In the picture above, Otello happily posing in middle of the flowers. I love spring :)
As you could guess from the title, this is a rant-post. I've heard so many discussions recently about the dying downloadables, how online games is the future, and so on. It's a very complex discussion, so I'm not going into every detail (also because I want to talk about my games) however I feel the need to say a few things:
- "dead markets" doesn't mean that you cannot make any profit in them. It only means that the main hype moved elsewhere. Also, since there's less hype, means that there's also less competition. I believe that as indie, having less competition is much more important than having a bigger potential target market.
- speaking for my games, in general story-based games works best as single player. I've never played a multiplayer game that also was immersive or told me a good story, simply because storytelling requires only one viewer/spectator. If you give other people the possibility to influence a plot or ruin the mood, don't worry, they'll absolutely do it (anyone who played a MMORPG surely has met people that would destroy the fantasy setting atmosphere in a second with some typical US-slang words :D)
- remember that very big portals are still using the downloadables model. Big Fish Games in the casual world, Steam, D2D, Gamersgate, Impulse and others for the more "hardcore/niche" games. They're not going to disappear overnight, and I believe not even in 5-10 years
- also as indie, we're different from big publishers and most of the discussions don't apply. Look at Spiderweb games. Old-school RPG are dead, right? since about 1990. He is not doing well indeed. He is doing extremely well! As indie (especially if you work alone or in a small team) you don't necessarily need to sell a $1 game to 100,000 people in a week, but you can have better luck trying to sell a $20 game to "only" 10000 in several years. That makes quite a difference!
That said, of course online games/web games can be profitable! I never said the opposite. Only that they require a completely different subset of skills vs the traditional downloadables, and also on marketing. I am currently doing research to make some online games as well, but it's a big step for me. Most of the successful online games are run by a team, with a few exceptions, and don't want to committ myself to something "too big" yet. I could do some experiments though.
For example, an idea I recently had was to add an online mode to Planet Stronghold. You would play online battles (not PvP though, at least initially) and as you win you would get experience, money to spend on better equipment or buying skills, and so on. It would be completely separated from the main game, so that I was even thinking to sell it as stand alone game or maybe use the free-to-play model. However I'm not sure if there's enough interest to justify the time I'd have to spend to do this (especially coding the server part), even if it wouldn't be a completely new game since I would be able to reuse good part of the normal offline game system.
In general I think that while visual novel, dating sims, and other similar games gain zero benefits from being online, other kind of games like RPG, simulation, strategy games can become more interesting with new online features.
Speaking of dating / life sim, I've made more progresses on Remember Me this week, and some events are really cool like the one below:
Who is this mysterious secret admirer? you'll have to play the game to find out, even if honestly is not that difficult!
I've also got some important news about the other games in development. Flower Shop: Winter In Fairbrook is getting close to the release! I don't have yet an exact date, but should be before next June, so not much left to wait. I'm currently writing (with help of external writers) and getting the art done for the simulation/RPG game Queen Of Thieves and the comic-RPG game Loren: Amazon Princess. My sports simulation game Universal Boxing Manager 2 is also going on well, even if right now there's not enough to make a video, since the coder is mostly doing stuff that appears behind the scenes (statistics, AI, gameplay, and so on).
My planned release schedule (which surely will be messed up completely) would be:
- Mid/End-April - Remember Me
- End of May/June - Flower Shop: Winter In Fairbrook
- July/August - Loren The Amazon Princess
- September/October - Queen of Thieves
- November/December - either the superheroes game or maybe UBM2