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Op Ed

GIGAOM - Valve’s Portal 2 Early Release Promotion- Innovative or Crass. Thanks nin.
Those efforts, though, highlight why the Portal 2 promotion has limited appeal. The fans are open to getting content in different ways if they see value in it. That’s a key part of Kickstarter’s proposition: that projects need to offer supporters some kind of reward for their pledge. With the Portal 2 promotion, it takes up to $40 to do your part to get the title released early — (you can also buy games individually) which is a fair amount to spend on games — so you can have the privilege of spending more money on the game you really want. And there’s no tipping point like in Kickstarter to ensure an investment will pay off in the desired action. People just have to buy up and hope that others join in too. It may be a nice gesture to support indie game developers, but for people who are really just interested in Portal 2, it can be a little too much selling. Finally, the pay off is pretty minimal. It would be nice to get a game early, but with the April 19 release date fast approaching and the threshold for release a ways off, it’s not that much of a benefit to get the game a few days early. A week or more, and that might be cool.

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24. Re: Op Ed Apr 18, 2011, 13:04 Parallax Abstraction
Creston wrote on Apr 18, 2011, 12:59:

I have no rage over this promotion, I wasn't actually even aware of it until this morning. It just seems stupid.

And yes, the promotion as it is NOW is nothing but beneficial to everyone. This is still the game industry we're talking about. It won't take them long to turn it around so it's only beneficial to you if you actually take part and PAY.

DLC when it first came out was strictly "additions to a game."

It didn't take long before it turned into a "content we're withholding, even though it's already included, until you pay extra" scheme.

All in all, it seemed like a lot of hoopla over something that tons of people apparently took part in, only for a ridiculously minor change in release date.


I do get your concerns and I agree that the game industry isn't above pulling a stunt like that. But for any AAA title to succeed in the way the market works like now, it needs massive hype and needs people there on day one. Over something like 90% of a game's sales happen in the first month. If publishers start promotions where it forces potential customers to either buy into pre-release content or wait weeks to play (especially with titles where a strong multiplayer community is key), it's a recipe for disaster. I wouldn't be surprised to see one of the big publishers try that idea and I guarantee you it will be the only time they do because that title will be pirated six ways from Sunday and will be a financial disaster.

I think this is a fundamentally different situation than how DLC has evolved into making people pay for a complete experience but really, even that hasn't played out the way people predicted years back. This is an industry where profitability is becoming based on luck alone in most cases and there's no doubt that increasingly desperate companies will try increasingly desperate things. But I think something like this just wouldn't work for them. Most people already think $60 for a console game is too expensive and with such a selection out there, very few will pay substantially more just to get the game on release day.
Parallax Abstraction
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