Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Fuzzy Avatars Solved! Please re-upload your avatar if it was fuzzy!

The hardcore sandbox "niche" is not very small despite what you think

13

Comments

  • Felheart5Felheart5 OsloPosts: 35Member
    Originally posted by Aelious
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Aelious
    I would present as evidence that three big name themepark MMOs released this year have seen thier developer downsized and the game worse off than was anticipated.

    Initial sales does not seem to have been the problem but rather player retention at lack of content. I believe a sandbox type game that gave players more to do would be very welcome.

    A point of contention however may be how to handle PvP.

    That would only be evidence that people did not like those particular games, it is not evidence that the sandbox crowd is big. 

     

    The question is why they didn't like them.  The first and biggest example is swtor... 1 million preorders, estimated 2.2 million copies sold total with 1.7 million past the first month.  What would cause a title to downsize like they have less than a year later? Same issues with TERA and TSW.  High initial sales that drop off, TSW less so but still noticable.  IMO it's because we've seen it all again and again.  The same model which urges us to "get to the end" and since the level process is fairly quick we do and find out that there is not enough there to keep us playing very long.

     

    IMO people are tired of prescripted, packed in, linear MMOs.  What is the model that is not like this? Sandbox...ish games.  Now I'm not going to go purist and say that a 100% sandbox is the answer, I don't.  A game with enough sandbox elements to keep people doing various activities "to the end" would be a very fresh and sustainable model IMO.

    Agreed. While I don't think sandboxes with emphasis on the "hardcore" is much more than a niche, people in general are probably ready for something different judging by how MMO's tend to wex and vain very quickly these days. And I have no doubts that when, if at all, the RIGHT people get to it we could see sandbox style games rise to popularity and leave a lot of the themepark notions behind. 

    This year has been a harsh lesson for me on how tired I am of rolling a new character in a new MMO, knowing my path is more or less a predetermined series of events, linear or not, that will take me from a very definable A to Z and little else. I know a lot of people have come to that conclusion a long time ago.

    We all have different ideas of how we envision the perfect sandbox and I won't get into that, but I will say this: If developers want to hold on to their players they should let them start feeling like they are part of the world, affecting it in their own subtle or grand ways, not just spectators passing through. There shouldn't be a very clearly definable end to an MMO.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,455Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Uzik

    Pretty sure there was this fairly big sandbox RPG released called "Skyrim" or something like that.  I've also heard some buzz about this whole "DayZ" thing that is supposedly pretty hardcore or something like that.

     

    And I mean, not like the original wave of MMO's like UO, AC, and EQ had open PvP and looting or anything.

     

     

     

    Wait a minute.......

    Yeah, but you aren't really thinking that statement through.

    So Skyrim sold (according to a figure I saw, feel free to pull one that is better) 3.4 million copies in the first two days. Let's say that it eventually made it to 4 million. Pretty impressive for a sandbox right?

    Except, who bought those copies and even more telling, were they really looking for "a sandbox"?

    Part of that number will be Elder Scrolls fans. They pretty much know what they are getting into. But what of everyone else?

     

    of the 5 people I know who bougth skyrim only one plays it for the open world sandbox game play. The other 4 only did the quests they could find and then stopped. Of that 4 two of them said that the game was too open and they would have preferred more structure.

    So, of those 4 million players, how many actually bought it because it was "sandbox"? how many actually enjoyed the open ended game play or even eschewed the quests and just played their own way?

    Or is there a greater number of players who lost interest because of the open ended nature? Or maybe they bought it, played it for 15 minutes and moved  on to something else.

    I suspect that a portion of those skyrim players weren't all gung ho about it being "sandbox". Or for those who have a more strick definition of sandbox, "open ended".

    I see that in August DayZ surpassed 1 million players. But how many of these players are in it for "open pvp which is hardcore" over a "complete sandbox experience".

    Each one of these games has a specific audience and in the case of the former it isn't clear that everyone is signed up for the "open ended" experience.

     

  • Felheart5Felheart5 OsloPosts: 35Member
    Originally posted by Sovrath

    Each one of these games has a specific audience and in the case of the former it isn't clear that everyone is signed up for the "open ended" experience.

     

    I know it's not quite comparable, but how about the The Sims series of games, arguably one of the bigger game IP's out there although it's golden days may have passed(?). Entierly open ended sandbox gaming experience. ;)

  • TdogSkalTdogSkal Livonia, MIPosts: 1,244Member

    I think once a Developer realizs that Sandbox and FFA PVP are not the samething and design a game around being a sandbox not just a FFA PvP game, we will see more players joining the sandbox side of things.

    Until Develops understand the difference between Sandbox and FFA PvP, Sandbox games will be a very small market.

    EvE - Has FFA PvP but it is not built around that, there is plenty to do outside of PvP and in fact one can play EvE for years and never PvP. (Not recommended as PvP is fun if not zergish)

     

    So Sandbox MMORPG - Could be as large a market as Themeparks if developers learn that FFA PvP does not equal Sandbox.

     

    Sooner or Later

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,455Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Felheart5
    Originally posted by Sovrath

    Each one of these games has a specific audience and in the case of the former it isn't clear that everyone is signed up for the "open ended" experience.

     

    I know it's not quite comparable, but how about the The Sims series of games, arguably one of the bigger game IP's out there although it's golden days may have passed(?). Entierly open ended sandbox gaming experience. ;)

    That's a very good point.

    I might posit that the SIMS, though very much a sandbox experience is also a toy.

    It allowed people to manipulate and (to use a word that is a bit precious) "delight" in day to day minutiae. It was their own little creation, sort of like a mini-bonsai tree or rock garden. But the thing with the sims is that it wasn't just a "you do everything" experience as you would set things up and watch what happened. Kind of like a complicated Top that you wound up with your own input and watched as it did its thing.

    Bring it to the online space and suddenly no one had interest.

    The thing about a "sandbox" game is that it mixes the desire to create for one's self with a social gaming experience. Is there really a strong crossover or is it more of a small area in a Venn diagram?

  • FusionFusion VaasaPosts: 1,391Member Uncommon
    Alot of people like the IDEA of sandboxes, but when they actually try them, they either quit out of frustration or lack of imagination, first one being the FFA-pvp/full loot part and the second being the part where they actually have to make their own story/doing/stuff etc.

    Currently playing: -

    Waiting for: Class4.

    Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!

  • Felheart5Felheart5 OsloPosts: 35Member
    Originally posted by Fusion
    Alot of people like the IDEA of sandboxes, but when they actually try them, they either quit out of frustration or lack of imagination, first one being the FFA-pvp/full loot part and the second being the part where they actually have to make their own story/doing/stuff etc.

    Arguably, FFA-pvp/full loot etc. does not need to be part of a sandbox. It depends entierly on the type of game you make, and how you structure it. The bit about people struggling to build their own experiences however is a very valid one, once you let go of their hand a lot of people suddenly have a hard time enjoying themselves. So, at least to kick things of a brand new big budget sandbox would need to very carefully marry freedom, depth and complexity with accessibility and a fine tuned learning curve. Easy to learn and enjoy, challenging to fully master, on several levels.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,455Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aelious
     

     

    The question is why they didn't like them.  The first and biggest example is swtor... 1 million preorders, estimated 2.2 million copies sold total with 1.7 million past the first month.  What would cause a title to downsize like they have less than a year later? Same issues with TERA and TSW.  High initial sales that drop off, TSW less so but still noticable.  IMO it's because we've seen it all again and again.  The same model which urges us to "get to the end" and since the level process is fairly quick we do and find out that there is not enough there to keep us playing very long.

     

    IMO people are tired of prescripted, packed in, linear MMOs.  What is the model that is not like this? Sandbox...ish games.  Now I'm not going to go purist and say that a 100% sandbox is the answer, I don't.  A game with enough sandbox elements to keep people doing various activities "to the end" would be a very fresh and sustainable model IMO.

    I think you almost have it.

    But it's not because "we have seen it all before". Believe me, in all media we have already "seen it all before and then some".

    It's because there isn't enough content, players drive toward top level "just to drive toward top level" and they are left with nothing at the top level but grinding for better gear.

    SWToR would still be going strong if it wasn't for the finality of end game. I think Bioware made a huge mistake assuming that the leveling of alts, espeically through the same quests, was going to keep people engaged.

    I actually started an alt but though I was engaged in the story I just couldn't get myself through the same zones with the same quests. Espcially since those zones were very light on players.

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARPosts: 2,697Member
    Originally posted by Kasmos

    I hear this argument all the time; "developers don't make sandbox games because it's a niche market" or when people discuss new developing games they say, "they shouldn't implement "x" idea to cater to the sandbox niche".

    The definition of niche is as follows:

    A. Situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature

    B. A special area of demand for a product or service

    No where does that imply that the niche has to be small, despite that connotation being made all throughout gaming forums. But you're right, there certainly is a sandbox niche out there and we've been dying to find a good game to support. Does everyone think that all of us who grew up on games like Ultima Online just disappeared? The fact is, there just haven't been games worth playing since WoW watered down the market.

    There are a large amount of people who have been waiting for a good sandbox MMO for a long time, and only recently have developers started taking chances at breaking the current mold and trying different things. Look at the success of EVE as a perfect example of this, as well as Darkfall.

    I myself joined Darkfall when that game launched, and haven't had that much fun in an MMO since Ultima Online. At launch, so many people wanted to buy the game the purchasing system crashed. The point is, sandbox games are making a comeback, and to those that think there are not a lot of us excited about that and won't be returning for old school MMOs like Darkfall: Unholy Wars, you're completely wrong.

    Yes, it is exactly as small as most of us KNOW it to be.

    You also point to EvE as an example when you say "Only recently has developers started taking chances...." um.... that game is really old so it doesn't work as an example there.

     

    You also use Darkfall as an example, apparently you don't know how few copies that game sold which is an example of how small the FFA PvP market is, not necessarily the sandbox market as the same crowd doesn't fill both only part of the sandbox crowd fills the FFA PvP crowd.

     

    So in closing:

    1) It is exactly as small as most people say it is.

    2) You are confusing sandbox crowd with FFA PvP crowd which are not one and the same. Plenty of people like Sandbox design but hate FFA PvP.

    3) No one is wrong about how many will "return" to Darkfall:Unholy Wars. The game doesn't even register on the MMO radar because so few people have ever bothered to pick it up at all and there isn't going to be a mad rush to get in on it now.

  • SirmakiSirmaki Nashville, TNPosts: 117Member Common
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Kasmos

    I hear this argument all the time; "developers don't make sandbox games because it's a niche market" or when people discuss new developing games they say, "they shouldn't implement "x" idea to cater to the sandbox niche".

    The definition of niche is as follows:

    A. Situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature

    B. A special area of demand for a product or service

    No where does that imply that the niche has to be small, despite that connotation being made all throughout gaming forums. But you're right, there certainly is a sandbox niche out there and we've been dying to find a good game to support. Does everyone think that all of us who grew up on games like Ultima Online just disappeared? The fact is, there just haven't been games worth playing since WoW watered down the market.

    There are a large amount of people who have been waiting for a good sandbox MMO for a long time, and only recently have developers started taking chances at breaking the current mold and trying different things. Look at the success of EVE as a perfect example of this, as well as Darkfall.

    I myself joined Darkfall when that game launched, and haven't had that much fun in an MMO since Ultima Online. At launch, so many people wanted to buy the game the purchasing system crashed. The point is, sandbox games are making a comeback, and to those that think there are not a lot of us excited about that and won't be returning for old school MMOs like Darkfall: Unholy Wars, you're completely wrong.

    You've presented an item for argument (argument meaning a discussion or debate), that being that the hardcore sandbox niche is not small.

    And yet no where in your thesis do you present any evidence or even support of any kind for that position.

    What reasons/evidence/experience led you to this conclusion?

    This. Also, the OP has mininterpreted the definition of niche. The use of the term "specially" indicates it is not broad or general in nature. Other wise it wouldn't be special in anyway. MMO's have a broad following, open world PvP with full loot is a niche inside that broad following.

     

    Also this reminds of me of the reportor who, when Nixon won, commented to the effect how could he win? Everyone one I know voted against  him!! For the low information voters in the crowd, if you only hang with the Darkfall crowd, then of course 99% of the gamers you know like OW PvP...

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Originally posted by Kasmos

    I hear this argument all the time; "developers don't make sandbox games because it's a niche market" or when people discuss new developing games they say, "they shouldn't implement "x" idea to cater to the sandbox niche".

    The definition of niche is as follows:

    A. Situation or activity specially suited to a person's interests, abilities, or nature

    B. A special area of demand for a product or service

    No where does that imply that the niche has to be small, despite that connotation being made all throughout gaming forums. But you're right, there certainly is a sandbox niche out there and we've been dying to find a good game to support. Does everyone think that all of us who grew up on games like Ultima Online just disappeared? The fact is, there just haven't been games worth playing since WoW watered down the market.

    There are a large amount of people who have been waiting for a good sandbox MMO for a long time, and only recently have developers started taking chances at breaking the current mold and trying different things. Look at the success of EVE as a perfect example of this, as well as Darkfall.

    I myself joined Darkfall when that game launched, and haven't had that much fun in an MMO since Ultima Online. At launch, so many people wanted to buy the game the purchasing system crashed. The point is, sandbox games are making a comeback, and to those that think there are not a lot of us excited about that and won't be returning for old school MMOs like Darkfall: Unholy Wars, you're completely wrong.

    Kasmos,

    I tend to agree with you that I believe the market for this type of game is being underestimated. Developers/Publishers build products not based on what the market actualy is...but on what THIER PERCEPTION of the market is. It's really hard, even for companies that spend a ton of money on market research to get a good handle on the market. If it wasn't then we'd hardly ever seen products released that underperform... clearly that's not the case.

    For quite a number of years now, Publishers/Developers have been blinded by chasing after the same markey segment that WoW holds, which is admitedly pretty huge as far as the MMO audience goes. That's no different then when Movie Studios or Single Player Game Studios try to chase after the same audience that a prior Blockbuster has captured by releasing a new title with similar qualities. However, they made (IMO) a critical miscalculation in that MMO's unlike Movies or Single Player Games don't have a short shelf life, where people are "finnished" with them in a couple of months and are ready to move on to a new iteration of the same thing. They are alot more similar to long term Service industries...like where you get your haircut, where you get your taxes down, car repaired, etc....in that if a customer is generaly satisfied with the offering they are going to tend to stay with that offering year after year, unless the new offering coming out is VASTLY more compelling then what they are used to using.  In other words that meant that every new game that came out aimed at the same target audience as WoW was going to have to compete with WoW for that audience...in essence it would have to offer a vastly better WoW then WoW itself...not an easy thing to do by any stretch of the imagination.

    Clearly that was a tough market for any new product to compete in. Even if the conventional wisdom is correct and it's by far the largest segement...it's still a finite market....and with the amount of competition for that market any new entrant in that market is going to have to fight very hard for audience share. I believe the lesson that Developers may have finally begun to learn is a pretty basic business lesson (amazing that it took them so long to recognize it), in a heavly saturated market, your best chance for success is to look for a market segment that is currently underserved and find a way to deliver a product to them in a profitable manner. In other words, there is nothing wrong with targeting a "niche" audience as long as that "niche" is large enough to sustain a game and still make a proffit.  I think "sandbox" easly qualifies for that...and I think you are starting to see some developers recognize that.

    Note there is a tendecy here among posters on mmorpg.com to dismiss ANYTHING that doesn't match thier exact preferences as a "tiny minority" or "niche" because they have anxiety that fewer offerings will be available within thier prefered preferences if Developers see anything outside those preferences as viable enough to target a product at. Sad but understandable.

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon

    You can't talk about "hardcore sandbox" without defining it.

    Your sandbox might include FFA PvP with perma-death, while mine includes a smattering of missions, no PvP and a small death penalty. Can't even have a decent discussion unless you establish parameters.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,667Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Felheart5
    Originally posted by Sovrath

    Each one of these games has a specific audience and in the case of the former it isn't clear that everyone is signed up for the "open ended" experience.

     

    I know it's not quite comparable, but how about the The Sims series of games, arguably one of the bigger game IP's out there although it's golden days may have passed(?). Entierly open ended sandbox gaming experience. ;)

    Massive single player following for years, but barely any interest in The Sims Online.

    Minecraft is another example of an extremely popular single player sandbox experience but only limited interest in anything multiplayer beyond small group and immediate friends/family.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by Uzik

    Pretty sure there was this fairly big sandbox RPG released called "Skyrim" or something like that.  I've also heard some buzz about this whole "DayZ" thing that is supposedly pretty hardcore or something like that.

     

    And I mean, not like the original wave of MMO's like UO, AC, and EQ had open PvP and looting or anything.

     

     

     

    Wait a minute.......

    Yeah, but you aren't really thinking that statement through.

    So Skyrim sold (according to a figure I saw, feel free to pull one that is better) 3.4 million copies in the first two days. Let's say that it eventually made it to 4 million. Pretty impressive for a sandbox right?

    Except, who bought those copies and even more telling, were they really looking for "a sandbox"?

    Part of that number will be Elder Scrolls fans. They pretty much know what they are getting into. But what of everyone else?

     

    of the 5 people I know who bougth skyrim only one plays it for the open world sandbox game play. The other 4 only did the quests they could find and then stopped. Of that 4 two of them said that the game was too open and they would have preferred more structure.

    So, of those 4 million players, how many actually bought it because it was "sandbox"? how many actually enjoyed the open ended game play or even eschewed the quests and just played their own way?

    Or is there a greater number of players who lost interest because of the open ended nature? Or maybe they bought it, played it for 15 minutes and moved  on to something else.

    I suspect that a portion of those skyrim players weren't all gung ho about it being "sandbox". Or for those who have a more strick definition of sandbox, "open ended".

    I see that in August DayZ surpassed 1 million players. But how many of these players are in it for "open pvp which is hardcore" over a "complete sandbox experience".

    Each one of these games has a specific audience and in the case of the former it isn't clear that everyone is signed up for the "open ended" experience.

     

    You could say the same is true for pretty much ANY product...including Themepark Games....

    - How many people bought and played WoW because it was set in the Warcraft Universe and they were fans of the RTS series.

    - How many bought it because it was heavly advertised and happened to be one of the few MMO's around at the time they got reliable broadband internet access?

    - How many people bought it because thier school buddy Ben was playing it and they wanted to hang out with thier buddy.

    - How many people bought it because they saw Chuck Norris and Mr. T. on TV?

    - How many bought it and play it because they enjoy the unique irreverent humor it features?

    - How many bought it and play it simply because it IS a well done game, regardless of it's style?

    - How many bought it and play it simply because it's the only MMO they've really heard about or known...and it's familar to them?

    I mean clearly WoW is immensely popular....but by the same token you've raised it's kinda hard to quantify exactly how much of it's popularity is due to it specificaly being a "linear themepark" rather then some other factor?

    P.S.  It may surprise you to note, that I generaly consider myself a "sandbox" fan and many people might consider me "hardcore".  I bought and played vanilla WoW for about 1.5 years, I enjoyed my time there. I don't really have anthing bad to say about it....but I bought and played it INSPITE of the fact it was a linear themepark not due to it. It simply was a well done game. I probably would have enjoyed it more and played it longer (and definately that holds true for LOTRO) had it featured more "sandbox" elements.

    Edit: Does the fact that I bought and played WoW and LOTRO make me a "linear themepark" fan?  Or does it simply mean I'm willing to play them, even if they don't match my preferences, if other factors are sufficiently present?

     

     

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Malcanis
    Originally posted by Yamota
    Originally posted by Failings

    The entire MMORPG market was concidered a niche before WoW made it main stream. Things evolve and nobody is capable of telling the future.

    I always grin when I see someone throw random crystal ball predictions like "FFA PvP will always fail" or "sandbox MMOs will only ever be a niche".

    What if for example Titan turned out to be a sandbox game and it was an interstellar smash hit, what then, fortune tellers?

    The thing is that there has not been a single big budget sandbox MMO created, ever. Yet people say they would not work. How do they know?

    Obviously big money producers dont believe so either, as they are not funding any, but one day one will take the leap and create a 100 million dollar sandbox, possible ThemePark hybrid, and it will probably blow every other MMO of the map.

    There was a time when everyone in Hollywood knew that big-budget Science Fiction films could never make money.

    Then Terminator was released. Had the world completely changed the day before, or were all those "me too" producers wrong?

     

    EDIT: Ditto big-budget Fantasy films, Lord of the Rings.

    Where do you guys get your information from. Terminator was released in 1984 and yes was quite successfull.

    Before then there were:

    ET (1982), Star Trek the motion picture (1979),

     Star Trek the Wrath of Kahn, Star trek (1982),

     Star Trek the search for Spock also came out in 1984,

    BladeRunner (1982),

    Star Wars a New Hope (1977),

    Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back (1980)

    Star Wars Return of the Jedi (1983)

    Iceman (also 1984),

    The Andromeda Strain (1971),

    Logans Run (1976),

     Superman (1978 – I will give this as not really science fiction though),

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978),

    Solaris (1972),

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977),

    Alien (1979)

    Just to name a few movies that raked it in at the box offie and won numerous awards. 

     

    I don't think there been a time since the 50's or 60's when Hollywood didn't believe there was a ton of money to be made in Science fiction.

     

    And just like Hollywoord, Face it, just like the movies.  Developers and Producers are watching this Industry.  When they see something that they will will make money, whether it be sandbox or not, they will build it. 

    edit -for fantay there have been a few, however most of the fantasy out there as far as movie go is kinda garbage.  But again, if they think money can be made at it they will do it.  But bad scripts, low budgets, bad actors is not the way to make money - parallel to games.

    VengeSunsoar,  I think the larger point he's making is that there is an "accepted common wisdom" factor where many people in an industry simply assume something is true because it's what they've seen so far......and therefore it creates a bit of a self-fullfilling prophecy effect where an industry resists change for awhile until something comes along and smacks it in the face to challenge it's preconcieved assumptions. Taking the longer view, we've seen this time and again in history...

    - Oh those new fangled horseless carriages will never replace the buggy.

    - Oh TV will never supplant radio as a medium.

    - Oh PC's will never become more popular in industry then mainframes.

    - Oh this internet thing is just a novel niche that only appeals to a limited audience of academics and nerds.

    Etc....

    It's easy to understand the common Perception of something is, it's really hard to understand just how well that Perception matches up with reality.... especialy true with something as fickle and complex as human tastes and preferences in entertainment.

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    Originally posted by Uzik

    Gotta love the people demanding some sort of scientific study that sandbox gaming is becoming more popular.

     

    OP was expressing a feeling that he has, and there are PLENTY of recent examples that show a trend towards sandbox games.  It will probably take awhile for that to translate into a successful MMO title, but everyone here acting like every themepark game since WoW was a huge success needs to stop being so blind.

    Yeah well feelings are not good enough. You don't get funding based on a hunch. State those examples. Let us scrutinize them. OP already showed error in his reasoning.

    Well according to recent quotes from Smedley , he wants to start adding more "sandbox elements" to his future releases. If that's true it sounds like the OP's hunch is shared by someone with significant ability to ACT on it.  I'm also seeing alot more "sandbox" oriented games on the horizon, some of them backed by significant business entities ...for example Pathfinder Online and relationship with Paizo Publishing.... You know the PnP game company who's product is actualy beating out Wizards of the Costs D&D offering currently.

  • TardcoreTardcore MinskPosts: 2,325Member
    While I'm sick of these "Candyland" themepark games. And while Shadowbane is still my favorite MMO of all time. I empahtically disagree that sandbox MMOs must only be hardcore, FFA, full loot games to be successful or fun. Just giving players the option to make their own mark in the game world would be amazing. IE let them control and work a resource mine, build a village, create a trade hub, etc. Instead of just running around like a dazed fat kid at an amusement park, gobbling up all the sweet stuff and riding the same rides over and over again until they puke.

    image

    "Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Malcanis
    Originally posted by Yamota
    Originally posted by Failings

    The entire MMORPG market was concidered a niche before WoW made it main stream. Things evolve and nobody is capable of telling the future.

    I always grin when I see someone throw random crystal ball predictions like "FFA PvP will always fail" or "sandbox MMOs will only ever be a niche".

    What if for example Titan turned out to be a sandbox game and it was an interstellar smash hit, what then, fortune tellers?

    The thing is that there has not been a single big budget sandbox MMO created, ever. Yet people say they would not work. How do they know?

    Obviously big money producers dont believe so either, as they are not funding any, but one day one will take the leap and create a 100 million dollar sandbox, possible ThemePark hybrid, and it will probably blow every other MMO of the map.

    There was a time when everyone in Hollywood knew that big-budget Science Fiction films could never make money.

    Then Terminator was released. Had the world completely changed the day before, or were all those "me too" producers wrong?

     

    EDIT: Ditto big-budget Fantasy films, Lord of the Rings.

    Where do you guys get your information from. Terminator was released in 1984 and yes was quite successfull.

    Before then there were:

    ET (1982), Star Trek the motion picture (1979),

     Star Trek the Wrath of Kahn, Star trek (1982),

     Star Trek the search for Spock also came out in 1984,

    BladeRunner (1982),

    Star Wars a New Hope (1977),

    Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back (1980)

    Star Wars Return of the Jedi (1983)

    Iceman (also 1984),

    The Andromeda Strain (1971),

    Logans Run (1976),

     Superman (1978 – I will give this as not really science fiction though),

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978),

    Solaris (1972),

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977),

    Alien (1979)

    Just to name a few movies that raked it in at the box offie and won numerous awards. 

     

    I don't think there been a time since the 50's or 60's when Hollywood didn't believe there was a ton of money to be made in Science fiction.

     

    And just like Hollywoord, Face it, just like the movies.  Developers and Producers are watching this Industry.  When they see something that they will will make money, whether it be sandbox or not, they will build it. 

    edit -for fantay there have been a few, however most of the fantasy out there as far as movie go is kinda garbage.  But again, if they think money can be made at it they will do it.  But bad scripts, low budgets, bad actors is not the way to make money - parallel to games.

    VengeSunsoar,  I think the larger point he's making is that there is an "accepted common wisdom" factor where many people in an industry simply assume something is true because it's what they've seen so far......and therefore it creates a bit of a self-fullfilling prophecy effect where an industry resists change for awhile until something comes along and smacks it in the face to challenge it's preconcieved assumptions. Taking the longer view, we've seen this time and again in history...

    - Oh those new fangled horseless carriages will never replace the buggy.

    - Oh TV will never supplant radio as a medium.

    - Oh PC's will never become more popular in industry then mainframes.

    - Oh this internet thing is just a novel niche that only appeals to a limited audience of academics and nerds.

    Etc....

    It's easy to understand the common Perception of something is, it's really hard to understand just how well that Perception matches up with reality.... especialy true with something as fickle and complex as human tastes and preferences in entertainment.

    exactly and thats what I'm arguing.  Is that actually happening.  He cited Terminator and sci fi movies as evidence that that does happen.  I stated it didn't happen then, I'm not sure it's happening now.  In all the cases you mentioned I'm sure there was someone somewhere saying it won't happen but what the people/developers/business people as a whole thinking?  What was the market thinking.

    Just because an individual or even a collection of individuals think that something could never happen, is there actually "many" that do, or is it actually their thinking that "just not right now", or "it may be there but we need more credence to justify the cost"

    I think when you get right down to it, there are a great many people/perhaps the majority who think there is a market for sandbox, however each design decision reduces the number of people that will play that particular sandbox.

    Lets play with some made up numbers just to illustrate a point.  North America ha 50 million MMO gamers.  60% are f2p

    1.  Your subscription model cuts your audience down by half.  now there is only 25 milliion.

    2.  Pvp?  Down by half again 12 milion and in there if you say ffapvp, I say that cuts you down to less than 1 million right off the bat.

    3  casual friendly or grind fest?  6 million

    4.  Can it be soloed or must there be a  group for everything? 3 million

    5.  Loot drops?  yes?  Crafting better than loot.  What reason to adventures have to go hunting, what reason do crafters have to try and bulid a market.  1.5 million.

    6.  How good are the graphics?  1 million

    ...

    So by the time the game is actually made and released there may only be a market of 500,000 to 1 million that will actually even try your game, of which you will need a good chunk of those people to stay and actually play something.  I heard somewhere that the best retention is only about 30% of all the people that tried WoW stayed for longer than a month.

    This is what needs to be shown to developers to justify spending 50-100 million on a game.  Right now several themparks have shown they can sustain 200,000 plus subscribers/players out of a total of 50 million and they require that much to justify the cost.  A sandbox will have to do the same to justify the cost of developing.  And 2 games out of the 15 year history of gaming doesn't lend that very much support right now.

    A developer would be smart to do what Eve did, don't spend 50-100 million, spend 10-20 million (Eve didn't spend that much but translate into today's MMO dollars).  However what would you sacrifice?  and would that sacrifice kill the game?  I'm not sure but am not positive about the answer.

     

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,455Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

     

    You could say the same is true for pretty much ANY product...including Themepark Games....

    - How many people bought and played WoW because it was set in the Warcraft Universe and they were fans of the RTS series.

    - How many bought it because it was heavly advertised and happened to be one of the few MMO's around at the time they got reliable broadband internet access?

    - How many people bought it because thier school buddy Ben was playing it and they wanted to hang out with thier buddy.

    - How many people bought it because they saw Chuck Norris and Mr. T. on TV?

    - How many bought it and play it because they enjoy the unique irreverent humor it features?

    - How many bought it and play it simply because it IS a well done game, regardless of it's style?

    - How many bought it and play it simply because it's the only MMO they've really heard about or known...and it's familar to them?

    I mean clearly WoW is immensely popular....but by the same token you've raised it's kinda hard to quantify exactly how much of it's popularity is due to it specificaly being a "linear themepark" rather then some other factor?

    P.S.  It may surprise you to note, that I generaly consider myself a "sandbox" fan and many people might consider me "hardcore".  I bought and played vanilla WoW for about 1.5 years, I enjoyed my time there. I don't really have anthing bad to say about it....but I bought and played it INSPITE of the fact it was a linear themepark not due to it. It simply was a well done game. I probably would have enjoyed it more and played it longer (and definately that holds true for LOTRO) had it featured more "sandbox" elements.

    Edit: Does the fact that I bought and played WoW and LOTRO make me a "linear themepark" fan?  Or does it simply mean I'm willing to play them, even if they don't match my preferences, if other factors are sufficiently present?

     

     

     

    I wouldn't disagree.

    But that's my point. You can't say that the reason anyone buys a product is becuase of "x".

    The point of this thread is that "the hardcore sandbox niche is not small".

    One then holds up skyrim and my experience with a few people who play skyrim is that most of them DON'T like the open ended game play. Granted a few people doesn't a smoking gun make. But I find it telling that people I meet outside my circles complain about the open nature.

    so wouldn't a better example be a game that is an open ended sandbox where the average person touts that very feature? I can't buy into an example when there are too many other variables that come into play.

    This is also one of the reason why I don't agree with people who point to WoW and say "look, there are millions of players in WoW who would readily jump on X niche mmo game if only they were shown the light".

    Though there is crossover (venn diagrams!) the hardcore wow players are hardcore wow players. They aren't necessarily mmo players. And again, my experience with the average everyman who plays wow shows me that they have no idea as to what other mmo's are out there. This is not to say that WoW hasn't brought people to the genre who might be interested in other games. But it's not like 10 million people are buying each big mmo that comes out. It's usually more like 1 million ish for the large titles. So that leaves a huge segment of WoW players who aren't really that interested in other mmo's.

    I would say the fact that you purchased WoW and LOTRO does mean that you either like parts of linear themepark games or that the downsides of a linear thempark game aren't a detriment to your enjoyment. Which is your second statment. Which is all the more reason to note that any game that is purchased might have people who are not there for a particular defining aspect.

    You would have to show me a hardcore sandbox game where million + people purchased precisely because of the sandbox/open nature. But I don't really see 1 million + players interested in these sandbox mmo games.

    Or more reaslistically, talking with average people outside yoru circles who all seem excited about the open sandbox nature of it. Not excited about the game because it's fantasy or because of the IP.

     

     

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    @Sovrath,  the point I was getting is that your arguement that it's difficult to look at the "sandbox/themepark" factor in isolation, which you very aptly make, cuts both ways...

    It means that the OP doesn't have reliable data to support his assertion that it's "not very small".

    But by the same token...

    Those who have made assertions that IS very small also don't have reliable data to base thier assertions on.

    The only thing that one can reliably contend when one doesn't have a way to isolate the data so that it can accurately be measured is that it's size is UNKOWN.

     

     

     

     

  • DewmDewm Soldotna, AKPosts: 1,341Member

    Has anyone heard of a book called "the 5000 year leap"?

     

    I think of WoW this way, with its player base..

    If WoW has been like all of the other themeparks to come out, the average population of a themepark game today would be around 300k

    But WoW was the hit it was for whatever reason, and brought in millions and millions of themepark fans into the genre.. so now we have a very lopsided playerbase.

     

    I think overall there are the same (roughly) amunt of people that would enjoy a really good sandbox MMO... but so far the sandbox genre hasn't has its "5000 year leap" so we are evolving much much slower.

    Please check out my channel. I do gaming reviews, gaming related reviews & lets plays. Thanks!

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,455Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

    The only thing that one can reliably contend when one doesn't have a way to isolate the data so that it can accurately be measured is that it's size is UNKOWN.

     

     

     

     

    YES!

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    VengeSunsoar,

    I actually agree with you. I think the best bet for pretty much any developer right now is to go in with a much smaller budget aimed at a targeted audience and build up his maket from there. I think that's something along the lines of what PFO and several other MMO's in the works are doing.

    The thing, I think, it's important to understand about number of "successfull" themeparks vs number of successfull sandboxes is to look at the PERCENTAGES and also try to isolate for other variables. Yes there are considerably more themeparks then sandboxes with high subscriber bases.....but how many AAA sandboxes have been released compared to AAA themeparks? Going strictly by PERCENTAGES your odds of being "successfull" with AAA release statisticaly are probably higher with "sandbox" then "themepark".  Most of the sandbox's released in recent years that have done poorly have been underfunded titles made by small, inexperienced studios. If you look at themeparks in the same category...I don't think you see those produced by inexperienced studios and underfunded doing markedly better, do you?

    I'm not really trying to content that the "sandbox" audience is large or small...though I have a suspecion that it's being underestimated.  Mostly I'm trying to contend that it's size is far less well determined then most people assume it is.

     

     

     

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

    @Sovrath,  the point I was getting is that your arguement that it's difficult to look at the "sandbox/themepark" factor in isolation, which you very aptly make, cuts both ways...

    It means that the OP doesn't have reliable data to support his assertion that it's "not very small".

    But by the same token...

    Those who have made assertions that IS very small also don't have reliable data to base thier assertions on.

    The only thing that one can reliably contend when one doesn't have a way to isolate the data so that it can accurately be measured is that it's size is UNKOWN.

     

     

     

     

    Except the OP did not point out any data at all, reliable or not, that shows any indication that the sandbox crowd is large. He just stated that it isn't small.

    The people who are saying it is small can at least point to the several dozen sandboxes that are out right now of which only 2 has ever broken 300,000 subscribers and use that as credence to their claim.  Now the reliability or credibility of this is still open to debate however the OP did not present anything. 

    edit - I actually think sandboxes can do better subscriber/player wise than the currently are and it will take a bigger budget game to make that happen.  I myself, even if I had the money, just couldn't justify spending 50 million to make it without more data. 

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • laokokolaokoko TaipeiPosts: 2,003Member

    No matter how bad the game is.  If it is the only game for the genre and you love the genre you should be playing it.

    So why are you not playing the several hardcore sandbox on the market right now instead of whinning that they are not AAA.

Sign In or Register to comment.