[NetBehaviour] Is free really the future of gaming?

Corrado Morgana corradomorgana at blueyonder.co.uk
Sun Mar 15 14:14:07 CET 2009

There are so many issues with micropayments and alternative revenue schemes
within Videogames; lot's of different approaches also. I'll avoid the User
generated content bit and concentrate on adverts and revenue streams for
commercial 'free' games.

Modding and editing have been around since Wolfenstein in the early 90's and
has a direct effect on revenue and sales if the product is a commercial one.
Moddability increases a products longevity. I don't really wan't to go into
moddability and editability in properly free games as that's arguably the
same debate as all free, libre and OS software

Some thoughts....

little commercially backed free gaming is actually free....the idea is that
mimetic desire, customisation etc gains revenue. A bit like finding a free
bit of ground to play football in but needing the snappiest and expensive
pair of football boots for props and respect

from a players immersive point of view. In game advertising can be used
tactfully as long as it suits the gameworld, Burnout Paradise's city built
for racing has billboards that have streamed adverts- no suspension of
disbelief there. Battlefield 2142's billboards however jarred slightly, who
the hell is going to deliver advertising content to billboards in a warzone
with giant stompy tankbots everywhere. Enduring Popups in an interface could
be tolerable but I recall a free gaming company many years ago that released
older games for free with in-game advertising...X Wing fighters with burger
King ad's on their fuselage- not sure if this is just a fever dream of mine

One of the micropayment strategies employed in, say the upcoming Battlefield
Heroes, is that of costumes and other non game-balance changing artefacts.
There was a kerfuffle some time ago about paid in game weapons skewing the
game balance to those who have paid the extra. 

Other online free mmo's have payments for extra content-specifically levels
and other narrative areas and levels which can't be accessed by the freebie
users, mechquest f'rinstance

'Free' games still have some revenue generation scheme behind them however
hidden, that's just fine as long as the quality isn't compromised and the
revenue generation doesn't affect gameplay...

...anyway rant over


-----Original Message-----
From: netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org
[mailto:netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org] On Behalf Of james morris
Sent: 13 March 2009 12:01 PM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] Is free really the future of gaming?


I don't wish to speculate on the future of free gaming or such, but it
does suggest a future for (yes time for me to plug) my game, XorGramana,
and a possible cost to the user. I suppose there is advertising in the
game, but only for my website - but my website is not just for games,
but art - painting, drawing, audio, and some code here and there
(including some pieces approaching net-art territory). So it's a form
of advertising, perhaps - but the 'advert' is not in-game during play,
(although it could easily be incorporated as part of a puzzle in a map),
but like XorCurses, displayed on the menu/title screen.

Suppose I release the game with a very limited set of maps? The cost to
the user if they like the game enough, would be to design their own maps
so they may be incorporated into the game. That is the cost, the user's
time spent designing a new map or two (and this is nothing new) - and
it's not or should be an enforcible cost.

I would like if anybody on this list would be willing to design a map. I
am nearing a point where it will be possible, that is the behaviours of
objects are settling (ie I'm not changing them constantly), and the
code to implement those behaviours is nearly complete. I'm writing a
set of instructions which describe how to create a map file (which is
something you can do in any text editor) so as to (hopefully) encourage
map design from users.


On 13/3/2009, "info" <info at furtherfield.org> wrote:

>Is free really the future of gaming?
>It's not just new developers going gratis, Sony and EA are too...
>There's no such thing as a free lunch. But how about a lunch during 
>which you have to watch a couple of adverts, or pay 50p for extra 
>ketchup? What if it's a plain meal you eat in the company of paying 
>customers devouring lavish haute cuisine?
>There are many possible futures for gaming, and the magic word 'free' 
>orbits around a great many of them. It's the internet's fault, of course 
>- this is a world that's become highly accustomed to getting what it 
>wants whenever it wants, and without a pricetag.
>On the PC especially, there are dual wars being fought against rampant 
>piracy and punter-bewildering system specs. The answer, or at least an 
>answer that's being toyed with of late, is free games - high on 
>accessibility, low on technical requirements, and funded by a cocktail 
>of advertising and micropayments for extra content.
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