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EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

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  • EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

    (I am not sure if this is the correct forum for the following issue.)

    I was very interested to find that EA does not allow BC2 servers that are RANKED to make very simple modifications, such as limiting kits.

    I also find it curious that EA has not enabled the ability to make map MODs for BC2, (which represents a leading title for EA in this FPS category, perhaps?).

    I am NOT well read in EA's business strategy, and would like to know if they have taken a turn against fan-based content development, such as was seen in BF2 (vis a vis mods, PR and so forth).

    Is EA limiting the ability of fans to modifiy its games (as a general marketing strategy), or is it expanding the ability of fans to extend the life of its products through map mods and such?

    Any thoughts or hard data on this?
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  • #2
    Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

    EA is making it so you have to go to them for content. Its all about the money. If we can make our own maps, change kits and game modes, why would we pay for anything downloadable from them in the future?

    [unit][squadl][command2]

    KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

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    • #3
      Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

      Originally posted by Dredge View Post
      why would we pay for anything downloadable from them in the future?
      Why would we ever want to in the first place...

      And yet, masses will download, because they refuse to take a stand against it because they're so addicted to the game or ignore the issues entirely. Bah.

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      • #4
        Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

        Does not WoW allow its fan base to expand the universe by building maps (of course, a key difference here in business models is that WoW users pay for playing time)?
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        • #5
          Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

          No. WoW has one map and a series of instances which are basically 'off-map' dungeons. (not really... But every instance is practically newly 'built' for every group which is entering. The maps are the same for all though)

          There is no possibility for players to change anything. Although there are frequent changes to the map made by Blizzard.

          There are however 'private' servers, but those are pirated versions of game servers to allow people with cracked versions to play online. Those servers of course can be modifed. (But it's illegal of course)
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          • #6
            Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

            Is it not the case that Sims (an EA product) allows for extensive fan-based content development? It would seem that they have a very different strategy here than with the FPS games.

            Does it just come down to pay as you play -- fans are welcome to expand online games when they are paying for play time?

            I think business "gurus" such as Ester Dysan and acadmeics such as Henry Jenkins overstate the degree of fan-based content production that actually occurs (they hold such a model up as ideal form of network synergy).

            Consider the follow claim:
            "To a large extent, the players co-create the environment once the game launches; their satisfaction with the game hinges on their interactions with each other. They
            collectively author the human dynamics of the world, and the player-created objects
            within it – and they can leave if it doesn’t suit them. The experience belongs to the players as much as to the developer. So it’s in the developers’ interest to keep players in the loop as the game takes shape and to leverage their experience. This is not just a marketing ploy (“Make them feel valued and they’ll evangelize the product to their friends”), although it does also generate good will. It is part of the core design process on the bleeding edge of networked simulation...

            “We put a lot of time and attention into making sure that there were clear and easy hooks for the fans who wanted to be involved in programming work to be able to add and integrate their own work into the game system,” says Ray Muzyka, founder and co-CEO
            of Bioware, a Canadian game developer whose Dungeons & Dragons-inspired Neverwinter Nights gives players an unprecedented level of access to the underlying architecture of a fantasy role-playing game. “"

            To me it seems that the business and academic analysis of this phenomenon takes fairly isolated instances of co-creation and holds it up as an example of the way the world is moving and the majority of the industry is functioning.

            And so we see such half-truths as this "the player population is transformed from mere consumers into active, vested participants in the development and evolution of the game."

            Yet it seems to me that there are many in the TG community that are quite antagonistic to EA. The feeling I get here at TG does not conform to claims by industry spokespeople (hardly the source of the gospel truth) such as,
            "a game company’s ability not only to cultivate this elite unpaid R&D community, but also to capture the best mutations of its product for direct commercial gain and not alienate the player community by doing so."

            All this talk of fan-based co-creation is touted as the new marketing matrix:
            "this tool-based, user-driven activity has several important functions. It extends the life of the game, which both enhances the value of the product at no incremental cost and increases sales: The longer people play the game, the longer they talk about it — effectively marketing it to their friends and acquaintances."

            Yet what we find with many (most) FPS is that they are released, are un-moddable, and are poorly supported by the production company, being quickly surpassed by the next product. Brands persist, but individual titles are short lived. And fan-based content creation is marginalized, if it exists at all.

            Quotes from here.

            All this to say that I find considerable disconnect between the business guru and academic type of anlaysis (and the industry's own claims) and the TG community's relationship to EA and co-creation. It happens, but it seems to be the exception, and increasingly so.

            Comments?
            Last edited by E-Male; 09-19-2010, 11:26 PM.
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            • #7
              Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

              Bioware has the model for the future but EA and others are reluctant to implement due to money. They still want to make sure only they can generate content and make money off it. Bioware however does 2 things. They generate content for a price and allow players to create content. That's my kind of thinking right there and why I pretty much buy any bioware game. They set a pretty high expectation with their content and give players the ability to see how it's done right. They also communicate in the social network with players building levels. It's a gamer utopia imo. We'll see who catches on and who falls to the wayside.


              - -

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              • #8
                Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

                Sadly EA will not fall. They're just too big and produce too many mainstream titles which are a guaranteed success. Maybe they're not innovative or REALLY great.
                But they sell.
                And as long as the money rolls, they won't change one bit.

                It's sad that the majority of gamers do not stand up for their own good. They're just like most consumers.
                "Yeah it sucks but... I really wanna play it, so what can I change?"
                Everything dude... everything.
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                • #9
                  Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

                  Originally posted by Vouk View Post
                  They're just too big
                  The bigger they are...

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                  • #10
                    Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

                    I swore off buying from EA after BF2. Ever since they threatened to de-list anyone who unlocked all weapons on an unranked server, I decided I no longer wanted to give them more money. I still haven't played 2142 or anything after that.

                    Meanwhile, Valve encourages mods of its games. Give them your business, instead. And Unreal is porting to Android so I'm inclined to watch for games from them.
                    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                    • #11
                      Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

                      Here is a bit of interesting background information on the BF:BC2 mod tools situation: http://forums.electronicarts.co.uk/b...-modtools.html
                      former TacticalGamer European Division



                      A Tactical Gamer since 2005 (the glorious days of BF2)

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                      • #12
                        Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

                        The more development companies like firaxis, bethesda, bioware and others that start eclipsing big companies with their products that allow user customization the more they will have no choice but to fall in line or they will suffer money loss in the end. The kiddy market will always be there and those types buy pretty much any game at a whim but the other market of over 18 gamers is getting larger everyday and it will continue to grow. I see more games with user customization than without to be honest. It's just a couple of bad apples like mw2 and bc2 that tried to spoil the party. Won't happen.

                        EA has always had user customization support though and I am not sure why bc2 got shafted in that respect but it's more of a black sheep.


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                        • #13
                          Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

                          Hmm, BIOWARE looks like a great game -- now to try the demo before I buy.

                          Thanks for all the helpful replies.

                          I suspect that an open systems model will eventually dominate the market, as companies will find it hard to compete against a global community of co-developers (think of YouTube as an example of dominating the market by virture of open systems fan-based production).

                          BTW, Value's Half-Life blew me away when I first played it -- awesome sound track, great storyline, and very immersive universe. It was the first game that felt like a novel/movie. Must give Episode Two a try soon.
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                          • #14
                            Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

                            Part of the reason why games like BC2 don't have user-generated content is the roots of the game, in that it's more-or-less a console port. Discounting modded consoles, most people can't mod a console. They buy it and they're basically stuck with it.

                            (Given recent legislation...we may never be able to resell our games if the EULA changes from a "copy" to a "license".)
                            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                            TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                            Former 9th & 13th

                            Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                            Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                            SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                            TG Primer and Rules

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                            • #15
                              Re: EA's "Community Development" Strategy and User-Generated Content Trends

                              Originally posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
                              Part of the reason why games like BC2 don't have user-generated content is the roots of the game, in that it's more-or-less a console port. Discounting modded consoles, most people can't mod a console. They buy it and they're basically stuck with it.
                              This is the reason.

                              Any game that's intended for consoles as a primary market will have a gimped PC component, because you have to develop content for the lowest common denominator.

                              Consoles are the lions share of the gaming market right now, and PC exclusive titles, barring freak success stories like WoW, tend to sell less well. The reasons for this are up for debate, but when someone's looking at a bottom line, they see that consoles are more successful. It is unfortunate for PC gamers then, that a state of the art console is tremendously inferior to a state of the art computer in both utility and potential.

                              The lack of out of the gate modding support is a direct result of the expected majority of purchasers to not gain any benefit from extra features that must be payed for in development time and money. We see in PC exclusive (or PC dominant) games like the Source collection, the early Battlefield titles, and the Quake series, an extensive modding community, sometimes supporting games that are 10 or 12 years old, a feat nearly unheard of on a console.

                              If we as PC gamers want to see more titles with additional support for our platform of choice, we must make sure that our market is either directly profitable or beneficial to the market that is making money. I'd like to think that the Desert Combat mod for BF1942 is an example of modders doing most of the groundwork for BF2, including building interest in a modern combined arms shooter.

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