The Culling returns, again, with an eyebrow-raising new business model

    
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You all remember The Culling and The Culling 2, right? Xaviant Games tried to launch game-show-themed battle royale The Culling 2 back in 2018, but it didn’t go over at all, largely thanks to bugs and angry The Culling players who perceived their game was being abandoned. That led Xaviant to cancel The Culling 2 and redouble its efforts on the original game, with a teary-eyed video apology that seemed so sincere we even handed out kudos for the honesty. Last year, however, The Culling itself was finally sunsetted, following an unsuccessful free-to-play relaunch as The Culling Origins. And that was the last anyone heard about The Culling franchise.

Just kidding. Xaviant resurfaced this week with a video on the “2020 relaunch” of the game on Xbox One. The game itself is $5.99 with a one-day trial and automatic waivers for past players. What’s made the internet blow up, however, is the monetization scheme beyond that, whereby after buying the game, players get one “free” match every day and then essentially pay for mini subs or pay for match tokens to keep on playing. Xaviant does note that it’s improved the title’s AI and player stamina, it’s working on a PC resurrection, and it’s removed buyable lockboxes, but that’s not pacifying folks who are unimpressed with the new model.

Source: Press release

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kjempff
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kjempff

Well points for trying something new monetization wise, instead of “free” to play. Probably not the best way to do it or maybe the wrong numbers, but I am not the right person to judge that as I wouldn’t play it anyways.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

So it’s a game that’s failed in the past… and now with a really bizarre pricing model that people won’t like. Yeah, I can see this going *really well*.

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Bruno Brito

Normally i respect companies that try to keep things going as long as possible, except when it reeks of bait-and-switch/cashgrabs.

Which is the case here.

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Sorenthaz

I think it’s too late for this game but I guess they certainly get credit for trying to keep things going. .. though this whole mess could have likely been avoided if they didn’t stray so far from the original stuff in the first place.

And after reading about that monetization model that seems like a total joke.

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Natalyia

So… when “The Culling” is culled (again), what happens to the unspent game tokens?

A part of me thinks “OK, so… you’ve re-invented Quarters. OK…” but then I wonder who’s going to buy digital Quarters for a game that’s been shuttered twice?

I mean, it’s not like they’re lockboxes where you get a random number of tokens or anything, it’s quite clear what you get for your money, and you can pay-as-you-go or “subscribe”. From an “is this an evil monetization scheme” standpoint I have to say no, it’s not.

But from an “Do I think this is going to keep the lights on for the game?” standpoint, I also have to come down on “no, it’s not.”

A lot of people are going to play their free game, half of them are going to lose, not bother to buy another “Quarter” because they lost, and they didn’t have fun -they’ll leave the game and maybe not bother tomorrow…

No matter what your starting daily population is, the average trend is going to be a rough halving of your player base *every match*, unless most people are paying, and until/unless it becomes popular, I don’t think most people will be. I don’t see this working.

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EmberStar

The difference between this and an arcade (well, *A* difference at least) is that last time I found an actual arcade, I didn’t have to buy a ticket to get *IN* to even play. I paid my quarters to play whichever games I wanted, for as long as I could stay alive. (Which usually wasn’t long, I’m not l33t and honestly they were designed to be brutally hard for the express purpose of “encouraging” players to buy extra lives / continue chances.)

This though… I’m not a PVP fan. (Which is like saying “great white sharks sometimes nibble on things.”) But the last time I checked… wasn’t nearly every other major Battle Royale game set up as *actually* Free To Play? Why should someone pay about six dollars to event start The Culling and then 25 cents *per match* when they can just play Fortnite for the “low low price” of the time it takes to download it? Or Apex Legends? Or any of like… *dozens* of other games that I don’t know the name of because I don’t play them?

My limited understanding is that The Culling had mild early success because it was one of the first games in that genre-space. Then they flushed it by tinkering with it so much that they “improved” out all their unique features. Followed by trying to sell a sequel no one asked for to a game everyone had stopped playing. (A move that did so well that they had to refund it to the every single one of handful of people who had bought it after like three days.)

Then they tried to revive it as F2P, and by then they were a slightly squashed frog trying to limp into a battle between the twin kaiju that are Fortnit and Pubgargle. Not surprisingly, the millions of people already invested in either of those had less than no interest in switching back to a game that (so I’m told) wasn’t all that super to begin with. Even Apex Legends has had to claw their way into that fight, and I’m told that game is *actually* pretty good. (For a BR game, I guess? I’m clearly not in a position to judge.)

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Natalyia

Well, you do get one “included” game per day with the box price, so in a mere 24 days you’ll be saving money! By Grabthar’s Hammer, what a savings!

They’re quite up-front about how it all works, how much it all costs, and having any sort of box price means there’s at least *some* disincentive to make vast bot-farms (or at least the company gets something from them.)

But no, this seems like a plan doomed to fail. What’s the incentive to keep playing this (and paying for every loss) when you can go elsewhere and not do so? If the game was going to be wildly popular, you’d think it’d have been so in one of its other incarnations…

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I don’t think it’ll play well out here in the west, but it’s a creative attempt at a solution. And it’s not that different than many eastern games monetization schemes.

Can’t say it would appeal to me, an I’m not sure how they think they can justify it when they’ve got F2P juggernauts like Fortnite or the dozens of other F2P/B2P BR games that are pretty popular (CoD, Apex Legends, PUBG etc.) that they’ll have to lure away.

They’ve got an uphill battle and I think they know that, good luck to them.

laelgon
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laelgon

I get frustrated after waiting several minutes for a match in Apex when the jumpmaster decides to YOLO dive on top of six other squads and we die in the first 20 seconds. I can’t imagine how toxic it would be if there was a monetary cost associated with that.

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Kickstarter Donor
squid

If winning lets you play again for free, then may the best cheater win.

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Danny Smith

Now THATS a hustle.

Grimalkin
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Grimalkin

Those guys should do stand-up comedy, not videogames