Did ShimmyShimmyYa Take It Too Far?

Today’s point to ponder comes from someone we don’t think we’ve ever mentioned before:

did shimmyshimmyya take it too far

Hmmm, but isn’t this a bit of a chicken and the egg scenario? A good game will make money by default – especially if it is being marketed by a studio with plentiful marketing resources (albeit this is no longer so much the case in the downloadable game era) – but naturally from word of mouth (or word of blog/Tumblr!) recommendations. Look at the quiet revolution that was Limbo.

Furthermore, is Will Wright really quite the Corinthian spirited game designer the myth would have it? The Sims series, remember, came from the back of the ludicrous series of spin offs he created with undue haste on the back of the Sim City franchise’s success – Sim Ant, Sim Farm, Sim Earth – and The Sims (which Wright admitted was originally a spin off from the Sim Ant concept) was accepted by EA despite Maxis opposition to it, something the Maxisvangelicals tend to conveniently forget when they get all misty eyed about the ‘good old days’.

Maxis didn’t want to back it because ‘it’s a girl’s game, and girl’s don’t buy games’, whereas EA greedily eyed up the long sought after crock of gold promised to the video game studio which could finally tap into the elusive girl gamer market: noting the popularity of ‘dress up doll’ websites, they knew a winner when they saw it.

That said, ShimmyShimmyYa is correct in pointing out that if the only goal is to make the maximum amount of money, you will not make a good game, because your task is to nickel and dime players at every turn.

By its own definition, you will hamstring your own creation to see how much the original game can be left crippled but with tantalising hints of the greatness to come and which can be yours for a sizeable payment – hence how the whole ‘freemium’ racket began in the gaming industry.

The question is how long a company can get away with such a business model before its customer base’s patience wears out.

eg. One year on from Sims 4‘s release, and look at this:

did shimmyshimmyya take it too far 1

For the second time since its launch of only a year ago.

shakehead    point

What free trial was ever given for Sims 3? But then, it didn’t need one.

What do you think?

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