September 8, 2007

Mark Jacobs: Keep Fighting the Good Fight!

Virtual World News has a transcript from the Austin Game Developers Conference (AGDC) entitled: What Are the Biggest Online Gaming Opportunities?

The panel featured:
John Blakely (VP of Sony Online Entertainment)
Mark Jacobs (VP EA, Studio GM EA Mythic)
Raph Koster (President Areae)
Erik Bethke (CEO GoPets).

Moderated by: Matt Firor.

Mark Jacobs goes on the defensive and offensive about microtransactions, RMT, and garbage games that think they can make a buck. This is why I will forever be a fan of Mark Jacobs. He has always stuck to his guns about RMT and the "how can we make more money" attitudes. Many people may doubt Mark's look on the market, but few can prove him wrong.

When everyone in the world told him he couldn't make Dark Ages of Camelot, he did it. Not only did he do it, but he spurred Mythic to do it in a 24 month timeline. On top of this, DAoC launched nearly flawlessly. Sure some mistakes happened with expansions, but DAoC has held onto a relative strong player base and provided for Mythic to pursue further endeavors.

In this transcript, Mark Jacob spends a lot of time saying no. Raph Koster stays pretty centered with his ideals on Web 2.0 and his plans to capitalize on a non-traditional game. However, both Blakely and Bethke spend an inordinate amount of time demanding that they are right with no proof whatsoever.

The argument seems to be that just because something makes money it is good for the market. Jacobs smartly informs the panel that isn't the case. What's good for the market is good solid games, not developers nickel and diming customers. All the other trash will be swept under the carpet; where it belongs.

1 comment:

Scott said...

I think RMT or microtransactions could work provided:

1) the game was built with that design in mind from the get-go

2) players can buy content such as EQ2 does now, and The Agency will be doing with their "velvet rope" policy. Do *NOT* allow players to buy the best gear in the game, however, which would give them a decided advantage over those who did not. Free Realms plans on selling new clothing, pets, etc. on their item shop, but Smedley specifically said the shop was for fluff stuff, not gear that would give an advantage over others.

We've been doing the $15/month model for awhile now. Years ago, that was the only model there was so we sucked it up and accepted it. But years ago there were only a scant handful of subscription games on the market - that is no longer the case. Along with that, more and more players try out multiple games. Many we'd like to stick with but can't (or won't) afford to do that. Sony's Station Pass is nice, but only if you're playing SOE's games. At some point, someone is going to have to wake up and realize that instead of trying to make consumers give up on a competitor's product exclusively in favor of yours, that the consumers would like to have more options available with their entertainment dollars. Do you exclusively buy CD's from artists on a single music label? Do you exclusively read novels from authors on a single publisher? Do you exclusively watch movies or buy DVD's only from a single movie studio? No, we want what happens to suit our individual tastes regardless of which studio or publisher is releasing it.

Moving from a subscription model has the potential of seeing a lot more boxes sold, a lot more costomers sticking around, as well as more money being made.