Bult out game series?

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John Roddy
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Bult out game series?

Post by John Roddy »

I much prefer my posts to be helpful as opposed to raising problematic issues, my intent in making this is certainly intended to be helpful to WDS. I think we might have an elephant is the room here in that I can think of at least one game series, the American Civil War series, and perhaps the Napoleonic games series some time later, that are approaching being built out.

I would like to open the topic for discussions as to what some of the consequences of a game series might be and some possible ways to keep us, the players, having motivation to support a built out series monetarily even when it is built out. Our reason for doing so would be to allow WDS additional time and money to presumably to develop some incredibly new next generation game engine that we would all immediately wish to purchase.

What I would like to do is suggest a way for it to make economic sense for WDS to continue to patch and implement game engine improvements in that interim period when the only new funds coming in to support that game series are from new players buying the games.

The idea I've had derives from a post I saw requesting a new game title for scenarios that didn't make it into the Forgotten Campaigns American Civil War game. When the Napoleonic series gets built out, there will obviously be hundreds of smaller actions that could also have merit as new scenarios. The thing is, is creating Lesser Actions of Such and Such Campaign, and then More Lesser Actions, and then Even Lesser Actions, and so on and so on, new games the best way to pay for all that scenario development work?

The possibility I'd like to open for discussion is that instead of putting out minor action games, to instead pay for adding lots of new additional scenarios by offering additional scenario collections for a fee that would hopefully be somewhat more modest than for the full game. The side benefit of this is that such a methodology would implicitly entail having to keep the game engine for that game system patched and yet also provides funds for that purpose. And, new scenarios for the players who want them while costing nothing for those having no desire for additional scenarios.

So, fellow WDS players, is this something you would support with your hard earned cash?
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Verdun1916
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by Verdun1916 »

To be honest I see no real problem here. Even if a game series comes to an end, in terms of no more titles will be added to it, that doesn't mean people will suddenly stop buying titles from that series (unless you have already purchased every title in that series). There will always be some stream of new commers to each series that will start buying the games of a perticular game series no matter if its "built out" or not. I've been playing JTS/WDS games for years and besides from the Strategic War Series, I have one or more titles from every game series. It will take me decades to play through the games I already have and continue buying more titles from most of the game series in the future until I have managed to get all the titles of any perticular game series at risk of beeing "built out". And I think most current aswell as future WDS players will find themself in a similar situation. Maybe there are a handfull of players who bulk buy an entire game series, but I don't think they are many.

When it comes to updates and improvement I feel confident that the WDS team will continue this type of support for every game series they have, no matter if a series is "built out" or still has potential for new game titles to be added. I also doubt that WDS, budget wise, only funnel money into such game support from income earned from sales from the games from said game series in question. I'm not an economics expert but I assume that money earned from every single title sold, no matter of game series is devided up and funneled to were the WDS team see a need to funnel it. Based on the needs of either updates, bug fixing or the development of new titles or even new game series depending on they see themself or based on what their customers suggests or asks for.

After all the WDS team are amazing in the way that they actually listens to their customers and fans and tries their best to cater to that in terms of updates, fixes aswell as new games/game series. And given their own love for both wargaming and military history I have no doubt that they will sontinue to come up with plenty of new games for many years to come, including new game series that might come out of such new developments.

Going down the DLC drain by starting to sell add-on packs for already existing games, no matter if said games belong to a "built out" game series or from a game series with room for plenty of new game titles in the future, is not a good choice. If it had been I think this would have been adopted along time ago by JTS already. After all additional content for money is not a new concept. And since JTS showed no interest in this before, and the WDS team seem to share that lack of interest in such a DLC-concept.There are plenty of other developers on the wargaming and sim markets that has gone DLC selling and other forms of pay for additional content for a game you have already purchased. In some cases this has worked and kept certain games and sims alive. But in many cases it has led to expensive base games lacking content that should have been included from the start that they then try and peddle through expensive DLC's that brings little of new value worth the price for the individual DLC. After all Steam for example is filled with such games. And in many cases it has casued the death of the game in question.

I think the WDS team is smarter than that. I think they will continue to provide the same level of free support, uppdates and fixes for lal their games and game series, no matter if a perticular series has come to an end or not, aswell as comming up with new game titles and game series to develop, sell and support.

But that's just my thoughts!

Cheers
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John Roddy
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by John Roddy »

Well, it is certainly possible that my owning all the games in several of the series influences my perception! However, if one considers the hypothetical question of a game company with mostly built out game series, well, would not revenue decline unless it turns out we live in an expanding universe of new players to purchase the built out game series?!
devoncop
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by devoncop »

Interesting discussion.

Personally I agree with Verdun.

I play the oldest WDS games as much as I do the newer offerings and time has not reduced the playtime (in fact the opposite now I am immersed in the amazing PBEM scene). The huge improvements to the UI and other systems WDS have made have in any case made it almost like a new game series and I know of several new players to the series suggesting there will always be a market for such games.

I am very very opposed to the paid for dlc model afore a few smaller scenario packs having seen how that has ruined Paradox Interactive (imho). There is a marketing incentive to push out substandard and often paper thin content dlc's as a cash cow to take advantage of the core devotees of a game series which has the perverse effect of disenchanting the majority of customers who see the cynicism at play. WDS attracts in my view huge loyalty from it's customers because they appreciate the quality and commitment put into each game along with the numerous free patches and I hope this never changes.

Ian
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Strela
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by Strela »

Hi All,

This is an interesting thread and probably worthy of a blog post to cover the WDS position.

Firstly, we do not intend to go down the paid DLC path. This is for a number of reasons, but we believe it will end up creating divisions between the player base on who has or hasn't got any particular DLC. It is also creates a layer of complexity from an entitlement perspective. Do we need additional serial numbers or other methods to ensure players are using DLCs legally. There are many more considerations beyond that.

Our preferred approach from a content perspective is to either provide a free expansion pack for an existing title or build a second, but related title. A second title would be a normal paid offering. We have done this for a number of titles and plan to look at this further. Free expansion packs are intended to build players interest in a previously released title, either purchasing it for the first time or considering related titles.

As far as a completed series, the original posters comments are correct. We are essentially 'complete' for both Civil War Battles and Napoleonic's. The thing is that complete, does not mean abandoned. We are continuing to enhance these series, whether it be with improved AI, standardization of PDT values, improved graphics and a plethora of other fixes, to keep them fresh. Very few players own all the titles in a series and with additional improvements, we believe that will convince players to either try a new series, or fill out their existing libraries. This is also helped as many of the pre-twentieth century titles are supported by the same programming team. So an improvement in Musket and Pike, if applicable could be ported across to Napoleonic's and beyond. Changes such as standardized UI's are also a boon and convincing players to look at titles they may have never considered previously.

As far as financial support, our only source is selling new games. It is important to note that we do not segregate our revenue into this series or that series, but it is a single bucket that we then fund development and other activities. We don't limit ourselves say to developing Civil War Battles with only Civil War Battles sales. New games come in two flavours as well. Brand new releases (of which we had five last year) and sales of existing titles. We are VERY fortunate to have a broad catalogue of over one hundred titles and it is the run rate of the catalogue that makes a huge difference. If we had to survive on one or two titles like other developers, we would be much more challenged. Selling existing titles brings us back to the areas that I mentioned above, improved AI etc that will keep the games topical and attractive to players who do not yet have them in their library.

Finally, we are developing new titles (and even series) and we are confident that with what we have in the pipeline, continued improvements to the existing library and a focus on further outreach to potential customers, that we can be here for many years to come.
devoncop
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by devoncop »

Thanks Strela.

Really interesting and encouraging post.
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Verdun1916
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by Verdun1916 »

John Roddy wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 11:29 am Well, it is certainly possible that my owning all the games in several of the series influences my perception! However, if one considers the hypothetical question of a game company with mostly built out game series, well, would not revenue decline unless it turns out we live in an expanding universe of new players to purchase the built out game series?!
Probably! I highly doubt every one currently playing WDS games already owns every single game title. Those of you that do are probably in a minority.

Just because one and two game series gets "built out", that doesn't mean all current game series will suffer the same fate for an overseeable future. Nor does it mean no new game series will not be developed and launched in the same overseeable future.

Panzer Campaigns, First World War Campaigns, Modern Campaigns, Squad Battles, Musket and Pike, Panzer Battles, Strategic War and Naval Campaigns all have massive potential for new future game releases. Modern Air War might be a bit more limited, but then again the possibillity for a new game series covering 1914 - 1950's air war is always a possibility.

I can understand for any player that only has an interest in the Napoleonic Campaigns, Early American Wars and American Civil War that doom might seem at the doorstep. But WDS has such a wide range of game series that these latter two beeing built out is hardly even close to threatening to the company. And new players will continue to buy games from these built out series long after they have been built out as long as there is an interest in wargaming on a PC.

So why WDS would stop developing their other game series or stop develop new ones just because 2 or maybe 3 out of 12 game series risk
beeing "built out"???

I fail so see any valid point in your hypothetical example as WDS is not a company in such a situation. And I seriously doubt WDS will end up in such a situation for the next couple of decades. I think a far greater threat to the company might be replacing the tallents to develop these games once the old guard start dropping off. But again I think this issue is something that lay far in the future.
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Verdun1916
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by Verdun1916 »

Also the modability and the ability for players to create missions and/or campaigns for many of the WDS game series I am sure will also mean even "built out" game series will continue to remain popular amongst both old and new players alike for a very long time.
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John Roddy
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by John Roddy »

The real issue that emerges is if sales of built out game series flatten out below a certain level and times are not flush overall, how long can resources still me made available for additional scenarios/enhancements for built out series? This is not a current issue but the hypothetical possibilities for the future I raised for consideration forms the basis for my mentioning three of the possibilities for approaching such a future should it come to pass.

And that is, rely on general revenue to fund additional scenarios/enhancements, issue son of son of game titles as proposed in another thread, or issue scenarios expansion collections that must be purchased.

I am a little surprised to see a fairly strong reaction against additional scenarios that must be purchased, but, then again, that is the whole point of having raised the issue as we enter the era of having built out game series for the first time. Thanks for sharing your views on this!
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Re: Bult out game series?

Post by oz77 »

IMHO, John Roddy raises an excellent point here.
Consider my example – I am into Napoleonic series and own all the titles. I fail to see how WDS can monetize me further unless:

1. There is a paid patch issued for a fee smaller than the base game. This is the sales strategy Battlefront.com follows.
Or
2. There is new content issued in the form of a DLC - a more common strategy for game developers.

I would be more than happy to support WDS via both options if they choose to follow either path. As of now, I am extremely unlikely to be monetized through different game series.

But perhaps I am an outlier, and most customers would not own all titles, focusing solely on one game series.
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