Welcome to my first blog post! I hope you enjoy the read.
You’re probably thinking what my title “games are no longer games” means and you have every right to think that’s a weird title. But I believe there is a lot of truth behind my title, I’m not talking about board games or pc games, I’m talking about mobile games or known as apps. I have a growing concern within the app store that I am seeing and this increasing concern is IAP (in app purchases). We all know that IAP has received a lot of press, especially here in the UK about forced payment. Anyway I’m not going to talk about this on my first post as we know there is two sides to every coin. I want to talk more about the game mechanics behind strategy games and how I feel like I am being punished every time I play games such as Clash of Clans or the other so called “free to play” games, but before I move on I want to make it perfectly clear that im not against COC (which I use as a example in my post) or any other type games or the company’s/developer’s behind them. I play them and I enjoy them just as much as you and I’m only highlighting my concern and I believe we can be inspired by these developers…so moving on.
Am I being Punished?
To be honest I think yes, if not then it certainly feels like it. For example here I am building my city I have few diamonds or gems, some gold, wood etc the game is pretty damn exciting at first and I am ready to invade, conquer, destroy, steel gold and other resources! I can sit happy and know I’m victorious. That is what I call a” game” and the definition of a game from wikipedia is “A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.” what I don’t read here is please wait 12hr, 24hr or even 8 days for you building to be built unless you want to buy gems to complete. I have nothing against people who spend there money on buying gems or diamonds, major developers have to earn money somehow, but when a game clearly states “free to play” and then makes you wait gets me very frustrated. It ruins the element of fun and makes me as a player feel like I am being punished because I am not buying gems or diamonds. Dare I say there is a sense of greed? But my growing concern is every time I see a new strategy game on the market it’s going to have the same game mechanics, and developers will no longer know how to create a great game without the core focus being about IAP to process faster in the game. I will no longer allow myself to be caught in a game when I know what to expect, for example in Clash of Clans I believe my castle is level 7 it’s been that way for a number of months and will probably stay that way, why you ask? To upgrade I will need 2000000 gold and it will take some time to get that as you can imagine, but I find as I reach my goal, a higher level player will always come along and take what they please! They clearly will have to either spend day and night on the game or use real money to purchase gems for upgrades. Don’t get me wrong if they want to spend there money on it thats fine! This in my view is where the game mechanics need to change in these strategy style games, clash of clans, boom beach, hay day, farmville, game of war. They all may have different interfaces/stories but they have the same mechanics “pay to advance” or wait.
So I have talked enough about the IAP/Gems system, I now want to talk about the solution to all this, there is no point me talking about my concern without coming up with some sort of solution. I am not expecting supercell of any other major company to actually take notice, after all supercell alone in In app purchases make daily $2.4 million and 8.5 million daily players that is an incredible achievement. But for the user/player something needs to change especially if your not willing to spend money on in app purchases.
On to my solution for strategy style games.
1. Those who regularly purchase items through the IAP should only play against those who do the same.
2. Those who have never spend a penny through IAP should play against those who do the same.
3. Their needs to be some sort of engage/battle button on the screen. This can allow players wether they are playing for free or not to engage in battle. We have already seen this being welcomed on COC for clans to go to war.
But what about the gems/diamond situation? Should players who play for free no longer get gems/diamonds? To be honest no in my opinion the developers would have to completely change the game mechanics this costs time and money. My solution to this would be less building times and allow me to use my gold to decrease building time or complete my building. I can get more gold in a week than I can gems. How about more builders for different tasks?
The latest COC update did allow the two builders to work on different assigned tasks but to be honest it didn’t really do much for me because I am still waiting!!! Lets see the gold, gems and workers work together in the game to decrease my building time.
The developers should collect data on the players who paying and who are playing for free (I’m sure they already are?) to give a different type of experience from the two types of player’s. The players who use IAP will have more of a intense/aggressive gameplay, where as those who don’t pay will have a longer calmer gameplay. This allows those who don’t pay a more of a organic flow to the game.
To be honest I believe both solutions could work together in one way or another.
So games are no longer games? We all have opinions and until I see more of an element of fun rather than feeling punished I will think definitely.
I welcome any comments even if you agree or strongly disagree, there are two sides to every coin and everyone has an opinion. This is a topic which I’m sure I will highlight again, my next blog post will be on Organic gameplay and what does that mean?
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Cheers and beard on people!
The Bearded Englishman