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Wildstar business model failed predictably

mark2123mark2123 LondonPosts: 308Member Uncommon

The reason Wildstar has been a failure and will not last for much longer is an obvious lack of understanding of how business works.

You either create something to appeal to the masses and hit volume sales e.g. a game with a broad appeal to all types of players (but you must still do it well for you are competing with others for the same customers, so you need quality and USP), or, you appeal to a small niche with something that is so good, the majority of that niche will come to you to purchase.

Wildstar went for the niche and by having an endgame focussing on hardcore raiding, that's their small target of players to aim for.  But it's not enough to sustain a business model for a game that obviously had a lot of time and effort put into it and will have huge ongoing dev costs.  They also put in a major flaw to cheese off their niche market by making the questing grind so bad.  The quests are just in your face, full on tedium, over and over with no meaning to them - the worst kind you could get.  Probably the worst kind of quests to give hardcore raiders as the stick before the carrot.

Wildstar has made it difficult to get those niche players and keep them - and of course, there are other games vying for those same gamers.

At least EVE has a niche with no real competition - Wildstar does not.

The success of WoW is partly down to first-mover advantage and an IP that everyone recognised i.e. Warcraft, but they also cater for all playing styles.  You can be casual and you can be a hardcore raider - and what they do, they do it well.  So Blizzard have a huge potential audience whereas Wildstar has to be damn appealing for it's much smaller target.

Wildstar cannot now be recovered unless they change their strategy, accept losses and re-market a more casual game.  And, tidy up the awful questing.

Otherwise, there is no hope.

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Comments

  • AzureProwerAzurePrower AustraliaPosts: 1,508Member Uncommon
    I think you're confusing business model with game design.
  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon
    A change in business model might rescue this MMORPG from its questionable design choices, which really what most of the OPs talking points were about.

    But maybe not, sometimes you can't give it away for free even.

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • LegacyGameLegacyGame Posts: 128Member Uncommon
    People will pay for a product if it does what it says on the tin. I got a refund on WS immediately running into that wall of uninspiring ridiculous monotonous questing. The final straw was finding out that they kept monster auto attacks completely ruining fighting big monsters. Can't quest, can't solo big game with skill, can't do squat without face palming. Wildstar really does have impeccable art direction though, such a shame :( 
  • NitthNitth AustraliaPosts: 3,684Member Uncommon

    Does an mmorpg that starts out sub then converts to f2p make more money than a game that goes f2p on day one?

    The answer is yes.

    image
    TSW - AoC - Aion - WOW - EVE - Fallen Earth - Co - Rift - || XNA C# Java Development

  • mark2123mark2123 LondonPosts: 308Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by AzurePrower
    I think you're confusing business model with game design.

    The business model they used obviously directed how the game would be designed i.e. they chose the niche and then went for it - they are intertwined but they made mistakes.

  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Boca Raton, FLPosts: 4,519Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by mark2123
    Originally posted by AzurePrower
    I think you're confusing business model with game design.

    The business model they used obviously directed how the game would be designed i.e. they chose the niche and then went for it - they are intertwined but they made mistakes.

    Now you are confusing business model and target audience.  They are not the same thing.

     

    "I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

    Starvault's reponse to criticism related to having a handful of players as the official "test" team for a supposed MMO: "We've just have another 10ish folk kind enough to voulenteer added tot the test team" (SIC) This explains much about the state of the game :-)

  • mark2123mark2123 LondonPosts: 308Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Slapshot1188
    Originally posted by mark2123
    Originally posted by AzurePrower
    I think you're confusing business model with game design.

    The business model they used obviously directed how the game would be designed i.e. they chose the niche and then went for it - they are intertwined but they made mistakes.

    Now you are confusing business model and target audience.  They are not the same thing.

     

    They decided how they would capture value i.e. by going for the hardcore niche, and got it all wrong because they didn't deliver to entice enough of that niche to stick with it.

    [mod edit]

  • CaptainSoapCaptainSoap somewhere, NCPosts: 138Member Uncommon
    business model is like.. subscription or f2p lol
  • mark2123mark2123 LondonPosts: 308Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Soaapy
    business model is like.. subscription or f2p lol

    Business model is erroneously used by many on this forum to decide that, but if you look up the term on wikipedia or something, you'll see it's actually more about how you design and build your offering to appeal to your target market i.e. how you capture value to appeal to them.

    How you get your revenues in is such a small part of a business model [mod edit]

  • RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,229Member Uncommon

    Their model only failed if it fell short of their predictions and aren't generating enough revenue to sustain their game/studio. I have to believe that they fully understood that they were going after one of the tiniest MMO market segments, because if they didn't know that, then they have reached unimaginable levels of incompetence.

    Large-scale, hardcore raiding was not, is not, and never will be popular. The only reason people slogged through in the old days is because there were no options. The moment options showed up, people bailed on it left and right and games stopped catering to an almost non-existent group of players. I have no problem with people who want this type of game-play, but any developer that chooses to pursue this group has to know how small a niche it is and offer something else for the non-hardcore large-scale raider to do.

  • grimalgrimal Stamford, CTPosts: 2,874Member Uncommon
    Do we need another one of these threads?
  • PioneerStewPioneerStew londonPosts: 874Member

    I would have said that a game with broad appeal should be able to offer a return on high development/ running costs, but a game designed for a niche audience should not.  Part of Carbine's mistake was making a game for a very small niche with (estimated) relatively high development costs.  

    But I would say that this is only a part of Wildstar's problems.  There are many other design choices that would turn players away regardless of the audience they were aiming for.

  • mark2123mark2123 LondonPosts: 308Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by grimal
    Do we need another one of these threads?

    Not interested, don't reply.  Simples.

  • UhwopUhwop Wilm, DEPosts: 1,663Member Uncommon
    Armchair developers always know best, right?  
  • TerminalDeityTerminalDeity fairfield, OHPosts: 106Member
    Wildstar's MAIN problem is that it looks like it's 10 years old, yet runs like it came from the future. No one is going to play some poorly optimized grind fest that looks like shit, and no I'm not running AMD hardware.
  • mark2123mark2123 LondonPosts: 308Member Uncommon
    It's those in the armchairs that buy, play and keep the companies like Carbine in business - so if they don't listen, they can't be surprised.
  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,281Member Uncommon
    thought you were going to talk about credd and how people have bought years worth with in game plat already. You are talking about marketing.
  • PioneerStewPioneerStew londonPosts: 874Member
    Originally posted by mark2123
    It's those in the armchairs that buy, play and keep the companies like Carbine in business - so if they don't listen, they can't be surprised.

    I have to agree.  

    Now don't get me wrong, I find a lot of armchair sports punditry quite irritating because people simply are not party to a lot of the information that inform those decisions.  

    But as a customer of a product people know what they like and what they don't, and if a company ignores the feedback from potential customers during beta's, or ignore the lessons learnt by their competitors, or hugely over-estimated the size of their market; then that is just stupidity. 

  • Pratt2112Pratt2112 Posts: 1,538Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by mark2123

    The reason Wildstar has been a failure and will not last for much longer is an obvious lack of understanding of how business works.

    You either create something to appeal to the masses and hit volume sales e.g. a game with a broad appeal to all types of players (but you must still do it well for you are competing with others for the same customers, so you need quality and USP), or, you appeal to a small niche with something that is so good, the majority of that niche will come to you to purchase.

    Wildstar went for the niche and by having an endgame focussing on hardcore raiding, that's their small target of players to aim for.  But it's not enough to sustain a business model for a game that obviously had a lot of time and effort put into it and will have huge ongoing dev costs.  They also put in a major flaw to cheese off their niche market by making the questing grind so bad.  The quests are just in your face, full on tedium, over and over with no meaning to them - the worst kind you could get.  Probably the worst kind of quests to give hardcore raiders as the stick before the carrot.

    Wildstar has made it difficult to get those niche players and keep them - and of course, there are other games vying for those same gamers.

    At least EVE has a niche with no real competition - Wildstar does not.

    The success of WoW is partly down to first-mover advantage and an IP that everyone recognised i.e. Warcraft, but they also cater for all playing styles.  You can be casual and you can be a hardcore raider - and what they do, they do it well.  So Blizzard have a huge potential audience whereas Wildstar has to be damn appealing for it's much smaller target.

    Wildstar cannot now be recovered unless they change their strategy, accept losses and re-market a more casual game.  And, tidy up the awful questing.

    Otherwise, there is no hope.

    Well, I don't see any kind of hard statistics or data backing up anything you're saying there, so I can only take that as conjecture. 

    However, if by your statement about WoW having a "first-mover advantage", you're speaking in terms of them being the first MMO to have a sub-based business model, then you're flat out wrong. They were not the first to have subs, nor the first to do it successfully. Not even close.

    Also, you make the very common mistake of trying to use WoW as a standard measure of "success". WoW is an anomaly in how well it's done. And  you do not have to have WoW-like numbers to be successful. FFXI is a sub-based MMO that peaked, then settled at around 500,000 players for its first 7-8 years. It's since gone down, but FFXI has been, by any measure, a very successful venture for SE. And XI was and, to some degree, still is, very much a MMO that appeals to a limited audience.

    In my  opinion, one problem with post-WoW MMOs, and why - in part - they aren't doing as well, is that they keep making the same mistake. They keep... trying... to... emulate... WoW... and keep missing the mark. They're just following the same basic formula, and aren't doing nearly enough to differentiate themselves.

    Asking someone which post-WoW MMO they enjoy most is like asking someone which brand of Cola they like better. They all have the same flavor, there's just little differences between them that makes them not exactly the same. However, they're all still Cola. Wildstar seems to have gone that same route. They adhered to the post-WoW, themepark model, and made a few adjustments to set it apart "just a little". At the end of the day... it's "yet another post-WoW themepark MMO"... just like XIV, just like Rift, just like WAR, just like almost all the others. The little differences work at first, but before long, players see through that and realize they're basically playing the same game all over again.

    MMO devs or, rather, the people making the decisions, have to stop with the "me too" game design and try doing something to actually stand out as something different.

  • UhwopUhwop Wilm, DEPosts: 1,663Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by mark2123
    It's those in the armchairs that buy, play and keep the companies like Carbine in business - so if they don't listen, they can't be surprised.

    Because you're clearly a member of their target market, what with all the "they must target the mass market" talk? 

    The game didn't appeal to you so it's going to fail.  That's all you said.  

  • LudwikLudwik Rochester, NYPosts: 401Member Uncommon

    Pre-LFR, Blizzard released numbers about it's player base and active raiding. The numbers were 1.3% of the player base had cleared normal mode raids and 0.9% had completed herioc mode raids.

     

    It's fairly safe to say, that only about 1% of total MMO population is interested in hardcore raiding. 

     

    Wildstar never stood a chance in the mass market. It was always going to be a small niche game.

  • TimzillaTimzilla Ramona, CAPosts: 437Member
    It's failing for the same reason most new mmos fail. Mmo players don't want to play mmos.
  • GiffenGiffen Lacey, WAPosts: 268Member Uncommon
    The end game was not why I quit playing WS, so your theory is not true in my case.
  • deniterdeniter LappeenrantaPosts: 806Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Giffen
    The end game was not why I quit playing WS, so your theory is not true in my case.

    Same here. Raiding being hardcore or not was not the reason i gave up my subscription.

  • mayito7777mayito7777 Saint Cloud, FLPosts: 636Member Uncommon

    The only game out there that targets a specific group and it has been successful is EVE, any other game trying to copy that style will fail because there are not enough hardcore gamers out there to make a company profitable, you need casual, semi-hardcore, semi-casual, dedicated players etc etc.

    They went for the hardcore without a real hardcore game and they failed.

    want 7 free days of playing? Try this

    http://www.swtor.com/r/ZptVnY

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