Jimquisition: Monetizing Whales For The Retention Of Virality

Demonchaser27

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senordesol said:
Demonchaser27 said:
senordesol said:
FoolKiller said:
themilo504 said:
Your panel on how to reduce backlash was way too long, this is my panel: Don?t be a greedy twat and make good games.
Even your panel is redundant. "Make good games" should cover it. The money will come. Maybe not as much as soon, but it will have a long-term positive effect.
'Not as much as soon' sounds a lot like a 'day late and a dollar short' to a lot of people (particularly bill collectors). It'd be super nice if we lived in a just world where titles with artistic integrity were the chart toppers, unfortunately for those of us who've got rent to pay; that's not always the case.
See that's the problem with this industry and most for that matter though. "Chart Toppers" isn't necessary to "pay the bills" as you say. Everybody wants to be number 1. Jesus. **** number 1. When did people stop caring about doing things for the art and love of it. Musicians don't make millions always and they get by happy and fine mostly. Artists certainly aren't "chart toppers" as most of their work doesn't sell for millions until their dead.

Videogames devs want to be artist but don't treat it as such. What did they expect?
Well, when you face the dilemma of 'artistic integrity' and 'unemployment line'; some tough calls gotta be made.

Yes, not everyone is going to be or *can* be a chart topper; but when you look at the chart toppers they tell you one very important thing: What your customers are buying. Now, you *can* take that information, take a risk and do something no one was expecting. Maybe it works out for you, or maybe mommy has to be the bread winner for a while. So you can do that, *or* you can learn from and emulate the best and put out a product that brings food to your table.

The whole 'starving artist' chic really loses its lustre when you are, indeed, starving. The artistically uncompromising (i.e.: 'expensive') games just don't tend to bubble to the top in certain markets. So that tells us that isn't what people are looking for, so how can you expect the industry to do anything other than provide what their audience has proven they want to pay for?
Yeah and Dark Souls was a niche that didn't do very well. The point is that if you show integrity you can still make a game that caters to people without the bullshit.
 

Demonchaser27

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geier said:
Completly disagree with you there Jim.
Using terms/jargon in a business talk has nothing to do with dehumanisation, nothing. You are overreacting and i think you now this. Getting pissed off because of someone using a term like whale is like getting pissed off because someone used the therm FPS for Fallout 3, because FO3 is not a FPS but a roleplaying game with a new way of combining gunplay and turn based combat in wich you are able to choose between first and third person view.

There are not enough hours in the day to hold a business talk without certain terms and or jargon. What would you recomend for a substitute for whale? Bigspenders? Idiots with to much money in their wallets?

And if you haven't realised yet, the game industry is just that: An industry. And in every industry you need some white collar/business types who are responsible for the money/marketing.

And by the way: Complaining about the industry making money is more then a little hypocritically from you. Where do you get your money from? Not directly from the publisher/developer i know, but from the industry. You are, if you like it or not, a part from this industry. Just like the sleezy suit and the hungry underpaid indy studio.

Also: What is so bad with a panel to tell developers how to reduce backlash? Do you remember Mass effect 3 and the reaction of the gamers to the ending? Not all reactions from the customers are justified. You yourself brought up the question of customer/gamer entitlement.

No doubt, there are many companys who's business practices are shady at best, but dismissing the whole idea of bringing some professionalism into game development is just wrong and a bit juvenile.

I'm sorry for my bad english, as you maybe guessed it is not my primary language. So i could not argue and express myself as good and refined as i wanted.

And yes my dear jim + forum users, i myself have a background in businessmanagement.
Just want to say here that Jim doesn't manipulate or screw anyone in order for them to get their content here. That's the big difference.
 

Demonchaser27

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Scrumpmonkey said:
The "Games are a business" argument is 99% of the time given the wrong context. I've studied a lot of these kids of practices in other industries (I have a business/ Engineering background) and there are indeed sly and immoral money making practices that go on. But the other side of the coin is that as a customer you must learn to push back. It's what companies do with suppliers; they identify where they are trying to inflate the price or sell them bullshit and they push back. HARD.

"Business is competitive and brutal" cuts both ways. Consumers have every right to be brutal too. If the gaming businesses only act in their self interest than the consumer has the right to only act in their self interest. As a consumer i want to get the maximum amount of content for the minimum price with the least hassle possible. Everything else can frankly go to hell. If you have promote practices that are against users interests then don't be surprised when people call you out on it.

"Monetizing Whales For The Retention Of Virality" sounds like a really trippy King Crimson album.
Yeah unfortunately this is the truth. I still try to be fair about it, but it becomes really hard when they do and teach this sly business BS.
 

truckspond

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There was a distinct absence of mic drop in that episode. Maybe that's because I didn't purchase the expansion pack which adds said mic drop as well as a new character skin.

Seriously now: "Whales"? THAT's what they call their paying customers now? WHALES!? Anyone who uses that term to describe a paying customer can just f$&# right off!
 

Demonchaser27

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MCerberus said:
This whole situation is why I ask "What happens if I don't give them money" when playing f2p stuff. If I don't like the answer I move on.

The biggest part of my playlist has done thusly:
"Well you already gave us money. Enjoy the hats and free content."
"You won't progress as quickly to the big iconic tanks, but whatever."
"Then you'll just have to play the game to unlock more characters."
"We've been giving you free currency since you've been around since before f2p. You'll have an xp penalty though. Oh, and have all these free xp boosters."

Meanwhile I avoid:
"You're only renting the guns. Also you can't have these guns that are better than yours."
"You're done playing, see you in 12 hours where it turns out no progress was made but log in anyway or you'll get penalized."
"The first two zones are free. Have fun grinding trash mobs to be able to afford what's next. Also no being part of the economy. Can't have that."

And finally, the "can do things that can't be described on the forums with a rusy spoon" tier consists of the double dippers:

"You payed for the game, enjoy the cash shop."
"We realize that having a new character on our subscription game means a lot of leveling, give us $60."


A cookie per game you identify from the lists.
Lol, too many games. Too many cookies.
 

gorfias

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I'm amazed in this day and age, with more and more content available from more providers on more platforms, that anyone think it OK to debase your clients and give them crap.

Y'know, SNES system bundles have never been cheaper on Ebay. Keep it up hosers!
 

Demonchaser27

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Mausthemighty said:
To be honest I think the derogatory term "Whale" is fitting those people perfectly. If you are dumb enough to spend hundreds of dollars on a 'game' that has no actual gameplay, isn't even fun and has plenty of anti-consumer stuff like a paywall, then you've earned it...
I think the problem has two guilty parties: the developer who has the gall to think up this kind of Free to play but Pay to Win games without respecting their consumers and the idiot "Whales" who keep these malpractices afloat by spending enormous amounts of money for this tripe.
These people are exactly what's wrong with the gaming industry nowadays.
You're right that both of these are the problem. The thing I take issue with is that just because you can exploit someone with consent doesn't mean you should.

I would link anyone to this for a better understanding of what that means. This is probably a good start.
http://www.emcneill.com/exploitative-game-design-beyond-the-f2p-debate/

An excerpt from it that I feel is really important:

"When any product is sold, the seller is essentially saying ?I?d rather have your money than this product?, and the buyer is saying the reverse. They?d each prefer to own what the other person is offering, and so the trade makes both of them ?wealthier?. In this way, a healthy exchange benefits both sides.

This process breaks down whenever one party takes advantage of the other. For example, consider a used car dealer who knowingly sells someone a lemon. In this case, the buyer has a weaker position (since they lack information about the true state of the car), and the dealer can exploit that weakness to sell the car for more money than it?s worth to the buyer. The seller becomes wealthier, but the buyer does not. This is an unhealthy exchange, and since the dealer acted knowingly, it was an unethical act.

In other cases, the buyer?s weakness is not a lack of information, but a lack of willpower or judgement. Exploiting this kind of weakness is equally unethical. We might imagine someone trying to sell drugs to an addict who wishes to quit, for example. If this is done knowingly, then the seller is sabotaging the buyer, acting against the buyer?s best interest for their own profit. Even if the buyer enthusiastically agrees to the exchange at the time, the seller is still intentionally exploiting the buyer?s weakness." (emcneill)
 

SnowWookie

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persephone said:
I think Jim's point was more that the emphasis of the conference was overwhelmingly geared toward monetization with too little emphasis on actually making good games.
Even if that was the case, the fact is that games don't happen unless the developers get paid. Games are a business first and foremost. As I already pointed out, the vast majority of those involved in the industry are already "doing it for the love of games". Industry conditions for game developers are appalling. Seriously, look up "game development crunch time". The people doing it could easily make more money for less work doing another similar job. So yeah, their primary concern right now is how to get paid. Because nothing else happens without that.

Now, all that said, it actually turns out that GDC *wasn't* the "Fucking Over Customers 101" event that Jim painted it as.
There were 7 monetization sessions (http://schedule.gdconf.com/track/monetization), and several had valid points to make.

Meanwhile, there were over 40 programming sessions in the first 2 days alone.
http://schedule.gdconf.com/track/programming

So yeah, I'm really not impressed by Jim on this. It looks like he saw a few sensationalist session titles and didn't bother to do any further research.


And actually, while I'm at it.... if you don't like the models being used (and you shouldn't, Jim is spot on that some of them are fucking awful)... DON'T BUY/PLAY THE FUCKING GAMES. Seriously, this bullshit only works because people are giving them money.
 

senordesol

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Demonchaser27 said:
senordesol said:
Demonchaser27 said:
senordesol said:
FoolKiller said:
themilo504 said:
Your panel on how to reduce backlash was way too long, this is my panel: Don?t be a greedy twat and make good games.
Even your panel is redundant. "Make good games" should cover it. The money will come. Maybe not as much as soon, but it will have a long-term positive effect.
'Not as much as soon' sounds a lot like a 'day late and a dollar short' to a lot of people (particularly bill collectors). It'd be super nice if we lived in a just world where titles with artistic integrity were the chart toppers, unfortunately for those of us who've got rent to pay; that's not always the case.
See that's the problem with this industry and most for that matter though. "Chart Toppers" isn't necessary to "pay the bills" as you say. Everybody wants to be number 1. Jesus. **** number 1. When did people stop caring about doing things for the art and love of it. Musicians don't make millions always and they get by happy and fine mostly. Artists certainly aren't "chart toppers" as most of their work doesn't sell for millions until their dead.

Videogames devs want to be artist but don't treat it as such. What did they expect?
Well, when you face the dilemma of 'artistic integrity' and 'unemployment line'; some tough calls gotta be made.

Yes, not everyone is going to be or *can* be a chart topper; but when you look at the chart toppers they tell you one very important thing: What your customers are buying. Now, you *can* take that information, take a risk and do something no one was expecting. Maybe it works out for you, or maybe mommy has to be the bread winner for a while. So you can do that, *or* you can learn from and emulate the best and put out a product that brings food to your table.

The whole 'starving artist' chic really loses its lustre when you are, indeed, starving. The artistically uncompromising (i.e.: 'expensive') games just don't tend to bubble to the top in certain markets. So that tells us that isn't what people are looking for, so how can you expect the industry to do anything other than provide what their audience has proven they want to pay for?
Yeah and Dark Souls was a niche that didn't do very well. The point is that if you show integrity you can still make a game that caters to people without the bullshit.
I'm not positing that such a thing is impossible. The idea here, however, is that whatever choice you make is a choice about -conceivably- whether your dev team gets to eat tomorrow. So you can take a risk (and if it works out: great!), or you can do the thing that has a provably high chance at working. While we all like to believe that which has sufficient artistic integrity will have its day soon enough; I can tell you from first hand experience: that's not always the case.

I tell you the truth: the talented artists and engineers who staff F2P studios don't want to make vapid, derivative games. Hell, *I* don't want to make vapid, derivative games. But when Fekkin' Flappy Bird and Candy Crush and Kingdoms of Camelot and Clash of Clans and any bloody given casino game are CLEARLY the ones that are making any money, and the more 'niche' titles see limited success at best; what are the people in charge supposed to think? They've only got so much time and so much money to turn a profit. The wrong call puts scores if not hundreds of families on the unemployment line.

Again, this is not to say that risks can't pay off. When I started, I dismissed Candy Crush as a Bejeweled Clone. But I don't know what to tell you: We try our best to do what we think will work. It's up to the consumer to tell us whether we did right or wrong (and you don't tell us via angry Escapist videos, btw).
 

Isengrim

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Ok, I will sound like a teenage boy cheering like a little **** he is when somebody tells somebody to go and screw themselves in the arse with a pendrive... but...

That was a fucking great episode Jim.

And I seriously understand your anger, it's rather bloody obvious that the shit that is being pulled off, is well beoynd any level of good taste, not to mention a respect to a customer.

While, of course the arseholes behind it will not feel any urge to change... anything, as long as they are making their money, hopefully more and more people realise what they are... and stop being little bitches they are treated like.

The reason anything anti-consumer happens is not because of happy and healthy relationship between customer and publisher exists ( well... it does but it's rare as hell; I think I have to give credit to CDProjekt Red for this one ), but because most of the time, caring about brand loyalty or customers seems unnecessary.
They treated you like a ***** once - No cries, rages, petitions, internet controversies?
Well, there you go, now you'll be treated like a ***** all the fucking time... because you let them treat you this way...

You didn't like their game but still bought the next one?
You hate their anticonsumer bullshit BUT you still bought the game?
Congratulations, little ***** status unlocked, now you can be screwed left and right by publishers... because you let them to.

I understand that gamers love games... hell, I am a gamer myself, I adore playing videogames, however it's a matter of a damn self respect. Seems like not many people have that anymore...

That's how it unfortunatelly works.
 

arithine

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The term whale actually comes from the casino business, referring to exceptionally wealthy patrons who come to gamble their access wealth away, which makes sense given how the f2p market has been saturated with cash in skinner boxes these days. It's a completely repulsive attitude to have but I believe it's merely a symptom of the overlying problem. (this is coming from someone who enjoys certain f2p games, in fact i got really into infinity wars recently and haven't had to spend a dime to get more cards, f2p when done right can be a good thing.)
 

MrHide-Patten

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This is why I have a stern distrust of suits, I mean there's nothing wrong with earning money, bitches gotta eat. Hell even a seminar titled; 'How to Respect the Customer and Yourself: Monetization strategies for a long enduring business' Would be a lot better.
But what most upsets me is that they're ruining the F2P market, they're flooding it with stupid anti-consumer bullshit that turns everyone away from the model itself, which'll only lead to more of the same and stagnate the market (particularly mobile).

I've already seen posts here; "Durrgh I don't even play F2P 'cos they're all garbage hurrgh", the dams breaking at the seems already you flowchart loving fuck-scoffs. They should have just bunched 'em all together under; "Big Bucks and Zero Fucks".
 

MeChaNiZ3D

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Glorious. Way to lay it down. I'm disgusted that the term 'whale' transferred over from the gambling industry - which is pretty much as openly predatory as you can get - to gaming. When I have time I'd like to look up who the people are who talked at these panels, who they work for, and never buy anything from those people or the companies they belong to again.
 

cdemares

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Man, I really hope the "How to reduce backlash" panel involved apologies and humility. Of course, it probably had more to do with various forms of manipulation.
 

Do4600

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Can I get a list of the developers that attended those panels, because I will honestly never buy a game by them ever again. This is sick. I am disgusted.

I am disgusted and incredibly proud of Jim.
 

Demonchaser27

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senordesol said:
Demonchaser27 said:
senordesol said:
Demonchaser27 said:
senordesol said:
FoolKiller said:
themilo504 said:
Your panel on how to reduce backlash was way too long, this is my panel: Don?t be a greedy twat and make good games.
Even your panel is redundant. "Make good games" should cover it. The money will come. Maybe not as much as soon, but it will have a long-term positive effect.
'Not as much as soon' sounds a lot like a 'day late and a dollar short' to a lot of people (particularly bill collectors). It'd be super nice if we lived in a just world where titles with artistic integrity were the chart toppers, unfortunately for those of us who've got rent to pay; that's not always the case.
See that's the problem with this industry and most for that matter though. "Chart Toppers" isn't necessary to "pay the bills" as you say. Everybody wants to be number 1. Jesus. **** number 1. When did people stop caring about doing things for the art and love of it. Musicians don't make millions always and they get by happy and fine mostly. Artists certainly aren't "chart toppers" as most of their work doesn't sell for millions until their dead.

Videogames devs want to be artist but don't treat it as such. What did they expect?
Well, when you face the dilemma of 'artistic integrity' and 'unemployment line'; some tough calls gotta be made.

Yes, not everyone is going to be or *can* be a chart topper; but when you look at the chart toppers they tell you one very important thing: What your customers are buying. Now, you *can* take that information, take a risk and do something no one was expecting. Maybe it works out for you, or maybe mommy has to be the bread winner for a while. So you can do that, *or* you can learn from and emulate the best and put out a product that brings food to your table.

The whole 'starving artist' chic really loses its lustre when you are, indeed, starving. The artistically uncompromising (i.e.: 'expensive') games just don't tend to bubble to the top in certain markets. So that tells us that isn't what people are looking for, so how can you expect the industry to do anything other than provide what their audience has proven they want to pay for?
Yeah and Dark Souls was a niche that didn't do very well. The point is that if you show integrity you can still make a game that caters to people without the bullshit.
I'm not positing that such a thing is impossible. The idea here, however, is that whatever choice you make is a choice about -conceivably- whether your dev team gets to eat tomorrow. So you can take a risk (and if it works out: great!), or you can do the thing that has a provably high chance at working. While we all like to believe that which has sufficient artistic integrity will have its day soon enough; I can tell you from first hand experience: that's not always the case.

I tell you the truth: the talented artists and engineers who staff F2P studios don't want to make vapid, derivative games. Hell, *I* don't want to make vapid, derivative games. But when Fekkin' Flappy Bird and Candy Crush and Kingdoms of Camelot and Clash of Clans and any bloody given casino game are CLEARLY the ones that are making any money, and the more 'niche' titles see limited success at best; what are the people in charge supposed to think? They've only got so much time and so much money to turn a profit. The wrong call puts scores if not hundreds of families on the unemployment line.

Again, this is not to say that risks can't pay off. When I started, I dismissed Candy Crush as a Bejeweled Clone. But I don't know what to tell you: We try our best to do what we think will work. It's up to the consumer to tell us whether we did right or wrong (and you don't tell us via angry Escapist videos, btw).
Well I do appreciate your honesty. Thanks for keeping it real, and I apologize for the sarcasm. I've said this in another topic, but sometimes we just have to ask "what the hell" ya know. It's true that to some degree its the fault of 'overspenders' but perhaps this is also a case of bad apples ruining the bunch. Big unethical businessmen started this and once they manipulated enough sorry souls it was on.
 

drednoahl

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geier said:
Completly disagree with you there Jim.
Using terms/jargon in a business talk has nothing to do with dehumanisation, nothing. You are overreacting and i think you now this. Getting pissed off because of someone using a term like whale is like getting pissed off because someone used the therm FPS for Fallout 3, because FO3 is not a FPS but a roleplaying game with a new way of combining gunplay and turn based combat in wich you are able to choose between first and third person view.

There are not enough hours in the day to hold a business talk without certain terms and or jargon. What would you recomend for a substitute for whale? Bigspenders? Idiots with to much money in their wallets?

And if you haven't realised yet, the game industry is just that: An industry. And in every industry you need some white collar/business types who are responsible for the money/marketing.

And by the way: Complaining about the industry making money is more then a little hypocritically from you. Where do you get your money from? Not directly from the publisher/developer i know, but from the industry. You are, if you like it or not, a part from this industry. Just like the sleezy suit and the hungry underpaid indy studio.

Also: What is so bad with a panel to tell developers how to reduce backlash? Do you remember Mass effect 3 and the reaction of the gamers to the ending? Not all reactions from the customers are justified. You yourself brought up the question of customer/gamer entitlement.

No doubt, there are many companys who's business practices are shady at best, but dismissing the whole idea of bringing some professionalism into game development is just wrong and a bit juvenile.

I'm sorry for my bad english, as you maybe guessed it is not my primary language. So i could not argue and express myself as good and refined as i wanted.

And yes my dear jim + forum users, i myself have a background in businessmanagement.
The problem is that in gaming the guys in charge of WA and monetisation are exploiting the addiction of their customers as the focus of games design; the economics of a drug dealer.