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Arma virumque2

Online play - business models

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Hey Everyone,

In the Gencon thread, the observation was made that the "casual" game community, which was attracted by the LCG model, might not be inclined to play national tournaments.  That makes sense to me -- I love the game, and I love the community, but I'm really not a candidate for Gencon. My life's just not structured that way at the moment.  (My visit to Kubla this year was my first convention ever, and I enjoyed it, but I only stayed a few hours.)

Online tournaments, however, would be a different story -- I could participate in those.  So that started me wondering about the business model for online play.  Probably all of us would love to have an officially programmed and sanctioned online play environment, but I'm not sure we all agree on how we would like to pay for it.

 

So in the interest of discussion, I'll throw out a few scenarios.  If online play were available, what would be your preferred business model?

  1. Buy digital cards separately from physical cards.
  2. Assume FFG inserts a code with every chapter pack that entitles you to the same digital cards that you just purchased physical copies of.  But you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use them.
  3. Some other suggestion?

Of course, real-world examples (and critiques) from other card games would be interesting too.

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for some reasons Online CCGs flare brightly for a while and then seem to fade away and become a very niche game with a very small set of players.

I've played at various times:

 

Stargate CCG Online

Starchamber Online (a board/CCG hybrid and one of the best games i've played)

ChronX

WWF's online CCG (forget the name)

Legands of Norath

Star Trek CCG online

Magic Online (for a week)

Free Realms CCG

 

The ones that didn't offer a business model connected to something else (namely an MMO, especially Legands of Norath which had loot items in the boosters) have all basically failed or been sold to a much bigger company (usually to get a hold of software/programming) so i dunno if the costs would be profitable for FFG in the long run. I'd also be surprised if FFG hasn't looked into the idea and have made their own decisions on the feasbilty/profit margins of it.

 

Also,  maybe someone can discuss Eye of Judgment. That is PS3's CCG via their 'web cam'. I'm fairly sure that has crashed and burned as well (i think i just saw the base game on ebay for $0.99).

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As much as I love online CCGs, it's a business model more niche than even CCGs themselves, and most end up failing.

Magic Online and Yu-Gi-Oh Online are still around, but those are big "franchises", so to speak. I think Star Chamber (which was cool) is still around but under the control of Sony Online Entertainment. Most others have gone under.

That being said, it'd be fun if there were an online AGOT / COC / Warhammer.

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Xesca said:

I prefer play free with my own LackeyCCG plugin (http://lackeyccg.com/agot).

 

That seems like a spanish version of the Raven software? Or are there english language cards as well?

 

I used to play alot of Raven with Melnick back in the day and I think that would be the way to go for setting up online tournaments. I don't know if Raven has been updated with any new cards though? It was only slightly supported by FFG by allowing cards to be used publicly 6 months after their release except for beta testing...

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Lackey is a free engine where you can create different plugin for all card games. The "official" AGOT one I think is created by spanish people. I have my own plugin created with my cards that covers all sets. It is a simple way to play online.

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well simple is a bit realativistic. It takes a bit of effort to find and install all the parts you need (or to even make) to get the game going. It doesn't have a user friendly interface (like a lot of the Online CCGs i mentioned did). Also, there are a lot of players out there that don't have a wealth of computer knowledge (it even variies on these boards to see how 'simple' they are to some user ands not to others) that would not find lackey simple.

 

I don't think a 'user generated' model is ever going to be a way to connect more then a handful of people.

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Lackey is probably the best program I've found for playing CCGs online thus far. It's a bit clunky sometimes but the author is really nice and continues to update it, and there's plugins for a lot of games. The WoW, Magic, and Yu-Gi-Oh ones in particular are quite developed, some of the other ones like L5R and AGOT need someone to step in and update them.

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Let me jump in here and come out of my long away status from this game of games.

For those who don't know me, I'm the guy who wrote Raven Evolved. I've been through a rocky divorce and other life-altering things that pulled me away from this game. My life is somewhat stable again, and over the course of the last year I've done some work on Raven Evolved. I've added all the Core sets up to the chapter packs. I haven't added any chapter packs yet.

I added support to Raven Evolved for all screen resolutions, and it's working well. I coded the base for support of two or more decks for each player at the same time to support the "Brothers at War" agenda.

Honestly, I haven't been playing for a long time so I don't know the status of the game as far as two players or multi-player. Is GOT now primarily a multi-player game? The Rookery Server software I wrote is up for multi-player gaming, but I'd have to work on the client to support it.

I could pretty easily polish up my current code of Raven Evolved with all the latest sets including chapter packs older than 6 months and let us all play 2-player games again. The Rookery server I wrote that comes with the installation of Raven Evolved is still the best work I've ever done. It can run on a desktop class server and it can support thousands of users and simultanous Raven Evolved games without making the server sweat.

As I've said in the past, Raven Evolved is already programmed with a business model. Sets can be unlocked with specific unlock codes that can be purchased. These codes will be machine-specific, so you can't give your buddy your code he he can use that new Chapter pack. Your buddy can watch you play your new cards against him, but hecan't use them unless he gets his own code. This is done and ready in Raven Evolved.

I had a conversation with someone who used to work at FFG a couple of years ago. Just before he left FFG, he told me there was internal discussion about possibly endorsing Raven Evolved as a fully sanctioned-FFG product. I never heard from anyone at FFG after he left. I can't remember his name at this point. So there has been some discussion internally at FFG about the possibilities. Whether or not Raven Evolved would be that application, I couldn't possibly say. Maybe they will throw some money at a programming house to make something for the XBOX 360 or the PC. Maybe they've abandoned the idea all-together.

In any case, I'm feeling pretty ready to resurrect Raven Evolved and polish off those changes I've been working on and get us all a new release for testing.

I just want to know from the community if the game has truly moved to multi-player or if two player is still alive and thriving.

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Hey Tam,

Good to see you and even better to hear that things are stabilizing for you.

I for one would love if Raven Evolved were to become endorsed by FFG and would be willing to pay for "unlock codes" or a monthly subscription, even. I've always thought that Raven was an awesome program and used to enjoy fully the tournaments that we played on them.

Oh and umm...I think both formats are quite popular right now. I haven't played multi in a while (well, one game over AIM), but I think it's fairly popular, but maybe less so in the more competitive environment that likes to be able to control all aspects and outcomes of their games.

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 Tam! Great to see you! If Worlds are a solid indication, joust is still slightly more popular than melee, though the two have evened in turnout much more than they have before. I think it was a 4 player difference between the two.

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Hey Tam! Glad to hear some things have smoothed out. I would play Raven Evolved again too if it were updated. One question: Is it possible to upload more recent sets without the pictures/images (just card text)? Tzumainn's site lists card text (without images) for current sets. Would FFG allow Raven Evolved to do the same? 

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I used OCTGN to play MTG a little bit. For me, playing online can never compare to playing a card game in person. So, I basically used OCTGN to test different decks, and figure our which cards I wanted to buy.

As far as online business models.....if I have to pay to play online, I will not.

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