Who pays for innovation on the MMO industry? Should players pay for games just to support their innovation? Lonomonkey over Screaming Monkey seems to think so. He claims that “if you are a player wanting innovation in your games, you have to support games that do innovate even if they are not the best”.
We play games to have fun even if some of us, many of us bloggers, are more involved on it that most players and sometimes feel like we should do more for the industry as a whole. However if you want to encourage innovation with your money or time, maybe you should become an investor or a developer.
The concept that we, as consumers of entertainment, should be financing games we don’t feel entertained by just so we can encourage innovation on this industry is ludicrous. I think Azuriel said best on the comments for Tobold’s rebuttal:
We’re consumers, not investors, not charity workers, not R&D assistants. You are allowed to want both an innovative game AND fun game without it being hypocritical.
The Secret World is not completely and unequivocally a bad game just as Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t one, but the problem I had with both of them during their respective betas was this: I didn’t have enough fun to justify paying $15 subscription every month for those games, so I opted to play something else instead, namely Guild Wars 2. The amount of innovation on these games is irrelevant, what matters is if you have fun or not. Many players are showing with their wallets that they feel the same. That is the whole of it; there’s no mystery here. The only mystery worth investigating is why people didn’t have fun, so that next time developers can focus on this part first, and innovating second.
Are you worried about the message we are sending by not purchasing un-fun games despite their massive innovations? I would worry the message we would send if we did. We would be saying “it’s okay to provide players with a boring, broken game lacking basic understanding of gameplay and user experience, as long as you do something new that other developers can copy to make an actually good game”. That worries me much more than the prospect of MMOs being only as much fun as something else I already played.
As consumers we should support good games, not good but poorly executed ideas. Everybody has good ideas, but not everyone can make quality work out of those. The first might deserve my curiosity and interest, but only the second deserves my money.