April 13, 2011 | Filed under: business | gratuitous space battles0027
Here is a question for you. For how long after the release of a game do you think there should still be support for online features to that game?
I’m not talking MMO games here, obviously that should continue all the time any sort of subscription fee is being charged. I’m talking about games where you buy it once, and you own it, but part of the game is online. Like Guild Wars (although that’s all online) or, to a smaller extent: Gratuitous Space Battles.
Gamers are rightly angry when they suspect the servers for a game get shutdown just to encourage you to buy this years copy. EA are great at that, as I recall. The thing is, we can probably agree that if a game hasn’t sold a single copy in ten years, turning off the server is just fine. It’s silly to suggest otherwise. We also all know that most evil EULAs indicate the servers can be turned off when they fancy it, so it’s not a legal issue either.
What we lack, as an industry, is any sort of expectations or standards for this. If I buy Guild Wars today, and the server is turned off in 6 months time, is that just tough for me arriving late? Or is it understandable?
We could argue that as long as one person has bought the game in the last six months, the game should still be running, but what if that person bought the game in a steam sale or pay what you want deal for just $0.10. Still reasonable?
I guess to me, one benchmark would be profitability. If the server costs $100 a month to rent, and the game isn’t bringing in $100, it seems fair to axe it, although even then, what if 8 people bought it yesterday for $10 each? It seems right now a long way off for me to worry about that. GSB made much more than $100 yesterday, let alone this month, and as a fraction of the server costs, it probably doesn’t cost $100 a month to run anyway. Also, the server is busy:
New challenges posted in last 24 hours: 48 Challenge victories in the last 24 hours: 143 new survival mode scores in the last 24 hours: 6 challengevictory: 170
This will not last forever though. When sounds reasonable to you as a gamer?
****Note: I can’t see the GSB server being shutdown deliberately before 2015 at this rate, so don’t panic :D****