Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pay to spectate: the real world game monetizing

The real world games are strictly fair, non-newbie-friendly and zero-sum PvP games. If you play football, you have to adhere to the rules. If your team is weak, you'll be defeated badly. No one will give you an achievement for entering the field. Same for chess or even tabletop games the kids play: the rules are clear, the players are opposing each other and only one can win. Getting unfair advantage is hunted and harshly punished, just ask Lance Armstrong. Sportmanship is expected and enforced, flamers are punished.

It's a very sharp contrast to video games where "everyone is a winner and a hero" and also the rules can be bent with paying money to the game organizer (the developer). It's like the UCI were selling the drugs to Armstrong. Sportmanship is practically non existent. Let's add no-life play (getting game scores while the competitors are asleep), which is simply unimaginable in a real world game. Why?

Because video games are either pay-to-play or pay-to-win, while real world games are pay-to-spectate. The football player or cyclist doesn't pay anything. He is paid. The ones who pay for the show aren't players but spectators. They should have fun, and their fun must not be spoiled by cheating or even toxic behavior. This environment creates the professional gaming atmosphere of the real life which serves as an example for "casual gaming". While you pay-to-play if you rent a tennis field, "they" (organizers, other player) won't let you break the rules of tennis because they expect the "big game" be represented in their casual game. Also, they don't want their place to have a bad name.

The point is that the interest of the player is to behave as he wish and to win without effort. In video games, he is a customer and if the developer finds a way to serve this entitlement without alienating another paying customer, he will go that way. It's done by pushover NPCs who can be killed by the worst of players and never complain, or non-paying players who might complain, but no one cares. On the other hand the real world professional athlete is not a paying customer, the specators are. No one cares if he doesn't have fun, no one cares if he is frustrated because he had to submit the 10th urine sample on this day, there are thousands who'd love to take his place, because of the fame and payment. The fun of the paying customers: the spectators matter.

Maybe the future of video gaming is brighter than we see now. As companies want more money, they might turn to spectating. The various streaming services point this way. There are also efforts to recognize video gaming as a "real sport". As soon as spectators will be the major income source of developers, all kind of cheat-selling, no-life, toxic attitude will be purged. What the demands of millions of forum posters can't do, the presentation of one accountant can achieve.

Maybe this will happen in our life. Hope dies last.

13 comments:

Provi miner said...

Bs and you know the players pay. For instance the entry fee for World Series of poker 10,000 and all but a few finish on top. Chess the same, in fact most organized activities have the competitors pay in with only a few high end players making money.

MoxNix said...

"Because video games are either pay-to-play or pay-to-win, while real world games are pay-to-spectate. The football player or cyclist doesn't pay anything. He is paid. The ones who pay for the show aren't players but spectators. They should have fun, and their fun must not be spoiled by cheating or even toxic behavior. This environment creates the professional gaming atmosphere of the real life which serves as an example for "casual gaming". While you pay-to-play if you rent a tennis field, "they" (organizers, other player) won't let you break the rules of tennis because they expect the "big game" be represented in their casual game. Also, they don't want their place to have a bad name."

First Person Shooters are video games that don't fit your theory.

FPS games are neither pay-to-play nor pay-to-win. There are spectators, some players actually do make money and there are consequences for getting caught cheating.

Anonymous said...

If you can "win" by playing when the competition is asleep, it's not a competitive game, period.
If you run 2h every night while I sleep, ceteri paribus, you will end up running faster than me.

maxim said...

Already happening in professional eSport gaming scene.

Games in general do suffer from being an encapsulated experiences with poor spectability, though. A good way to think of it is that the person is being his own athlete performing for free, and then pays for spectating himself in various situations.

Rob said...

The difference isn't between the types of games. I play football for fun all the time and we don't strictly enforce rules because it's a laugh. At the same time there are professional gaming competitions, where the rules are incredibly strict.

What you're talking about isn't the difference between a real world game and a computer game, it's the difference between a game played as a professional career and a game played for entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Toxic attitude is already being pretty harshly persecuted in, say, professional League. Example: http://na.lolesports.com/articles/league-legends-competition-ruling-dennis-%E2%80%9Csvenskeren%E2%80%9D-johnsen

The problem that presents itself is that this only provides an excuse to persecute toxicity from players that "the public" cares about. It's like sportsmanship in world cup soccer vs sportsmanship in a grudge match of soccer between rival cliques.

(Though that comparison still lacks, as you'll at least see the rival clique again while you'll pretty much never meet the random guy you insult in League again.)

Anonymous said...

Try and take your M&S groups into eSports, and you will find out the difference between what you and I do, "Playing for fun", and what Esports do "Playing to get paid".

In the real world, in amateur gaming, the rules get ignored all the time, and you pay to go to the club, or the football team.
This is like gaming. Everyone does get to win, and sometimes people even get asked to lose to give someone else a chance.

If you want to move away from this, try your skill at eSports ;)

Ryanis said...

About the intro :
"The real world games are strictly fair, non-newbie-friendly and zero-sum PvP games. [...] No one will give you an achievement for entering the field. Same for chess or even tabletop games the kids play: the rules are clear, the players are opposing each other and only one can win."

I disagree: kids don't play to win, they play because they like playing. They don't like to loose, but they would play even if they knew they would loose at the end.

Also, thing about RPGs (I mean, not the compute based RPGs, but the real RPGs where you actually use your imagination and RP): at the end, there is no winer, nor looser (except maybe if you die during the game, but that's rare).

Also, several games are entering E-Sport. cf. other comments. But what are called MMORPG today are focused on the player only (despite calling themselves "Massively Multiplayer"): you play for your XP, your gear, your skills, your achievments. Noting interesting to watch.
The only exception today is GW2 where PvP matches are designed for spectators (even if I don't see what is interesting in watching them...)

Iiene of Kul Tiras said...

The difference between true games with strict rules and video games is their consistency. In true games the rules are precisely the same for everyone, and as such, enforceable and fair.

In a video game, the rules change on whim of the "artiste" creating the game. They're not making a true game, rather they're making an environment. There is no way to make it fair without equalizing the sides. And that isn't going to happen.

Then there are games like WoT (And other FTP games), which is more of a gambling machine without the cash payout.

In a true game, you compete against others. In a video game, you really compete only with yourself.

Can you imagine Eve if EVERYONE was an effective trader? You'd barely survive. You're not competing against other players as individuals, you're competing against an environment created by the gestalt of all the other players.

StoneJager said...

@ Ryanis:

'kids don't play to win, they play because they like playing. They don't like to loose, but they would play even if they knew they would loose at the end'

Perhaps this speaks to the relative 'immaturity' of gamers? Games have only recently started to evolve to a more directly competitive/eSports status.

See Mabrick's most recent article regarding MMOs and evolutionary game theory. Interesting stuff.

Anonymous said...

You just brought an idea to my mind which I think might be the solution.

What if, the game company DID pay for or sponsor the top groups that played?

Here's the idea. It's almost exactly like EVE, except it's based off content not ISK.

First players pay for a subscription. Each month, only players who have beat the top content (as defined by the game) gets paid good (Top 1-2% of content beaten) gets paid decently. From there it drops off (top 3-through 20%) gets their subscription paid, the rest get to "Spectate" removing a lot of M&S who since they are bad and don't want to pay to go away.

The game stays solvent because of a lure of being paid well if you are good, with people paying monthly subs to have the chance at good money. Top guilds will only want great players.

Also, the game will have a time limit each day for players to play (or some method to reduce the amount one can do something, as you have suggested with mining in the past), since it's a competitive game and players are paid very well, to remove No lifers from the equation.

Finally, the company twitches or whatever else to generate more income from true spectators (Perhaps a true spectator in game avatar, where you can see the action as it unfolds) and then the game can really take off from there.

Of course, this will also have to mean that the developers will have to create content on a constant basis, perhaps month after month unlocks. (One dungeon/wing or whatever at a time) with really tough boss battles.

Now of course this is just a rough draft but I think the idea is worth thinking about.

S Riojas said...

A FPS game may not fit neatly into his statements of Pay to Play or Pay to Win, but the sportsmanship is a severe issue.

In fact, sportsmanship in FPS drops significantly when you move from privately run servers to corporate run servers. The difference between Black Ops 1 and being able to kick cheaters or people who were not being good sports and Black Ops 2 where you cannot kick cheaters or bad sportsmanship is tied to the difference between public and private servers.

SilverCurve said...

I agree with most of your ideas, except the distinction between "real world games" and "video games".

Both types have "competitive activities" and "casual activities". League of Legends tournaments are competitive. A marathon is an event where "everyone wins". In a marathon, it's competitive among the top players, but it's also casual-friendly. And you're right, marathon is casual-friendly because people pay to play.