Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shadowrun Online: all kinds of interesting complexity

Okay, I admit it.  I have a bit of a Kickstarter addiction.  I love the idea...If you're not familiar and want the quick summary, it's an all-or-nothing social funding system...A project creator gets to both raise money and gauge interest for a proposed project before sinking valuable resources into full production development.

I've personally contributed to about a dozen projects, half of them in the Video Games of which is Shadowrun Online...This one caught my attention before I even looked at the mock-ups or prototype gameplay footage...What interests me here is the unexpected mash-up of business models...and it all started with the Kickstarter-based funding.

Although not unique, it's certainly still an emerging method.  So start with Kickstarter to ramp up your project, and then move on to the game model itself...It's a massive online multiplayer...Plenty of those, sure.  But they're planning to run on PCs, Macs, iPads (v2 or higher), and Android (Galaxy Tab 10.1 or better), in a Web Browser, and as a traditional stand-alone game client, with (softer) plans to support Linux.  To top it off, they're going for the ultimate in cross-platform by mixing media and including a campaign expansion for the Shadowrun 4th Edition tabletop game.

But wait!  There's more...

[dead image removed 2013.may.02]

As if it wasn't already complex enough, they're taking a hybrid approach to the ongoing "persistent" part of the gameplay.  Out of the gate, there's plans for a Free-to-Play model, with cashflow provided through micro-transactions for in-game items or premium subscriptions.  They're also planning for a Buy-to-Play model, where you buy the primary game, plus pay for additional modules with no ongoing subscription costs (similar to Guild Wars). You own the game for as long as the servers are still up & running. On servers that follow that model, you won't be able to use real money to buy items in-game.  The graphic on the side illustrates the differences...

That's biting off quite a bit.

So I hope Cliffhanger Productions gathers enough pledges to fund this project...I'll be really interested to see how this all plays out. Oh...And if you decide to back the project yourself, please, tell 'em TrackZero sent you so I can get the free tabletop miniature.


hoi, chummer

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