View Full Version : What sells a game?

05-03-2006, 12:08 AM
Some gamers often look for a specific thing when eyeing games for purchase. I know that I will only buy a game if it has great replay value. If I feel that I'll play it enough that it's worth my 40-60 bucks(CAD) it better be just as fun to play not only around the time I bought it, but also for the next few years aswell.

Thats my first requirement, however I also want something different. Why get something new, if I already have something? So I like to look for the most innovative gameplay themes or genres. This will be the next thing that intices me and lure me into the excitement of getting the game.

Lastly, what kind of world is in that game? Do I want to jump in an get involved or not? If the world or universe is vast and has lots of interesting things going on, I'd most definately want to go and check everything out. If there isn't much to it, my curriosity will wane and I'll probably look elsewhere. Lush enviroments in a huge world, an epic story to draw you in or some fun escape and a fun theme is what interests me in my games.

So what would you need to buy that new game?

05-03-2006, 11:38 AM
It depends on the game really. I remember back when I first saw a topic about Command & Conquer on tv, the cool graphics, the videos and the fact that its gameplay was similar to Dune2, I was immediately sold. I went to the store the next day, bought it and played it for months.
When Command & Conquer 2 was released I did not wait for reviews in game magazines, I simply bought it without a second thought.

But that doesn't happen too often anymore. With Halflife 2 and World of Warcraft being exceptions, I usually try demos first.

05-03-2006, 01:08 PM
Spirit and I have talked about this quite a lot... and one of the things we've concluded is that different things sell games to different age groups.

Nowadays, its all about the graphics and sound, and thats what seems to sell games to younger people. The bigger the machine needed to play the game the better, but in this era of amazing hardware, all too often, gameplay seems to be forgotten.

Older people who remember the birth of the industry with the likes of the Commodore 64, the Atari machines and the Spectrum, are, we believe, more likely to be swayed by gameplay and engaging storylines.

Certainly, for me personally, if the gameplay is weak, it doesn't matter how good the graphics and sound are, I won't give my time up to play it. Innovation is also important, as you said WILL why spend money on a new game that is a rehash of an existing one, but like other industries (movies, books for example), it can be quite difficult to innovate... there are after all, only so many original storylines and concepts. So the key it seems is to put a unique spin on old, tried and tested ideas. Of course the publishers also play a part here as they are often reluctant to take a chance on truly innovative titles.

But overall, what sells a game to us is good engaging game play and good replay value.

05-03-2006, 03:10 PM
It is surely true, that there are different types of gamers. The ones who need long long gameplay, who want to dive in another world for months. And the ones who need some action or fun for only an hour a day.

But thats not what sells games.

IMHO, the only thing what sells games is it's popularity and how it got review by e.g. game magazines, tv shows (giga tv in germany for example). If the media says it's a good game, then people buy it. You can make one of the best games, if no one knows it, no one buys it.

So our all biggest problem is publishing, advertising etc.

I think to start with adding a demo on a game magazine CD is a good thing. But also there it depends on how you do it. If you provide a demo with just the first level, which is boring because your first level is just made to get the player familiar with the controls then you already lost. A demo of a game should only have one goal. Convince the player on the one hand that your game is full of story and has deep gameplay, or on the other hand, that your game is exact the right thing for him to relax by having some action or addictive puzzle time.
It doesn't matter if graphics and sound are the very best and absolutely up to date. It must fit to your game and must provide a consistance in style so that the game looks like a well finished and polished piece.

06-03-2006, 04:42 AM
Interestingly Better graphics lowers my chance of buying the game. I have three kids each with their own PC - if a game cannot run on all three I wont buy it.

The costs of maintaining the three PCs is high and therefore I only buy components that are in a decent price range. This means that the hardware used on the oldest of the three PCs was cutting edge 5 or 6 or even more years ago (Celeron 2.4, 256MB, Geforce 440 MX).

Secondly I only buy games that will suit the family so basically they must be:
1. Educational
2. Strategy games with Network play options
3. Sim games (eg Zoo Tycoon)

Because thats what our family plays. (Ever seen a 5 year old play Age Of Empires - they have no idea what they are doing but they do it anyway and enjoy it).

I pretty much only buy bargain bin games :)

06-03-2006, 01:43 PM
This means that the hardware used on the oldest of the three PCs was cutting edge 5 or 6 or even more years ago (Celeron 2.4, 256MB, Geforce 440 MX).

Secondly I only buy games that will suit the family so basically they must be:
If thats your idea of 5 or 6 year old hardware I'd love to have your idea of modern hardware :). And I'm being searious here. The Celeron 2.4ghz didn't come out and go main until about 3 years ago. Yes they are inexpensive, but they are also a good processor. The 440 is better then most "Home Users" (don't read gammers) graphics cards, though the 256 mb ram is only slightly low by todays standards.

Personally, the last game I bought was "Mornings Wrath", I liked the idea that it was built by a bunch of Indie developers and I like that style of game overall. Isometric and Tiled engines force developers to live on content (IMHO). 3D games with high end graphics are a real turn off, if I want to see the blood as I wack a guy in the face I'll turn on HBO. Games (to me) are ment to be fun and entertaining, and that is a broad topic in and of itself.

To answer your questions, typically I buy games like Bejewled, Sodoku (actually I don't like it, but its my wifes favorite), and other such things. I'm not a big RPG or MMORPG person (thought I used to be). So requirements wise, I like it to make me think and solve a problem, I also like it to give me an idea for my own stuff that isn't like everyone elses stuff (though my entry this year is quite like everyone elses). Pricing is a bit of a stickler for me, I won't pay $40 and up for a game. It isn't happening, don't care how cool or good it looks. I'm only going to get about 2 hrs a week to play, and I can take $40 and put it into something my boys and I can do together. I will drop $20 on a used copy of a $40 game if it looks good enough though :) .

Games currently installed on my box: Bejewled, Dejewled (my version of the previous), Mornings Wrath, StarCraft and StarCraft expansion pack, WarCraft (not WoW), Sodoku Now, Puzzle generator, Maze Generator, Super Worms (my 3 yr old loves it), and quite a few things that I wrote myself.

06-03-2006, 05:52 PM
What sells a game?

If it is an FPS action game it certainly is graphics and game play. F.E.A.R. was good on both respects. Half Life 2 had both and longevity.

RPG it has to be story and immersion. Gothic II is one that stands out for me as did KOTOR.

Strategy RTS. Hard one. I loved Red Alert 2 and Warcraft II etc but I feel that the RTS market is a bit jaded at the moment. I tried Age of Empire III and gave up after only a few hours. Waste of time and money.

Strategy Turnbased: Civ IV is nearly perfect it has it all. ONly hassle was that out of the box it had some real issues. Seemed to be solved now though.

Presentation does matter and graphics is part of presentation. A bad game won't be good with great graphics but a great game with excellent graphics certainly is a winning combination. I very much got into Half Life 2 this was mainly becuase the storyline and the world had so much going for it. However, it would not have worked for me if the graphics had been similar to Half Life 1.

06-03-2006, 08:25 PM
If we are going to name names, then I would say that the Final Fantasy line of games has done an excelnt job of game play and graphics mixture.

06-03-2006, 09:41 PM
Anyone remember playing Syndicate for the first time. Man what a great game! Oh oh this is going to turn into nostalgia alley soon.

06-03-2006, 10:01 PM
Anyone remember playing Syndicate for the first time. Man what a great game! Oh oh this is going to turn into nostalgia alley soon.

You bet. Too bad S2 was such a lousy followup. I heard rumors about EA still having plans for another version tho.

07-03-2006, 12:13 AM
Syndicate was the first hires game I played. 640x400 or something like that. Was wicked.

07-03-2006, 04:27 AM
Actually My GeForce 440MX was bought over 6 years ago to go with my P2-700 :) (And only has 64BM as far as I know)

My other PCs are much more up to date. I spent over R15000 (~US$2500) on new hardware last year - (AMD64-3000 with X600 and P4-3Ghtz with 9250 card) :)

But the point is games need to run on my oldest hardware for me to buy them.