I’ve been working my butt off to get Dead Wake game in releasable shape (target: next Saturday if everything goes well). I took a small break now to write this blog post. I started browsing indiegamer forums and googled a bit about sales of multiplayer only games (out of curiosity, Dead Wake won’t have the multiplayer mode) where the message was that multiplayer is not a good route. Interestingly, there’s a growing number of board game makers that think that designing physical board games is not done for the money (since there ain’t money to get). These guys think that doing board games in the video game industry could be good (Reiner Knizia, one of the world’s most known board game designer, also pointed out this same in one interview – unfortunately I don’t have link at hand right now). And physical board games are multiplayer games…
To me this sounds like a mixed message: common answer at the indiegamer forums at it pretty much can’t be done. Tribal Trouble sold $60,000 in one year (several fulltime and part time developers), which doesn’t sound too much indeed (and they have single player option too).
My zombie-friend Nexic has been working on his free zombie MMO – which I think is a really cool concept (and even though the game is free, I recommend you buy stuff or donate to this guy, since any zombie game maker deserves the money, right?). In one Indiegamer thread, Nexic pointed out that it’s a load of work to make a zombie MMO, but that the money is decent. I don’t know how much Nexic makes money but I suppose the interesting concept and the fact that the game is free are helping him to build an audience. There aren’t any zombie MMOs in the world, so Nexic has a small monopoly right now (which is good in any business) – and it can help him.
With all these posts and comments, I’m pondering that making an online-multiplayer game only (PC by indie) is risky, but it could also potentially wield a big success if pulled right. Battlefield 1942 (non-indie game by still) was said that it will “never work”, but after the launch… it started like a new genre in the field of gaming. (And is continuing even more). Could same happen in the indie field?
I guess a multiplayer-only (indie) game could require:
- Free (but selling stuff inside game, ranging from visual aids to perhaps some attributes or new expansion packs or similar)
- Community building right from the start (how this is done is not the topic of this blog post…)
There’s not many competitors, but attaining the critical mass can be really tricky… but a free fun game. Made for the community. Maybe it could work?
Has it worked?