Dungeon Keeper: What did you expect?

By , on February 7, 2014

There has been a lot written about the mobile version of Dungeon Keeper over the past week.

There have been tantrums. There have been tears. There have been 1-star reviews. There has even been a scandal relating to the app's rating system which calls the business practises of EA and Mythic Entertainment into question.

The thing is, it was always going to be this way. Dungeon Keeper 2014 was never going to be the game you wanted.

Why? Let me explain:

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SumoSplash 7 years, 5 months ago

Not only is voting with your wallet not a fantasy, it is the only reality. I don't support any form of consumable IAP, therefore I don't contribute one cent towards it, ever. That's called voting with your wallet.

MTaikutsuna 7 years, 5 months ago

That was a good analysis of the game, James, but a bad conclusion. We're not the problem here; if anything, it's you publishers.

"Vote with your wallet" is a fantasy. Often enough times it's the most hated companies who are the more successful. Bloomberg's already done a piece on this with telecom companies:

But what of you? What of the publishing industry's "native advertising" spotlight articles that promote crappy games? You all agree to forfeit your journalistic integrity and tout a crappy game because the publisher gave you money to write an advertorial. You're gonna slam us for supporting crappy games when you publishers are using your online influence, and the money the publishers gave you, to promote them?

VideoJames 7 years, 5 months ago

That's an interesting take on my conclusion, one I have to disagree with.

Writers and journalists, on the whole, aren't in the business of sacrificing journalistic integrity to write ads. Even when sites feature advertising or advertorials, they are almost always handled by a separate team to keep the writers neutral.

And that Blooberg article actually supports my conclusion. It doesn't matter if we jump up and down and shout about how much we love or hate EA. It doesn't matter how many adverts a company takes out, or how good or bad the public's perception of those ads or that company is.

What matters is whether millions upon millions of consumers purchase their products /despite claiming to hate them/. Publishers will go where the money is. And, right now, the big money is in F2P. Hence Dungeon Keeper. Clash of Clans didn't make billions due to advertising. It made billions because people loved the game and continued to pour way more than 69p into it via the F2P model.

We hear so much about how awful the F2P model is, and yet the biggest games in the world on any platform are F2P. Until we stop paying £69.99 for consumable gems, this model will continue to thrive - whether you or I like it or not.

MTaikutsuna 7 years, 5 months ago

I don't blame game publishers for going where the money is; after all, it's how they stay in business. But when they're paying for positive reviews, how are customers to be properly informed?

I don't believe the situation with advertorials is as clear cut as you make it out, James. The FTC's been looking into the practice and regulation is a small step away, so there's clearly some concern about the blurring of editorial content and ads.

Anyway, thanks for the discussion.

stooney 7 years, 5 months ago

MTaikutsuna, first off I am neither in anyway affiliated with Appspy, nor am I a developer or anything like that. I'm just another dude.

Of course you are right that the borders between "real" journalism and paid ads is often not as clear as it should be.
And surely, such ads may generate a lot of interest and downloads.

I myself am totally guilty of checking games out just because they are free. Most of them, I delete right away after a few minutes. Others I really like and play them quite often.

But the difference is that I would NEVER pay the likes of 20 to 99 bucks for whatever kind of "bucks", "gold", "berries" or whatever kind of consumables they would get me.

If I don't feel pressured by it, I am no stranger to paying a developer a few bucks just as a nod. But no way would I keep paying ridiculous sums just to remove some blocks a bit faster or build something without having to wait.

Quite honestly I fear about the sanity of people who keep sinking such amounts into these games, often quite frequently.

But thats hardly the fault of reviewers in general. There is another quite big site like this one where it often feels like the rating was nudged a bit or quite a bit up for whatever reason besides being a good game.

At Appspy it "feels" quite honest for me.
But even IF the reviews were rigged, you'd still have to think for yourself, don't you?

Namecopyed 7 years, 5 months ago

Yep, simply put who is to decide for the consumer, oneself or second or third party entities. The answer should be clear. Appspy has a clean interface and provides thier own opinions, but ultimately the one who presses any buttons concerned with purchases is the consumer.

Namecopyed 7 years, 5 months ago

As an added note appspy provides opinion backed up with analysis. I like that (:

WavingPeople 7 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the video James! The ridiculous "freemium" business seems to be all the rage these days (get it? "Rage" because it makes people angry and... yeah ok).

Chesco 7 years, 5 months ago

Excellent video, my thoughts exactly from earlier this week when I was considering a buy, then passed due to the pay abuse to their potential customers. Best thing we can do as a community is boycott shameful business practices.

SumoSplash 7 years, 5 months ago

Great video James. Couldn't be more accurate. You truly have to vote with your wallet when it comes to games that are designed to intentionally cheat the player of the optimal gaming experience. Thanks for standing up in support of this fact and not selling out.

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stooney 7 years, 5 months ago

First off, DK the "new" version is as disappointing and useless as the original(s) were legendary and fun.
But you are absolutely right about EA specifically and the Freemium-Model in general.

I have paid Halfbrick and especially Nimble Bit money not because I "had to" to continue playing, but because I felt bad for having so much fun for free.

I never ever pay anybody anything because of a paywall. I'd rather stop playing.
I don't understand people who download - often rather simple - games for free, but then go on paying over and over for them just to speed things up for instance.

However, the fact that these games are on the rise implies that the model is working and the publishers make (more) money out of it.

On a totally different note, I was worried James. Haven't read anything in a while from you. Good to see you are back, Brothers in Arms and all ;-)

stooney 7 years, 5 months ago

Addendum: Writing about how greaatthe original was, I headed over to GOP and bough DK2 for 5.99
The last six hours flew by me like nothing. Even today, it's one of the greatest games ever. Runs smoothly on Win7 too.
If you have a PC and want to know what DK REALLY should be like, get it.
No timers, no BS, just intense fun!

Namecopyed 7 years, 5 months ago

Nice video editing (:
I can understand clash of class's addiction since I played one like it way before it was on smartphones on the PC. It was fun but very time consuming. Sadly playing games like these seems to be inevitable for people, they seem to want a go at it despite the blatant oviousness of it's cons. For some it takes a Mimimual time to pass by it but largely people seem to want the grind.

TheAspieFox 7 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, that basically sums it up. ;-;

I'm just so tired of the Freemium model, though.

As you said, James, the best way to make them listen, is to pull the Bank Card. No purchases = No revenue = No game.

Dungeon Keeper on mobile would have been kind of okay if it weren't for the ridiculous waiting times and paywalls... But because they went to such ridiculous extremes with the stuff, there hasn't been a lot of positive to come from it. Though, in the end, it really is just another CoC clone like the dozens of others that clutter the App Store.