The Failures of 2012 and Reactions in 2013
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
When I look back at last year, I’m not going to look back and think of something corny like 2012 was yet again a good year for gaming. No, I won’t do the same as I did last year. Last year, we have seen many successes and unfortunately also some failures which frighten me to know what the future might bring. We have had a simple idea, raise forth as what was just a side hobby grow into something unimaginable big. Undoubtedly you already know what I might be talking about unless you have been laying under a rock for the last year. The success that DayZ has had; only a few game developers have achieved this unthinkable golden hit. When I think back at 2012, I will see the passion of a normal ordinary human being that has been working for a relatively unknown studio seeing his dreams come true with only a small side project he liked to work on in his spare time. And because of this success that suddenly rose up out of the unthinkable and hard market for developers, there is also a bitter pill one must swallow when achieving success. Over the last few years, we have seen many big companies battling it out in court because some of the features in games, lyrics in songs, or shapes of devices have all been looking a lot like each other. Obviously both developers don’t want their hard work stolen or used by other.
It was no surprise that when the success of DayZ got many gamers hooked, and the game was talked about on many websites and even on TV, there would be someone somewhere trying to steal his idea and implement it into his own game. And obviously I am talking here about WarZ. I will not go into full detail because that is a subject for later, but I do want to mention that I surely hope others see the futility of this effort and avoid repeating the same mistake in 2013. Competition is a good thing, but what WarZ has shown us that an incomplete game with false promises will not be tolerated in today’s competitive industry. Besides seeing games being born by only the passion from one man, we have also seen games bearing a huge IP take a huge hit for trying to cash in on such legacies without having the backing to live up to it in the fans’ eyes.
Obviously I am talking about Star Wars the Old Republic here. I myself, was one of the many people hyping it up for release because the game looked just perfect, and even felt like it could be a true WoW killer at long last. BioWare, a studio so big and known for producing one amazing hit after another, has been fading away from prominence over the last few years and unfortunately SWTOR was not the title to turn this trend around. Now I’m not saying this game was a complete failure, no not at all. I personally found it contained an enjoyable story to follow and the game was a lot of fun, but it simply fell flat overall compared to how hyped I felt for it.
So my predictions for 2013? This might vary from the other writers but I don’t see any game having great success this year. As far as I have seen and experienced over the last few years, even the new upcoming standalone of DayZ might be a complete failure. What I do predict however is, that we will see a glimpse of a brighter future for buy to play and fully free to play MMO’s. With big titles such as The Secret World and SWTOR changing their financial plans, I suspect that paying monthly for a game will soon be recognized widely as an outdated system. The cash shop is something we have seen for many years, and somehow no one really understood the true potential behind this big fat cow that cannot wait to lose its milk. Last year we even witnessed the most anticipated title of the year, Guild Wars 2, utilize a cash shop straight from launch.
I for one am truly happy to see the cash shop being discovered in its true potential. When I was a young little gamer, I didn’t have any money. And heck when I even had my weekly pocket money, I’d spent it all on candy and food in the supermarket instead of some silly game when there were cheaper ones out there. By making the game free to play for everyone but giving the option of buying the extra unnecessary but still awesome items, you open up your market for a lot more people.
Even though these items might cost less than a monthly payment, but because your market is now bigger, you might sell even more. The true enthusiasts will even make up for 10 to 20+ players that don’t spend a dime if you design the shop well enough. When I look at this year besides the many titles that are announced, all I can predict is that 2013 will be the year when the MMORPG genre matures up. I am not talking about the community, because as long as the internet is anonymous, we will stay massive trolls to each other. I am obviously talking about games being free-to-play. Sure many games have had a success in the past with having a monthly income of payers, but the market has changed, gamers have wised up, and there are far too many hands in the industry fighting over the player-base pie.