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KAOS Studios Postmortem

Gamasutra has a postmortem on the rise and fall of KAOS Studios, the developer formed by the team that created the Desert Combat modification for Battlefield 1942. An interesting element of the story is how the studios expansion resulted in hiring developers with more complete resumes than the managers they were working for and other hurdles they had to overcome to succeed in an increasingly competitive FPS genre.

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43. Re: KAOS Studios Postmortem Jul 8, 2012, 15:34 ASeven
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Jul 8, 2012, 14:30:
The one part I'm curious what you think about though is the new kind of gross freemium model a lot of mobile stuff is going to. My girlfriend and I bought a used iPad 2 earlier this year, mostly so I could try to see what all the hype was about. Most of the newer games coming out on that now are either $1 or free but they're all becoming full of these gross Skinner Box powerup and advancement methods to try to get far more money out of you for things even less valuable than a new skin or something. Pocket Planes is positively disgusting in this way (it's basically FarmVille with planes) and other titles like the follow-up to Flight Control and Infinity Blade do the same thing. Flight Control Rocket is a score driven game where you can artificially buy your way onto leaderboards and though you can ignore it, you can't be competitive otherwise and the games will constantly nag and remind you that you can and should be buying in. What people like Paul Barnett have been saying lately is that mobile gamers have become so used to paying practically nothing that even games at $5 are not viable anymore. But if everything becomes a Skinner Box, that's just bad for the medium I feel. Do you think that's going to get to be a bigger and bigger trend and how mobile's going to keep itself from burning out in a couple of years or do you think the public will get tired of it?

Well I believe the mobile market fits well with those types of games. For one nobody will be buying a mobile device strictly for gaming, not for a long time. You also have the nature of the users themselves, these are people who bought smartphones and iphones and have regular jobs and as such those type of games, where things usually take a determined amount of time to happen, is perfect for them. It's a sort of thing that helps kills time while on lunch breaks or office breaks or when at home waiting for dinner. The nature of the games itself lends to being played in a regular way with long intervals between each play and that fits perfectly with the life style of many people today.

I believe these games will keep on growing and growing on the mobile market and for a long time be the most played type of games there and they will evolve and add more innovation to their mechanics. However much like the mainstream market I can easily see market fatigue setting in in a few years time if they don't evolve these games and if they don't ease up the money milking tactics. I find that the best games of these kind are the ones where you can get everything even if it takes time and most of the items for sale are cosmetic.

Paul Barnett is correct about mobile gamers being used to paying practically nothing for their games and apps and that will be the biggest barrier to publisher's entry in this market, a barrier I'm not sure they'll ever be able to overcome. These freemium games will rule the mobile landscape for a while but their constant milking will ensure their demise unless they change to another, better model.
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