Recent Posts

The Economics of Battle Pass Are Broken. Let’s Fix It.
To be fair “dippin dots” hangs around

Monetization’s modern paradigm is defined by a direct store and battle pass (BP). After years (and ongoing) criticism of loot boxes, Fortnite re-wrote the rulebook in a way that seems to make both developers and players happy. However, it’s important to consider that at sufficient scale any monetization scheme looks like a winner. It’s unclear if Fortnite is a winner because of the pass or despite it. For instance, the collapse of Clash Royale’s monetization can be partly traced to the introduction of its own pass.

Why Do Game Genres Evolve? A Kuhnian Explanation
Yes, RTS fans, famous 1960s academics killed Dawn of War.

Modern live-service games have self-segmented in genres: match-3, 4x, collection RPG, battle royale, etc. We know these genres evolve and start to incorporate new mechanics. Over time, these mechanics become standard genre fare. For example, invest-n-express titles like Gardenscapes are an outgrowth of the match-3 genre, adding collection mechanics to the core match base. In HD, we’ve seen innovations like Apex Legends’ revive mechanic modified in Warzone’s Gulag – players fight for revival in a 1v1 mosh pit. But how could we better understand why game genres change rather than simply observing them change? I argue Thomas Kuhn can help.

Some Questions for Metaverse(rs)
Oh you thought we’d have legs in the metaverse?

The “metaverse” discussion seems more about cultural “in-group” signaling then a thorough exploration of an idea. It’s frustrating. Rather than talking about “what the metaverse will look like” instead we should examine the forecast of a “metaverse” altogether.

Is PS+ a Good Idea? I Analyzed 200+ Games to Find Out

Psyonix credits PS+ with vaulting Rocket League to success. Mediatonic decided to follow suit with Fall Guys. And after its success, Destruction All-Stars delayed their launch to be included in the program. Does PS+ deserve all credit it’s been given? There are some stark trade-offs worth examining.

Is There An Actual Case for Cyberpunk’s Delay?

Cyperpunk 2077 launched and it turns out the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game were riddled with bugs. This has lead to an avalanche of omniscient pundits declaring “I told ya so!”. My personally favorite roast in this Miyamoto meme.

A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad."  Shigeru Miyamoto - iFunny :) | Words of wisdom, Super funny memes, Funny  memes
Was Miyamoto around for the Wii U though?

Rushing development feeds into narratives around greedy firms. “If only they didn’t want so much money!” Much of this banter is comprised of cheap shots devoid of making real claims about what CDPR should have done. Should the game have been delayed an additional 4 months? 6 months? And if so, why? If the board really didn’t understand the scope of the bugs then the question turns to the organizational design CDPR. What organizational breakdowns led the lack of information the board had about the bugs in game. Were QA leaders not empowered to speak up or not trusted?

These are much tougher questions to answer. After all, as Pixar is fond of saying, “[Games] don’t get finished, they just get released”. The key question is when to release. There will always be bugs and there will always be new features to add. Ultimately, release timing is a cost/benefit decision. Relative to the additional development cost what increase in sales would we expect from a delay? Do we have ever higher margins from a 4 or 6 month delay? To be clear, Cyberpunk is already outselling all other CDPR games, hardley “one of the most visible disasters in the history of video games“. What further increase would analysts expect with what additional delay?

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