Sunday, February 12, 2006

Videogame Communities

Me and a friend of mine the other day were discussing this - why do some games have a community and other don't? By community I mean people gathering to either play the game or gathering online to discuss the game. Some games sell amazing numbers (Virtua Fighter for instance) yet has only 8053 registered users - compared to the almost million sales that VF4/Evo have sold in america alone.

So why do some games have huge communities and some don't? Anyone have some ideas? BTW - this is not relegated to only fighting games, I would love to hear why one FPS does versus another or MMORPG's.


Anonymous said...

Virtua Fighter is an odd example: many VF4 Evo sales came from prior purchasers of VF4, and many VF4 sales came from frustration due to lack of good PS2 fighters, so the near-million sales aren't as big of a potential community as they seem. On the other hand, VFDC's famously xenophobic attitude and VF's hardcore-only status in general make that 8000 effectively smaller than it seems, too.

Timing is an important factor: marketing beforehand can push up the numbers of your community, as can mod/patch support afterwards. One good example of a successful community (by contrast) is Total Annihilation, an RTS whose sales got eaten alive by Age of Empires and Starcraft but whose mod scene and "new unit every week" policy kept it alive for 5+ years, like Counterstrike would do later with FPSes. Even the terrible sequel didn't faze the TA forums, and when the spiritual sequel Supreme Commander was announced, the forums filled up surprisingly fast.

Ranma0005 said...

Its because we're America, and we only love broken dumb games.

Now come back down to Texas for TS6 and get drunk with me!

Derek Daniels said...

VF4 has sold something like 3:1 compared to Evo. Those numbers alone should allow for a huge community.

I've always joked that VF's community is much like Apple/Mac users - they just remind everyone how their product is so much better and everything else sucks.

I do think there is something bigger as to why some games have communities and some don't - regardless of high sales figures, marketing push etc.

Maybe i'll attempt a stab at it in my next update.