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Is Free Really the Future of Gaming?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the works-for-me dept.

The Almighty Buck 230

TRNick writes "Is the future of gaming more or less free, perhaps funded by advertising or micropayments? A bunch of MMOs have pioneered the way, and now they are being followed by the likes of EA, Sony and id Software, each of which is offering some form of free gaming. But it's not just the big guys. TechRadar talks to a new generation of indie developers who are making names for themselves. 'I make most of my money from sponsors,' says one. 'We're all here because we love making games first and foremost,' says another. But can free games ever make enough money to fund the really ambitious, event games that get the headlines?" While paid games aren't likely to be on their way out any time soon, more and more developers and publishers are experimenting with cheaper pricing, and the results so far seem positive.

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Free and Open Source? (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169247)

Personally, I'm not interested in the varying methods that big game houses can extract revenue from their sweatshop produced big titles. I want to know about the future of Open Source game development, and where that'll go in the next decade. The Linux kernal and other big projects prove that large, complex projects can be accomplished under the FOSS model.

Given the right leadership and drive, I would really like to see an MMO spring up around an unlicenced universe (not one of the done-to-death and copyrighted to hell ones like Star Wars or LoTR) but one that is perhaps by an obscure author and in the public domain. This would allow content developers to develop the game's stories without needing to buy expensive licences so they can use the name "Harry Potplant" or whatever it is.

Perhaps an FPS with some new twists that the big houses are too gutless to try due to the uncertainty associated with stepping away from The Formula. Perhaps something like the original System Shock, where you truly do get cerebrally challenged. Most FPS games now have to appeal to 14 year olds with ADHD. Oh, how I miss the days when you actually had to *think* between firefights.

Where are games that break the moulds the way XCom, Syndicate, System Shock and Bioforge did? We just don't get that level of innovation in the gaming industry any more, and I think that FOSS should come to the rescue. We've put a gigantic thorn in the side of the likes of Microsoft, now let's stick it to EA and Rockstar. They're no less stifling to innovation than Microsoft so why should we let them get away unmolested?

Re:Free and Open Source? (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169437)

Personally, I'm not interested in the varying methods that big game houses can extract revenue from their sweatshop produced big titles.

Personally, I'm less interested in the buisness or the open-source aspect of it and more interested in getting frags in Quake Live and still having enough money to buy necessities. Like porn and beer, which should also be free. Someone should work on that.

Re:Free and Open Source? (3, Funny)

thesazi (1245210) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169567)

Personally, I'm less interested in the buisness or the open-source aspect of it and more interested in getting frags in Quake Live and still having enough money to buy necessities. Like porn and beer, which should also be free. Someone should work on that.

you're obviously doing it wrong.

Re:Free and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170131)

In other words: Entertain me! I don't care how, just do it!

Fucking MTV generation.

Re:Free and Open Source? (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169503)

The problem with this is that open source tends to excel at function and suck at polish. Despite excellent function, most OSS developers can't develop an interface or decent icon artwork to save their lives. It's just not where their strength lies. Now, for many applications - compressing video, burning a CD, etc, this is something that we can easily live with. Our goal in using the app is to complete a task and so long as the task gets completed then everyone is happy.

Games are the opposite though. The artwork, interface, and general polish are essentially the main component. The actual background engine is just a minor piece.

Not to mention that you necessarily MUST maintain variety in games. As long as the OSS manages to produce ONE decent web browser then the rest are nice, but not really required. If we get ONE good OS kernel then that niche is covered. It leads to a consolidation of resources to make sure each particular need is taken care of. And the community can spend YEARS tweaking and modifying a single product to become progressively better. Games don't work that way. People play them for a while, and then get bored and want a new one. While purchasing dollars can keep them churning out fast enough to satisfy the masses, I'm not sure pure goodwill can make games fast and varied enough.

There's also an issue for things like MMORPG as to maintaining a unified authority. I don't have to choose which WoW service to subscribe to. All the players are consolidated into 1 place, and I can trust Blizzard to keep all the data trustworthy and not tamper with it (like giving their buddies free epics or the like). For certain types of multiplayer games without some authorative source, a lot of people wouldn't be interested in them.

Re:Free and Open Source? (2, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169865)

The problem with this is that open source tends to excel at function and suck at polish. Despite excellent function, most OSS developers can't develop an interface or decent icon artwork to save their lives. It's just not where their strength lies. Now, for many applications - compressing video, burning a CD, etc, this is something that we can easily live with. Our goal in using the app is to complete a task and so long as the task gets completed then everyone is happy. Games are the opposite though. The artwork, interface, and general polish are essentially the main component. The actual background engine is just a minor piece. Not to mention that you necessarily MUST maintain variety in games.

Right. You don't want your game to end up irrelevant in a few months time, like Poker or Solitaire. It's the flashy, pop-culture references and glitzy, trendy looking artwork that give games replay value...

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169909)

It's the flashy, pop-culture references and glitzy, trendy looking artwork that give games replay value...

Huh? The game that I've found to have the most replay value is Civ2, hardly known for it's "glitzy trendy looking artwork". I've also found that DOSBox [dosbox.com] and Snes9x [snes9x.com] are two of the coolest pieces of software ever written. To each their own I guess.....

Re:Free and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169963)

sarcasm ------>

                        your head

Re:Free and Open Source? (3, Insightful)

BlitzTech (1386589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170181)

Not to mention that the two programs you mention are emulators, and the games you play on them were likely commercial games at some point in their life...

Re:Free and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170289)

Whoosh...

Re:Free and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170319)

Whoosh!

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170379)

OK now you've got be interested in DOSBox... now recommend a front end!

Re:Free and Open Source? (2, Informative)

bami (1376931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170601)

I used to have a frontend for mine, but when switching to ubuntu, ditched that.
In both windows and linux is pretty easy to just make shortcuts, dosbox supports a lot of command-line arguments so you can just make each shortcut automount your dir and run the appropriate file.

But here are my recommendations for windows:

First, all frontends listed here:
http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/DOSBoxFrontends [dosbox.com]

Then:
D-fend: Pretty easy to use, has dosbox profiles that is basically just a different config file for each dosbox game, along with some general info. Games can be sorted on developer etc. Discontinued, but there is D-fend reloaded. No experience with that though.

D.O.G. : Easy to use, pretty much same functionality as d-fend. Also added zip functionality (just keep all your game-related stuff in a zip). Also a version of dosbox can be specified per game so if a update of dosbox breaks a game you can use both versions side-by-side.

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169911)

How exactly does "polish" in any way mean "flashy, pop-culture references and glitzy, trendy looking artwork"? Go beat your strawman elsewhere.

Re:Free and Open Source? (4, Funny)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170001)

No kidding. Polish people are cool enough that they don't have to rely on glitz.

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170161)

How exactly does "polish" in any way mean "flashy, pop-culture references and glitzy, trendy looking artwork"?

Yeah, I can't figure it out either. Guess that's why I'm not one of the guys making modern commercial games... I'm so stupid about these things, I just play games like Wesnoth and Teeworlds and OpenArena. I'm probably not nearly as efficient with my fun time as I could be...

Re:Free and Open Source? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169967)

The actual background engine is just a minor piece.

Fuck you too.

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170219)

The actual background engine is just a minor piece.

Fuck you too.

it supposed to go:
and
fuck you

Re:Free and Open Source? (2, Funny)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169975)

All the players are consolidated into 1 place, and I can trust Blizzard to keep all the data trustworthy and not tamper with it (like giving their buddies free epics or the like).

Are you sure? [penny-arcade.com] ;)

Re:Free and Open Source? (2, Interesting)

RCanine (847446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170071)

Personally, I'm not interested in the varying methods that big game houses can extract revenue from their sweatshop produced big titles. I want to know about the future of Open Source game development, and where that'll go in the next decade. The Linux kernal and other big projects prove that large, complex projects can be accomplished under the FOSS model.

The problem with this is that open source tends to excel at function and suck at polish. Despite excellent function, most OSS developers can't develop an interface or decent icon artwork to save their lives. It's just not where their strength lies. Now, for many applications - compressing video, burning a CD, etc, this is something that we can easily live with. Our goal in using the app is to complete a task and so long as the task gets completed then everyone is happy.

I think this is ready to change. The field of User Interface Design is really only starting to blossom. Programming has been around for a few decades now. Once UID becomes as mainstream as programming is, there will be many more designers and architects with the same incentives to build free software as there are programmers now. We're just not there yet.

Re:Free and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170105)

I don't have to choose which WoW service to subscribe to. All the players are consolidated into 1 place, and I can trust Blizzard to keep all the data trustworthy and not tamper with it (like giving their buddies free epics or the like). For certain types of multiplayer games without some authorative source, a lot of people wouldn't be interested in them.

Not entirely true, and one of my biggest complaints with WoW.

Back when I played, I joined the same Realm two of my friends were in.

I had another group of 4 friends that played WoW, but they were horde on another realm in another batlegroup, so theres ZERO interaction with them.

I had another 4 or 5 friends off irc who were all on different realms

And of course went on to run into a few random other wow players, all of course on different realms.

The closest I had was people in the same battlegroup so that we could get on ventrilo and both queue up for battlegrounds a the same time, then only take it if we end up in the same number. Thats.. pretty awful.

In every other blizzard game you can /whisper people no matter what game they're playing. in WoW, if they picked Moonrunner instead of Draka, you're never even going to so much as talk to them ingame.

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170315)

Another big thing in games are sound effects and music. Which usually don't come very free (at least to get really good, immersive music/effects). Then again, a lot of amateur composers (me!) are willing to do stuff pretty cheaply, but it's not going to sound like the LA Phil playing a soundtrack. :)

Electronic music is a cheaper route, as well, but genre/style of music has a huge impact on the style/feel of the game. I can't imagine playing Baldur's Gate with electronic music as its soundtrack :(

Re:Free and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170785)

Despite excellent function, most OSS developers can't develop an interface or decent icon artwork to save their lives.

This is exactly the root of the problem - content.

As an indie developer, we find that most of the cost of game development is tied in with the graphics, models, and other "polish", including content like plot, etc.

I've seen some interesting moves with user-driven content, but when you "crowd-source" your development you lose (not loose) quality control & unified themes. ie. you end up with a mish-mash of art styles and vastly differing content quality. Often there are many excellent pieces, but without being unified into a cohesive whole, it still falls short.

And this doesn't even begin to address big-studio type productions that need to rely on large render farms for cut-scenes, etc.

All in all, I think what we'll see in the near future is a dramatic rise in middle-ware apps that stay afloat with small fees, ad content, and micro-purchases. Larger, more 'polished' games will still require heavy up-front investment to justify the resources put into development.

The other major factor in play is what target system the games are available on. Cheaply made middleware tends to exist in the realm of browser-based games or are targeted only at Windows boxes. Part of the price of a big-name studio release comes from developing native code for consoles/multiple platforms.

Re:Free and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169825)

kernal

Talking about Commodore 64 games, are we?

Re:Free and Open Source? (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169881)

so they can use the name "Harry Potplant" or whatever it is.

I always knew the Harry Potter franchise was missing something..... ;)

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170513)

I seem to remember Harry passing out plenty of times at school, typically when he was in divination staring into some smoking cauldron...

Re:Free and Open Source? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169907)

Centipedes in your vagina?

It's more likely than you think.
Click here [goatse.fr] for a free PC check

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170045)

Oh, how I miss the days when you actually had to *think* between firefights.

Depending on what kind of think you mean, Nexuiz (especially played 1v1) may be for you.

You can hear items picked up, even when not picked up by yourself. By remembering where items are placed and how they're clustered, you can figure out where your opponent is and which direction he's going in; this allows you to ambush him and avoid getting shot in the back.

Also, keeping track of armor pickup times and respawn rates lets you take the armor instead of your opponent more regularly.

Then there's opponent modeling: I just almost killed him so he's going for health; I picked up the big one, there's a small one nearby and two small ones further away, but I can easily intercept and ambush him for the one further away which he knows, so [etc.]. Or: I just killed him so he's likely to go for a weapon; I heard where he is so he's likely to go for the rocket launcher nearby, so if I intercept him...

I conjecture that in almost all FPSes, you can be worse at aiming than your opponent and still win if you outsmart him. You can't be ridiculously worse at aiming, but thinking definitely adds to the level of skill at which you play.

If you're hoping for Zelda-style thinking (I must admit I don't know System Shock), I think the problem is the usual one for Free Software games, which is this:

For a programmer, it's great fun writing a 3d engine, or FPS networking code, or some other piece of code that goes into a game.

Doing all the art work* takes either a programmer with that as another interest, or a non-programmer. I conjecture that we don't have outspoken charismatic leaders like Stallman who talks in a way that appeals to non-programmers and makes them want to volunteer work on the non-coding side of free software (games, in particular).

I also don't see a viable business model (meaning you could pay for the artwork). Stick it in a box, put it in the shops and hope people don't notice they're allowed to copy the game?

* art work includes all the things that qualifies as "an art": graphics, sound design, music, voice acting, story writing, and in this case, puzzle design.

Re:Free and Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170113)

When it comes to games, the OSS community is far behind the private sector in terms of quality. VERY far behind.

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

BlitzTech (1386589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170141)

While FOSS gaming is great in theory, don't forget that developing a game can be a full-time job, and full-time employees need to get paid. Some game developers can be motivated to make great games simply because they want to, but many would probably prefer some monetary compensation for the effort put into making a game. For example, the MMO game you suggested would take an incredible amount of effort to create - even without significant content created by the original programmers, that project would take many years. Without a user-oriented pay structure, it would likely depend on sponsorships and ad placement to generate revenue and pay the developers to continue working on it. You may be willing to endure these for a free game, but I would prefer to pay for a game that did not have advertisements all over the place.

As much as I'd love to play great games without paying for them, I would rather play great games I have to pay for than mediocre free games. Even in TFA on indie developers, many of them admit that they're financially stable only due to sponsorships and ad placement, and a few are in on affiliate programs. Flashbang's Steve Swink says "As it turns out, keeping these revenue streams open crushes our fragile creative souls" - though he claims their company can still make great games for free, he admits it has a detrimental effect on their creativity. BTW, they're still planning on monetizing it eventually, making their 'free' version essentially a more fully-featured demo.

I'm all for FOSS, don't get me wrong, and as I said before, I'd love to play a great game for free. Seeing as my options for free games tend to range from 'mediocre' to 'casual', and I'm more of a 'hardcore' gamer, I'd prefer to pay for the games I like. It seems none of the big studios or indie developers have figured out a way to adequately monetize a 100% free-to-play game yet (microtransaction-based games do not count in that category - those are more like partially-free-to-play), and once they do, I'm sure we'll see a huge shift in gaming.

Until then, though, you'll have to be content with what's out there. You can do something about it and join a FOSS game team and make one of the games you want to play, or only buy games that are worth your money. Want to stick it to EA and Rockstar? Stop buying their games. Vote for what you want with your money. If a game is overpriced or poor quality, don't give the developers money. If it's a high quality game, then pay for it - or donate, if you find a FOSS game of that caliber.

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

jamesmcm (1354379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170621)

A huge step forward would be getting Epic and Valve to open source Unreal Tournament and Half-life respectively as id Games has done with Quake.

The problem is it takes a lot of work to develop a game engine (and a lot of planning too). Just a few FOSS engines would help push it forward a lot.

what you don't understand is (2, Insightful)

fuzzylollipop (851039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170791)

coding is the least part of a game. creating all the graphics, animations, sounds, textures, models and what not are what makes a world. And you need consistent quality for a cohesive vision of a world, and that usually takes someone working for money, most artists don't want to work for free and take direction from someone they don't know. Where as getting people to write code for free is much easier. The "creative" side is about 80% of the effort for a AAA title.

Re:Free and Open Source? (1)

Krater76 (810350) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170823)

Given the right leadership and drive, I would really like to see an MMO spring up around an unlicenced universe (not one of the done-to-death and copyrighted to hell ones like Star Wars or LoTR) but one that is perhaps by an obscure author and in the public domain.

This has been done and they were called MUDs. Any MUD worth it's salt was a fork in one of the many OS MUD codebases and was highly customized. A lot of them were based on private domain IP (Star Wars, LOTR, D&D, etc) because they flew under the radar by being free to play.

The problem with MUDs, and OSS in general, is management. People come and go, make good decisions and bad, and it can all disappear overnight because a few of the devs just aren't interested in continuing working on or hosting the thing. Customers wouldn't be too happy building up a character for months or years and then just have it disappear overnight.

No (4, Insightful)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169253)

Greed is always going to overpower ambition, if not by the developers then the parent company.

Re:No (1)

Caue (909322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169499)

go to newgrounds.com and stand corrected. Of course, some ads and a franchise of console games that are not free, but funded by the development and hosting of free games.

Not Greed (4, Insightful)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169759)

Definitely no. But Greed and Ambition have nothing to do with it.

As a customer, I want a game that just works. Not a game with five dozen incompatible interfaces, two half broken configuration interfaces, inscrutable documentation written by an engineer who never took a writing class in his entire six years in college, untalented artwork, and random crashes justified by the credo "if you don't like it, dig through 100,000 lines of poorly commented code to fix it yourself".

For the non open-source "free" games, I want a game I can play, not one that's a one screen flash-animation that's really just an add for whatever is the latest kid-fluff being pushed on Nickelodeon.

As a customer, I want my GTA, Oblivion, Project Gotham, and a dozen other high quality games that could only be developed by paying real programmers, artists, and writers real money to work on them. So I am perfectly willing to shell out real money to pay for them to do so.

In fact, given the price of a couple of movie tickets and a family night out, I figure video games are still the best dollar per hour entertainment value out there.

Not Games. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170479)

"In fact, given the price of a couple of movie tickets and a family night out, I figure video games are still the best dollar per hour entertainment value out there."

World of Goo
Mirror's Edge
Fallout 3
F.E.A.R. 2
GTA IV
Crysis/Crysis: Warhead.

Free (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169367)

is the future of everything

Re:Free (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169441)

especially with the economy being what it is. i dunno if 'free' is the answer, but *cheaper* wouldn't hurt. i know that i can't justify paying 10-15 a month to play a game, not when everything else (that i *need*) is going up in price.

Re:Free (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170661)

You think there's a war now over IP (Imaginary Property) and its ease of copying and dissimination, wait until we have microscopic robots that can coordinate to manufacture anything you have a design for (I'm thinking Star Trek replicators).

When that happens, the only thing with monetary value will be land. You think we're going through social upheaval, we ain't seen nothin'. Your grandchildren are in for a hell of a ride!

Free Woopee. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170703)

[Free] is the future of everything

Including sex.

Free is an option, not the future (5, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169455)

While free games are certainly an option, I find it very difficult to believe that you are going to have a team of 10 developers working 5 days a week, for nothing to develop a game. If you want free games, then expect them to use last year's technology, be late and not necessarily have the same amount of finesse.

Don't get me wrong, I will take a free game if I am given it, but I don't expect to get everything for free. If you do, then give up your day job, join a commune and don't cry when you don't have money to buy your next PC.

Re:Free is an option, not the future (1)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169639)

I agree - I mean I can't imagine all those TV presenters working to no salary to provide me with some basic entertainment. All those people that expect TV to be "free" should go join a commune.

Ad revenue sponsored gaming has real potential. In the same way TV advertising works - so could in game. It just has to be VERY carefully done so as not to alienate the players.

Yes I am aware that in many cases people pay a small fee each month for those channels that offer content without advertising (or with minimal advertising)

Re:Free is an option, not the future (2, Insightful)

BaronHethorSamedi (970820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169741)

I agree - I mean I can't imagine all those TV presenters working to no salary to provide me with some basic entertainment. All those people that expect TV to be "free" should go join a commune. Ad revenue sponsored gaming has real potential.

I dunno. I like gaming in part because it's more immersive than television. I'm always willing to put down a few bucks' worth of hard-earned income if it means I don't have to have my willing suspension of disbelief jarringly unsuspended by a Red Bull ad.

Re:Free is an option, not the future (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170531)

Or worse... [penny-arcade.com]

Ads are an option, not the future (2, Insightful)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170867)

"Ad revenue sponsored gaming has real potential. In the same way TV advertising works - so could in game. It just has to be VERY carefully done so as not to alienate the players. "

Those who suggest ads, really mean, "Someone else foots the bill". Problem is, what do you do when everyone wants everyone else to "foot the bill"?

Re:Free is an option, not the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169985)

While free games are certainly an option, I find it very difficult to believe that you are going to have a team of 10 developers working 5 days a week, for nothing to develop a game. If you want free games, then expect them to use last year's technology, be late and not necessarily have the same amount of finesse.

Don't get me wrong, I will take a free game if I am given it, but I don't expect to get everything for free. If you do, then give up your day job, join a commune and don't cry when you don't have money to buy your next PC.

I think the future of games is either with the good old pay-for-the-game model in which case we'll see a lot of copy protection or games will be free and game companies will make their money form selling access to their game networks. The sponsorship model might also have its uses. I'm not given to expecting things for free either but with the pervasiveness of software piracy these days, it is hard to see how they can make money any other way. Unless you believe that bullshit about piracy boosting software sales in which case the game companies should put their products out on the pirate networks from day one and watch the goodwill dollars roll in.

Re:Free is an option, not the future (3, Funny)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170055)

If you want...games, then expect them to use last year's technology, be late...

Cool, more Valve games!

Re:Free is an option, not the future (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170925)

Nonsense. Valve games use elegant engines, from a more civilized age.

And they arrive precisely when they mean to.

Re:Free is an option, not the future (2, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170065)

While free games are certainly an option, I find it very difficult to believe that you are going to have a team of 10 developers working 5 days a week, for nothing to develop a game.

Who said anything about not paying developers? The article is about companies finding a different way to make money besides selling the game. They're still game companies, and they still pay their employees.

Re:Free is an option, not the future (3, Insightful)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170067)

Did you even bother to read the summary? This is about publishers going to games that are free but supported by ads or microtransactions. This has nothing to do with asking for people to work on games without pay. I know this is slashdot, but seriously you could read the first fucking sentence of the summary at least.

Re:Free is an option, not the future (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170123)

In South Korea, I played a CS clone where ads were displayed while waiting to respawn. I thought that this was a really neat idea. Ads can really be targeted, and with a decent deployment base, paying a few developers fulltime is not out of question.

Re:Free is an option, not the future (2, Insightful)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170673)

Free games are actually very bad for new development. Large game dev houses can afford to make free game because they are widely known, they can get the sponsors, they can get advertisement deals, and they have the capitol to kick start game projects. This is however not the case with starters. In an economic stand point of view, free games are very bad for diversity and competition. I remember testing this theory out in one of the games I played. I made a high level blacksmith in an MMO, and offered people to forge for them for free as long as they provided materials. While I became the most widely known blacksmith and the best due to many people coming to me, I decimated the industry because I made it prohibitively expensive for new players to start making blacksmiths, and they can't make any money even after they become fairly high level. Further more, other players actually prefer coming to me due to the fact I have established myself and I break less. Real economy is fairly close to that as well.

MMO and Open Source... LOL (0)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169537)

Sorry, but your not going to get anything other than the cultist want to play.

Or put it this way, you might get something on the order of the freespace community, nice and tight but in no way marketable let alone sustainable.

But a MMO? Who is going to make content? Don't say everyone, because to have a consistent world someone has to set the rules. Let alone policing it would be a nightmare. Who is going to step up and fix a bug? Where there be any guarantee of service? If so who backs it?

I can see it anywhere where the end result is not akin to a service. In other words it can be a side item to a popular series, something like a door program from bbs of days gone by, but not a mainline like EQ or such where content is presented in a cohesive and regular manner. The attention span isn't there for most developers and without the enforced system of manger/employee/etc it ain't going to get done let alone be pretty. Petty, but not pretty.

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (1)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169669)

Of course no project could work as a huge cohesive lump whilst still being worked on by an open community that has to self regulate.

*cough* Firefox *cough*
*cough* Kernel *cough*
*cough* Gnome *cough*
*cough* etc *cough*

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (2, Insightful)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170511)

If I customize Firefox, the Linux kernel, or Gnome to make it easier for me to do things, it does not affect the experience of anyone who is using the official client without customizations. If I do the same thing for an MMO - and change it to give myself an unfair advantage, such as the ability to see through wall, rather than just to make it work better with my video card - then it will affect the experience of other players. And given that we have seen this kind of behavior in closed-source MMOs, you can bet it's going to happen in an open source one. But it will happen faster.

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169681)

The Sims is the best selling PC game of all time, and there isn't much there in the way of content or gameplay. The users create it for themselves. Same with The Sims 2, and Spore. Then there is Second Life. So that market can work.

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169949)

The Sims is the best selling PC game of all time

I still haven't figured out how the hell that happened. I lost interest in that game as soon as I ran out of creative ways to kill the characters. WTF is the appeal in a game that replicates the boring monotony of daily life? If I wanted to pay my bills and clean my house I wouldn't be sitting in front of the computer......

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (0, Troll)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170347)

Probably because it's one of the only games that really appeals to women. The entire game is decorating and forming relationships between characters.

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170577)

You must not be female. I had some female friends when that game was popular who were totally enthralled by it. I never met any guy who was.

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170795)

I agree entirely. Calling The Sims a game is a disgrace to the term.

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (2, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170073)

Second Life only generates a profit (and a slim one) because their users can't do math.

(Not a troll--I've done some programming work for people in SL, and it's a neat concept. But they're only making money on the margins, and they're poor margins.)

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170325)

The Sims is the best selling PC game of all time, and there isn't much there in the way of content or gameplay. The users create it for themselves. Same with The Sims 2, and Spore. Then there is Second Life. So that market can work.

It can work in a way. SL works because people can put real life money on it, and more important, extract real life money from it. SL is more kind of a framework than a game. But still has a parent company governing it.

As for The Sims, remember that EA, specially on The Sims 2, had a big degree of control on how the game worked. The user created item and skins happened, but would sure be big, with most people waiting for the official releases.

GP do have a point, the most successful MUDs were the one that had a lot of control over the creative process, and even when they let others produce content for it, they controlled the way it would get implemented, reserved the right to re-balance and change things.

An open-source MMO can happen, if it is well controlled. And has a company to back it up.

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170405)

That market IS people who want to make content. It also isn't constant.

Now add fighting monsters and quest rewards into the mix and it fails becasue it will only take 1 person to screw it up.

Re:MMO and Open Source... LOL (1)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170167)

This isn't about making open source games. It's about putting out free games that use other sources of revenue as funding for the development and running of the game. Here, I'll even quote the very first sentence of the summary for you:

"Is the future of gaming more or less free, perhaps funded by advertising or micropayments?

Notice no references to open source or not paying developers or any such thing?

Why should they? (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169587)

I don't see it. I still see a lot of value in games worth me spending money for a high-production value game. On the other hand, I don't think I'd be willing to put up with as much advertising as would be necessary to offset what I'm willing to pay WITHOUT ads.

That said, variable game pricing needs to happen. I should be able to buy the *new* physical copy for $60 or a digital copy for $30 (no resale) or digitally rent it for a week for $5. The game publishers don't make much on me buying used games or renting from blockbuster. I'd rather see more of my money go to the publishers/developers than to the middle-men who currently have a pretty over-priced service.

Free gaming will never dominate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169611)

As great as open source has been, it will NEVER be the future of gaming (or anything with a story). To make a successful game you need a group of people unified behind a single vision, willing to listen to one guy who knows how to make it fly, and that can happen in a studio where they're paid to listen to that one guy, but not in OSS land

I have no doubt that things lacking a particularly coherent plot (like the latest TETRIS CLONE 9001) can and will happen in open source, so maybe a popcap crushing revolution, but anything artistic and big is happening in a studio.

A false dichotomy. (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169641)

Free games from independent developers won't "replace" current games any more than YouTube "replaced" Hollywood.

My amazing prediction is that in the future, people will indeed get a lot of entertainment from free and/or indie games, but at times they'll want the high-budget spectacle that only a major studio can provide.

(And by the way... If you think micropayments are the same as "free", you must think a credit card is some kind of magical money tree.)

Re:A false dichotomy. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170427)

Of course it's a magical money tree, just look at what all the top economists where saying 2 years ago. Nothing bad came out of that, right?

Planeshift (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169647)

Isn't Planeshift completely free? I've always wondered how good the game is. The screenshots look decent. The engine is GPL. There are no upgrades or micropayments. The game is just 100% free. I keep getting tempted to install it (especially since they have native Linux clients, including 64-bit clients) except I try to avoid most MMOs on principle.

Re:Planeshift (1)

Jogar the Barbarian (5830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170195)

I wouldn't say you're missing anything. I've installed and run it three times over the past couple years, and while the team has made progress, it's still very much pre-pre-pre-alpha status. Get it if you're interesting in becoming a contributor... otherwise play Perfect World [perfectworld.com] .

Gaming or Game Revenue Generation? (1)

Wormsign (1498995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169661)

They are 2 very different things. I think advertising to support games, other than flash game websites, is just going to cause more annoyance to the player. I don't know about you, but ads in places where I can't filter them out, such as movie theaters before the feature or before games load really piss me off and, in fact, make me not want to buy that advertiser's product. I can tune out banner ads. Or, I can click on them if it is something I am interested in (rare). If many commercial games go this route, they might find themselves out in the cold when their advertisers decide they don't make enough from the money spent on game ads and pull their sponsorship, similar to the dot com advertising bust. People have to actually buy the advertiser's products to make it viable. Funding with advertising is like the lesson some industries refuse to learn from.

If a game is good it's worth money to me... (5, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169685)

I'd pay $500 at the very least for a copy of Virtua Fighter 5R or a sequel to Chrono Trigger.

Starcraft, Unreal Tournament, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Super Turbo, Virtua Fighter. These games and series I've gotten thousands upon thousands of hours playing single-player or with others either locally or online. The measly $20-$60 I paid for those games has been overly worth it if you consider how many hours I got worth of entertainment out of those. I might spend $15 on a movie (NYC prices) at the theater and never see it again. My copy of Final Fantasy X was $55 new the day it came out and I've played 500 hours beating the game multiple times and writing an extended FAQ for it.

But for shorter games, or multi-player games with little variety that get very boring quickly, the cost of paying full price for them is just simply not worth it. I'll use Dead Space as an example. I was sold on the hype of the game, and paid $60 in full for a console version of the game. After the first playthrough, through extremely exciting, I new I wouldn't return to play the game probably ever again. So for one playthrough was $60 worth it? Probably not. I could have rented it and then returned it after beating it in two or three days.

But for Virtua Fighter 5? I specifically purchased an X-box 360 and multiple arcade sticks for the game, grand total let's say $1,000 between XBL gold over the years, 360 and accessories, and the game and DLC. But was it worth it? For me absolutely. I play the game for hours upon hours every week. I have people over to my house, I've even flown to other countries to play the game against international players which brings the grand total to even more (yikes).

How about Starcraft II? There are some people (including myself) who have been waiting for Starcraft II for a decade. When Starcraft: Ghost was canceled, part of my soul died. But now with SCII right around the corner, I'll be building an adequate gaming rig to play the game. Let's say that with the monitor and speakers the total cost to play SCII is $1,500. Worth it? For me, absolutely without question. After playing SC:BW and WCIII:TFT for years I am fully confident that Blizzard will deliver a long lasting and timeless RTS for the community to play for years. Also I'm sure my rig will get loads of Diablo III in it as well.

Lastly I'd rather pay for game than have it for free but chalked full of advertisements. I don't want to see any advertisements in-game in a respectable series like Virtua Fighter or Starcarft.

My point is that if you get hundreds or thousands of hours out of game it's easily worth the entrance fee of $60 if not way more than that. If you play a game for a couple of hours and then it's over...probably needs to cost less at retail. I always found it annoying that a game designed to be played in under ten hours was the same retail price as something designed to have unlimited replay value or extensive multi-player.

Re:If a game is good it's worth money to me... (2, Funny)

dark42 (1085797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169779)

I'd pay $500 at the very least for a copy of Virtua Fighter 5R or a sequel to Chrono Trigger.

So, will you buy Chrono Cross from me for $500?

Re:If a game is good it's worth money to me... (1)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169921)

I'll sell mines for $495, hows that sound?

Re:If a game is good it's worth money to me... (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170549)

Chrono Cross is not a sequel to Chrono Trigger. It's a game that starts with Chrono and has a few loose ties to the original, that's it. I'm not saying anything about the quality of the game, it's fine, but I hardly consider it a sequel.

Flip side as well (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170721)

You are willing to shell out serious bucks to play the latest and greatest games in the best settings possible - so yeah you're willing to pop $500 for a really good game, above and beyond the standard $60 release. Heck, game companies should consider that there is indeed a market for narrow-release, high-dollar games (just like any other luxury goods category).

I'm not a hardcore gamer. I'm not gonna drop even $60 on a game. Content with good games of the past, I'm happily working thru a $5 used copy of Max Payne, and have a $3 copy of Oni in queue. Not exactly free, but close enough considering the relatively high satisfaction I get from each. My PSP + Daxter were free by using a Sony credit card enough. Not the latest, not the greatest, but [shrug] they're just games.

Free is not the future of gaming. Continuation of supply-and-demand is the future of gaming. Those wanting the best/latest will pay dearly for it. Those wanting to spend little can buy used or legacy copies. Those wanting to grab eyeballs for advertising will pay accordingly to support "free" games. Those wanting to get otherwise unlikely players hooked will use the "shareware" model. Those who compulsively write such software may go OSS if they can't get hired to do so. Supply-and-demand will find a way.

Re:If a game is good it's worth money to me... (1)

matang (731781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170869)

the problem is that for your $60 and thousands of hours, you've got my $60 and a few hours here and there. how do you translate that to a final price? i'd rather pay $60 for a "ten hour" game than $60 plus a monthly fee for a "thousand hour game", not to get off the point - it's a function of how much you value the thing vs the value of other things blah blah. it's why, although i'm sure world of warcraft is a great game, there's no way i'd justify spending the money on it plus the monthly fee when i'm only going to play it five hours a month. plus the inherent marriage you enter into with a game that you play against other people (if they play while you don't, they get better, gain experience, etc while you don't). different (sword) strokes for different folks i guess.

Free games are like politicians (1)

Ontheotherhand (796949) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169719)

Generally, they pander to the lowest common denomintor. I should imagine free games would be a race to the bottom, yeehah!

Re:Free games are like politicians (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170205)

If anyone is going to be blamed for racing to the bottom it should be commercial developers, not "cultist" open source game hobbyist.

I've played plenty of single player mods back in the HL1 days that were polished and wildly inventive and the developer's highest goal was getting recognition. The trick here is this, artists and designers need the tools to make the game they want. Valve made a ton of tools that were easy to use and gave them a cheap platform to develop for. This is what is seriously lacking, easy to use tools (sorry Blender needs a lot of work in that area, Gimp is alright and more suited as far as scripts are concerned, normal mapping, etc.) and an easily scripted game environment to work with.

Free is OK and everything, but... (4, Insightful)

pzs (857406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169723)

Sometimes, you need a professional touch on these things. That costs money, just as many of the professional touches in Linux have cost money.

A few years ago, I played and really enjoyed the Freespace 2 [wikipedia.org] . I enjoyed it so much, I thought I would try some of the free contributed content from enthusiastic fans. I played the campaign that was generally rated as the best and it was good fun, but there was a huge gulf in quality from the professionally produced content. The amateur stuff was laden with fan-boy excitement - the mission descriptions were far too long and the in game dialog chattered on and on. This was particularly tedious when you had to replay missions and listen to it over and over again. Also, the voice acting was incredibly hammy and it was so obvious that it had been recorded in geeks bedrooms.

These guys were doing their best, but they are not writers or actors. Maybe other projects are better at recruiting these kinds of people to work for free, but I suspect the overenthusiastic geek effect is probably quite difficult to mitigate.

Re:Free is OK and everything, but... (2, Interesting)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170049)

I played a lot of the Portal add-ons, which are available for free, and they are quite variable in quality. However there is one that is something like 47 levels of goodness and is every bit as professional as the original game. It is based on Flash Portal (can't link to it from work now anyway).

So this is my one data point that freely available content, developed using a robust structure, can be just as good as the commercial stuff. My only investment was $20 for Portal and a few cents downloading the add-on.

Re:Free is OK and everything, but... (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170953)

Neverwinter Nights modules. Some of the best "free games" I've ever encountered. Pay $20 for the Diamond edition (NWN + both expansions), and you have far beyond $20 of content available. Some of the modules are even more in-depth and polished than the official campaigns (though they don't often have much, if any, voice acting).

And that's not even counting some of the stunning player-run persistent worlds, which have some incredible GM/player interaction.

History repeats itself (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169783)

id Software... offering some form of free gaming.

Wolfenstien 3-D? Doom? Duke Nukem (2D side scroller, Apogee and Id were once the same bunch of guys)

Surely you guys remember "shareware?" Free is what made Id the powerhouse it eventually became.

BAD ANALOGY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27169823)

I spend 3 years designing and building a house from scratch, which I subsequently sell on. Some local obnoxious engineer photocopies my drawings and blueprints and uses them to create 10 houses exactly the same across the road, which he sells at a much lower price. When I try to stop him using the drawings he phones the cops, bitches and moans about his "rights" and repeats the line "IT ISN'T THEFT" at the top of his voice, and mails copies to everyone he knows. He claims that because I didn't give the owners of the house the raw bricks and mortar to do what they wanted with, I was restricting the way in which the property could be used, and therefore he made my drawings available to anyone that wanted to see them out of spite. Is the future of architecture to be carried out for no financial reward? Unlikely.

Been there done that (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169851)

How many of you play muds anymore? Time to build the castle in the swamp again I guess.

Re:Been there done that (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170135)

How many of you play muds anymore?

I do.

Time to build the castle in the swamp again I guess.

I've played MUDs, MUCKs for years but I have no idea what you are referring to. :(

Free Games & Quality (2, Insightful)

Mo0o (1499045) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169879)

While a lot of things free can be exceptional, free games will never be the best. A lot of the times the 'monthly prescriptions' you pay to play an MMO is never really the money-maker for the company; it's all of the essentials either needed to play the game or the 'gift shop' items you can purchase from the game or even the conventions you hold and use the game as advertisement to get more people to show up. Really, games are just another form of active-marketing; get the customers involved and hooked into a business and make them become loyal. I also find it rather interesting that pay-to-play games are highly addictive because most of us who are not hard-core gamers are thinking "Well, I am paying for the game, I might as well make my money go to good use and play the game".

Captain Obvious Returns (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169891)

"developers and publishers are experimenting with cheaper pricing, and the results so far seem positive" People prefer to pay less for games. In other news a one legged man lost an ass kicking contest. More details at eight.

Nadeo (1)

BloodyIron (939359) | more than 5 years ago | (#27169995)

If you want to talk "Free" games, check out Trackmania Nations.

Nadeo worked with ESWC, nVidia and other groups to release a free version of their series. Trackmania the series, Nations the free version. It's done wonders for their uptake.

It's also a fantastic series.

Some players don't want "free". (5, Interesting)

DdJ (10790) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170085)

Some players actively avoid free games, particularly for MMOs.

I know players who want to make sure that everyone around them has at least something invested in the game world. They want some barrier to keep out dabblers, people whose commitment to the game is below a certain point, overly casual players. For big, shared worlds, when there's a lot you can't do solo, when you're forced to team up with people, there's something to the idea of ensuring that the people you're teaming up with take things at least little seriously.

And thus, the population of people who consider "free" to be a signal to stay far, far away from an online multiplayer game.

Honestly, I think this is one of the reasons some people honestly prefer the XBox Live network gaming model to the PS3 one.

Re:Some players don't want "free". (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170515)

Why would someone give a damn if another player is just a casual player?

Cost ahs nothing to do with it. Good luck getting 10 random people in WoW together and not have one of them not taking it seriously.
hmm, that last sentence could be better.

I ahve played Pay and free, and I really haven't noticed a different between how people behave.

However, I ahve noticed a difference when you take size into account. New games tend to ahve a lot few assholes, regardless of the monthly cost.

Blizzard... again.... (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170153)

Wow proves that people are willing to pay as long as the product is what they wanted. Like the folks above, I've played SC and WC3 in different spans of 6-7 years each. I keep bragging about the price/entertainment-value I got: $70 (with expansions back then) for 6 years. Even with just average of 10 minutes a day, it comes down to about 20 cents per hour (excluding utilities).

New Idea for Micropayments (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170223)

You could house the hardware in a large single unit box and provide a slot to put coins in! You would let someone play until they have had a set number of characters expire- if they want to continue playing they can put more money into the slot to get more 'lives'

Should I patent this idea?

Because people don't pay $60 for indie products (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170329)

Indie developers pursue this because its hard to get people to spend $50 or even $25 for a game they haven't read a review of, from someone or some company they never heard of before. Low prices (or free with another revenue stream) allow the game to go viral.

To me the last gaming revolution occurred 12 years ago in the form of shareware games. You see the evolution of that today on the iPhone app store with $5 (expensive games) that have free or $0.99 "Lite" counter parts. I expect various similar approaches my take off across all gaming platforms.

I am shocked that Google doesn't have a special type of adsense ad for in game use for casual games on the web or mobile platforms (read iPhone or Android).

rocket science (1)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170413)

rocket scientists... all of them... it only took them from the inception of gaming to realize their prices are assinine...

http://www.joystiq.com/2009/02/20/steams-left-4-dead-sale-increased-purchase-infection-by-3000/ [joystiq.com] 50% off 3000% increase in sales...

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2009/03/ut3-steam-sale-extended-due-to-2000-play-increase.ars [arstechnica.com] 40% off 2000% percent increase in sales

From my experience... (2, Informative)

CyberData4 (1247268) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170459)

I work for (I guess I should say DID work for as I'm on my two week notice...job laid off half of us last week) a small game company that makes free to play games for the PC. We have a loyal following but not NEARLY enough to entice advertisers in this economy into spending money for ads in our games. We don't use the most recent engines. But we use a very stable and powerful one for what we do. And lemme just say that free gaming, while possible will never have the quality of a large budget console or pc game. Just not enough money to pay enough programmers/artists/testers...etc.

Going the way of cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170609)

What will happen is it will become like cable tv. Where you pay through the nose for the game and STILL have to view advertisement after advertisement.

All I Play Are Free Games (1, Offtopic)

daigu (111684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170675)

It started when I reformatted my drive and started using Linux exclusively and gave up TV about 10 years ago. Up until then, I used to buy games and had game consoles around. I last remember playing Metal Gear Solid like a man obsessed and getting a sound beating or two playing Starcraft online.

On Linux, there were plenty of games - GNU Chess [gnu.org] , Same Gnome [gnome.org] and so forth. There was no buying any games for Linux at that time, so I learned to like these games a lot. I imagine people must have had a similar experience with Microsoft's Solitaire.

When I got married, my wife needed a Windows machine to access work applications, so we had a Windows machine and I could purchase games again if I were inclined. But, it just didn't occur to me to buy games anymore. I found free games to be more interesting in some respects because they didn't have money for graphics, so they focused more on other things. This isn't knocking professionally created games. In my experience they're great, I just wasn't looking for them at this point.

I tried playing games that won The Interactive Fiction Competition [ifcomp.org] because I remember playing Zork back when I was young. I couldn't get into text adventures anymore, but I think it is worth exploring.

I had played Civilization before too. So, I tried freeciv [wikia.com] , which led to other free turn-based games like Battle for Wesnoth [wesnoth.org] and even returning to older games like Nethack [nethack.org] .

I then went on to try independent games that you had to pay a small amount for, like those made by Positech [positech.co.uk] .

I also tried Second Life and similar and found them to be glorified IRC chat rooms.

I'm getting into this history because I think it raises an interesting question. Why would anyone buy Halo III when they have never played the the first one? Particularly, if someone can buy the earlier editions for a fraction of their original cost now, and they would likely enjoy them as much as most people did the first time they played them, why not start there?

You may not be as extreme an example as I am, but I bet there are older games, free games or low-priced independent games that you have never played and would like. So, why are you buying the newest WOW expansion set (and paying the subscription fees) or HALO 3 - as soon as it comes out? Is it that you are so involved in these games? I can understand that because the one game I have purchased was Sid Meyer's Pirates - again, partially because I had played it before and liked it a lot. But, I don't want to assume that is true of everyone.

What about a new game? It's one thing to get the new Grand Theft Auto. It's another to get a totally new game. How do you decide to go with something just released - rather than buy something older that you haven't played before? Is it about having the newest and greatest in graphical features? What's the appeal?

Maybe you are such a hard core gamer that you've played most new games. But given the amount of time they require - is this really so? Maybe it is playing with friends, a la Quake. Maybe it's checking the review on Gamespot or Slashdot. Since I don't play them, I don't know. So was wondering if someone can offer a clue.

I guess part of my question is that I am looking at new things to try. I know there are a lot of good games out there that I haven't played. So, why would I be interested in these new models of game production or even new games? What do you suggest? What games do you think everyone should know? Is there a great game out there that you think most gamers have missed?

For example, I remember reading about one game in Slashdot where you are a pencil or something and you role around and things stick to you - something from Japan. I've also heard someone that taught for a year teaching English in Japan about a game where you try to run a bullet train on schedule. I suppose this also brings up the question of games from outside the U.S. and the English speaking world that don't necessarily require an understanding of the original language.

Anyway, this article just started me thinking, and I was hoping someone who understands it would be interested in explaining one of these points. Thanks in advance, if you do!

In-game advertising. (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170799)

From the first time I saw the ability to spray-paint "graffiti" on walls in Team Fortress Classic, I wondered when we would see in-game advertising in the virtual world the game created.

When I played later games of Half Life and saw soda and vending machines in the virtual world, I wondered why those virtual vending machines did not have real-life logos on them, and why money did not change hands to make it happen.

How many millions upon millions of people are in virtual gaming worlds every day? Why not have virtual product placement or advertisement in these games? I don't think it would have to detract from the gaming experience at all. In fact, it could add to the realism.

I should patent this idea and be rich. :)

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