A very long time ago, like, a million years ago, Stardock made a game called The Corporate Machine. Like all of Stardock’s games, it was played almost exclusively single player. But unlike our other games, it was surprisingly popular in multiplayer. How come?
For The Corporate Machine we did the following:
- Start-Up Watcher: A little system tray app that monitored for available games and let people launch it.
- 7 multiplayer only keys that people who owned the game could share with their friends and included the Start-up launcher.
Last week, we released Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. People seem to really like it but, like our other games, it’s mostly played single player.
When we designed Ashes of the Singularity and Escalation, it was our expectation that about 95% of players would play it single player, 5% multiplayer. In reality, it’s been closer to 97% single player.
For multiplayer fans, this stat could be bad news but there is a silver lining: It becomes economically justifiable to release a multiplayer-only version of the game in the future.
Here would be the limitations:
- No single player support at all. No skirmish, no campaign, etc.
- Cannot add AI bots to multiplayer hosted games.
- Would have to have a Stardock ID (so that we have some direct control over issues of griefing, ,cheating, etc.).
Not yet. There are a couple of features that are pre-requisites.
- The replay feature for version 1.5 of the base game (2.1 of Escalation) is absolutely a requirement.
- We also need to create a new system tray app that will make it easier for people to jump into games.
- We need a scheduling app that will let people set up games and remind others to join in when the time comes.
Eventually, this Tournament edition would be available on Steam for $9.99 which would allow people to get the benchmark as well (since a lot of people just want the benchmark). We don’t plan to make it free-to-play except for friends of those who have the base game.
Post your thoughts below on what you think of this concept.