During EG7’s investor pitch video this week, Daybreak boss Ji Ham said something that leaped out at me. He was essentially trying to convince investors that gaming companies could make bank by emulating the business models of teams behind games like Madden, Call of Duty, and FIFA, which crank out sequels constantly with only slight modifications over the previous entries. It’s basically the 80-10-10 model, whereby 80% of the game is the same and all of the risk-taking and new innovation happens in the margins.
“Gamers don’t like it,” Ham says. “They’re like, ‘I’m paying 60, 70 bucks every year for this thing that barely changed.’ But they continue to buy it, right? Madden was the third best-selling premium title in 2022 in the US. No one’s complaining; they’re still buying and playing the game because they make enough changes [that] people still wanna play the game.”
Ham is all-in on this model, though I’m not sure it really applies to MMOs – or maybe you could argue that every live-service game is already doing it, since each patch and expansion builds on the game that already exists. That’s not what I want to talk about, though. I want to talk about Ham’s clear-eyed description of gamers who say one thing and do another. I mean, think of how the whole MMO-playing industry mocked J. Allen Brack for “You think you do, but you don’t.” That’s just the flipside of what Ham is saying. Gamers say they are mad about it, but they go right ahead and buy it anyway, so who cares what they say?
How often do you complain about MMO buyables – and then buy whatever it is anyway? Do you put your money where your mouth is, or are you one of the gamers Ham is describing who will cave rather than be left behind?