Thursday, October 25, 2012

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With Minecraft More Popular Than Call of Duty on Xbox, Patterns Appears Pretty Prescient

Minecraft machinima

Minecraft is now the most popular game on Xbox Live, which means it is more popular than Call of Duty, which is a franchise that's ruled the console space for years, which means an indie game pretty much made by one guy I talked to two years ago is now more popular than a game series made by hundreds for hundreds of millions of dollars, and which also means (to me) that we have entered a new era of gaming culture, where sandbox building and creativity are more valued than randomly running around shooting everything that moves (except of course civilians, who don't exist in Call of Duty's fantasy universe, since that would just be a bummer). Which finally means, for the interest of NWN readers, that it seems more and more the case that Linden Lab is right to pursue products like Patterns, which is the kind of product the next generation of gamers seem to be trending to.

Least I think so, don't you?

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Ezra

If there were even 10 more Minecraft-type games doing as well as Minecraft, it'd make sense to think that way. That's not the case though. There's no other Minecraft/Patterns type game on that Xbox Live activity chart, or indie game period, but there's a ton more military first-person shooters including two more Call of Duty games in the top 10.

Mojang more than likely won't repeat the success of Minecraft, so it's reckless for anyone else to believe they can by creating something too similar. It's wiser to pay attention to the dozens of Minecraft clones that will never sell 1% as much rather than fixate on Minecraft's single success.

I do think that if its a goal of Linden Lab to spread the eggs around in different baskets, creating a bunch of small things year-around like they're doing is the smartest way to try and strike gold a few times. But they shouldn't make it a goal to chase temporary trends. Last year this blog posted a lot about social games and Farmville and now Zynga is up in flames. Who knows where Minecraft will be next year.

Brookston Holiday

Isn't this the sort of reasoning that leads to all the horrible movie knock offs?

I think all this tells us is that 2 years ago was a great time to make minecraft.

Iggy

Snapshot from my school, 1990s-present:

Gen X: seeks entertaining immersion, uses desktop rig or high-end laptop. Plays serious games, often with online-online tribe.

Millennials: seeks entertaining augmentation, has RL tribe often extended in Cyberspace, needs on-the-go fun with typical laptop, tablet, or phone. Nyms are "creepy." Will *never* plug in Ethernet cable or, until battery runs down, AC adapter. Might sit down with tribe of RL friends to game with consoles.

Conclusion for long-term success: make it run on mobile. Patterns does not, and I've not even had time to put it on the one desktop still in our office.

Adeon Writer

I am curious if the future of Patterns includes being able to do things like this: (see second half of video for the reveil):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fQvgiyx_6A

Or the fact that the game allows third party mods, like Mystcraft:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQk1SRjRwWU

A shallow glimpse at Minecraft might lead some to believe Minecraft is a game about exploring, digging for materials.

These people would be wrong.

James OReilly

I agree with New World Notes about the market evolution happening. I see solid & protagonistic economic reasoning in this blog.

Who cares about the hairs in the soup from antagonists. Keep going guys !!

.

Hamlet Au

"There's no other Minecraft/Patterns type game on that Xbox Live activity chart, or indie game period"

Actually, Ezra, there are quite a few -- check out the top indie games on that link, there's CastleMiner ("You create your own world in CastleMiner") and Block World, which is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFtN_kzIggA

In fact, if I'm reading the indie chart right, 8 or 9 of the top 20 are Minecraft-esque.

shockwave yareach

You can dress it up in whatever verbage you care to employ. But a company with 10 year old bugs that won't fix them and abandoning it's current bread and butter business to whither on the vine while it goes and tries to make money with some other product, does not fill the hearts of current customers with warm feelings. (Unless rage is a warm feeling.)

Did LL bite off more than it can chew with SL? No? Well, then why are we being abandoned this way? We deserve the same energy towards a SL V2.0 which fixes the world-stopping bugs inherent in the architecture that LL is putting towards Corn Chip Construction set. Those systemic bugs and the high prices are what is killing SL. Putting money toward Doritoville is insulting when we've been putting up with SL's crushing problems for 10 years now. And I need not tell you how long 10 years is in High Tech.

Ezra

@Hamlet

You were comparing to Call of Duty. So I figured you meant only the top chart.

The Indie Games chart is just XNA games. Most sell tens, hundreds, thousands if lucky copies of a game. The top is a Minecraft clone that's done really well but that feeds a handful of guys, not a 250+ employee company figuring out how to stay afloat.

Adeon Writer

II have played quite a bit of Patterns, I believe my Steam stats have clocked me in at about 6 or 7 hours so far, although I don't think I'll log in again until the next update.

It seems very promising. It's so easy to unfairly compare it to Minecraft as it is today. But if compared to Minecraft Alpha, the initial public offering of Minecraft,, Patterns had much more right off the bat and hope it can go in it's own unique direction and differentiate itself. It shows a lot of progress.

( by the way please fix falling resources in your line of sight resetting your dig rate)

Pussycat Catnap

90% of success goes to the first person to capture the market.

You can steal it away if the other person has it by luck and doesn't entrench their hold by becoming invaluable - but otherwise... copying someone else's model is usually a path to failure.

As example, while the desktop home computer market was captured first by Apple - they didn't make themselves invaluable.

Microsoft came along with Office - and suddenly everyone needed it. And that led down the path to DOS taking more share, Windows 3.1 even more, and Windows 95 winning - but also largely because Apple was throwing the market away with bad moves on top of bad moves.

MineCraft has to fail before Patterns can become too successful. And people need a reason now to give up one in favor of the other.

Any maker of MMOs could have come to LLs about a year ago and said "been there, done that, got the angry fans and ex-investors to show you why this is not the right idea."

Only reason a new MMO right now is doing well, is that finally the one that captured the market has started to lose sight of the ball.

Minecraft, to my knowledge, is not yet in fail territory. But I -do- know of another virtual world that is headed there...

Pussycat Catnap

***************
It seems very promising. It's so easy to unfairly compare it to Minecraft as it is today. But if compared to Minecraft Alpha, the initial public offering of Minecraft,, Patterns had much more right off the bat and hope it can go in it's own unique direction and differentiate itself. It shows a lot of progress.
***************

If I got to put out a new car and say "well, compared to a Model-T Ford, mine is very innovative," it still wouldn't help me.

We don't get to compete with out competition as they were when they started, we compete with them as they are now.

Your statement above was made about a whole series of MMOs trying to compete with World of Warcraft as well - and despite making they statement, customers still insisted on comparing them with the World of Warcraft that was alive at that time.
- And for many of them, in different genres or with very different offerings; it was a very unfair comparison. But people still made it. People even compare SL with World of Warcraft and make a choice of one or the other - and that's a severely unfair comparison. Both are MMOs, but only one is an MMORPG, while the other is probably some kind of VR. :)

reality is it?

@shockwave: its been said a million times but apparently it doesn't sink in for you. if you don't like their product, don't use it. full stop. if you are what you dwell on you must be a really miserable old f---. if you believe 10 year old problems haven't been, and won't be, fixed then keep railing on about them...that seems like its really working well for you. what do they call people doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? you are their poster boy or girl.

btw, over 90% of the people at LL still work on SL. every platform needs to be rebuilt after 7 - 10 years, especially one built using that f...'ed up organic do whatever you want development approach that Philip likes to self-promote as an innovation instead of the disaster it was and is today. When you have over a 100 people working like that it created a pile of spaghetti code without a consistent or scalable architecture so trying to fix it is a fools errand. it is amazing it works at all, much less with the stability they get out of it now, especially when SL'ers write all kinds of crap on top of it that is outside of LL's control.

so buck up man and look at the bright side. you haven't been abandoned. they still love you and continue to try to solve your 10 year old, and valid, bitches and have thrown hundreds of millions at the problems. the same rule applies to them...continue trying to do the same thing and expecting a different outcome? you and LL should be celebrating your mutual insanity not vilifying them for it. celebrate the little miracle you are a part of and the pioneering, adventurer's spirit all of you have to participate in this groundbreaking, amazing, creative, frustrating little dead end that is SLv1. the one thing you are right about is it will take a v2 to solve the problems and that isn't coming any time soon, if ever.

Adeon Writer

I think you missed the point, Schockwave, where I said it really dosn't play that much like Minecraft. It has some shallow similarities but the gameplay is much different. Please play both before forming an opinion about how one copies another.

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