Competitive Proliferation

 

By – Trever Shanahan

 

Boss Key Studios asks whether you take the side of “Law” or “Breakers” in their upcoming title LawBreakers.

 

Competitive gaming is…competitive, but competitive game development is equally competitive.  Press releases, expo/conference booths, demos, alphas, and betas are all tools used to gain the attention of industry.  Games that seek similar audiences or niches can engage in marketing ballets going move for move to earn mindshare.

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Blizzard recently unveiled Junkrat (left) and Roadhog (right) as two new playable characters in Overwatch.

 

Overwatch (Blizzard) and Paladins (Hi-Rez Studios) are both upcoming competitive team FPS titles.  Now add to the mix 2K’s Battleborn and Boss Key Studios’ (Cliff Bleszinski’s new project) Law Breakers.  Let’s meditate on some information:

  • Battleborn is the only title with a release date currently (Feb 2016).
  • Battleborn and Paladins are slated to be multiplatform titles coming to PC/MAC, Xbox One, and PS4.
  • Law Breakers could have a console release according to Bleszinski, but not by Boss Key’s current team.
  • Overwatch could also get a console release according to a Blizzard rep, but nothing is confirmed.
  • All games are built on the foundation of competitive team-based FPS gameplay.
  • Law Breakers and Paladins will be free-to-play.
  • Overwatch monetization model is still unclear but Blizzard claims they allow anyone free “access” regardless of final pay model.
  • Battleborn is slated for the standard $59.99 price tag.

The facts aren’t many, and there is a lot of “maybes” and “what ifs”; it’s difficult to discern if some of these tidbits are honest statements from transparent processes, if they are carefully made PR quotes, or something in between.

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Hi-Rez has been making the PR rounds including an appearance at Twitch Con (and Twitch has no competitive gaming ties right?).

 

IMAGINE IF these titles all released sometime during 2016.  Taking our manifestation of 2016 further, imagine they all are multiplatform releases.  Now you have 2 free-to-play titles, 1 pay-to-play, and 1 undecided.  Excluding PC/MAC install bases (the number of people who own one or the other) we have a current PS4 install base of 24.77 million globally and Xbox One has an install base of 13.57 million (according to VG Chartz).  Including computer gamers, you have incredibly large and active markets with disposable time and/or capital.

 

Imagined scenarios aside, this presents a challenging opportunity for these companies to sell each of their products to users blessed with options.  From a videogame player’s perspective this could be both flattering and advantageous if Blizzard, Hi-Rez, 2K, and Boss Key proliferate the offerings of their titles to gain your love and attention.

 

With an absence of hard facts it is hard to know how this could play out (obviously).  Even with facts it is difficult to account for the legion of possible variables th  at could determine the success or failure of these titles.

 

I do know one thing though; this could get very, very interesting.

 

About The Blogger:

 

ccccccMy name is Trevor Shanahan and I am pursuing a graduate degree in video games/media studies. I am interested in video games and everything they touch (their industry, development, games as art, psychology of games – like gamification, industry issues, culture, etc.). I have come to realize that the more I learn (and learning is so important) the more I do not know. Learn as much as you can about what you love and try to give back to it.