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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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43. Re: Why Didn't You Buy GSB? Jun 6, 2010, 00:43 ReverendTed
 
Well, all this talk earned a demo download, since I happened to have some free time this evening.

I stuck with it long enough to "get it", I think.
I won't buy it because I don't think there's enough there for me beyond what the demo offers.
I can see the upgrades and the honor points and the "goal" of beating larger fleets with smaller fleets and unlocking more "stuff", but I didn't really feel any compelling reason to pursue it.
It might be something as simple as setting tiers for completion of a mission - Bronze, Silver, Gold-style affairs to give some sense of how successful your success was, comparatively.
Beyond that, the demo simply doesn't allow a person to get into the groove of progression, since nothing's unlockable, and no enemy presented requires unlockable content. That is to say, "Oh man, they keep annihilating me, I need some new trick up my sleeve. Oh, hey, this EMP weapon is just 3000 honor points - that might do the trick."

However, even if I was "hooked", the price point is higher than I'd be willing to pay. $9.99 is a pretty good point, and you might see a lot of takers. Heck, you could even do one of those "pay what you want" campaigns. I know there's this concern that pricing your product at a value point could paint it as "cheap", but this far out, every new sale is probably a sale you wouldn't have ever had at the current price point.

That said, would I buy it at $9.99? Would I buy it at any price? Probably not, because it doesn't seem like the sort of thing I'd rather play than the other things rolling about on my hard drive or available for free on, say, JayIsGames.
So, again, probably not your target audience. At the moment, I'm more into FPS, sandbox action, adventure, room escape, and retro-platformers.

Unrelated to the question you asked:
I liked the tutorial prompts that get you far enough into the experience to get started.
I felt like the audio tapered off too steeply when zooming out.
It was difficult to tell which ships were having certain effects. (For instance, someone in the tutorial mission kept hitting me with an EMP device and I was never entirely sure who.)
It's fairly straightforward to see how damaged an enemy ship's hull is, but difficult to know how much (if any) damage is being done to the shields.
I could have done with a few more lines at the top dedicated to my team's chatter.
Sometimes I wanted to keep watching a ship's stats, only to have them disappear as I clicked to move my view. (Eventually I got in the habit of moving the view by mousing to the edges.)
It seems more like a toy than a game. (This is not necessarily a bad thing.)
I think I get the idea behind simply observing battles, and I think it's a fine decision, but yeah, I guess it does seem a little like a whole bunch of foreplay only to watch someone else have the sex.
Perhaps a change of title to more accurately reflect the gameplay, say, "Gratuitous Space Battle Manager" or "Interstellar Battle Fleet Tycoon".
 
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