Not-So-Disposable

A comment on Massively caught my attention this morning:

“It is truly amazing to me how the gamers have changed over the years. Now all they do is complain. This is whats wrong with the MMO industry, They have spoon fed most of ya to the point where nothing they do now will impress. too many spoiled gamers!
Give the game a chance, 99% of ya have not even played the game yet. So we all know what assumptions do. Just sayin.”

~Haukeye

It’s not a particularly new comment – people have been stating this for years. And while I do agree with the comment, it’s tempered by the reality of obligations and priorities that I think many of us face in the Real World. Also, I think the assessment of “spoiled gamers”, while probably true in many cases, is also too simplistic.

It’s all well and good to say, “Give ’em a chance!”. Especially because Masthead is an independent studio trying to put out a game that actually takes some chances in it’s design. I want to give them a chance; I would love nothing more than to reward that type of risk-taking. But the comment above is the statement of, I presume, a young gamer; at the least, someone with few real obligations and plenty of disposable income.

For many of us, this kind of attitude just isn’t realistic (especially in this economic climate). Money is tight, and free time is even more precious. After all of my real obligations  have been fulfilled (bills, food, diapers, kids, etc.) the money I have to feed this hobby is pretty limited. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to make any “hard” decisions, but I’m probably in the minority in this regard these days. (Not that “food or games” is a hard decision). Take a look at sales figures for the gaming industry over the last year or so and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Sure, some games are setting all-time sales records. Even MMOs. But overall the industry is suffering just like the rest of the world.

So, yes, Haukeye, I would love to just give Masthead a chance and drop 50 bucks on a game that hasn’t proven itself, or even really sold me on its ability to execute. I’d love to be able to take them on their word that the features they describe are actually in the game, work as they should, and are fun. But I don’t have that luxury; I have to carefully pick and choose where I place my dollars and where I spend my time. And free time is really the catch here – I’m not going to shell out serious cash for a game I’ll never play. I don’t have the funds to just throw money away.

I’m not a “spoiled gamer”; I’m a middle-class husband and father. If a game company wants my money, they better damn well prove the value in what they’re selling.

So far, Masthead hasn’t done that with Earthrise. So, sadly, I have to play wait-and-see. But I’ll be watching, closely.

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2 responses to “Not-So-Disposable

  1. I think a lot of gaming companies are seeing things your way. For example RIFT is handing itself to anyone who wants to play the beta events for free, which means they think they have a good product and want you to see it and think it will pull you in.

    Meanwhile you can play LOTRO and PotBS and other games completely free just to try them out. LOTRO definitely has staying power even in completely free mode.

    For games like Earthrise to be competitive they have to realize that gaming companies have to be humble and give a lot away before they get much back.

    So…I think you’re right. 🙂

    • Exactly! (To the “give something away” part, not the being right…but thanks!)

      Why would I pay full price for an unproven game (and frankly, one that is somewhat uninspiring as far as the current in-game footage goes) to which I’ve had no exposure? Especially when there are so many other options available?

      Their marketing is nearly non-existant, and Earthrise is exactly the type of game where using an Open Beta for exposure purposes would not only be acceptable, but expected! Their lack of any kind of effort to promote the game, combined with no Open Beta have actually changed my mind about jumping in at launch. At this point I’m going to wait, and see if they can pull it off or go F2P. Which I think a lot of people will do, and that’s exactly what a small game like Earthrise can’t afford…

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