Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good Vibe, Bad Vibe

Sometimes, you just get a good vibe about an upcoming game. BioShock had a good vibe before it was released. Mass Effect has a good vibe. Rock Band has a good vibe.

Then there's Hellgate: London. Bad vibe.

What's interesting about Hellgate is that the bad vibe doesn't come from the game itself, necessarily, but it seems that the developers have spent more time thinking about the revenue models than the game, and those additional revenue streams have totally killed any desire I had to purchase the game.

To start with, there's the subscription model of paying a monthly fee to get additional content, as well as a slew of features for online mode that aren't available to the people who don't want to shell out more cash on a monthly basis. This has now bled over from affecting online only, though, to affecting the single-player game as well, because apparently the two highest levels of difficulty (Elite and Hardcore) will only be available to subscribers. See the Eurogamer preview here, which is where it's mentioned.

Then, there's the demo, which is a 1GB+ download for what has been universally described as very little playtime. Oh, and you also get Massive's adware downloaded as well. Could someone please explain to me how contemporary advertisements aren't disruptive in a post-apocalyptic environment? I don't understand how that can possibly work.

Besides the adware, reaction to the demo has been very mixed. I'm not even willing to try it out, because adware in a demo is ridiculous, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. If you're trying to convince me to buy your product, using me to increase your ad impressions is the wrong way to go about it.

Original interest level: high. Current interest level: zero.

Here's a fundamental marketing mistake: if people have spent the last six months spending more time talking about the game's revenue models than the game, then something has gone very, very wrong.

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