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Business philosophy

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One thing to remember is that like it or not money drives almost everything. A public company, as most big game makers are, must make certain sales numbers to sustain investor interest. To really explain it I would need to write a business class in here which I don't feel like doing.

 

We are small and nimble with very little overhead so we do have the freedom to make choices like this without the risk or repercutions larger companies might face. However, this is the only way I would start a company as I am not in it to become the next EA or have 150 people making 3 games. Those are all valid business approaches though.

 

I guess you could say I want to be a more handcrafted company along the lines of a Ferrari or lamborghini in that it's not the over all numbers, but the quality of product and the feeling of belonging to a unique community that drives customers buying habits. I'm not referring to the quality of materials and the price differential(we are not going to do $100 games), but the size, philosophy and business practices.

 

If I had any interest in being a Ford or even a BMW type assembly line company I would just go work for one. Why start another "me to" company... there are plenty out there already.

 

I think we all knew that coming from BFS but it is nice to hear you say those things :thumbsup:

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I guess you could say I want to be a more handcrafted company along the lines of a Ferrari or lamborghini in that it's not the over all numbers, but the quality of product and the feeling of belonging to a unique community that drives customers buying habits.

 

 

:clapping::thumbsup:

 

 

 

I do want to add though, don't completely discount the dollar value of unique/quality products that come from unique companies.

 

There's a reason why people pay $5 for a cup of Starbucks.

 

This line of reasoning may not be quite as viable with the gaming market, but there's also something to be said for pioneering trendsetters. Don't be afraid to be different from everyone else, in how you market and sell your product.

 

Even in my line of work, there's a huge trend in the theme of "I'm going to charge you twice as much as the other guy. Why? Because I'm simply that much better."

 

Why do Ferrari's cost so much, when it gets you from A to B the same as any Honda.

 

Steel Beasts Pro, the pc game, costs $125.00, and people are buying it. It's a Starbucks thing. I had no qualms handing over my $125, I wanted the product and there's nothing else like it.

 

Personally, Valve's new 'portals' game, is so unique, I would pay more money for it than a typical $49 shooter.

 

Maybe the industry just hasn't gotten around to thinking this way. Maybe teenage gamers simply can't comprehend why one game would cost more than another.

 

But the opportunity and potential is there for those who can envision it, and learn to harness it.

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I guess you could say I want to be a more handcrafted company along the lines of a Ferrari or lamborghini

 

BTW I would pay those sort of prices for your game too with out batting a eye lid :thumbsup:

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Steel Beasts Pro, the pc game, costs $125.00, and people are buying it. It's a Starbucks thing. I had no qualms handing over my $125, I wanted the product and there's nothing else like it.

 

 

The same could be said for VBS1, there is a market, 'if you build it, they will come' sorry to be completely corny, but it fits the scenario

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The people I game play a certain "free FPS" that is very well known. It is based off of the army we have in America. Its a fun great game but there are certain issues it has always had that have never been addressed. When ever I talk about those issues the only response I get is " well its free ..hard to complain when its free". Which is total crap. Its not about the money. I would gladly pay double the going rate of new pc games just to have it work right. If This new project from BFS turns out to be everything I hope (I'm realistic about it), I would pay lots more then normal. Hell, if those other "big name" devs would would just say " well the cost for making a quality PC game is to much we have to charge more to create a proper game". Done. I would be happy to fork out some extra dough.

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Some games industry people did a survey a few months ago. Somewhat to their surprise, they found that gamers didn't pay much attention to price, but a lot of attention to demos.

 

If the demo was good, they'd pay for the game, regardless (to an extent) of price.

 

It's business 101 really: If you have a superior and/or unique product or brand, people will pay quite a lot for it. If you have a generic product/brand, virtually identical to anyone elses, you'd better have a really competitive price.

 

I've heard tons of people complain that a not-so-spectacular game "is not worth the price of a full game". I've never heard anyone even mention the pricetag of a really good game.

 

My bet is that the price tag on the BFS game will be of very little importance. :thumbsup:

 

Respectfully

 

krise madsen

Edited by krise madsen

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Not many developers manage to be fully independant, the ones that do are likely to face many dificulties... Bohemia Interactiv had a bad time finding a label to publish their latest masterpiece and they released a bit early in EU, fortunetly they achieved and blew everything away :notworthy: .

 

Someone will have to put the game in a box, advertise and promote, make it sell...

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Not many developers manage to be fully independant, the ones that do are likely to face many dificulties... Bohemia Interactiv had a bad time finding a label to publish their latest masterpiece and they released a bit early in EU, fortunetly they achieved and blew everything away :notworthy: .

 

Someone will have to put the game in a box, advertise and promote, make it sell...

 

 

Yep, and we are no different. We have many many challenges to overcome ourselves. <_<

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I don't mind paying more for a game, but if I do it had better be a quality product with more content than the average game. The first game I bought (as opposed to my parents) costs $74 dollars (That's including the comparatively high sales tax here in TX) for F-15 Strike Eagle III back in 1992 or '93 and I never regretted it. Seems like back then the computer games industry didn't quite fit into the one price fits all scheme we see with most new games today (though perhaps you would know better than I being a developer). Nor was PC gaming the cookie cutter affair it seems to be today either. Games that provide content for specialized markets or games that are longer than average ought to cost more than the run of the mill product. I'd much rather see games that are longer but initially more expensive than have a million expansion packs dividing multiplayer communities between those the have or do not have an expansion pack.

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If the golden game was complete with all the options and functions from OGR plus more I would have paid $200 so John make a game that is awesome and name your price..........

 

I'm tired of all the trash being rushed out the doors these days and if I have to pay for quality them by god I will. :thumbsup:

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I don't know that it would need to be in the $200 price range, I might pay that if it was good enough, but I'd have a hard time justifying paying that much to my wife. ;)

 

Can you imagine a game coming out today that never needed a patch? That might not be the reality for this title, but I certainly hope it's the goal.

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Last fall, I wanted Flight Simulator X Deluxe version. It costs $10 more than the standard version. Both share the same features and graphics, but the Deluxe version included extra aircraft and airports with more detailed scenery. I purposely sought out that version due to the "extras" that were included in it.

 

I have always been one to pay more for a quality product that lasts me years over something that lasts a few months (I have worn Levi's for 10 or more years in the past due to the quality). I just recently spent close to $200 for a pair of boots that should last me at least a year or more compared to the Wal-Mart boots I spent $35 on that lasted 6 months before I wore a hole in the heel of the boot (RTV helped keep the water out until I bought the new boots). The axiom "you get what you pay for" applies.

 

Give me a game that give me what I want and I will gladly pay what is asked for it.

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Reading through this thread there are many good points raised & some that I feel are key to success (IMHO).

 

---> Release of a Demo. This is one thing that I think always helps to settle peoples minds on wether or not they wil buy as krise says. Its OK to read reviews but its totally awesome to be able to see it first hand. It also lets the end user know how well the app. will run on THEIR system.

---> Strong game that meets the community needs. JSone has already covered this well & sounds like he knows what his talking about. Im the same Im no Salesman...if its cr&p I couldnt sell it, wheras a good salesman will sell regardless.

---> Well placed marketting. Important to get across the elite "experience" impromptu interviews & development news with a few MAJOR & significant press groups along development will encourage people to SEEK out the details. Kind of like a shrowded project that BANGS on realease.

---> Timing of release. Getting a release date has always been an issue with games, there is always the "OK, Ive got $200 to spend & 5 titles are all due out at the same time...where do I spend my monies?" I worked for GT Interactive in the Distribution Industry. The rfealease of QUAKE1 by ID (Quake is still a stroing ongoing title) was well a well timed release that took the market by storm. Nothing else was of its class & all of the other major titles at the time were about making the Xmas sales list.

---> Adapatability to be best in class. Not only has the game got to be immersive & "uptodate" but also addaptive for re-playability, modding & possible expansion. A good selling product has a greater chance of selling expansions or follow-ons. However sometimes the latter can also paint a poor overall picture so the standard has to be high through & through.

---> Complete working version, thats not required to be patched to fix errors month after month. No-one likes paying for anything & finding that its not fit for the purpose. Id get the right "hump" if my Ferrari had to go into the garage every month!

---> Setting the correct pricing bracket without undercutting or overcosting. BFS will need to be able to ensure they can create a profit to continue & possibly cost themselves higher but any costing should be relative to the result & service. Services say a lot about a company. Nothing worse than getting a good product but need assistance or upgrades & the Services rendered are non-responsive.

---> Getting a decent Publisher. This is probably going to be one of your toughest hurdles as you need to find a publisher or marketting company that will meet your ETHOS on what you are trying to deliver & why, rather than them dictating the milestones that you need to achieve. This has all to often lead to poor releases & an unhappy community which after a short period of time has dispersed & any further releases are "judged" before seen based opn the past reputation. <---- Keeping a clean Rep' is key!

 

However BFS plan to move forward...I wish them luck!! B)

Edited by Nemesis

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I would still be interested to know exactly how much does money drive BFS?

 

are you producing this game to make money (ie maximise profits) and feel retaining a loyal group of customers by being a more "handcrafted company" as you put it is something that will give you an advantage over other companies?

 

or are you a group of people with an idea of a game that they would like to make because they either have a vision on what makes a great game or because you enjoy making games and the money is to simply sustain you.

 

either way it could still be tough for you, like all forms of competition the name of the game is survival and as such BFS will need to bring in enough money to finance their company, do you really think there is a sufficient fanbase as im aware that other companies acknowledge the Tactical Realism community but dont see it as being big enough to aim their products at, all that being said i still very much appreciate what you guys at BFS are doing!!!

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Well, the object of any business is to make money. You need to make money to operate. Are we doing this simply for the love of making it and giving people something they can't get otherwise? Not entirely.

 

Any person who goes through the trouble of starting a business from NOTHING only to tell you they are in it solely for the love of the product is lying. I want to make game I like to play. I want to fill a void that I see in the market place. I also want to make a living at it and build up a long term sustainable business that I can enjoy running for a long time. That requires money and more money than just enough to sustain people.

 

It's business 101.

 

I am aiming to please the customer base in many ways and if we are successful in that then the rest will come on it's own.

 

BTW: starting a business is EXTREMELY tough. Starting a business in this industry is crazy! I have been told so many times that it won't work and I am nuts for even trying. But then again, people like Preston Tucker and countless other business people. Nothing worth having is easy and this certainly won't be either, but if the spoils of a job well done come at the end then so be it.

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What about taking the model in the opposite direction:

 

A $20 game with numerous $20 mission packs released over the course of several years, driven by fan based community content, sponsors and contests for both : creation of assets .. and destruction of players

 

The game would be limited box distribution (unfortuantely EB charges six figures for their endcap), and the mission packs exclusively online distribution.

 

How much content would you expect comes with a $20 next gen title: Say the game ships with 5 levels, and the mission packs would be 10 levels at least -- is that too far off the mark ? (all levels being both mp/sp)

 

A demo is mandatory I assume ?

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A $20 game with numerous $20 mission packs released over the course of several years, driven by fan based community content, sponsors and contests for both : creation of assets .. and destruction of players

 

The game would be limited box distribution (unfortuantely EB charges six figures for their endcap), and the mission packs exclusively online distribution.

 

How much content would you expect comes with a $20 next gen title: Say the game ships with 5 levels, and the mission packs would be 10 levels at least -- is that too far off the mark ? (all levels being both mp/sp)

 

A demo is mandatory I assume ?

I really like this idea. Personally, I would have bought mission packs for GR for years if RSE kept pumping them out for another 3-4 years.

 

I think it's a great idea to have a low-cost boxed copy of the game, and further downloadable content approx every 6-9 months or so. I think $20 these days is a very reasonable fee for a 10 level expansion pack. I think people would pay that for 8 levels. (GR expansion packs were 8 levels.)

 

However, I think the original boxed game should ship with at least the same number of maps as an expansion pack (i.e. 10 or more).

 

A demo is always a good thing, but I think it should follow how RSE did it in the past: wait for the game to go gold first, then base the demo on the gold master version of the game, instead of releasing a inferior beta version of the game as a demo. Also, no need to include 3 levels of the game with the demo, since I find after playing a 3-level demo, I usually don't feel like buying the game (with a few exceptions like the original Call of Duty etc.) Just release one SP mission, and one MP map to play online and with LAN support. :thumbsup:

 

Not sure what you meant by "and destruction of players" :blink:

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Unless you are independantly releasing, price isn't going to be something you have any control over.

 

Cheaper is always better than more expensive. People do buy Lambourgini's, but the company Lambourgini doesn't make any money. It's owned by Ford or someone who subsidise it by selling cars for a reasonable budget. Every couple of years they get sold to another big car company. No one really wants to hang on to them for very long. Just steal their secrets and run.

 

It is important to note that while VBS sells for hundreds of pounds a copy, Operation Flashpoint which sells for much less makes a greater profit. VBS sells hundreds of copies, but Flashpoint has sold millions.

 

 

Cheap and cheerful is my advice. Make me another game like the Regiment please and just keep pumping out the expansions. A least if you start fairly unambitious the likelyhood of completing the project is much higher. All too many indie developments go vaporware, or having promised all things to everyone end as a disappointment to all, when the funding doesn't appear.

 

Don't be afraid to sell your IP to a publisher. You can always make a new game. Gamers aren't looking for a brand name. Just the game. It's better to complete something than run out of money.

 

 

Here is an intresting business model for the indepandant release game Savage 2.

 

The game files can be downloaded any time and any place, on any PC for free, and then you can play LAN mode with no obligation; you don't even need an account with us in order to [play LAN mode]. The reason we did that is, we're avid gamers. We've been to LAN parties, and we don't feel it necessary that every person at a LAN party should have a CD key in order to play a game. Of course, like most LAN parties, most people don't, so [you have people] trying to find a no-CD hack or you just don't play the game. Our thought process was, "When you guys go to a LAN party, you hook up to a network, and you've got the game files on there, so everybody can just [copy and paste] that directory onto their computer." If you want the game to be recognized as an installation, there's a minor installation file in that directory which will register some things in your Windows registry. Then everybody can play the game, just fire it up.

 

Our thought is that we've made a game good enough that we can give [that part of it] away for free. You got to a LAN party, maybe a bunch of people there haven't heard about Savage. They play it, they love it, they want to play it again so they can play online against everyone else. An account is cheap--they're $30--and we're assuming a lot of people will take us up on that offer.

 

The way we look at it is, the game itself is free. To play the game online against other opponents who aren't on a LAN, we'll have a free demo time that will allow you to play the game for X number of hours, maybe 3 to 5. After that time expires you can't play the demo any more. You then pay $29.99--one time fee--then you own an account. So, you know, Thanksgiving weekend, you gotta go to your Grandpa's house, you can just download the game files from the website, put in your [account] credentials, and you're good to go; all you need is the account.

 

Time will tell if it makes any money, but you have a bit of time so you can watch it a bit, see how it pans out. They obviously made enough money with the original Savage to stay in business.

If they come out with an expansion within the next 18 months I think it's safe to assume it's a going concern.

 

This approach obviously requires a strong MP element to your game, not to mention hiring some sort of sales and marketing bod(s).

Don't be afraid to do this, they are the most important part of any team. They work primarily on commision and they deal with the money side of the business. The most important part. Worth their wieght in gold those boys.

 

Giving away that much of your game sounds scarey, but remember that Doom, the game that coined the use of demo's to sell games gave away a full third of the game. A complete standalone chapter with all the features included in the end title. So did Duke Nukem. All people were paying for that they didn't already own were the extra levels.

Letting them see what your game is about, is not as good as getting them totally hooked.

Edited by baff

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Personally, any demo released needs to be of the MP and SP type. RSE was great at releasing a demo with both gametypes playable on the same map. It's a pity more companies do not do this.

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Personally, any demo released needs to be of the MP and SP type. RSE was great at releasing a demo with both gametypes playable on the same map. It's a pity more companies do not do this.

 

 

Agreed. I'm not sure why this has changed over the years really. File size perhaps?

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I think part of the problem is also the fact that 2 different engines are being used in some cases. I don't think file size could be it as both modes could use the same map if the devs did it right (like RSE did).

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Agreed. I'm not sure why this has changed over the years really. File size perhaps?

 

Could it be that the MP Development was completed first, and the SP development is playing catch up?

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