcodes in a supermarket to check if a product is cheaper elsewhere through to interior design, placing digital furniture in your home to see how it looks before you buy it… The skies are literally the limits with AR.

AR is 100% the future. Whether you want more digital in your life or not, it’s going to happen – mostly because Apple has decided such.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Unfamiliarity killed the cat

What is it with this player versus boss genre?

I get it, gaming is in a rat race of simplification and everything pre-gratification is expendable. Imagine Metroid Prime without all the exploration and only the boss battles… Yeah, it’s not as good is it BUT that reduction is where we’re headed.

Just look at Absolver, a game where the bulk of the world is empty beyond players a) wanting to gank you or b) wanting to team up to easy-mode a boss. And more often than not, b) is followed by a) anyway.

It’s empty. Yet players flocked to it because who doesn’t want to learn kung fu.

The problem for Absolver is not that it’s difficult, but the player behavior and fighting system have a learning curve.

Therefore the initial flock thinned, and ultimately the game is spiraling downwards in terms of popularity. The same was true for the Ubisoft game For Honor.

When players can’t be the winner via familiar actions they get turned off.

This is why players don’t get turned off by the challenge in Hotline Miami, Cup Head and Dark Souls.  Familiarity.

What we know is that Death by Game Show, which was challenging, failed to get traction despite having short levels, instant replay value, and countless rewards. It had the ingredients but was unfamiliar to players and despite the market demanding “unique” or “innovative” products, consumers no longer connect when something is unfamiliar.

This is, without doubt, the fall off from mobile gaming culture.  Everything must be obvious and gratifying.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Speedball crossed with Death by Game Show

In what I consider the heyday of gaming, the Bitmap Brothers developed Speedball. A futuristic, brutal sports game which to this day remains a classic amongst Commodore Amiga fans everywhere.

What does this nostalgic tour-de-force have to do with Death by Game Show and Oointah Games?

Could Death by Game Show become a sports game?

Imagine…

Yardage lines mark out the distance between two end zones. Within each end zone, contraptions drop from the sky.  From those contraptions, droids rush out towards opposite end zones.

You take the role of the head coach picking what droids spawn when they spawn and calling in super defensive units that can stop an enemy attack as they close in on your end zone. Whoever gets the most droids into the opposing end zone wins.

So what else would it include?

Coaching mini-games to bolster your droids speed, health and “ball handling”. Perhaps even a fictional draft where you can sign up new cocky youngsters for insanely high wages.

It’s an idea at least.

Perhaps not the best, but our minds are on NFL season right now and it’s the only idea we’ve got.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

How do you improve on a match-3?

At Oointah Games everything is on the table and this week we’ve been shoveling through ideas for “what next?”

While the world is focused on AR, VR, nuclear war, and equality for all we’ve been looking for the holy grail of concepts.

What is better than a Match-3?

A Match-2.  Boom!

You may wonder where our ideas come from, well, do you remember the crazy hitchhiker in There’s Something About Mary?

The scene goes like this…

Hitchhiker: You heard of this thing, the 8-Minute Abs?
Ted: Yeah, sure, 8-Minute Abs. Yeah, the exercise video.
Hitchhiker: Yeah, this is going to blow that right out of the water. Listen to this: 7… Minute… Abs.
Ted: Right. Yes. OK, all right. I see where you’re going.
Hitchhiker: Think about it. You walk into a video store, you see 8-Minute Abs sittin’ there, there’s 7-Minute Abs right beside it. Which one are you gonna pick, man?
Ted: I would go for the 7.
Hitchhiker: Bingo, man, bingo. 7-Minute Abs. And we guarantee just as good a workout as the 8-minute folk.
Ted: You guarantee it? That’s – how do you do that?
Hitchhiker: If you’re not happy with the first 7 minutes, we’re gonna send you the extra minute free. You see? That’s it. That’s our motto. That’s where we’re comin’ from. That’s from “A” to “B”.

That is some wisdom right there.

And like with the 8-Minute Abs, if you don’t like our Match-2 the game will automatically allow for Match-3’s, 4’s, 5’s and more. No quibbles, quarrels or confusion.

It’s the future of casual gaming and pinnacle of simplification as most levels will literally solve themselves.

Gaming world. You’re welcome.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Hyper Super Turbo Face Fister Redux Edition

In the laboratory at Oointah Games, we’ve been busy.

We have two mobile games and an RPG Maker 8-bit Death by Game Show origin story in the works.

That’s not too shabby considering we’re also knuckling down on Death by Game Show to make it more casual friendly.

We’re still “in-development” on all projects but we’re looking at a game 100% away from Death by Game Show.

So welcome to Hyper Super Turbo Face Fister Redux Edition. A quirky game that takes the classic Punch Out and puts it on rails.

Swapping the boxing ring and replacing it with an endless office environment where you race through punching bosses and executives.

It’s a mad-dash race to escape work each day and collect as many teeth as possible to upgrade your fist weaponry from bare knuckle to iron gauntlet and beyond.

Expect more quirky ideas soon as we explore new projects and identify “life beyond Death by Game Show”.

 

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

We’re doing an RPG Maker

I know, I know. How can we go from trying to make something unique like Death by Game Show to using RPG Maker?

Well, hold onto your horses as it makes sense. Trust me.

We’re not looking at RPG Maker to tell an intricate JRPG story but rather a series of fun-sized F2P episodes looking at the past, present and future within the Death by Game Show universe.

The game we developed never really dug deep into what we had hoped to be a comedic setting and our poignant fourth wall attempts failed to connect. So, we’d love to try and showcase the lore we built up but in a blatantly obvious way.

Our first story is called “Allen’s” and is about the first off-world junkyard where disgruntled male divorcees, mostly all named Allen are sent to work long hours to pay off court fees and alimony to ex-wives who won custody of Earth in court. After all, where else could bitter robots wanting to crush Earth and humanity really come from?

This is our Death by Game Show origin’s tale, of abandoned men and their junk collections in space. Sounds dull… Well think A-Team meets Monty Python in space.

And if it is dull…  we won’t do more. I promise.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

The illusion of sales

All present and future game developers know this.

Consumers wait for sales.

Unless you are a big swinging… pendulum of a developer, or have a well marketed… media darling of a… sleeping with Gabe Newell kind of game, you’ll be sucking on the sales nipple from launch to living in your parent’s basement.

This is not a slight. Needs must.

It’s a consumer driven market and every Tom, Dick and Harry have lined up to shuffle craptastic shizzola onto every App store because “look Ma’ I’z got a job, so I canz liv in da basement.”

/Sarcasm

Anyway, to the point.

These sales you’ll be hoping to live off are not actual sales. They are “calls-to-action” done by platforms to draw in consumers who have been trained to expect massive reductions and free sh*t.

So here’s a reality check.

The price your game is at, during a sale is the true reflection of product value on the market. So, as every other mother flicker is putting the peddle down to F2P even your $0.99 price point is looked at with the “hmmm, should I buy a can of diabetes OR a 20-hour single player game” hesitation.

/Metaphor.

The platforms are the guards, and games are the inmates. The guards dictate when you can get a conjugal visit and because only so many inmates can have bang bang at once, you’ll have to wait your turn.

What this means is that you either stick at full price RRP and hope for the best or succumb to the guards and fragrantly wave the %OFF flag in an inmates circle jerk.

The irony here is that the circle jerk will get you a better return. Sleeping with Gabe Newell ain’t sounding so bad now, is it?

So, as a developer, you’ll likely be hoping the handful of major sales during the year can make up for the vast majority of the time your little sweetheart is stuck at full price.

/The punchline.

Consumers know the only time to buy is when your game is on sale, or in a bundle, or F2P. It sucks right?

The only exception, you are the big swinging… orangutan on a rope tire and can make gaming media dance so you get the exposure needed.

So go sleep with Gabe Newell quick.

We should have, as right now we’re stuck doing the inmate circle jerk.

It’s probably why they say the games industry is a messy business.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork…

Another week and another tree chopped, pulped and pressed to process the last seven days worth of paperwork at Oointah Games.

It’s heartbreaking when your game doesn’t perform but the artwork has charm and characters have enough life in them to live on in numerous spin-offs going forwards.  Hence the paperwork.

The big question is “where does that leave Death by Game Show?”  It’s already destined for bundles and numerous sales leading into the end of 2017 but is there anything more interesting in its future?

“Yes”, I say wholeheartedly.  In the background, we have a cunning plan to make Death by Game Show simpler, more casual friendly and far more accessible.  With limited bandwidth, we’re aiming to launch the first update around August.

Yet it’s the end of year update which will prove a potential game changer but our plans for that are super top secret.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

 

It’s time to stretch out our rod

Last week we spoke about casting our rod in all directions trying to get momentum. So what other directions, beyond bundles and sales have we been casting? Well…

We have previously disclosed one avenue which included a mobile spin-off. As of now, we have two spin-offs muahahaha that use our loveable droids and tub of goo lead character U.H.Wutt.

Our second spin-off is an F2P mobile game which is a throwback to the classic era ye-olde button mashing Olympic games. The principle is simple, the quicker you mashed, the quicker you ran.

We’re obviously changing this up for mobile. With a focus on how to bring the retro mash-tastic gameplay to competitive mobile multiplayer.

The concept combines the above with futuristic crazy Olympic events and a progression system that advances your robotic athletes even when you’re offline.

If you have an opinion, thought or idea let us know? Otherwise check back in the future for more updates on this new Death by Game Show spin-off.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.