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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December 1, 2009 9:22:31 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Unless this 23% also accounts for people who use other connection methods (such as Gameranger, Hamachi, or a standard LAN), I'm not going to be counting it as damning evidence of multiplayer being a wasted effort.  Especially considering how difficult it was to get a reliable game going via the official channels at all for the first few months.

I mean really, it's not like Demigod offers a compelling solo experience and I can't help but wonder how many of the people who did buy it strictly for solo play are still around to sing its praises.

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December 2, 2009 9:44:14 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I also find myself usually playing lan games. The online community worries too much about number crunching and they don't rank games or matches on skill. I'm in the HoN beta (a friend just invited me a few days ago) and I'm really liking how much better that online is done, I can join new player games or casual games and acutally play with people around my skill level. I find this very enjoyable. Usually its just me and my wife playing ai matches (sometimes we get my brother in for some 3v3). I knew this game was meant for online play, but the way online is and the skill gap is tremendous, also I can't play with friends in ranked matches online in DG. Overall I really enjoy DG, but I can do without any internet games at all and still have fun.

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December 2, 2009 10:40:31 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

As someone who just bought the game this past weekend and has only played single-player so far, I can say that part of the reason I haven't done MP yet is that I want to learn how to play the game properly before joining a team of people I don't know that probably take the game far more seriously than I do.  It sounds like others in this thread are similar to me, in that I have a limited amount of "gaming time" and I want that time to be relaxing.  While I am very competitive, I don't really feel like subjecting myself to grief from people who have been playing the game religiously for 6 months if I make a newbie mistake.  Does the matchmaking system take experience and overall w/l record into account at all?  It would be nice to be able to join a game with others who have limited MP experience on those occasions when I do have the time to get in a game or two.

Chris

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December 2, 2009 3:16:05 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I have zero desire to play strategy games online.  I would rather have a very good AI opponent, and play coop with friends.

I really miss a good single player strategy game with a campaign, there haven't been any good ones in awhile.  I have also learned a valuable lesson from demigod, no longer do I buy these games early. 

 

The question is, will Stardock improve the single player experience in Demigod?  77% of us want to know.

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December 13, 2009 5:57:10 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Piasa,
The question is, will Stardock improve the single player experience in Demigod?  77% of us want to know.

 

What's so hard to understand? It took 7 months to add just one more demigod to the game; this title is on life-support. Largely because it's not Stardock's job to improve it, but GPG's. And while they might have took some time to fix DG already, now they definitely have their hands full working on SupCom2.

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December 13, 2009 7:49:21 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Largely because it's not Stardock's job to improve it, but GPG's.
It's GPGs job, but the money comes from Stardock. GPG can't work on Demigod without having a payed assignment from Stardock.

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December 13, 2009 4:05:44 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Spooky__,

argely because it's not Stardock's job to improve it, but GPG's.It's GPGs job, but the money comes from Stardock. GPG can't work on Demigod without having a payed assignment from Stardock.

 

I'd be very surprised if Stardock had to cough up more cash to get what they should have gotten in the first place. There should be a contract somewhere that says so. Then again, maybe SD got screwed and didn't cover all the bases when signing.

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December 13, 2009 4:22:42 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ChrisHill,
As someone who just bought the game this past weekend and has only played single-player so far, I can say that part of the reason I haven't done MP yet is that I want to learn how to play the game properly before joining a team of people I don't know that probably take the game far more seriously than I do. 

It boils down to that for me.  Demigod (and Dota games in general) is an unwelcoming game for new or casual players in the sense that not only are you punished if you screw up, I mean fairly small screwups compared to other online games--but your whole team is as well.  And since stats are involved, it's not like they can just roll their eyeballs and write the game off, because their ranking etc. is now messed up by me being a noob.  I can understand them hating me for being on their team if I go chasing other Demigods into towers and not run away fast enough, or not know enough about which items to buy, or picking the wrong abilities to advance.

By comparison, in a 1v1 RTS match if I play bad no biggie.  Hopefully I learn something from the experience and do better next time, and my opponent get a kick from stomping a newb and a slight improvement to his stats.  That's all good.

Alternatively, if you are playing with bigger teams, say in games where it is 10v10 or higher the noob effect tends to balance out more--out of 10 there is always going to be one or two--and premades are less of an issue because it gets problematic to stack a premade of 10 or more players.

Anyway if Demigod has a more dedicated singleplayer experience they would at least have that, and would have had more leeway to fine tune the multiplayer experience over time.  With what Stardock has been saying, it looks like they get that and are designing Elemental: WoM in that light.  Too bad it is probably too late for Demigod; there is a lot of singleplayer potential here that would have been awesome with a little imagination and interest in that direction.

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December 13, 2009 5:48:24 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'd be very surprised if Stardock had to cough up more cash to get what they should have gotten in the first place. There should be a contract somewhere that says so. Then again, maybe SD got screwed and didn't cover all the bases when signing.
That's not how the business works. Stardock has a support and content plan for Demigod, which means that they are allocating a part of their budget to finance patches (to fix bugs etc.) and new content like Demigods for example. It solely depends on how much money Stardock can allocate for the Demigod support (which in turn depends on the sales of Demigod of course, primarily). More money means more and/or faster patches or more content.

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December 13, 2009 7:19:33 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I want to play online, but the community tends to be rude to newcommers. I do expect to lose more often than not when I start playing online at 1st. The problem is people that have played often and are better than you tend to insult you rather than give any good advice when they are on your team. Things like "Noob," or "you suck" tend to come out and harassment tends to make the game not fun. Offline play is definately not fun, seems to only be fun if you play other peeps. But most peeps playin this online are elitists and don't tolerate new players. If noone talks it's cool, when someone does talk they tend to be insulting someone childishly (fyi, this is not fun), and that's most games I've been in.

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December 13, 2009 9:59:59 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I prefer to play this game offline or in a LAN w/ friends.  I used to play online, but found way too many jerks, elitists, and perfectionists that refuse to accept different playstyles.  It really is one of my favorite games, but the community needs to really change its ways before myself and many others would consider playing online again.

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December 13, 2009 10:31:30 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I always try and be friendly to newcomers. Even if we are losing, I try and give friendly tips and advice in a kind and non-confrontational method. Being friendly and open to newcomers is good in the long term.

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December 14, 2009 4:34:48 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

You are all forgetting that this is a game. It is ment for "FUN". Whatever that word means to anyone!

I own it and play it offline more often than any game I own. I play online sometimes but most teammates are "assholes". No insult to anyone. Demigod is awesome in all ways and you guys know it! That is why you all expect to much from it...

We need to be cooperative and informative in what needs to be enchanced from an already fun game...

So, Stardock keep it up A+ to everything you are doing.

P.S.

Please make it quick with the Mass Effect (one) download.....

 

 

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December 14, 2009 6:39:51 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Spooky__,

I'd be very surprised if Stardock had to cough up more cash to get what they should have gotten in the first place. There should be a contract somewhere that says so. Then again, maybe SD got screwed and didn't cover all the bases when signing.That's not how the business works. Stardock has a support and content plan for Demigod, which means that they are allocating a part of their budget to finance patches (to fix bugs etc.) and new content like Demigods for example. It solely depends on how much money Stardock can allocate for the Demigod support (which in turn depends on the sales of Demigod of course, primarily). More money means more and/or faster patches or more content.

 

The above seem flawed, imho. Basically if a game is not doing great from the beginning, you don't get the money and you can't improve it. And if the game does great, you get the money and you can improve the game, but the game is already doing great and doesn't need it.

 

I admit, I don't know how these contracts work, but the scenario you posted looks more like a ready-made catch-22 than a business plan to me.

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December 14, 2009 7:14:46 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well, let me try to explain.

Games are always an investment. The publisher invests money into the production of the game. Part of that money goes into the development, part of it into advertising and actual publishing. Since the publisher has the money, he has the power in the end and can decide what should happen how, when and where, if he chooses to do so. Usually there is some release goal set, milestones etc.. Sometimes the development of a games goes longer than anticipated and the publisher has to provide more money. Sometimes the publisher has to force the release of the product, to finally get some money from the investment back, and hope that the game will still sell well enough, to keep support going after the release.

It's in the publishers interest to invest money after the release of the game, to further improve and/or extend it, to improve sales. Companies like EA only do that very limited for games like C&C and they'd rather invest in an expansion, for which they will receive more money. VALVe on the other hand is making things differently and even doing differnt concepts for different games. For Half-Life they decided to produce these episodes, which they can make faster and offer them cheaper. For Team Fortress 2 on the other hand, they decided to continue the support of the game buy releasing free updates with lots of new content every few months.

According to Stardock Demigod sold and is still selling very well. This is of course a motivation to keep the support budget for Demigod up. However, Demigod is not C&C or StarCraft. Demigod is a niche product compared to those games. And Stardock is not a big publisher like EA that can invest lots of money into a game. That's why you won't see patches and new content on a weekly basis. There just isn't enough money behind it in the first place.

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December 15, 2009 7:12:27 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Spooky__,
Well, let me try to explain.

 

Thanks for the explanation. Unfortunately, that means the "promised" new demigods were actually wishful thinking

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December 16, 2009 3:48:36 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting bug-77,
Thanks for the explanation.
No problem . But keep in mind that this is only a very general explanation, with only a few practical examples. The situation for every game can still be very different.

 

Quoting bug-77,
Unfortunately, that means the "promised" new demigods were actually wishful thinking
Hm, what do you mean? We got new Demigods already. They just took longer than Stardock and GPG originally anticipated.

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December 20, 2009 1:31:12 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Spooky__,

Quoting bug-77, reply 41Unfortunately, that means the "promised" new demigods were actually wishful thinking Hm, what do you mean? We got new Demigods already. They just took longer than Stardock and GPG originally anticipated.

 

I mean, if the new demigods weren't paid for up-front, there was no certainty we'll get them. We still didn't get them. Just DA and only for some. I can't select it in SP. I tried the two suggested fixes in these forums, none of them worked. I even got one suggestion regarding manually editing the registry, only to find I don't have any of the DG entries. Archiving and restore DG didn't fix it either. So I guess it's good-bye DG for me. And no more buying SD titles on day 1.

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December 20, 2009 2:40:01 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Everyone received DA by now. If you can't select him in multiplayer, then there is some issue of course. But generally, the DA was released to everyone.

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December 20, 2009 7:31:06 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Spooky__,
Everyone received DA by now. If you can't select him in multiplayer, then there is some issue of course. But generally, the DA was released to everyone.

It is selectable in MP, but not in SP, the problem many players have - it's just, their solutions don't work for me. I still haven't made it past SP and by the looks of it, I never will.

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December 20, 2009 7:50:32 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Sorry to hear that nothing worked for you, but I hope that your decision not to play online is not solely based on the fact, that you can't play Demon Assassin in Single Player. Demigod is a Multiplayer game and a very addictive one at that .

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December 21, 2009 6:43:49 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Spooky__,
Sorry to hear that nothing worked for you, but I hope that your decision not to play online is not solely based on the fact, that you can't play Demon Assassin in Single Player. Demigod is a Multiplayer game and a very addictive one at that .

 

Yes, it's my first attempt to play online and it didn't quite work as expected. I wanted to play SP first to get the hang of things, but between sparse docs, bugs, questionable AI, I just lost interest. I guess I'm still a SP guy.

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December 21, 2009 6:58:54 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

im much more an SP player, but certain titles (imo virtually all real time strategy-like games) just dont have enough to offer without playing other people.

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December 21, 2009 10:51:57 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

These facts are interesting. I have always been peeved that the largest customer base, the SP loving ones like me, are usually deprived of the one thing that matter the most to them - a decent AI. And there is good reason to believe that the budget and time allocation for MP is a significant factor in this. Just look at the GC2 AI - it is damn good!

I have always wanted to play online games, but have always found the barrier too high: either the connectivity requirements or the time & skill requirement. When I played AoE MP the first few times, I was absolutely devastated. And let us not even get started on CS. LAN games in college, however, were a much better experience, whether it be CS, AoE, BF or FIFA. I still hope to be able to play MP games consistently at some point in the future. BTW, did I mention that I am not a very good loser?

Now, I bought Demigod knowing that it is mainly designed for MP and its SP game is rudimentary. But it cost only $7.5 and I absolutely love the concept. Mix of RTS and RPG? Anytime! Still, I hope to be able to play MP sometime in the future. I already logged in once to get the DA activated.

I just wish that there would be an expansion to this very fun game and it would focus on making the SP experience much better.

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December 25, 2009 12:07:17 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I would love to play an online multiplayer game but I have to admit I am a little nervous to. I havent played the game very much but everyone seems to be really critical about players who dont play very well. I probably would be one of those players due to my lack of experience with the game. I played DOTA once and the intense criticism and harassment was enough for me to never play it again

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