Surrender Dorothy

Surrender Dorothy

Surrender Dorothy

I don’t really know why I like this so much, but I do

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The long tail for games

If you look at this graph of the number of players per day for Battlefield: Bad Company (from 360voice), there’s an obvious trend – downwards.

Battlefield: Bad Company player graph

Battlefield: Bad Company player graph

The same thing happens for all games – people buy the game, play it a while, something else comes out and they lose interest. In fact, in my whole life I think I’ve only ever played one game to completion (Crusader: No Remorse).

However if you look at the same graph for Call of Duty 4, the number of players goes back up again – several times.

Call of Duty 4 player graph

Call of Duty 4 player graph

The difference is that the graph goes back up when they release new content.

When new content is released for Bad Company (the first one will probably be the Conquest game mode), people will remember that they enjoyed the game and haven’t played it for a while and will come back.

I don’t think game developers are doing enough to keep the attention of gamers.  Surely the long tail is in their interests – they can charge money for the new content, and with the model the way it is now they’re only making money every couple of years when they release a new game.

My suggestion is to release one new map a month until the next game comes out.

Making a new map is a lot quicker, uses cheaper labour and requires less testing than adding a new weapon or game mode.  If you charged as little as $1 for an extra map and 100,000 people bought it, you’ve just paid several employee’s wages for a whole year.

A month should be plenty of time to build and test a new map, and if you released a new map every month it would be enough to keep gamers reminded about your game.

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