Boosting Sales with Game Mods

29Oct12

I’ve hit on the issue of modifying games multiple times; everyone in the class probably knows what a huge supporter I am of the practice (if you don’t, you’ll be hearing about it tomorrow), so I can just briefly recap why it’s an excellent practice for the industry. When a company shows support for the modding community, it helps build a strong relationship/sense of well-being between the two groups. While this is certainly an admirable goal, there are also very practical reasons for supporting a modding community. For one thing, it can help decrease pirating of content (typically a side-effect of that good-will I previously mentioned). Furthermore, it can actually increase the sales of a game:

Arma II has been on Steam’s Top 10 weekly charts since early May. The game hasn’t had a discounted sale until yesterday, June 30th at TopWare Store [via Blues]. The remarkable thing about it is that without any marketing promotion or viral campaign schemes, the zombie apocalypse mod, DayZ, has helped boost Arma II‘s sales up to 300,000 since May.

…The other remarkable thing about DayZ, which is a community designed mod with help from former Bohemia Interactive contractor Dean “Rocket” Hall, is still only in its alpha stage. That’s right, the mod is only in its alpha stage (CinemaBlend)

Essentially, DayZ took Arma II’s game engine and used it to develop an entirely new game–a hyper-realistic zombie survival simulator in which “other players are more than likely to murder you and take your gear than to help you survive” (CinemaBlend).

Certainly modding is helpful for the gaming companies, by why should these independent groups take the time/effort to make these news adaptations? Rarely is there any financial incentive to do so, and while it is certainly nice when a company publicly recognizes the efforts of a modding group, the majority of particular mods are ignored by the media/public at large.

One reason is that modding can get you a job in the industry. Video game design isn’t like a lot of jobs, where there are a vast amount of accredited universities to earn a degree at; in fact, relatively speaking there aren’t even that many technical programs in video game design. Thus, joining a modding community can be an excellent way to get your work seen by potential employers. For example, Valve has been hiring modders for quite some time (particularly sincethe release of Counter-Strike).
-Ryan Persons

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/DayZ-Helps-Arma-2-Rack-Up-More-Than-300-000-Sales-44161.html

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