General Category > The Last Federation

New Tactics on the Alpha/Beta ?

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Incidentally, that's exactly what we do. :)

I'm actually going to echo OP, even despite the responses given. While the forum may be good at getting at iron at bugs within a game's structure, it provides little guidance about if a game is good to begin with with regard to a larger audience I.E. Shattered Heaven. And if the testing is fine but the game simply isn't known, that is a failure on the advertising, period (regardless of how much time said advertisers put into it: similar to how if I spent 3 months full time performing a service and the service wasn't delivered, that is my fault)

In other words, something is wrong when only one game out of the last...5 or 6? Has been successful enough to get a sequel.

I wouldn't be quite so doom and gloom.  As a company, our profits have gone up every year except last year, which took a dip for a few reasonable reasons.

In terms of shattered haven, we had an extraordinarily small alpha/beta there, which should have been a sign.  That wasn't the case with Skyward, and definitely not with Bionic.

In terms of sequels, I really try to avoid those as a general rule.  So the presence or lack thereof of them doesn't really mean much.  AI War is by far our most profitable title, without a sequel or any contemplation of it.  Valley made loads of money, but we spent too much money making it as well as miscalculated in giving away the sequel for free.  Skyward did well.  Bionic is doing okay but not stellar, but the market is getting harder at this point.

I would argue that the forumites were actually really good with Skyward about telling us how the game was not really all that fun at first, and then there was a real transformation during the alpha of that one.  It was really night and day.

It's a really complicated situation, basically, and we look really hard at the data quite often.  There's been a lot of internal debate about whether or not to do a public beta with TLF for instance, but there are some serious pros and cons to both.  Getting feedback from random people disinclined to like the game isn't really something that interests me; our audience is inherently niche, and trying to make something that is everything to everyone is one reason why the Valley games had some identity issues, to put it mildly.  Letting people self-select and then tell us what they think could be better seems to work quite well.

As for a marketing failure, did I ever really say otherwise?  It's not really a science, and there are a lot of variables there.  We try to do the best possible each time, but the market is ever changing, every game is different, and we're always still learning.

I'm not saying that there's no room for improvement with anything, but I am saying that we've had many hours-long skype calls about these sorts of subjects in the past month, and we continue to do so periodically.  Having too little feedback about game quality really hasn't made the list of top issues remotely lately.

I sometimes feel like rooting for Arcen to do well is like rooting for the Wii U to do well.

Both deliver great games, but the general public don't care. But in both cases, one game which latches onto the public is all which is needed.

Hopefully this one is it. :)

Heh.  I think if you're rooting for Nintendo to do well in the sense that it becomes Sony or Microsoft in its market position, then sure that's pretty hopeless.  Honestly I just hope Nintendo keeps being comfortable and making great games for the market that they do have.  Their giant success with the Wii didn't really benefit their core niche, so for that niche it was kind of irrelevant.

For us we don't have to become the next Terraria or whatever, although something like that would be nice.  What we're looking for is comfort and stability to keep doing what we're doing, and that's about it.


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