This brings us to the key question of how a company can keep a game alive and have a revenue stream when players do not follow the conventional pattern of buying new games in order to satisfy their hunger for challenges. Game companies have since long realized how important it is to keep the customer base once they have released a blockbuster game. The enormous online society of World of War Craft is probably the best example in how to keep customers close. The difference between WOW and Quake3 is extensive, not only are these completely different games but that WOW players still expect new features and updates whereas the Q3 players do not.
Shifting focus from hardware to bandwidth?
IDsoftware seems to have a good approach to the solution which is a quite remarkable one. As of today, they are still looking for beta-players to test the game and the potential of the site. More than 1.200 players are already testing the game which only requires a small client-program. It should be highlighted that the game in question, is a full scale 3D-shooter game looking just like Quake 3 which back in 2001 required the best hardware available. I dare to say that this is truly revolutionary if they succeed to accomplish to provide a service where the game floats without delays, which is the most crucial performance parameter within this game genre. As of today, there are no indications of such drawbacks. This unique platform will enable players to compete against others, participate in tournaments and track their game statistics.
What will the business model look like?
The concept is clever in many ways from a business point of view. The company will be able to establish technical control since the players will only have access to the game through their site and since the game is run completely on the server provider’s side, the possibility to cheat are close to zero and facilitates updates. For industry actors, e.g. hardware manufacturers, the site will provide great opportunities to sponsor tournaments and brand themselves among players. The possible opportunities remind of sponsored tournaments on internet-poker sites where the sponsoring party is providing a tournament with a variable price sum. With the strong brand name Quake the future opportunities for the Quake-live platform look promising. Let’s hope that advertising will not be their only revenue strategy.
Whether Quake-live will be a success or not is difficult to say but it is still a happening worth mentioning due to the innovative nature of the concept in an already innovative industry in today’s knowledge-based economy. To re-release an old game, packaged in a new concept and technology and make it financially profitable is surely not an easy task. However, the concept opens the door for a new paradigm for how games are distributed to customers and to strengthen IPR control technically. It is really taking virtual products to its limit and further diminishes the importance of operating systems towards an increasing focus of online applications which can be observed by looking of how Google continuously works its way to move office applications into the online applications domain.
Nicolas Preisig is the second guest blogger invited to post his thoughts here at Intangitopia. He is a part of the new generation of highly talented engineers, lawyers, and business managers pursuing modern skills and tools necessary to create value for industry, universities, and society in the emerging knowledge-based economic paradigm. The ideal education to acquire this skills and tools is the School of Intellectual Capital Management at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden.