Friday, November 6, 2009

Is the "Never Give Up" strategy working?

If any company can use this motto more today than is Funcom.

From Anarchy Online to Age of Conan, this company has had a strategy that follows a specific pattern.

Mess up, break it some more, fix it up some, add some more breaks, and it goes on.

But, during all this time, the company still struggles, still survives, and holds on for dear life. Is this admirable to you the player? Or is it a sign of a company that just tries to "get by".

In todays work ethic, the "getting by" is a road to disaster in my opinion. Yet, Funcom still survives and holds out for the next financials report.

For example, I can note that each time a financial report is almost due, Funcom takes it upon themselves to scrabble and release an update, do a trial, add new content...something. It is almost like Funcom is working on the "get it in at the last minute" strategy actually.
What do these last minute fixes and changes do? Fix their bottom line and help make those financials look good.

This time around, the 3rd quarter financials are due November 12th of 2009. Luckily Funcom came through and patched Age of Conan. But, they also made the mistake of introducing a multitude of bugs. Then again, they recently lowered the monthly subs for multiple month, could this help that bottom line at the end of the day?

The other issue that always seems to be making the rounds of discussion when it comes to choices.
As of late, their decisions on changes to the game seem to be questioned in all manner and form.
No new raid content for close to a year, another 6 man dungeon when so many exist. Changes to classes making one play style more prevalent over the other..
I am sure any MMO developer is guilty of this. Just for Funcom, at this time, these choices are not the best means to build back up a dwindling population.

So, where do we stand here. The "Never Give Up" strategy looks to be a good call, and makes the company look like they are trying...just waiting to the last minute to make changes, and as well, make some choices that do not vibe well with the community is questionable.

Is Funcom "Not giving up" or are they just "Getting by"?


Riknas Sarn said...

As it is, I doubt there's a straight answer. Lots of people had been dropped as time has gone by (If I recall correctly). Not giving up seems to be a case of just getting by. Much as the pattern seems to be, "Break, break, fix, break" For AoC, Anarchy Online did eventually become a stable game, no bugs there!

Aside from the bloggers, I don't suspect there is a large number of people who see a patch that manages to just break things more. But from what I can tell, it does reek of frantic fixes that are just being pushed out because they need to make a deadline, regardless of polish put in.

It seems very much like when you are trying to get something done quickly. You're hurrying a long, and you have to make a mistake. "Darn! Now I have to fix this and go even faster," you say to yourself, and ultimately you just make more mistakes along the way while fixing the other problem.

Jayedub said...

I like to think that Funcom is not giving up. Patch 1.05 started off really well and was the major reason for me getting back into the game. I think the game is much better now than it was a launch. Unfortunately right now I don't have an active sub so I don't have first hand experience with the problems that the new patch has introduced.

I do think it looks bad for Funcom to have picked up a fourth MMO when more effort could be put into both Conan and Secret World.

GTK said...

This is nothing new for Funcom.