We love the words ‘free’ and ‘rewards’. In this I am no different. This setting all started when I was taking a look at some version of ‘merge life’ iPad game. The game starts nice enough, challenging enough and I saw the warning ‘absurd amount of advertisements’ yet initially when I started that was not really the case. So after 10-15 minutes I had reached stage 2 and the game was oddly satisfying. It was then that the advertisement wave hit me. Close to one advertisement EVERY 30 SECONDS. Yes, that was absurd and after 2 advertisements I deleted the game. But the mind took a wander and I remembered something from the AC Brotherhood time. Yes Ubisoft did do good things, even innovative things. But the idea got twisted in my mind to something more. I wrote in a previous article about games for Amazon Luna, not sure if I did this (I have written over 2000 articles). There are two stages in this.
Board games. Most forgot about the power of board games. They are simple games, but a setting we always return to. We do not need to kill everyone (I mostly do). There is tranquility in a game of chess, a game of checkers, a game of Monopoly, a game of Backgammon, a game of Shogun (and so on). But what w forget is that most people prefer to play alone. Now, there is some need to connect to like minded people, people who just want to play a game. For them there are three options. Set up the Luna to facilitate for 2-4 players, connect to up to 3 online players and play alone with computer managed NPC’s. The powers behind consoles and streamers forgot about that, didn’t they? Now the optional connected IP is separate and for another day.
When it comes to rewards, Ubisoft forgot a side (it was fair enough) but when we have mobile games they could lead to a lot more visibility. For the example I will use the Fable Pub games. You play the games and you get the rewards. In the mobile game it might be about money, yet the goal is to get to the 5 star (might have been 4 star) point. When you get there you will get 2 rewards. So each game there (Keystone, Fortune’s Tower and Spinnerbox) will result in a direct reward, a weapon, or an outfit that is linked to Fable in Amazon Luna (just as an example), the second reward is a Luna Key. Each board game will get a Luna Key, so if you play 4 games, each of the 4 games will get a key. And the Luna key will open a special option. So in the examples given Chess will give you a new board and a new chess set, Backgammon will give you a new board and stones (there are Indian, Egyptian boards and stones), Monopoly will give you an NHL, NFL or other city board, Shogun has additional colours and Japanese family crests and so on. Additional rewards that can grow the interest in other games and that is beside the setting that could be offered. All stages forgotten or ignored and why? Is the setting of a Luna Key so complex? Is the setting of offering the player something more not enticing? I would think that with all the bugs Ubisoft introduced they might go overboard pleasing the customers they so often disappointed.
The stage of giving a player more is important (and growing in need), especially now. There are the bugs the glitches, yet when you add the congestion it comes down to the choice of limiting yourself to urban players, or give rural players options to play when there are too little. There is also the need to feed the beast (the players), they need to go to work, they need to be somewhere else and setting a stage where the player can optionally play a fitting mobile game (like Ubisoft did for AC Brotherhood) where the player can play to get a new unique 5 star blade, pistol, outfit or whatever. A stage that adds to the game, not replace it, or circumvent thresholds. Offer more, offer unique and they will love the brands they embrace even more. Machiavelli stated (in some form) “There is such a gap between how people actually live and how they ought to live that anyone who declines to behave as people do is schooling himself for catastrophe” it gives the setting for leaders to adhere to needs, but there is a hidden side here. “There is such a gap between how people expect rewards and how they should see them that anyone who declines to lead as people expects them to do is schooling himself for massive setbacks” It comes down to the stage of what exactly is a reward, if it needs to be earned (not paid for) it will grow in value, and gamers are all about earning showing that they had the goods to play the game. As an example CDPR (makers of Witcher III) created an in-game game named Gwent, we got to play for extra’s and it became a separate game too, now that game makes well over a million dollars annually. People got into the game and now it is a separate game that is leading gamers to more and the gamer has become willing to pay. The setting is that it is free and as people get into it they will spend the few dollars they need to get more cards and expansions. For streamers it is not that easy. The enticement of a monthly fee needs to be there, so as games add more value, the threshold for gaming THERE lowers and people become more eager to play and will play for all the free rewards, which is an oxymoron. As gamers get more by playing, they will play more and call other people to their cause. Yet we must not forget that at times the player needs a solitary moment and as systems accomodate that, the gaming borrow will become ever more comfortable. Consider the board game Man, don’t get angry (Indian: Pachisi). A 1914 game that so far has sold more than 70,000,000 copies. Yes most in an era that is pre IBM PC XT, yet we have always returned to places of comfort, for nostalgic reasons, for the simplicity of play and for the stage of pure randomness. You see too many games are all about changing the setting of what the dice do, too many are seemingly less random than we think and within ourselves we see that, even if the brain is not detecting it yet. You think it is chance that you are one square away from winning when the ‘computer adversarial pig’ throws double six? We automatically feel that it is bad luck because we see ‘dice’ but we forget it is a computer animation and that setting is starting to bite more and more, so the power of real randomness, of a real chance to win is becoming more and more important. In this as Amazon is developing games and Google is not, they have the advantage (I do not know where Netflix stands at present). And it is up to Amazon to create the most comfortable burrow (read: man cave) we can have before the competitors catch up. For now they are all about ‘Let Ubisoft do the cool stuff’ (glitches included), it is about comfort levels, especially in gaming. Niccolò Machiavelli wrote about this in 1513 (yes over 500 years ago). The greed driven seem to ignore it, the lesson was quite clear and whilst the greed driven come up with more versions of some form of Antón Castillo we can just investigate the list and see that games like Call of Duty did make $20 billion, but it is a mere 20% of what Pokemon made and Pokemon for the most is Nintendo only. There is an upside to tailoring to fun, it is what the people want and it is a lesson Microsoft (Sony too) have forgotten to much, too easily and too completely and it makes Nintendo the real threat to Sony, Amazon could go a similar route and surpass Microsoft more easily than they think (the fact that Microsoft is often in denial helps too).
As I see it the consoles (streaming or not) is one, yet the ability to correctly connect a mobile or tablet has a lot more going for it than most realise and as that link is more and more visible the connected system (console or streamer) will reap additional rewards as well.
Just a thought, enjoy the day.