Sid Meier warns publishers "not to ignore the core gamer", eschews Kickstarter
Posted: 15.05.2013 06:56 by Comments: 10
Sid Meier is developing a new free-to-play iOS title for 2K Games, Ace Patrol, and states that the core gamer is tantamount to his development on mobile platforms like the iPad as he attracts PC gamers to his game.

According to Meier, "I think (my name) probably does not carry the same cachet in the mobile market that it might in PC. What we're seeing is that a lot of those core players are getting iPads or they have their phones and are looking for things to do that have the strategy element and the gameplay of some of the games they are used to on PC or console. That's really kind of the market we're going after, the player who is looking for strategy but they can't take their PC with them everywhere."

Meier thinks that free-to-play gets a bad rap as well, because PC gamers for a long time associated "free" with "demo". "There is a lot of suspicion attached to the free-to-play label. The way that we look at it is on PC for a long time we had the demo and purchase model where you can download a demo for free and play it for a certain amount of time or to a certain point and get a feel for whether you like the game or not. Then if you like it you'll go ahead and purchase the full game," he noted.

He then admitted, "Building monetization into your game design is not a totally comfortable thing; we really don't want to get into a situation where the two are in conflict, where to make my game more fun I would do this and to make my game earn more money I have to do this. I'm looking for places where those two are in agreement."

Meier is not abandoning PC gamers, he insists. Instead, he's trying to attract the core audience to mobile platforms while Firaxis continues to serve the PC gamer.

"It really depends on the idea that I'm excited about and where I can bring it to life most effectively. I could see myself doing a PC game next or a mobile game or console game; it's really not platform driven. It's more idea driven and where that's going to work best. As a company, Firaxis is committed to PC - that's been our bread-and-butter and where a lot of our audience is - but we're interested in console and we're interested in iOS. As our players evolve and move and embrace new technologies, we're going to meet them there. So to me, it's not platform driven, but it's about how a game comes to life most effectively," he stated.

Don't count on Kickstarter being in Meier's future, however, because it lacks flexibility. "You've got to convince people to support it and create trailers or whatever it takes to get the support. I think you kind of lock yourself into a lot of ideas early," he described, "I really enjoy the luxury of changing my design and evolving over time. I'd be a little concerned with Kickstarter if I committed to X, Y and Z and I found out down the road that Z didn't work very well, I kind of promised to do this. I think it's great for people who want that indie environment, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each situation."
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By nocutius (SI Elite) on May 15, 2013
He might have a point about Kickstarter, it does lock the developer to a certain path. It just means that they need to think things trough more thoroughly and there should be no major issues.
By Chris_Spray (SI Member) on May 15, 2013
Sid Meier lost any shreds of credibility he had with Civ World.

He's lost interest in core gamers, and in games.

Let's hope that he stays well clear of PC games in the future, and any non-PC games he develops won't be funded from the Civ6 budget.

And he's dead wrong about Kickstarter, it disciplines developers to stick to the game they sold to the punters, it lets gamers buy games we want, rather than what suits want us to buy.

Meier used to be a gaming god, now he's turned in to a suit that's obsessed with cow-clickers.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on May 15, 2013
Even if he only produces crap from this day onward he'll still be one the greatest names in the industry, less prominent but still relevant.
By Maffia01 (SI Member) on May 15, 2013
I think having the game planned out is a must for KS (especially for more 'out there' proposals), just look at some high profile KSers recently, such as GPG's Wildman. There was a concept, but the developer was unwilling to actually go into any depth as to how the game would work even at the most basic levels and people just weren't interested without some firm answers.
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on May 15, 2013
Crap = XCOM, huh?
By nocutius (SI Elite) on May 15, 2013
Even IF he was to produce only crap he'd still be a total legend, if. I didn't say that he actually does that.

Some bad wording on my part perhaps.
By Chris_Spray (SI Member) on May 16, 2013
Meier had nothing to do with XCOM.

His only contribution to Civilization 5 was to drain it's budget to produce Civworld.
By FoolWolf (SI Elite) on May 16, 2013
Well, tablets and phones have to make something about the controls if they should move intot he core gamers.

As long as there are people with different technology there will be a market for someone to fill the needs.

People called me a dinosaur for wanting isometric RPG games. I ranted and waited - and then I was part of a record crowdfunding of an isometric RPG game the way they used to be. Seems that if I'm a Dinosaur - I'm not alone so watch out ;)

Still, I have mobile games and have tried some shooters, and strategy, puzzles etc - but honestly .- if you are not 12 again or arouund - the games you will make by with are Birds, Elder Scrolls and shoot zombies or or old type flash games...
By Voqar (SI Core Member) on May 16, 2013
"Crap = XCOM, huh?"

XCOM:EU is an OK game that lacks the depth and replayability of the originals. It was designed for consoles first and it shows. Way too scripted and repetitive, which is a shame because some elements of the game are very good. If the maps were random and the story didn't play out the exact same way every time you play it would measure up better with its past. But since it was designed for consoles first it's a limited game.

Any decent XCOM is better than no XCOM.

I have respect for Sid's past but it doesn't seem like he's had much to do with their better games for a while now. He slaps his name on a lot of games (not XCOM:EU) but isn't credited as a designer or anything significant on them, and if anything seems to play an advisory role.

Maybe he designs some of their simplified games for phones and tablets - I wouldn't know since I don't game on either.

I consider the PC to be the platform for core gamers. Everything else is lesser. I'm not interested in strategy games on lesser devices that can't possibly measure up to the experience on a PC.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on May 16, 2013
All I have to say is that the terms "free-to-play iOS game" instantly disqualifies core gamers from being a part of your target audience, that is just silly.

I have no problem with mobile games, but you just cannot compare them to core PC games, you simply don't have the same possibilities.