Only 23% Even Attempted To Play Multiplayer Demigod

By on November 23, 2009 1:13:26 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

xclavex

Join Date 02/2008
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Stardock are an unusual company in a whole load of ways. One of them is that despite being a privately hold company, they do a report to the public. No financials, but there’s a mass of transparency here. The full document is worth at least a skim read, but there’s plenty of information worth picking over for industry watchers. The details on Impulse’s success are fascinating, but the fact which most immediately screamed out was that only 23% of the people who actually bought Demigod even tried to play online multiplayer. I stress tried. If you attempted to log onto the server, you’re part of the 23%, not matter whether you succeeded in actually playing a game or not. I’ve quoted the section below in full…

For Stardock, the more significant shock of Demigod has been the discovery of the low number of PC gamers who play strategy games online. Demigod’s single player experience, while decent, did not get anywhere near the care that the Internet multiplayer experience did. Despite this, only 23% of people who have purchased Demigod have ever even attempted to logon to play Internet multiplayer.

Demigod continues to sell thousands of copies weekly – enough to remain at retail during the Christmas season despite it coming out last Spring – but the number of people available to play online is typically less than 2,000 at a given time. This is in stark contrast to MMORPGs and FPS’s which tend to have very large online communities.

Our conclusion is that strategy games that we make and publish in the future will support multiplayer but will not sacrifice the single player experience to do so.
Developer Gas Powered Games has continued to update and provide support to Demigod despite its work on Supreme Commander 2. At the time of writing, two new demigods are nearly completed along with a couple of significant updates.

Let’s repeat the key point again: 23%.

Now, the debate over the importance of the multiplayer community to games in general and strategy games in particular has always gone back and forth. It’s certainly true that the most actual outspoken strategy gamers – both critics and general fans – are devotees of the multiplayer experience, up to the point of totally dismissing any form of single player campaign. They’ll perhaps forgive Skirmish mode, but the vast majority of those who are serious about strategy game looks down on Campaign players.

The debate normally turns up the fact that the majority of players actually only play the single-player stuff at all, but it’s rare there’s actually any hard numbers to back it up. This is about as hard a number as you can get. In a game whose single-player was absolutely vestigial, over three-quarters of players didn’t even log into the server, let alone play a game, let alone partake in what’s apparently the only thing worth talking about in online discourse.

It’s an interesting one. The counter argument is easy – that the biggest RTS games have enormous communities, and it’s those communities that have kept the game successful. But let’s say… well, maybe they’re freaks. South Korea, bless it, isn’t normal. You can’t plan a game making business on assuming you’re going to be one of two games. You have to assume you’re one of the majority. And, of course, it’s worth noting: for the period they were released in, both Starcraft and Warcraft III had splendid campaign modes. And… well, I wonder if Blizzard would ever give out the lifetime stats on Blizznet. As in, what percentage of those sales (outside of Korea) actually have a Blizznet account that’s ever played a game. There’s a number I’d like to hear. But for now, the DemiGod 23% is a statistic which I’ll keep in mind when thinking about RTS games.

Any other interesting numbers? Well, last year 42% of Stardock’s consumers bought digitally. This year, 61%. That’s a hefty rise.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/11/19/only-23-even-attempted-to-play-multiplayer/#more-21337

 

 

*Chortle*

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November 23, 2009 1:58:49 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Wow that is a very interesting number. It saddens me that people don't try to play their games as the games were meant to be played.

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November 23, 2009 2:01:02 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

An interesting time machine experiment would be to see what happened if Starcraft was released without its single player campaign.  Intuition tells me it would not be where it is today.

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November 23, 2009 2:13:41 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

naa single player is still too much overestimated

 

a game can just go for multi, but demigod suffered too much from the starting problems (and the 3 weeks in the pdf are WAAYYYYYY a friendly date, problems lasted way longer )

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November 23, 2009 2:19:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I think sins of the solar empire suffered the same fate, sold pretty well yet only a small fraction went online.

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November 23, 2009 2:23:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

about 38000 are ranked in the ladder.

23% of those whove bought the game played it online.

the ladder includes the AI in pantheon

38000/.23=165217 (rounded)

demigod's sold about 165200 (minus 17 to compensate for ranked AI) copies. give or take a margin of error. not bad.

in conversation id round that up to 200k copies to be generous to the game and my math.

there's a pool of 127200 potential online competitors and a thread (probably on the second page by now) that encourages people offer help to new comers. check it out, put down your name there and lets get more people online which could lead to more (official) maps and more (official) demigods

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November 23, 2009 2:25:23 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting CynicalCharm,
I think sins of the solar empire suffered the same fate, sold pretty well yet only a small fraction went online.

i have it, never played it online. do online games last for hours like offline? if not i might check it out.

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November 23, 2009 2:45:50 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

As a matter of fact, the 23% are pretty good compared to SupCom. Only ~10% of the players of SupCom ever created an online account for GPGnet as far as I remember. So what are the consequences?

Companies concentrating on the multiplayer part mostly (as a measure of 'copy protection') will invariably develop their game ignoring the largest part of their customers.

Releasing a game finished, without major bugs and all the planned content is crucial! While adding content later (as DLC, patch...) will bring back players and keep the online community healthy it will not reach the largest part of the customers. You can probably get away with adding features primarily aimed at the online community later (replays, modding support, new achievements, items, balance changes...) but you should have a good campaign/single player part, story, ending and features that increase replayablility from the get go.

Publishers and developers should really rethink their approach to day 0 patches! Fixing that gamebreaking bug that is a show stopper for the campaign on the release day is not good enough. 77% of the players will just uninstall your game, return it or avoid your products in the future.

AI development is important! The first impression every player will get from your game is playing against the AI. If it freezes, suicides or behaves strangely it will hurt everybody and massively decrease the replayablility of your game.

Randomly generated maps, additional gameplay modes, different storylines additional characters and difficulty levels will be more than worth their money.

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November 23, 2009 2:49:24 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I only play Demigod (and most other strategy games) with friends vs. AI.  To that end, I find that playing over a LAN or through some sort of VPN gives a better experience than trying to play online.  You can't really track that statistic easily though unfortunately.  I'm curious how much LAN play goes on that doesn't get counted in the online tracking.

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November 23, 2009 2:56:24 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Well, I'm part of the remaining 77%. I bought Demigod because somebody was offering a 50% off coupon for it on another forum, and it looked interesting. Bought it, played a few skirmishes against the PC and discovered two things: first, that it was a far better game than Sins or SupComm for a 'quick gaming fix', since even hard matches were over in less than an hour while even easy matches in Sins took over two hours. And second, that I'm *really* not cut out to be an online strategy player, I like to pause randomly to grab something to eat, or do stupid stuff and see how the computer reacts to it and such, the more I tried to imagine how it'd be to play against a real person the more I became convinced that it'd just be frustrating for the both of us. It's not that I don't like playing online, I do it on FPSs and RPGs all the time, its just that my playstyle for strategy games would end up frustrating everybody else, both teammates and opponents so I'd rather not play at all.

Overall though, I'm pretty happy with my purchase, it *is* a pretty fun game that doesn't require such a big time expense yet with enough depth to be fun to experiment and play with. But online, never tried it and likely never will.

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November 23, 2009 3:14:35 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

If your bad at video games, its better to play single player.


My girlfriend for instance has played DG and enjoyed it but would quit in a heartbeat playing against a person.

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November 23, 2009 4:59:20 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'm one of the 23%. Barely. Played once online, won, but was like... meh.

 

IMHO, there are serious hurdles to pass to play online. If you don't spend a lot of time to learn the ins and outs of the game, you're not going to have a better experience online than offline. And by then, I feel it all turns more into number crunching than casual fun. On top of it all, online comes automatically with inherent problems: bad connectivity, lag, much harder to go afk and the guarantee you'll be playing jerks from time to time. These can all be avoided at a lanparty, but how many games support LAN play these days?

 

I always felt gaming is primarily about the single player story and casual. Good to see SD has reached the same conclusion. Granted, I'd rather they learnt that before I spent my money on Demigod, but considering how much they do for gaming in general, I can live with that.

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November 23, 2009 5:35:17 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Othello,

Quoting CynicalCharm, reply 4I think sins of the solar empire suffered the same fate, sold pretty well yet only a small fraction went online.

i have it, never played it online. do online games last for hours like offline? if not i might check it out.

 

Ive only played with a few mates, and they do take a looong time, atleast 6+hours on a medium sized map.

 

Really fun though.

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November 23, 2009 11:39:37 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'm always in the single player and/or LAN play (usually just with my brother against AI). I just find that I don't care how long my games take or if I'm not doing things with the most efficiency. If I went into an online match I'd surely tick my team off.

It's been this way since my first RTS Age of Empires 2. The only game I've ever played online was Starcraft and that was only to play Evolves, if anyone remembers what that was, and the... hrm, I can't recall what it was called, but they played out a lot like RPGs.

When I play games I like being casual about it. I don't come in waiting to be stressed out because I make a minor mistake and screw over my whole team and end up on their bad side.

I am however usually disappointed with the AI. Even on the hardest difficulty for both Sins and Demigod I just found it to be too easy to beat. I told my brother we needed to start avoiding using our citadel upgrades in order to keep Demigod challenging and even have a remote chance to fail. Though we will always use AI friendlies on our side if the map says recommended for more than 2, so eventually they get around to buying the upgrades.

I've always liked the idea of playing against other people, but unfortunately communities always manifest some kind of malice toward casual players which just ends up keeping them out of the lobby entirely. This community sure isn't any different.

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November 26, 2009 7:04:40 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

If you want to increase online players, hold an actual online 3on3 tournament. Make pools and do a round robin. Then move on from there until their is a team champion. This would be much better than Pantheon. Have the winners be able to win a cash prize. Make it so there are certain criteria for entering, like having a good internet connection, have certain times in which you have to play, etc.

If you want to increase players, then give them a reason to want to play online.

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November 26, 2009 8:31:54 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

People dont play online because they dont want to lose. just look at all the stat heros, ragers and out of sync players online to see that.

The ai will never adapt, and that makes it beatable, most people want wins.

Going online is like setting the difficulty to beyond knightmare to these people.

I wish it was different... but hey, its the human race that plays the game and we cant change that

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November 27, 2009 5:36:54 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Most games have a much much much lower figure than this.

In CnC is probably 5%.

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November 27, 2009 4:45:05 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting DalzK,
Most games have a much much much lower figure than this.

In CnC is probably 5%.


For a good reason. I believe all CnC games before 3 were released when Dial-up was the major internet providor. I've played CnC3 online, and I can sympathize with the people who only play single-player. The tank-spamming and turtling annoyed me because I am more of an infantry fan. Anyways, the single-player wasn't all bad and the AI wasn't completely incompetent. I still returned to SC and WC3 for my multiplayer RTS fix though.

However, I for one find the single-player in Demigod absolutely absurd. It is nothing more than bot-matches. Buying Demigod for the singleplayer is like buying Counter-Strike for the ability to play against bots.

If you have not played Demigod online, I highly suggest you at least jump in ONE game. It would be well worth your time, and since you already bought this game you have nothing to lose and all to gain.
Quoting Fearzone,
An interesting time machine experiment would be to see what happened if Starcraft was released without its single player campaign.  Intuition tells me it would not be where it is today.

Definitely true. The StarCraft story is actually pretty good for a video game, especially a strategy video game. Without the single-player I doubt as much interest would have been had in the title when broadband kicked off and more people got online to play.

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November 28, 2009 12:36:20 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Fearzone,
An interesting time machine experiment would be to see what happened if Starcraft was released without its single player campaign.  Intuition tells me it would not be where it is today.
Quake wouldn't have done well without its single player either, but Left 4 Dead did just fine. Gamers' expectations and interests have shifted quite a bit, if you were implying that GPG should have focused more on single player features.

I think this game would have been a huge hit if they'd just done the multiplayer stuff better. There was so much room for improvement.

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November 28, 2009 12:42:12 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Definitely true. The StarCraft story is actually pretty good for a video game, especially a strategy video game. Without the single-player I doubt as much interest would have been had in the title when broadband kicked off and more people got online to play.
Starcaft ran perfectly on dialup, assuming your line didn't have problems. I only point that out because it's frustrating that DG has such insane connection requirements.

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November 28, 2009 1:29:41 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Hold on a second!  Am I the only one that see this as a clear indicator that the loud voice comes from the multiplayer/online community, but the vast majority (like myself) buy the game for the SINGLE PLAYER part?  Why make it more complex?  People like single player games.  They don't have to deal with idiots online, they don't have to rely on internet connection to play their game, they don't have to rely on people who play the game 56 hours a day and can (say for RTS games) build a base and rush in 6.7 seconds, or enemies who will quit the game a few min after it started because it is their dinner time or whatever.

The only time I played Starcraft (back when it was released) it was single player, but I never liked the game.  Even now I only play constantly, 2 games, online.  C&C Renegade and (PBEM)WinSPMBT.  I own thousands of games and all of them I play single player. 

I can't say I am surprised by the numbers who go online. 

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November 28, 2009 2:17:09 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I am not surprise. I bought demigod collectors edition for multiplayer fun, but couldn't stay online for more than a few minutes. In the future, I am not going to buy any online game unless it supports dedicated servers.

 

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November 29, 2009 9:46:23 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I bought it for single player and lan play with my wife and friends.  Personally, i don't play online games that are not co-op because there is usually a large skill-gap.   Usually I am at the short end of the skill-gap as I don't have time to invest that some do.

The only online game I really play continuously is Left 4 Dead because of the Co-op experience.

Demigod still kicks ass.

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November 30, 2009 8:33:48 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I am one of those 23% as well.  I barely have enough time to play the games I want to play offline.  I actually have 2 copies of Demigod (regular and collectors) - since the single player tourney and skirmish are great ways to relax and I want to support what Stardock is doing. The tourney/skirmish modes are actually quite fun and a good break from the other stuff I am playing.  I don't play alot of online games since I cannot devote the time and energy to becoming an uber gamer in that environment to make it enjoyable.  I am stressed out enough after work each day - when play becomes work what is the point?

I only play online in one arena (no pun intended) - Lord of the Rings Online.  IMO the push towards online gameplay is a solution looking for a problem to solve.  Particulary with strategy.  I suppose that with the general market move from turn - based (which I only recently discovered and actually love) to more RTS, it was inevitable MP would follow.

 

 

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November 30, 2009 1:54:21 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Let’s repeat the key point again: 23%

The other 77% are still trying to figure out how to tunnel through their firewalls. 

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November 30, 2009 1:56:06 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Out of all of the games I've ever played, Demigod is one of only four that I've played online. I typically buy games for the single-player mode since I view gaming as a relaxing, casual affair.  My biggest complaint against the gaming industry--especially RTS developers--is that it still doesn't take single-player campaigns and AI seriously enough.  And the real sad part is that it is no mystery that most people who buy games never go online.  You need only compare the number of game purchases to the number of people registered online to figure this out. 

Anyhow, I am really glad to see the modding community for Demigod take off. I did enjoy my 100 or so online games, but I never purchased this game expecting not to play mostly offline.

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