The unholy trinity and the modern game

I was sitting here thinking about one post I made on uBSN’s (unofficial BioWare Social Network) forum.

In the post I hit on three thing: wrong engine, microtransactions, and games as a service. I called them the unholy trinity that would also bring a few studios down. Then, as I started to think about it more and more, I realized that the engine didn’t really have much to do with it. Sure, it does in BioWare’s case, and some would even argue Bethesda’s, but not other studios. I realized that it doesn’t have to be that wide. Let me break down the unholy trinity.

  • Recurrent user spending — This is how much each user will spend. They don’t care if 95% of the player base doesn’t spend a dime, they only care about the 5% that do.
  • Microtransactions — This is the item that they are selling. Note the difference. One is buying, one is selling.
  • Games as a service — The entire thing that bring it all together. The thing that says, “Hey, your friends are doing it, don’t you want in? Don’t you want to play with the ‘cool’ crowd?”

Think of it as a triangle if you want to, with each of these at the angles. If you know something about geometry, you know that a triangle is one of the most sturdy shapes.

This is really the unholy trinity that, I think if it’s not broken soon, will bring down major developers. Games used to be from gamers with a passion. Not about looking out for their checkbook.

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