Eve Online - post two

CCP held their yearly fanfest last weekend and also celebrated the 10th anniversary of Eve Online. So CCP showed Dust514 and also details about the next expansion Odyssey.

That's where I come in with my rant. As in the last years all we get is graphics and data edits. We get "new" ships which are nothing else then modified existing ships with new data and texture, the latter even taken from existing ships.

Again: we get re-balancing in mining and ore, manufacturing materials and some UI improvements which are overdue.

What surprised me is stuff like in their keynote video they were surprised how well received the UI changes from probing were. Didn't they know what we were fighting with their sucky interface all the time?

To summarize: all changes they announced as an "expansion" is work from a small team, very small team. And that is where CCP is intelligent about their propaganda that a major team is still maintaining Eve. Its not. All their eggs are in one basket and that's Dust 514.

I think the community of Eve is being mislead and they don't even realize it. CCP is overspending on a genre they don't have experience in: a f2p shooter on a console which just is in its last year and dying. That is great business (not!).

And to top this off they announced a 10th anniversary collectors edition of Eve Online for fucking 149 Euro. What?


Eve Online - post one

If you ever wonder why MMO's are so vastly different to "multiplayer" or "single player" games read this. Simple as that:



Major change incoming

We are living through a major change in technology and digital media. A large one incoming. Get ready.

This is my talk I held at Quo Vadis in Berlin 2013


This is important

Times change fast, faster than ever before. I couldn't have made a better presentation than these guys: READ all slides to the end. World changing.


Always on - is a good thing! Unless ...

Always on. Scandal. Microsoft getting bashed. A good man quit his job at Microsoft due to his Twitter slip - but he just stated the truth.

Whats going on? Why did this shitstorm happen out of a simple thing called "Always on"?

Always on means that the console in question needs an internet connection in order to work. I.e. if you don't have a connection you can't play. Usually that is the case anyway, so why the anger?

Case 1: Some people only occasionally connect their XBox to the internet. That happens on dial in connections or if the console isn't near the internet plug (note that old XBoxes didn't have Wifi).

Case 2: No or flaky internet connection. You will be surprised that a lot of people do not have a stable internet connection. This happens mainly at country side locations.

Case 3: Short internet service interruptions. That happens occasionally on thunderstorms or simply outage from hardware failures.

Case 4: Limited bandwidth contract. That is quite common in many countries - even USA. A console with is always on can't be controlled about the amount of data it sends.

If a game stops working simply due to the above situations then this could be seen as a fail. But as the console should offer a good service it should handle those gracefully.

In other words the game should continue to work even if the connection is interrupted - for a while. Of course most games require a connection due to online features, but that's another matter.

What matters is that the customer does worry that he can't play when he wants to. You know, internet usually doesn't work when you need it. This worry is what Microsoft has to get rid of. But so far their PR & marketing sleeps.

This always on isn't new. Uplay, Origin from EA or Steam had the same issue as also Steam. But they fixed it so no one worries anymore - but still the bad message exists and some people refuse to even install services like these.

So the fail wasn't that the Microsoft employee spread the news, the mistake is the bad handling of the user worries.


F2p is not a game!

Free to play is not a game. Why do I say this obvious statement - because people do forget and put all f2p games into one basket.

So here he comes and tells me "This f2p game does this and that, we should be looking into this to adapt it as well".

Wrong: you can't copy/paste stuff from one f2p business model to another. And that's what it is: f2p is a business model - NOT A GAME.

So if you think that a feature from one f2p game fits yours you should better think twice and carefully analyze WHY it works for that game & genre, if at all (you usually do not know if it works!).

That is why most monetization mechanics from let's say Candy Crush Saga won't work in your f2p FPS or strategy game. Those are entirely different genres and games and the user does behave differently within the game environment. Of course you can learn a lot from King.com's cash cow but be professional when adapting mechanics!

This brings me to another point: most companies within the f2p space discovered "their" style of monetization model which works best for them and their games. You will find that within the portfolio of these companies  they implement the f2p business model in a very similar way.

This leads to some odd behaviors of f2p companies:

1: They think their model is the best
2: They think other models aren't working as they tried adapting them and failed (see above)

It is a very odd situation and basically is further made worse as real data of what works and what doesn't isn't readily available.

That's why specialists who has seen data of working games from more than one company within the f2p space are so high in demand - until this information is widely available.


I was a huge Sony fan

In my younger years I was a huge Sony fan. In the time of Hifi, Walkman and classic Tube TV's Sony was the #1 quality manufacturer, they were the 'Apple' of their time.

Now Sony is in trouble since some years and even the PS3 didn't seem to make Sony happy. Now they announced the PS4 and somehow developers are excited - why?

First: the PS4 is a powerful machine considering its a high end PC but without all the compatibility brakes from Windows PC's. It features 8GB of ultra fast memory. And the graphics card is pretty nice but actually is better than its PC counterparts as games can use it to its full extend without worrying about backwards compatibility of 15 years VGA graphics. It will be actually much faster than comparable PC graphic cards.

But that is not the most important thing, we expect new consoles to be powerful. What is important is that somehow Sony learned from its past mistakes and someone up there at Sony decided to correct all of them.

First Sony announced to make their approval process easier for games - switching to a one step process just like the App store from Apple. For my readers who do not know how the approval process works on XBox360 or PS3 should google it, its a pain in the arse for developers and actually very expensive - impossible to finance by smaller studios.

Speaking about smaller studios: Sony wants to embrace indies (about time!) and is actively seeking them out for partnerships. They also announced the partnership with Unity3d, a good development engine for everyone.

And here is the kicker: usually you need very expensive development kits to create games on consoles, not this time: Unity3d compiles on retail PS4 machines, i.e. everyone owning Unity3d and asking Sony can develop for it and try to get approved. AWESOME.

The future looks suddenly brighter for the next generation of consoles if Microsoft follows Sony's example - from the past news though they seem to screw it up.

And just to make it clear: I play on PS3 - and will order a PS4. I AM a Sony fan!

Update 2013: Sony is back: http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/09/sony-2012-earnings/