Tags Posts tagged with "MMO Philippines"

MMO Philippines

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Giveaway time! I know you guys like free stuff and we do like giving stuff, so it’s a win-win sitch right there. The good folks from Garena gave us some Elsword in-game item codes plus awesome real life stuff like t-shirts, baller bands and ID lanyards so read on to know how to get your hands on some.

Elsword is launching its second season TODAY, July 10! Aside from fixing major game issues such as getting rid of horrid hackers and other nasty vidya problems, new character Ara Haan’s highly anticipated release is also being celebrated by game fans as well as more exciting stuff coming up in the next few weeks.

For the uninitiated, Elsword made its way to the Philippines last October 2, 2013. It is a 2.5D MMO game that was awaited by a lot of casual-MMO players for over 5 years since its debut in Korea. The game is developed by well-known developer, KOG’ Games.

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase and check out what’s new in the game. For your easy reading pleasure, here’s a bulleted rundown of what’s happening in Elsword Season 2!

  • Ara
    Season 2 features new character Ara Haan

    Antihack System – I bet this is something all online gamers would want for their game. Garena is strictly implementing the Elsword PH Clean Up Drive which has helped curb hackers and the videogame villains from abusing the system. With the installation of the new anti-hack feature now in effect, gamers can now play without worries.

  • New UI – Elsword has also revamped the game’s UI which is now well-organized and user-friendly. But if you prefer the old UI, there’s also an option to keep using it so don’t fret.
  • New Characters – Aside from the awaited Ara Haan, all your favorite characters will have a big update! Each one will have a third job branch beginning with titular character Elsword (which becomes a Sheath Knight), Aisha (Dimension Witch), Rena (Night Watcher), Raven (Veteran Commander), Eve (Code: Battle Seraph), and Chung (Tactical Trooper).
  • New Dungeons – Teamwork is key in the game’s new dungeons as you need to work effectively with other players to conquer the quests at hand. Secret dungeons also appear when you hit level 50 so don’t slack off! Dungeons reward players with materials that can be used to craft powerful items so it is worth going through them.
  • New Pets and Mount System – Pets, aside from being super cute, are also super helpful during dungeon runs as they can loot stuff for you and also can unleash devastating attacks once their affinity reaches 100%. Mounts are ever present in MMOs as they provide you with mobility, but did you know that they can also attack in Elsword? Pretty awesome.
  • Wedding System – Lots of benefits for couples deciding to get marriedin game! Aside from looking snazzy with the wedding costumes that you get for 30 days, you also get an exclusive skill called Extreme Heavenly Love! You also get a chat tab exclusively for you and your honey’s use too so you don’t bombard the regular chat with the mushy messages.Awww.

    WEDDING (1)
    Wedding!
  • PvP – What’s unique in Elsword’s Player vs Player is the introduction of the sparring and arena modes. Feisty adventurers who want to compete against other players can go to the arena and get ranked. Sparring is a game mode where you can practice your skills against other players. The match isn’t recorded but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your all!
  • Hyperactive Skills – Once you reach level 65, you can get these ultra powerful attacks for your characters! Whirling swords, elementals storms, rain of arrows, large exploding hands, deadly laser beams, destructive missiles, you name it. These skills are the deadliest of the deadly and requires you to be at your best.
  • Ara Haan – New character Ara is the daughter of Warrior family called ‘Han’ in Northern Empire of Fluone Continent. She uses the long range benefits of the spear, but is also dangerous close up.
  • Other stuff to look forward to – Little Hsien as Ara’s first class and Sakra Devanam as second job for Ara, Sander 5th and 6th dungeons, and level cap increase to 70.
MOBYCHARIOTMOUNT
Moby Chariot mount

So here’s the exciting stuff! We have in-game item codes to share with you so you can start with a bang in Season 2. Just like and share this post via your Facebook account to claim! Reminder though, you can only claim one code per game account so don’t be greedy and share with your friends!

Here’s what you can get in the game:

  • El Search Party Officer Full set cube (3 days) x 1
  • Mount 3 types random cube (7 days) x 1
  • EXP 15% medal (7 days) x 1
  • Magic Necklace (7 days) x 1
  • Luriel’s complete recovery potion x 10

You can start redeeming them today until August 10, 2014.

 

We’ll also raffle off a set of Elsword t-shirt, baller bands and a lanyard to some lucky winners who will like and share the post so make sure you do (and tell all your friends about this raffle while you’re at it).

See you in Elrios!

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Game Masters in Philippine online game publishers are the front-liners of game operations and in recent times, female game masters have become the face of games on the marketing side. To be frank, I was one of those marketing people who enabled this kind of strategy especially with Cross Fire. However, in spite of what people on the outside think, there are a lot more things going behind the scenes with the ever-so-popular female game masters than people think of. Now, possibly for the first time  in Philippine blogging history, we take a look at the inside workings of being a game master with an interview with one of my former game masters, GM Ayla.

mrslash (30liv.es): This is an utterly pointless question coming from me, but I need to ask it anyway. What is it that you do as a GM? Most people picture this as playing games all day. I also imagine that people who interviewed you for your next job assumed the same.

GM Ayla: Yes, hahaha, I was asked if “I just played all day” as a game master. I was primarily assigned to handle the community of Cross Fire. Part of this entails managing the game forums and SNS channels, Facebook primarily. I also had to propose and implement in-game events and all of us GMs were required implement and host major onsite tournaments. But in spite of being more focused on the community, I also had to participate in QA (quality assurance) for new patches and bug reporting (to the developers). We also had to do billing related back-checking especially with purchase or top-up problems coming from players with our game. Thankfully, billing problems were not common.

mrslash (30liv.es): Okay, so can you describe your typical day?

GM Ayala: I enter the office after a long commute, go to my seat, turn on my computer…

mrslash (30liv.es): Not so literal please… :P

GM Ayla: Hahaha!… Okay,  the first thing I do is log into the game forums, the Cross Fire fan page, and my own GM fan page on Facebook. I check my inbox on those channels for new personal messages (PMs) from players with relevant inquiries such as billing issues, latency problems, suggestions and even new hack tools found by players. I had to regularly delete and moderate comments from players on the forums and Facebook pages because the community temperature frequently becomes very toxic with new hack tools and problems popping up here and there. I report major concerns immediately to the product manager and compile relevant discussions from the community for a weekly report. We then proceed to insert in-game items to winners of weekly cafe tournaments that were conducted by the sales/field team.

We normally host in-game events in the afternoon. Conducting in-game events is simply hosting a room for players to play in and recording the results after each game. We normally do 4 – 8 games per day per game master and we reward all participants almost right after the event. So we award around 2 to 3 in-game items to 60 to 120 players a day. We release new content every month so there will normally be a week or two of patch testing in the afternoon. Part of this patch testing is actually testing the function of every single item in the game as well as purchasing them to see if the proper amount of money is deducted. It’s actually very tedious because the more content that is patched, the more things we have to test. We had to do this because sometimes when the game is patched, something breaks and if we don’t catch it, the players will suffer and that is a major problem for us.

mrslash (30liv.es): Speaking of major problems, the game master gig isn’t really as easy as what people would think, is it?

GM Ayla: No it isn’t easy at all! People have no idea how stressful it becomes especially when major problems happen like during the time Gameclub’s servers were raided. The reactions from players were really bad that profanity was actually the lightest thing thrown at us. The comments we received were really foul and really insulted our dignity as women and even as human beings.

People also seem to think that game masters are also coders who develop content for the game and prevent cheats from getting through, network engineers who maintain the physical hardware, and everything else concerning the game service.

mrslash (30liv.es): Yeah, it’s all part of the job, but can you quote any of them specifically?

GM Ayla: I can’t say it… Di ko masabi eh. Alam mo naman hindi ako nagmumura. Tetext ko na lang sayo or send kita ng screenshot ng mga sinulat nila kung makahanap ako.*

mrslash (30liv.es): Okay. It’s ironic for me to say this but I feel that this country tends to have a very immature view on feminism. As a GM, you were expected to act a certain way (i.e., be filrtatious or at least respectful towards your “fanbase,” constantly take vanity shots of yourself.) What are your thoughts on this? Doesn’t it seem unfair or fetishistic of your audience in general to expect this sort of behavior?

GM Ayla: Well I think it can’t be helped since majority of online gamers are boys and a lot of them have yet to mature as individuals. I also think that aside from playing the game itself, players also go for meeting girls so it is effective when a girl GM is placed in front of them. It also some how makes some players behave slightly better in the presence of girls but being a public figure is a big responsibility because slipping up could damage the reputation of the game itself.

I’m personally not bothered by how players see me because I know well enough of my boundaries between my GM personality and my private life. It is flattering to be appreciated by people though. But I think players would engage any female GM put before them especially if they have face value.

mrslash (30liv.es): So you’re saying you have that face value?

GM Ayla: Hahaha! Ikaw nagsabi nyan! But seriously, it’s not that big of a deal and I haven’t really encountered any problems with it outside my job as a GM. Although some random people recognize me and other female GMs on the streets, they just greet me with a “Hi GM Ayla” and ask a bit about Cross Fire. I haven’t encountered anything on the creepy levels all my time as a GM.

mrslash (30liv.es): I see, so what is the dumbest or most ridiculous request you’ve ever gotten from a player?

GM Ayla: I don’t really recall anything but I think the worst thing player(s) have said to me were those things they said when our servers went down during the raid on Gameclub’s raid.

mrslash (30liv.es): Here is another ironic question coming from me: How much feedback did you get to give the developers, and how much of that actually gets implemented? 

GM Ayla: Well… you’re actually the one who deals with feedback and suggestions for new content. :P

mrslash (30liv.es): That is true… anyway, Cross Fire was way down the priority list in terms of localizing content. The developers actually makes content that can be re-used in other territories so making extremely localized content is overlooked because content that sells well in the Philippines is not worth it compared to content that sells well in China. We’re really way down the chain in terms of localized content priority.

Moving on. What do you feel about GMs who overstep their boundaries and “abuse their power,” so to speak? We’ve all heard tales of sexual trade and barter for virtual items across many of these games. Have you run into a situation where you’ve leveraged your status as a GM yourself?

GM Ayla: Personally, I have never considered using my GM status to make a quick buck. More than anything else, I do value my reputation and integrity in the work place and as a person. But I have seen it happen around me like one of the GMs in Gameclub who used free eCoins to buy items for an RPG game to sell for real money and that other GM who did RMT in order to get money for his wedding. I did however, use my “fame” as a GM for a contest for a model search by posting on my GM Facebook page to ask for votes.

mrslash (30liv.es): Yes, I remember letting that one slide. Did you win the contest you promoted on your fan page?

GM Ayla: No but at least I got a few thousand votes instead of a small number of votes like what happens to new comers like myself in those kinds of contests.

mrslash (30liv.es): Anyway, with everything said and done, was being a GM a good career choice for you? What do you do now and how has being a GM helped in putting you in the position/career path that you are on right now?

GM Ayla: This being my first job taught me quite a few things about work ethics and dealing with people in public. Having to constantly talk with strangers helped me boost my self confidence in dealing with clients in my current job now. I’m working in the hotel and restaurant industry as a banquet sales account manager. I cater to weddings, debuts, and similar events so I have to deal with a lot of people. Having felt the full force of irate and unreasonable customers certainly helped mold my self confidence in being capable of dealing with almost any situation as far as customer relations is concerned. I also gained the confidence to actually host events such as weddings having started hosting tournaments working as a GM.

mrslash (30liv.es): What do you think your mark or legacy is with Gameclub?

GM Ayla: I don’t want to brag, but I think I’ve been on of those game masters who were able to separate my personal life from my GM personality. I didn’t get personally involved with gamers I came to know through my job unlike other GMs who let their benefits (of free items and free cash) trickle down to their friends and even some people they came to know from being a GM*. I also suppose the fact that my GM Facebook page is still earning likes and still receives complaints from players regarding lag, or cheats up to now in spite of being inactive for over a year goes to show that I was actually helpful and trusted by players.

*No specific names were given.

Fun Facts:

GM Ayla is hoping to find a career in her true passion which is in the performing arts. Dancing specifically.

GM Ayla’s fan page has been receiving more likes even if it was inactive since January 2012 from 29k likes to 40k likes. Check it out here.

Like all Game Masters, there are a ton of fake game master accounts for GM Ayla and some people totally get scammed by giving those fake GM accounts their user names and passwords.

*GM Ayla said she would text me or send me a screenshot of the explicit things players have said to her because she couldn’t say those words verbally but sadly, she didn’t.

The author of this post can attest to the fact that GM Ayla does not use profanity. However, she has slipped up at least once while getting fragged in Cross Fire. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, competitive video games brings out the profanity in you because they are that engaging.

We will be abusing GM Ayla’s fame one more time by having her promote 30liv.es on her fan page.

None of the female game masters in my team were gamers to begin with. They didn’t know how to play but a few months into the job, they became pretty good at their respective games.

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Game services, online games specifically, shutting down is not a new thing in the history of online game publishers in the Philippines or in other countries. It’s easy to put blame on the game publishers and players are normally quick to do so but there are several factors that can affect the decision to keep a game service running. This however, is not a rant or a commentary about how “it’s not the game publisher’s fault” when an online game is closed nor is it about blaming somebody else. What I am writing about are the licensing terms and situations that would drive a game service to shut down be it the publisher’s fault, the game developer’s fault, all of the above, or external factors.

This is going to be one of those tl;dr posts but I do hope local online gamers do take the time to read this because I think it’s pretty informative.

Licensing Agreements:

Contracts are the foundations running a business between 2 or more parties. There are a ton of legalese items which need to be taken on and agreed upon before a game developer and publisher can and will pursue to do business with each. Unless a game developer self-publishes, it will be imperative for them to find a local publisher or someone to market and distribute a game for them. There is no legitimate game developer or publisher who would want to screw the other party over because it’s a quid pro quo situation where both organizations need each other to make some money. However, big companies like NCsoft (Korea) have certain standards to be met in terms of how much they expect to earn per territory also with consideration on how much they have invested in the development of a game so their terms may feel like a “screw job” for local publishers. However, the smartest thing to do is to walk away from such deals and not force the game onto the company and the market, because chances are, it’s a recipe for disaster like Lineage 2 SEA.

Publishing contract periods which normally run for 2 years at a minimum are basically a fixed period where a game publisher is required to operate a game up to the game developer’s standards. The summary of these standards are basically to ensure that client and server connectivity is optimized, game servers are online for public consumption all the time except for scheduled server maintenance times, and ensure that the game publisher hires enough personnel to operate the game (IT personnel and game masters). When a game publisher is unable to meet these standards, it is possible for a game developer to terminate their licensing agreement (if it is stipulated in the contract). However, I have never heard of such a case happening in the Philippine market.

Minimum Guarantees are not uncommon in publishing contracts but they may be implemented in different ways. This is important for developers to ensure that the publisher can actually turn a profit from a publisher’s operation they support with their game development team. There are no such things as “standard minimum guarantees” because these terms can be negotiated between both parties most of the time.

Royalty rates are factored into minimum guarantee terms but the ideal setup for a publisher. is a contract without a minimum guarantee only a revenue sharing agreement which will range from 80-20 percent or 70-30 percent cut where publishers get the lion share while developers receive the rest as royalties. This ensures the publisher that the game developer will be compelled to develop proper content of each local market in order to rake in more profits. However, should a product under perform in a certain market, the game developer certainly needs a way out of supporting an unprofitable territories especially if the publisher they went into business doesn’t perform up to par. This is why I say minimum guarantees aren’t a bad thing as long as it is not an exorbitant amount that no single game will actually be able to attain such figures.

However, should a game publisher be foolish enough to pad their forecasts in order to successfully strike up a deal with a big company, they are just asking to fail and the executive who actually pushed the padded figures or came up with a ridiculous forecast and ran with it should be fired and blacklisted from the entire industry.

It’s important to bump realistic forecasts with how much a developer is asking for from the licensing fee to the royalty rates because no matter how much you believe in a game you cannot guarantee that your game can meet a developer’s expectation if the actual numbers say otherwise.  If a publisher does not meet the minimum guaranteed royalties, the contract may be re-negotiated or even terminated by the developer as it is normally stipulated as such.

Contract Renewal clauses are important for a publisher to ensure that they can be guaranteed to operate a game continuously as long as they meet royalty agreements. I have encountered a contract which grants an automatic contract renewal when the minimum guarantee is met by the publisher. If it’s not an automatic renewal, there should at least be terms agreed upon by both parties to give incentive to meet or outperform minimum guarantee agreements. Fixed contract renewal terms are also good to avoid huge debacles (probably caused by greed) such as Sudden Attack’s high-profile publisher dispute in South Korea. The consumers are the ones who suffer in these cases and as far as I know, this issue caused the game (Sudden Attack) to lose a lot of paying users.

Breach of Contract is one of the worst things that can happen for a game service and while the legal details to me are vague in the case of Special Force, the reason for the game’s untimely loss of content support and ultimately closure of service in Gameclub was because of the raid discussed in a previous column, which became grounds for licensing contract termination. These types of disputes are really bad for the consumers because when these issues arise, both publisher and developer go into self-preservation mode, milking every single peso they can before the inevitable happens.

After having discussed the above terms, it becomes pretty obvious that poor figures will definitely get a license agreement cancelled or fail to be renewed for a new term. A lot of factors come into play here and are not always the fault of the game publisher. For instance, a game can be acquired for a very cheap licensing fee and revenue sharing scheme as a test to see if a game can prosper in uncharted waters. Even with adequate marketing, strong field roll-out, and a very good item pricing scheme, if the game is a bust, it is what it is.

Poor marketing (which includes overspending on inane and ill-conceived campaigns) can make or break a game because if you blow through your marketing budget within the first year without getting a good conversion rate from marketing spent versus acquired and paying  players you’re probably not going to get any more money to market the game because it will be considered a failed endeavor and the company will either try one last shot at it or switch gears to self-preservation mode and cut costs.

Game Developer Issues:

One clear sign for a game in peril is the lack of substantial updates from new zones/maps, new items to buy, game modes down the pipeline, etc. Players normally speculate that a game publisher doesn’t have enough money to buy new content from the developer but as far as I know, it isn’t the case. Licensing agreements also include provisions for providing regular game updates. While it does not specify exact content like number of items, or what kind of new map, it can include fixed time periods such as monthly content updates, quarterly new maps, etc.

The bad thing when content stops is the fact that publishers are at the mercy of the game developers since they do not own the source codes nor are they equipped with the personnel to develop new content. Publishers localize, market, and operate games. They go as far as suggesting new content but cannot implement it if the developer won’t make said proposed new content.

There are cases when internal issues within the game developer’s side causes a game to collapse. One such case is the hyper-marketed ROSE Online by Level-Up. Word is the entire studio (Triggersoft) walked-out/resigned/ or just basically refused to work on the project anymore. As a result, the “Rush on Seven Episodes” gimmick fell short to a three or four world game instead of seven worlds as promised. Locally, gamers would talk about how it shouldn’t have been pay to play to succeed but all those points of discussion are moot because the success of an online game would normally depend on it’s marketability in key regions such as Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Russia, USA, hell, even Indonesia.

I’ve always stressed that online games in the Philippines is a pretty small market and I believe it still is in comparison to other markets and if you consider funding the development of a game based from revenue coming from the Philippines.

That’s about it for now. These aren’t really a thing for regular online gamers to consider when selecting an online game to play. But to patronize services where your money isn’t an investment in anything virtual and is treated as payment for “entertainment value”, you would want to play and pay for a game that is pretty much going to run for years to come so it will do them some good to at least make a background check on the game developer’s track record with other countries and perhaps even a glimpse of how they do business with publishers.

Comments, questions, and general violent reactions are appreciated in the comments section below. :D

Author’s Note:

I missed another flippin’ week. But no round of drinks will be bought this time because aliens.

 

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In light of the most recent issue surrounding always-online DRM (the whole exaggerated Adam Orth hoopla), I believe this issue is worth discussing from a business and consumer’s stand point in the free-to-play market of online games. After all, MMOGs are the most acceptable form of games with always online DRM attached (for reasons that ought to be self-explanatory).

Free-to-play games are a double-edged sword for the business end (publishers) and the consumer end.

On the Publisher Side:

  • The Bad

    1. There is a huge overhead for field teams (and their marketing merchandise), server rack space, and bandwith. These costs compound over time with new titles released and become variables affected by user traffic.
      • When a game breaks out and reaches it’s peak, chances are there would be additional investments in physical hardware, bandwith, and manpower. The additional fixed costs will become a burden over time when the game’s popularity dwindles. Lost revenues, layoffs, and ultimately unsustainable operations will looms over game publishers. Especially in a very saturated market.
    2. Guaranteed royalties paid to the game developers must be met in order to continue operating the game service. Game developers of a game’s licensor can cut the contract of publishers who are unable to meet the minimum royalty payment even if the publisher is still willing to continue the service. These hits are bad for a game publisher’s reputation and may affect the performance of their existing and even future titles.
    3.  You’re competing not just against local game publishers but against the entire market of free-to-play games from international servers, Facebook games, web games, and even mobile games. The market is getting smaller and you are dealing with intangible competitors. Even if they don’t setup shop in the Philippines or even directly market to the Philippines, they reach your players and poach them.  It kind of becomes a big deal with items 1 and 2. There is also “that damned DotA”, killing online games since… 2004?
  • The Good
    1. The potential for the ideal “printing money” operation is always there. It is the goal any game publisher aspires for.
    2. With proper cost management and a good revenue stream, a small online gaming company may thrive in an over saturated market with good marketing and item pricing.
    3. Truth be told, with online games inevitably coming to the end of its life cycle, profit margins can easily be plotted out early in the life of a game to ensure that come the time a game needs to be shut down, a game publisher would have profited much from it and just cut their losses when they have to and move on to a new game title.

On the Consumer Side:

  • The Bad
    1. Nothing you pay for is permanent. Strictly speaking, whatever it is you are paying for is just the entertainment value of the permanent item you get from the lottery or even that permanent costume or armor you bought off a sale. The EULA and TOS of online games are very specific with regards to owner of game data. It’s not yours and it never will be. Especially when the game service is taken offline.
    2. You access to the game is dependent on the publisher’s capacity to support the game. Hosting servers cost money and while a game will enjoy a high amount of traffic especially during it’s peak in the product life cycle, it will eventually dwindle like all games. There will inevitably come a time where there simply aren’t enough players to sustain the game’s operations. Once the servers go offline, there is no coming back.
    3. The only thing you can look back to once your game reaches the end of it’s life are screenshots and videos of your time in the game.
  • The Good
    1. In the strictest sense, consumers can spend several hundred hours on “entertainment” without having to spend a single peso on the game outside an internet connection, computer, and electricity. It is by far, still one of the cheapest sources of entertainment.
    2. Online games connect people from all over the country or sometimes even the world so players can not only entertain themselves but enjoy the company and culture of different people. It is by far one of the biggest draws of online games.

With all these new trends in the game industry (Korea and Japan have strongly shifted to mobile and web games), I am still a firm supporter of retail games. They have replay value even decades from now just like that Super Mario Bros. cartridge for the family computer. They are pieces of history and even after *knock on wood* companies close down, they would have left their mark in history with something tangible.

What will you have show people after spending hours and hours in a game which requires a constant online connection when the game service shuts down?

 

 

 

 

 

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Since 2008, the online gaming market became abuzz with a genre not alien to Filipino games: First-Person Shooter (FPS) games. I never understood why any of the main game publishers at the time (Level-Up and E-Games) never decided to pick up an FPS title. Perhaps the first-mover (ABS-CBN Interactive and now the to-be-defunct Amped Games) who published WarRock could have been a factor. But then again, that’s why there is a QA team for testing potential new IP acquisitions to see if a game can and will run properly on the local infrastructure. I believe the issue with WarRock was the peer-to-peer connectivity which translates into a death sentence in the Philippines where all other ISPs were and are probably still at “war” with PLDT.

Special Force Online, launched and published by Gameclub in 2007 surprised the industry and even myself who was skeptic of the game and to-date still finds the game unbearable to play. In a matter of 2 years (2007 to 2009) Special Force hit number one in concurrent users, unique monthly visitors, but more importantly in revenues.

The best month of Special Force would gross around PHP 40+ million and on average would do at least PHP 20+ million per month so the game gets Gameclub around PHP 200+ million per year and you know what’s the kicker? These revenues I revealed are actually in-game item sales not actual cash received. The prime source of income of any online game publisher lies with their pre-paid cards or e-pins and anyone who has worked in the industry would know that card distributors and retailers normally have a float of up to 50% so the actual cash Gameclub receives would be around PHP 300+ – 400+ million annually for just one game. 

Now I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that those revenues up there for one game can easily be the revenues of E-Games or Level-Up with all their games combined on a good year. It’s no wonder they’ve tried jumping on the FPS/Action shooter bandwagon ever since. I’m also pretty sure that every time a game publisher tries to introduce a shooter game, it is treated as THE messiah that will save their company from obscurity or further downsizing. It’s not wrong to assume that but it is wrong to assume that the game itself will carry you on while you mindlessly do the same item mall shit you did back when a company’s (specifically E-Games… lulz) FPS Messiah A (Operation 7) or B (Point Blank) was introduced.

New companies like Massive Gaming  jump into the market with action games because it’s more accessible and appealing to Filipinos who are mostly all about “skill beats money” illusion. It’s an illusion because item mall items are there to tip the scales in favor of skilled paying users. However, it’s no doubt that shooter games is still the most in-demand genre to-date in local online games.

Contrary to what I’m leading you all on is that the market has changed. It’s change for better or worse is still to be decided. As I have mentioned in a previous column good publishers will adapt their item mall to changing user trends. I would like to say that is the case but most of them are left behind with the same old lotto ploy started by Special Force and Cross Fire. The thing is, while the lottery is still a big deal, people over time have become disenchanted with it (it’s about damn time too).

After Gameclub was raided by E-Games, Dragonfly Interactive (publishing arm of Dragonfly Ltd, developers of Special Force) revoked the publishing license of Gameclub and “re-launched” Special Force Philippines. They however, have been unable to replicate the same level of success Gameclub enjoyed. In retrospect, that raid would have happened regardless yet the irony of it is the fact that the perpetrator of the raid, E-Games, would never have reaped any financial benefit from it.

I’ve mentioned before that in Special Force, the lottery guns do absolutely nothing yet they’re the best selling items. However, any other FPS/action shooter will come to a rude awakening that it’s not the case anymore should they have banked on the lottery system or just because they were sold that their game is superior to all the FPS games out there. That “our game is the best” high can only last as long as your first month of launch and then it’s a nightmare spiraling out of control.

It’s all about giving players value for money these days. Simple as it may sound, people don’t really get it. Is it safe to still assume each individual player would actually spend PHP 350 and above on your game each month? I say, hell no.

On a good year, you’ll be glad if each paying user would average PHP 600 – 1,000 (take note for a year) and that’s excluding what they would spend on renting PCs or paying for their internet connection and electricity. The key to making money is acquiring new users every month and every year and make them spend that PHP 600 – 1,000 in a year and you’re all good because it’s really that damned hard make Filipinos spend on anything for entertainment purposes (except for the internet).

If game publishers want to see some semblance of success with their action shooter titles, they really need to get their heads out of their asses and change things up on how players get paid content. Riding the genre bandwagon is only going to get you #annihilated. This is not an advice column so examples will be held off and game publishers need just revisit their think tank instead of just meeting the status quo (same shit all over again) or chalking up “sexy chicks = marketing” on the board in their next meeting. There is one game company doing it right, but I don’t think it needs mentioning because knowing of them is part of not having your head stuck up your ass.

Author’s Note:

I missed a column for last week and I blame Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, My trip to Japan, and some unknown source of the lazy beam. Because of this, I’m going to buy the 30liv.es editors a round of drinks as a bribe penance and what-have-you.

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AMPED, a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Interactive best known for publishing MMO titles such as WarRock and GetAmped will be shutting its doors (and game servers) down effective May 31st, 30lives has learned. Citing “unfavorable business conditions,” the company’s closure marks another significant blow to the country’s dwindling game publishing industry.

Certainly the bubble has burst on this quasi-industry; which has spread itself far too thin publishing mediocre lifestyle “games” and delving into questionable business practices, which this blog covers weekly on The Otherside.

We wish all the great talent at AMPED all the best in their future endeavors.