Price and players

#1

So I was having a browse through the Steam discussions for this game, and it is clear the game is suffering a bit because people are disappointed by the low player numbers and relatively high cost.

Now, at this point in development, I actually don’t think this is too much of an issue - there are big gameplay components that still need to be implemented (e.g. missions, loadouts) before players will stick around anyway.
Price-wise, I think it’s actually good to discourage the impulse buys at the moment given the incomplete gameplay. It will hopefully prevent people getting the wrong idea about the game, despite it being clearly labelled as Early Access.

HOWEVER

Infinity: Battlescape is currently only £5 (excuse UK currency) less than the upcoming Star Wars Squadrons. This is territory I do not think we should be playing in further down the line. In order to be successful, I do agree that the price will have to drop in order to pull in more players.
Speaking honestly, if I was coming to this fresh on Steam, I would be very intrigued by this game but would not want to pay £30 for it.

Anyone else in the old guard have thoughts on how this business model is working?

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#2

I agree with you and so do other people in this community. However this has been brought up a few times and some heated discussion was held, INS doubled down and decided the price is what it’s supposed to be.

Maybe they changed their view, idk…

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#3

We re-discuss / internally debate about the price point and strategy on a regular basis, it’s not like we don’t have our own doubts sometimes. That being said, the conclusion so far has always been the same.

We do have and acknowledge that the price / content ratio isn’t exactly great at the moment, but the idea is to keep working on the content to make the price more fair, by the time we release.

A lot of people seem convinced that a lower price would bring more sales, but considering there is a lack of exposure and marketing… is that really true ? It’s in fact a huge assumption and we have no data in favor of it ( or against it ). Maybe we could run an experiment at a later point and temporarily reduce the price of the game and see if it brings more players. The only data we have so far comes from the Steam sales, when the game was discounted at -20%. It obviously sold a lot more, but at the same time Steam does some promotion and sends out emails to people who have the game on their wishlist, so it’s hard to say if the better sales come from the discount or the promotion ( or more likely both ).

The other important point to note is a lower price might not necessarily lead to a higher server player count due to the state the game is in. That’s because it has retention issues, and until retention issues are addressed, it’s unlikely to address the player count. Case in point: during summer sale, the game has sold like x3 or x4 compared to the slower times. Has anybody noticed the servers being x3 / x4 more populated recently ?

Finally, in terms of price, you have to keep in mind that what we get as income at the end of the day is only a part of the full game price. You need to take into account VAT / sale taxes, Steam’s cut, infrastructure costs ( the 5 servers are active 24h/24, and support 500 players/server = 2500 players. Since bots fill in, the costs are fixed even if there are no players online ) etc… Other online games can get away with a lower price with a good monetization strategy, cosmetics / marketplace, but we don’t have any of that yet, therefore we have to rely on basic sales for all of our income.

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#4

Yes, I completely agree with you on both these points. And like I said in my OP, I think currently there’s no need to change it. Hopefully, either the new gameplay additions will bring the quality up to the price bracket, or the price bracket can be tweaked later on.

I am glad this is something that is being watched as it will have a massive impact on sales further down the line.

This is certainly an option, particularly as Steam largely handles all the ‘marketing’. It would probably be beneficial to do this periodically through the year, but have a big sale each time one of the gameplay components has been added and tuned.

#5

I’m actually in agreement that you should not lower your price now that you have set it. It will piss off players who already forked out the full original price. Also, I don’t think attracting more players is really your problem. It’s how to retain them and not have them demand refunds. I disagree with your assessment that players are left ‘not knowing what to do’ because of the HUD though. Perhaps what they mean is they don’t know what they should be doing in your game?

Right now, players get dropped into a massive, empty universe and straight into procedurally generated battles with no purpose or progression goals. There are no missions, no explanations, just head to a system and find a battle. All you can do is play laser tag in a planetarium, which is what BI feels like right now.

This is a game I have been excited about for over 4 years but got bored within a couple of hours of playing the initial release. My main disappointment was an ‘emptiness’ to your universe. No lore, no characters, no spirit. Even just walls of expository text telling us the histories behind the factions and some history and geographical info about the different systems and bases that I visit would have been nice.

All MMOs I have ever played drew me in because of their world, their characters, and kept me playing to find out more, to live in a living universe. The progression element was also important, making me want to keep playing to gain more levels, weapons, abilities etc. This is so, so important to an MMO’s draw.

I will keep rooting for you to improve your game, but I feel like you are misunderstanding the main gripe of your player base.

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#6

That’s exactly what they mean. I don’t recall saying it was due to the HUD, just that the HUD needed a revamp and was a natural first iteration step. In general, it’s an interface issue with a lot of people not understanding the starmap and missions screen, which is why we’re focusing on them righ tnow.

What are we mis-understanding exactly ? I mean the lore might be one thing, but for the rest of the things you described ( purpose, better goals, missions, explanations, progression, gaining levels / weapons ) it’s all on our roadmap.

For the lore, you are correct, the game is very lore “light”. I think that’s because a lot of people are treating this as the Infinity MMO and have unmatching expectations. Battlescape is not a sandbox MMO and has never been designed as one. It does have the “MMO” tag just because it supports hundreds of players per server on Steam, but that’s because there are no alternative tags / categories that would describe it better. I mean, what’s the lore in Battlefield or Fortnite ? In the end, we might add more lore-related names and descriptions, but if you’re expecting characters to interact with, you’re definitely going to be disapointed. It’s not that kind of game.

#7

Just noticed that there is a thread on Steam forums about this, interesting read, seems like the price is likely to increase at some point.

https://steamcommunity.com/app/1079620/discussions/0/4334097152426992249/

We understand some people are unhappy with the price and I’m afraid we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. We add value to the game every single day and our steadily increasing sales reflect that. We are happy with our current price point, either you think it’s worth the Early Access journey or you don’t, and we will probably raise it 1 or more times before final release.

The best prices have always been available to those who bet on us early - you could have purchased the game for $20 during our Kickstarter and $30 at any point between the conclusion of our Kickstarter and our release to Early Access last September with additional limited-time perks included. To date, that has been a solid bet as we continue to succeed.

InovaeKeith

#8

Comments like this have such bad optics from an outside perspective.

@INovaeKeith I know no one on the team has any sort of serious dedicated social media / public relations training but please, you need to avoid getting emotionally invested with replies to negative feedback.

From an outsider’s perspective, and I mean this with no ill-will at all, the language here is claiming three very clear things about you, and doing it in a very loud and boisterous manner:

Passive aggressive. Self-entitled. Sanctimonious.

That’s horrifying. You should be horrified that people will think this about you from what you’re posting. You’re not this person and shouldn’t want to be seen as them. At least read the posts before you make them and think ‘Do I sound too smug in this?’ if you don’t want steam discussion threads to spiral off into increasingly angry backlash and locked threads.

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#9

If Fortnite or Battlefield is the kind of game you are aiming for then I understand more why you are satisfied with not updating content. I dont know why youve bothered to make a whole vast star system for this then when when a few maps would have sufficed with a more polished combat system. Travelling between planets for battles is a chore with no purpose then if none of these planets matter. Fighting for corporation X has no meaning if I dont know anything about it. You might as well call it blue team and red team.

I enjoy science fiction and part of enjoyment of any science fiction world is discovering and learning more about the world. I am sorry you dont agree that it is remotely important. I definitely dont feel the gameplay of BI is strong enough to carry it at the moment as a battle royale shooter. I definitely do not enjoy Fortnite or Battlefield type lootbox meme fiestas. I am sorry that I misjudged your project.

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#10

I’m not sure what about my post is passive aggressive, self-entitled, or sanctimonious. We’ve been watching people make the same arguments over and over about price for months. We’ve repeatedly stated why we’ve priced the game at its current level. If people want to continue to be upset about that it’s their prerogative but we don’t really have anything else to say on the matter so we must agree to disagree. We are currently planning to raise the price at least 1 more time between now and final release.

If you’ve been reading the Steam threads then you must be aware of the people who keep saying we’re dead or about to die, when of course they don’t have access to our sales data. The second paragraph is directed at them.

I was addressing specific points raised by people in the various pricing threads. I’m not sure what about that is passive-aggressive or smug.

#11

Just to get this back on track, and hopefully constructive, what would you like to have implemented to make it worth the current price?


For me, we still need:

  • Missions
  • Loadouts
  • Non-combat gameplay (electronic warfare, hauler etc)
  • Squad mechanics (e.g. pinging targets to wingmen)

Now I’m glad these are all on the to do list. If other stuff is added, or these are greatly expanded, I could see it justifying another small price rise.

Anyone have a list of what they expect from the game at this price?
(Please keep it civil, clear, realistic and constructive)

#12

This is worrying.

Social media and public relations are a post-structuralist space. PR training drills that into you. You get to guide how people interpret what you say with careful wording, you can’t ever dictate it.

Actively posting a reply to ‘agree to disagree’ can (and usually is) viewed as a passive aggressive statement by its nature. If you “don’t really have anything else to say on the matter” please, follow your own advice right there and don’t do it.

Immediately after this you continued to argue your point, not having agreed to anything (making the previous point about agreeing to disagree far more difficult to take at face value rather than as a passive aggressive statement) in the eyes of anyone reading the post as an outsider.

The argument you use includes the team’s personal feelings on the issue referring to how ‘happy’ you are about it, and also unnecessarily points out your intention to do the opposite of what they’re asking, seemingly only missing the churlish ‘so there!’ at the end.

Talking about any sort of ongoing success isn’t just unnecessary, but actively harmful to your image in this discussion. It does nothing to allay the point these people were making about low player numbers and only serves to aggravate them further.

You even appear to cast aspersions on their reasons for bringing up the price reduction, saying ‘you could have purchased the game for $20’, which seems to imply you believe they’re requesting the discount with the agenda of just wanting to pay less, rather than having any consideration for the game’s success. This may well be true, but responding in a way where your responses seem to be assuming the absolute worst of people who are giving you feedback is a terrible look.

Honestly now, what were you hoping to achieve? The people you responded to were made all the more angry by everything in it.

So, my advice;

  • Don’t claim ‘everything is fine’ after someone else is emotionally invested enough to bother making a post about something that they think isn’t.

  • Try not to get too emotionally invested yourself. (I know it’s hard/impossible, but if you start getting angry, sometimes it’s better to take a few hours to a day to respond, giving you some time to calm down and think on the matter.)

  • Don’t have ‘The Argument’. Instead, clearly and concisely explain what you’re going to do to solve the core issues the poster is attempting to address. Don’t start arguing your point against the exact nature of the ‘fix’ being suggested. If you’re fundamentally opposed to an idea, there’s absolutely no good that can come out of your response to it without addressing the underlying concerns of the individual proposing it.

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