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Why Didn't You Buy GSB?

"Why didnít you buy Gratuitous Space Battles?" is the question posed by Positech's Cliff Harris on Cliffskiís Blog, attempting to open another dialogue with gamers similar to his query a couple of years ago about why games are pirated. Here's a bit: "I am NOT complaining. I am NOT moaning about sales. I am NOT unhappy with sales, I am not whining or anything like it. I just like making games that people enjoy, and I donít know why the people who didnít buy it, didnít buy it. Iíd like to know. The answers may well make it a better game for everyone, if I fix those reasons (if they make sense). It will make the game attractive to current fence-sitters, better for current owners, and more sales for me and my cats."

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29. Re: Why Didn't You Buy GSB? Jun 5, 2010, 19:02 Ray Marden
I can't speak to the pirate perspective, but I would ask how big of a market this type of game actually has and what percentage of that market this game has?

Let me make this clear - I don't really hold much interest in this genre and I tend to be selective both in what games I buy and what price I pay for them. I have never play GSB and I've previously - through complete ignorance - written it off as typical indie shooter.

From the perspective of non-interest, the website doesn't hook me on the game:

  • Big, garrish logo.

  • Music playing which is just BOOM BOOM SMASH CRASH BASH.

  • The top row of screenshots make this game look like a cl*st*rf*ck.

  • The website layout reinforces this idea - running at a resolution of 1920x1200, only about 1/3 of the screen is actually dedicated to anything game relatead and 2/3 of the screen is just images of the above BOOM SMASH CRASH BACH. Repeated vertically to boot.

  • The animated horizontal image is just zooming in and out of more cl*st*rf*ck stuff.

  • Tell me about the game. I'm looking for just a bullet list of items and instead I have a wall of text trying to glorify the game. BSG references? DS9? Nostalgic quotes? Personally, this stuff tends to make me think one of two things: this game is full of itself or the hype is greater than the gameplay.

  • I get to the image in the lower left corner and I see some ship with an inventory crammed full of stuff (this just screams out more cl*st*rf*ck even in the game mechanics) and what looks like 15+ equipment slots (is this some mindless action game or some painfully technical RTS/management game?)

  • There is a line about this being the "Prettiest 2D game..." and my obvious question is if this is truly a 2D game or a 2.5D game. I'm hoping it's the latter in this day and age, but the website background isn't helping my impression (the background isn't terrible, but it's very soft and makes the art look like it is at a low resolution.

  • Only at the bottom bottom of the page do I see the YouTube clip playing - I realize this is the source of the annoying music and annoying sounds I was hearing. Of course, by now, I've missed the entire point of the video so I have to replay it - only then do I maybe give it some credence for being a decent looking game, having some appreciation for its seeming scope of battle, and have some explanation of the previous screens I was viewing.

  • Then there are just questions about the info shoved at the bottom. The Swarm? Is there a package I buy today that lets me own this game or am I already only getting half of what is available? Oh, this is made by some company called Positech Games? There is an admission that minimum specs are routinely requested, but this is only addressed as three sentences at the bottom of the page?

  • Only when I got to the bottom of the page did I actually see anything that began to sell me on the game, explained some initial questions I had, and addressed the performance question.

    Finally, what is the price? $23 for the core game? $41 for the full series? $51 for a physical release? This is priced out of my limited interest in the genre, the various games I am currently playing, as well as other games I am looking at right now. Just Cause 2 is $30 at Target, 3D Dot Game Heroes is $30 at Gamestop (with a $10 future purchase coupon,) Demon's Souls is $30 at GoGamer, God of War III is $40, various "Platinum Hits" console games are $20-$30, etc.
    To say nothing of the game credits I have through Amazon.
    Ultimately, I'm not the target demographic so you can feely tell me to go piss off. But given my limited interest in the genre and the price level, I think you probably are looking at a niche audience to begin with. If you do want to get a sale from somebody like me, you definitely need to revise the pricing and maybe tweak how the game is presented.

    Now having said that, I'll have to try the demo this weekend so I can literally STFU and actually see what the game is really like.
    In summary, I'm just a stuck up *ssh*l*.
    Thinking that, if I like it, the price would be a hurdle,

    This comment was edited on Jun 5, 2010, 19:09.
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