Spending $50 on Home Tycoon

by NorseGamer, HSM Editor-in-Chief

One of the things my elder brother is extremely good at is figuring out asymmetric solutions to complex systems; his mind works so frighteningly quickly that things tend to bore him in short order, and so he’ll always play a video game through twice.

“First I’ll beat the game the way the game wants me to beat it,” he explains. “Then I’ll figure out a much better way to beat it that the game didn’t plan for.”

One notable example of this would be Front Mission 3. I spent hundreds of hours playing through both the Alisa and Emma storylines, meticulously grinding my skill levels up. He just put missile launchers on all his wanzers, trashed everyone from long range, and beat the game in a fraction of the time. Ironically enough, his team turned into mechanized glass cannons, because the game penalized him by not awarding him the same levels of experience since he was beating it too quickly.

Which, ironically, may be the same problem with Home Tycoon.

Before we begin: I like this game. It has some flaws, yes, but it’s very enjoyable and a remarkable technological achievement for Home. If nDreams allows you to build your own personal estate with Blueprint:Home, then Hellfire is allowing you to essentially build your own public space with Home Tycoon. These sorts of sandboxes which allow users to create and demonstrate their own content are a very important step forward for Home. No, the question I have is whether or not Home Tycoon even wants to be “beaten” by spending fifty dollars.

This isn’t an easy question to answer.

I love city-building games, or games which have city-building elements. Games like SimCity, CaesarPopulous and ActRaiser were insane time sinks for me when I was younger. A few years ago I downloaded SimCity on my Nintendo Wii Virtual Console just to build up to Megalopolis again. It’s addictive.

But Home Tycoon is a different animal. It’s making a conscious decision to not be just another city-builder game, although that forms its backbone. For one thing, the ability to be able to wander around your creation at street level is a nifty trick that I can’t recall seeing in other games of this ilk. And, likewise, being able to have friends over to explore your city (and, in return, visiting their cities) is a great touch.

The catch, however, is that Home Tycoon may be a victim of its own largesse. The footprint is so massive — it’s basically using up the maximum amount of square footage allotted to a public space in Home — that there’s no effective way to explore a city except via car (which is quite fun), which means you end up whizzing past all the buildings and their details. And since all the buildings from one city to the next are the same, there isn’t much reason to visit someone else’s city at street level, when the real personal expression lies in your city layout — which can be viewed from the overhead perspective.

The other drawback with such a massively-scaled project is that there’s scant memory left to make your city feel alive. The background scenery is quite plain (which is to be expected), but your city is conspicuously devoid of NPC pedestrians, and there are very few cars on the road. Further, while the buildings themselves are quite remarkable to look at up close (particularly the Zoo, which has some wonderful sound effects), none of them are animated, which only increases the sense of everything feeling rather static when viewing it from overhead.

One has to wonder if Home Tycoon would be more engrossing if it went with a smaller city footprint, fewer building types, and had more memory allocated to making it feel like a more dynamic environment you actively want to explore from street level as it’s being built.

In city-building games, you spend a lot of time watching statistics on a screen as your city grows. The games are designed to give you activities to carry out while this takes place. In ActRaiser, you have to fly around and shoot monsters, protecting your population from being abducted and your buildings from destruction. In Populous, you actively manipulate the terrain and help your side defeat the enemy. In SimCity, you’re given a wealth of metrics to study and monitor, plus random events to deal with, while building up revenue to continue building. And because there’s so much animation built into everything — buildings flashing, traffic on the roads, et cetera — it makes it fun to simply study the city you’re building.

So Home Tycoon, then, is a sort of fusion of SimCity and Grand Theft Auto, albeit one which has to work within the constraints of the Home engine. Considering that Home’s architecture dates all the way back to the PS2, and it was conceived to support a social network for gamers rather than a full-blown gaming platform, it’s pretty remarkable what Home’s third-party developers have been able to squeeze out of it.

Home Tycoon does have some remarkable entertainment built into it, though. What makes this game shine is the snarky, tongue-in-cheek writing that goes with each mission, where somehow you as the mayor must ride to the rescue in a series of increasingly bizarre tasks — everything from firefighting to street racing to shooting sugar at alien infestations. And if you pick up some of the expansion packs, it gets even crazier. Chasing down a talking bear in a stolen vehicle genuinely had me laughing. And it’s in the scripted interactions that you get the sense of an unfolding narrative between rival corporate interests vying for control.

(Some of the characters, by the way, really are funny to read. I swear the fire chief, Cosmo, was modeled after some of the more irascible hair-trigger caps-lock tempers on the Sony forum…)

So now we come to the big question, which is whether or not this game is worth fifty dollars.

Yes, there are lower increments at which you can invest; you buy gold coins to translate into in-game currency for acquiring various resources, as well as unlocking expansion packs with additional missions and rewards. But I’ve frankly given up on trying to win the argument over how most (not all, but most) Home games are fairly priced, if one bothers to actually examine their structures; Home gamers seem to be something of a completionist lot, and if they can’t have absolutely everything for more than a few dollars, they tend to scream to the heavens on the Sony forum about price gouging.

Fifty-dollar price experiments interest me in Home. They interest me because it appears that the average top-tier Home game is “worth” about fifteen to twenty dollars, if you look at how they’re priced — and when you get into fifty-dollar territory, you’re risking comparisons not only to AAA disc titles, but to cheap gaming alternatives that can be had on other platforms. It’s not that hard to find city-building games and other similarly-themed experiences on Steam, for instance, for around twenty dollars a pop — and those are full-blown, self-contained games which ask for no further investment, as opposed to freemium games.

What the Home consumer fails to realize is that freemium games benefit considerably from offering something at a premium price tag — because a small percentage of people will actually buy it. Here’s some quick (hypothetical) math to demonstrate just how effective this can be:

Home Tycoon development cost: $200,000

Opening fortnight traffic: 300,000 unique users

Revenue conversion percentage: 5% (15,000 users)

Average revenue per user: $7

Percentage of converted users who opt for $50 VIP pack: 20% of overall conversion percentage

Total gross revenue: 12,000 users at $7/user ($84,000) + 3,000 users at $50/user ($150,000) = $234,000

Now, let me preemptively remind everyone that these are hypothetical numbers designed to illustrate a point: that even if 95% of the visitor traffic to Home Tycoon didn’t monetize at all (and let’s remember that freemium games traditionally have very low conversion percentages), that remaining five percent is sufficient to build a business model upon, and one percent — literally, one percent — of the user traffic can be responsible for a disproportionately substantial level of revenue. That’s how freemium gaming power-law distributions (so-called “whale economies”) work.

(Also, before anyone gigs me for building useless numbers just to suit my own point, you might want to do some homework on freemium conversion percentages first. I may not have the specifics on Home Tycoon’s performance, but I’ve also tried to build a realistic scenario that’s based on what actually goes on in this industry.)

Hopefully, you can now see why Home games are starting to offer high-ticket items: because they’ve learned the first rule of sales, which is that if you don’t ask for the order, you don’t get the order. Ninety-nine percent of the users who see that price tag won’t buy it (and will cavil and complain on the forum about it) — but that one percentile of the consumer base will see it, and buy it, and drive a disproportionate level of income that frankly is very important to Home developers when they decide whether or not to sink a lot of money into a gaming experiment. Remember, most of Home’s third-party developers are fairly small operations; sinking the amount of time and cost into a big-budget Home game is a risky endeavor.

Where it gets interesting, however, is that the $50 VIP pack in Home Tycoon doesn’t contain any permanent power-ups, except arguably a special gold car to drive around in. And, to be frank, I disagree with this. When you start getting into those kinds of lump-sum transactions, they really ought to have permanent bonuses attached to them in order to be justifiable in the long run. Whales will spend that kind of money because they enjoy the pay-to-win advantage; if they end up at the end at the same level as a regular user, this will not incline them to spend similar levels of money again on the same game.

One very effective way to generate gaming revenue in Home is to have microtransactions for repetitive gaming experiences. Digital Leisure and Mass Media are the undisputed champions of this in Home, with their chips and tickets respectively. Indeed, it was getting rather embarrassing to see new, high-profile game deployments fail to even crack the top-ten sales lists (by number of units sold) each month, while those two continued to sail atop the charts. The key to this sales strategy is that it’s a death by a thousand paper cuts: you slowly bleed users of their money in small increments, so they never bother to add up how much they’ve cumulatively spent. You still get your whales, but you’re not actively targeting them. This freemium formula in Home relies upon highly-repetitive gaming experiences with quick time-to-reward windows.

Applying this formula to a $50 price tag which offers nothing but consumables is a risky gamble, because the consumer ends up having spent a (comparatively) hefty sum and has nothing to show for it. It’s one of the problems which dogged the original incarnation of Cutthroats, and it potentially poses long-term problems for Home Tycoon. Because here’s what happens: you buy the $50 VIP pack, which allows you to rip through every mission in the game and buy enough workers to build up a huge city in a hurry, featuring every building there is. And then you’re out of money, with no reason to continue.

Longevity.

Game longevity in Home is a major issue, since Home gamers have a tendency to enter a new game and rapidly power through it until they’ve exhausted everything it has to offer, then discard it because the gameplay itself isn’t sufficiently compelling to warrant carrying on if there’s no sense of forward progression. If Home Tycoon is a game which is deliberately calibrated to unfold slowly (as some games are, such as nDreams’ Aurora), then it has gone about it the wrong way, since it’s selling products to defeat that very goal. If you try to “beat” the game the way it wants to be beaten — by upselling you commodities to speed up the city-building pace — then you end up with a finished city a bit sooner than everyone else, and no incentive to build another. If you try to beat the game asymmetrically, by spending seven dollars to buy the briefcase which permanently improves your rate of worker regeneration, you end up getting to the same goal (eventually), but have to stare at other publicly-displayed cities with stats that outstrip what you can produce.

Quite honestly, the more I play Home Tycoon, the more I feel like — and this is going to sound far more harsh than I intend it to — Hellfire missed the point of its own game. The goal of the game is not to race everyone else to the finish line, which is what all of its for-sale commodities are geared to do; the goal is to offer Home users a long-term canvas to creatively express themselves with one city design after another, because it’s that creative expression which will drive users to visit each others’ cities. But the way Hellfire set up their economy actually works against long-term play.

By way of analogy: imagine if you were given nDreams’ Blueprint:Home for free, and when you purchased the (expensive) style packs, rather than having permanent and unlimited access to them, you could only decorate so many rooms with that pack before it ran out of uses and you had to re-buy the pack. Oh, and if you wanted to gain access to the other four save slots, you had to buy those, too. Would this not effectively deter you from the whole point of playing Blueprint?

Well, that’s how Hellfire set things up with Home Tycoon.

Now, it’s HSM tradition to bring a solution if you bring a problem, and the good news is that there are permanent bonuses which can be added to increase long-term replayability:

  1. The $50 VIP pack should award the player a regular stipend of gold coins, not just a one-time payout. There’s already a revenue collection system built into the game, so this shouldn’t be too hard to implement. If someone’s willing to plunk down fifty bucks on a Home game in one shot, then they really do deserve some permanent bonuses.
  2. The worker regeneration briefcase should be included with the $50 VIP pack, as should the GloboSyn Enforcer coat. Or, barring that, the $50 VIP pack should confer substantially shorter worker recovery times: one minute per worker instead of ten minutes per worker.
  3. Standard revenue collection amounts per building should be effectively doubled for anyone who buys the VIP pack.
  4. Remove the price for buying a new map, and cap the number of maps any one user can have. Or, if this is not feasible due to technological limitations, then alter the parameters of building destruction so that whatever it cost the user to build (either gold coins or dollars), it’s a 100% recovery of the resources used — at least for those users who bought the $50 VIP pack. This removes any penalty for creative expression; users can re-use the same map over and over again for as much creative expression as they want, which adds considerably to the long-term replayability of the game.
  5. If someone bought the VIP pack, changing the time of day should be free.

There is a sixth suggestion I’d like to make, but it may not be possible to alter the game’s mechanics to make it happen: rather than requiring X-number of workers to finish a building site, adding workers should simply speed up the process. So, if I have thirty workers, I can have thirty construction projects progressing very slowly, or one project completed almost instantly. This gives me, as the user, far more direct control over how to spend such a precious resource — and it gives me a sense of forward progress to see buildings being completed while I wait and stare at the screen, or drive around town.

Remember when this was it for Home games?

Now, it’s entirely possible that the economy behind Home Tycoon is structured the way it is specifically because of the Home environment. This isn’t Q1 2010 any more, when Lockwood’s SodiumOne was the only real game in town and had months to monetize practically unchallenged. Home 2012 is the Year of the Game (with not much of a slowdown in sight), and it’s gotten to the point where game releases are like movie releases: all the pressure is on to recover as much of the invested capital as fast as possible during that opening fortnight, before consumer attention is drawn to the Next Big Thing. This is one of the reasons why I’ve geared my improvement suggestions specifically to the VIP pack, in order to drive as much revenue as possible. In short, the idea is to unlock true long-term replayability with no penalties for any user willing to fork over fifty dollars.

Just like with Cutthroats 1.0, I find myself in the odd position of being in favor of a game and simultaneously against its freemium economy model. I like Home Tycoon, and for all I know the Hellfire guys are laughing all the way to the bank right now (and they deserve to, because they’re a great group of talented people), but I just can’t get past how the freemium pricing structure they’re using isn’t the most efficient for long-term revenue gain.

Do I recommend you check out Home Tycoon? Absolutely. As for me, I’ve spent my fifty dollars, built my (mostly complete) city, driven around a few racetracks, and now have no incentive to pick it up again. Were the economic penalties removed for creating new cityscapes and endlessly tinkering with the one I start out with, I could see myself playing this game intermittently for quite a while. But when I can buy full city-building games for a fraction of the price, or fire up Grand Theft Auto games that give me a lot more to do at street level (with an environment that feels a lot less static), I see no logic in investing additional money required to build yet another city with consumable power-ups that don’t last, or grinding out a new city instead just to save a few bucks. I want to create, and after a fifty-dollar investment, I have no interest in (or patience for) artificial conditions designed to slow down the act of creation and letting my imagination run wild.

Home Tycoon was fun while it lasted.

October 6th, 2012 by | 20 comments
NorseGamer is the production coordinator and business analyst for LOOT Entertainment at Sony Pictures, as well as the founder and publisher of HomeStation Magazine. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, he holds a B.A. in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and presently lives in Los Angeles. All opinions expressed in HSM are solely his and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sony DADC.

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20 Responses to “Spending $50 on Home Tycoon”

  1. Its amazing what some members of the community have already built so far within Home Tycoon. Hopefully in a future update they will add additional missions/expansion packs/ and (of course) in game fixes and patches. I too enjoy Home Tycoon, Its definitly my kind of game, but I feel it doesn’t hold to me as strongly as Novus Prime had. Is it because of Im spending far more money on it than I have Novus Prime? Is it because Im more of a SciFi guy and therfore connect with the game more? I’d like to know myself, lol. Hellfire Games is a great developer no doubt, but perhaps they should look back at the success of Novus Prime and see how they implement that kind of awesomeness into Home Tycoon. Excellent article btw :)

  2. MsLiZa says:

    I’ve been tinkering a bit with Home Tycoon. I’m not yet convinced that I’d like to spend any money on it, let alone $50. As you pointed out in the article, the money doesn’t really buy you much when you get right down to it.

    You get temporary power-ups, some extra buildings and to build your city more quickly. Given the game’s limitations, you still end up with a city that looks pretty much like what everyone else has created. Especially when viewed from street level. The cities seem pretty stagnant and generic. Are the mini-games like fire control and racing around really worth any investment?

    What is my incentive to create a city, return to create more cities or spend any money to do so? I’m not really sure. The game is interesting to a point but will it really have any replay value after a week or two?

    I know that I’ve become a chronic dissenter to this point but I can’t imagine paying $50 for something like Home Tycoon.

  3. MsLiZa says:

    “Home Tycoon was fun while it lasted.”

    That is the harshest indictment of all!

    Considering that you spent $50 and the game has only been out for 2 days. Ouch.

  4. NorseGamer says:

    I generally don’t like to criticize the efforts of any developer, which is one of the reasons why I held off on writing this story until after the game got off the ground; search engine traffic goes through the roof any time a new Home game is launched, and I’m not going to tear down, on opening day, what’s taken them an ungodly amount of time to create.

    My issue isn’t really with the game. The game, for the most part, is quite entertaining. I like the Hellfire team, and I genuinely want to see them succeed. I plunked down fifty dollars because I want to support them and I figured it was worth the investment to have the full Home Tycoon experience.

    That said, it bugs me when I see a freemium business model that isn’t structured as well as it could be. It bugged me with Cutthroats, and it bugs me with this game. That’s why I figured this article would be a decent Wishlist Saturday piece, because I’m trying to think of solutions that would optimize their revenue stream. I’m not one of these people on the forum who bleats for lower prices and free handouts; I’m trying to offer up a perspective on how their current structure really isn’t set up to best capitalize on those users who do choose to commit what is a premium price tag for a Home game.

    Ultimately, I hope I’m dead wrong, and that the game is making loads of money. Hellfire deserves it. I just wish my fifty-dollar investment gave me months (or even weeks) of value instead of a few hours. Permanent upgrades instead of consumables, as well as a removal or reduction of the economic penalties for tinkering around with building, destroying and remaking cities, would neatly solve this problem.

  5. KrazyFace says:

    That’s exactly his point though Liza, do you invest your time to build the best city you can over a period of weeks and months, or invest your money and be done with it in literally a few days?

    Since none of the money invested goes into permanent buffs essentially you’re paying just to speed things up. I won’t lie here, when I played Sim City as a kid, I had way more fun with the money cheat than I did playing it sensibly, but it did open the game up so much that lack of challenge and problems to work around made it boring really fast too. Same with the Rosebud cheat fir the Sims…

    The very core of these games is all about the time investment and meticulous forward planning on maximizing your growth and finances. You take that away, and there’s no game left to play. It’s a bit like playing Tekken with infinite health, it looses its point.

  6. NorseGamer says:

    What made the SimCity money cheat so fun is that it effectively removed any barrier to creating, destroying, and experimenting with different layouts. I never used the debug cheat — to me, that really did make the game pointless — but it was fun, after carefully building one city after the next, to suddenly have the freedom to explore different and wild ideas, and not worry about scrubbing them if they didn’t work out.

    This is where Home Tycoon misses the boat: I get the idea of selling power-ups to speed up the game, even though it works counter to the idea of trying to prolong the game. But if someone’s willing to blow fifty dollars on it, then the way to prolong their gaming is to blow the doors wide open by removing any restrictions or penalties which would stifle further play. Someone who invests $50 should have the freedom to create, destroy and experiment without feeling like every mistake and attempt at creative expression is going to cost more money. Without that freedom, I see no reason or incentive to continue playing the game, now that I’ve blown through my $50 in consumables and am right back where I started, with no permanent bonuses being conferred upon me to keep playing.

    It sure was fun while it lasted, though.

  7. Burbie52 says:

    I agree with your analysis Norse. When I first got into this game I bought a smaller pack, the $11.99 one, to get a little bump up and buy an expansion or two. But at the beginning you were able to destroy roads or buildings and regain your money back to try again. For some reason that was changed. When I tried to demolish a piece of road the other day to get the money necessary to build something, it didn’t return my hard earned dollars. I don’t know if this is intentional, or a new bug that has reared its head. Why would they take away the incentive for people to actually play with their city layouts? This alone adds longevity to the game. I won’t be able to change anything I have built now because it cost me dollars to do so as well as workers.
    For someone like me, who has never played a game like this, not being able to fix the beginners mistakes I made are a real turn off. I believe it will be the same for many people, as several of my friends are already saying the same thing. They don’t want to have to pay to change their city if they feel they blundered in the initial layout.
    Great read as always.

  8. Dr_Do-Little says:

    Personally I doont see much incentive to buy the $50 pack, certainly not a flashy gold car. Like Burbie I bought the $12.00 to buy expension pack, permanent add-on.
    One thing, I like to make it last ;) I did the same at Novus with the conditioning chambers/gloves when Vindication came out. Bought it when I was almost lvl30 already. I had waited so long for the new level cap. I saw no reasons to spoil my fun in a hurry.

    So far my workers regenerate while I’m offline if I quit the game before quitting home and shutting off the ps3. So my 30 workers do just enough for my slow pace.

    What I feel Home Tycoon is missing for a long term investment is more involvement with metrics. Events triggerd when citizen are unhappy and others.

    N.B. Novus-Cooldown said many times that you should receive full credits when you destroy something. Hopefully this is a bug you experienced.

  9. MsLiZa says:

    I agree with just about everything that Norse, Burbie and KrazyFace are saying here. The only difference might be that I refuse to plunk down $50 to help some game developer succeed in their misguided business model. I also wish them success but Hellfire Games is not a charity, last time I checked.

    The only game that I’ve ever played with any semblance to Home Tycoon would be Civilization IV on PC. That game was so mind-blowingly engrossing that you could play it over and over, trying different strategies each time for completely new experiences. If you made mistakes, it ruined your game or increased your challenge but didn’t force you to buy the game again. Plus, it only cost about £20 to buy it in the first place. I understand the economic factors outlined by Norse about “Home game” versus “standalone game” prices but this disparity seems a bridge too far.

    The thought of paying twice that amount to basically lease a massively watered-down version of such a game is ridiculous. Theoretically, the biggest fans of Home Tycoon could end up spending well over $100 on it. More than likely, people will spend all their money up front and then give up when they’ve completed their city, only to move on to Home’s next big thing.

    Developers are increasingly employing this smash-and-grab business strategy because most Home games lack any staying power or replay value, especially considering the short attention span of the Home audience. It sort of speaks to the nature of Home itself. As a constantly evolving platform, users are always looking to that next stage of evolution. That’s really the beauty of Home and the biggest challenge for developers. It was fine when most of Home’s spaces were drop-and-forget promos for disc-based games or movies. Now that Home is trying to generate revenue by selling deeper games, I’m not sure that the product justifies the expense in most cases.

    At least, that’s my 2 cents…likely all I’ll be investing in Home Tycoon.

  10. Gary160974 says:

    Its basically the same format as most facebook games where people pay money to farm, be a zoo keeper etc. Also they have time related items that need to regenerate. but the games are more basic but have a lot more content, keeping people engrossed longer. Most have a alternative revenue stream through advertising but having missions in this game that have to be completed in novus is a bit cheeky. But people will pay it. Unfortunately it will take a developer to fail terribly before it changes because developers are foremost a business, it doesnt matter how many things they give away, how many interviews they do. The current fanfare every game is released to is designed to separate the user from they dollars . Most games are released with coming soon content that may or may not arrive depending on initially how much money it makes. I look at home games now deciding what does it give me in home outside the game. because when the game is forgotten and deserted as all these games will be. what will i be left with for my money.

    • MsLiZa says:

      You are right, Gary. Most Home games have so little replay value that their only worthwhile attribute tends to be the reward system. Mercia was somewhat worthy of a play-through but I have not returned since reaching level 30. Same goes for so many other spaces. As I said above, the devs need to grab their cash up front because the games don’t hold any long-term appeal.

      Add to that fact that every game is hyped like mad and then released full of bugs. It tends to make the Home gaming experience quite frustrating. Unfortunately, most of the Home audience is not overly discriminating and happy follow the carrot from one half-cooked venture to the next.

      • NorseGamer says:

        One thing I do want to say in defense of Hellfire and other devs: stuff just *happens* when a game (particularly a multiplayer game) hits the live environment. Even when a game has an extensive closed beta in Home (No Man’s Land and Mercia being two recent examples), there’s just no accurate way to fully predict what might happen when a game throws open its doors and Home strains to keep up.

        Are there times when there’s code that needs to be fixed? Frequently. But I can only imagine how it hurts a game’s monetization during that all-too-critical opening fortnight to be hamstrung by server load and every other problem that pops up every time there’s a new release. Sadly, such difficulties appear to be par for the course with the Home environment. It’s hard to build replay value into the mind of the consumer when their *first* exposure to a game is riddled with technical hurdles to try to work through. For all of the benefits the Home platform offers to a developer, its instability is perhaps its biggest drawback.

        Of course, to be fair to Sony, it’s not like there’s a template for a console-based social MMO with more than a dozen different developers all contributing content to it, and somehow Sony as the platform provider has to make it work on infrastructure that dates back to a PS2 concept. That said, the average consumer doesn’t know — and doesn’t care — about any of that: they just want a gaming experience that works, hassle free.

        • KrazyFace says:

          Yep. From a professional company I do expect things to work as they should but I also know that bugs can just appear. Having said that, things like the New Vegas fiasco just shouldn’t happen. But I’d hardly say the bugs in Tycoon are game-breaking, off-putting maybe, but not game-breaking. As you said though Norse, those very crucial first few days are the make or break moment for all Home games and Tycoon has suffered some major off-putting moments.

          But there’s a very simple way to cushion that blow; communication. When people are told directly from developers that things are being done to rectify any bad situation, they’re a lot more likely to have patience and give the product a fighting chance.

        • MsLiZa says:

          No argument here, Norse. That’s why I referred to “the Home gaming experience” as a source of frustration without specifically blaming anyone.

          Designing games for Home with progressive levels of complexity must be very difficult indeed. Unfortunately, more ambitious game releases require more aggressive pricing structures.

          If people are being asked to pay 10, 20…50 dollars to play a game on Home, they expect it to be functional. Users should be able to concede that the Home platform prevents developers from creating games to rival standalone blockbusters. It doesn’t make it any more palatable when some kid plunks down his whole PSN card on a hyped-up new game that doesn’t work.

  11. Gary160974 says:

    Your right about that Norse, the average consumer only cares about the finished product and so they should. Developers release stuff knowing its got bugs, the mercia bugs were the same in closed beta, veemee released the go fishing game in NA with the same bugs that were in EU months before. Surely they should of checked or resolved these known issues before they released it. It dont really bother me that they do, because I understand its all about the money. Why fix something twice unless its a fatal error when you can fix it once later. Especially if you know people will pay anyway, It would be interesting to know how many people were level 30 on mercia within a week, while suffering sever issues and bugs. Car manufacturers release new cars not knowing that all the bugs are fixed and depending on your spend it changes your expectations. So pay top dollar expect top dollar. That is homes failing when it comes to games, pay top dollar ie full game prices to fully use the game and get budget product. That sort of pricing suggests so many different reasons why they charge what they do, but ultimately it will be down to profit. Thing is a lot of home users need to realize that developers are a business first and friends to the community second and thats the way it should be. Reading the blogs on the fan and official sites, Twitter and face book it appears that some users consumer relationships towards a seller is getting to be a little unhealthy.

  12. Snake_the_Great says:

    Following the Facebook game model, I’m surprised that Home games don’t sell $100 packs by now. I’ve talked with some people that develop for Zynga, and they really do have people that shell out $100 for currency for their dinky Flash games.

  13. SealWyf_ says:

    I’m planning to make my $50 worth of tokens last a long time. Most of the time I just spend them to collect accumulated income — much easier and faster than using a worker to collect each building’s revenue.

  14. Avalanche_4x4 says:

    The thing I noticed is if you have more than one city only the city you’re in accumulates income. Workers regenerate fine but useless if income doesn’t regenerate till you at least collect that maxed income then it would start over. The buy buildings do save to reuse for free. The earned buildings however don’t save but that’s still fine close to real life. Like the buy building save thing of course. Otherwise they seemed to have fixed everything. Just need to have multiple cities accumulate income. If it was a toss up I’d rather the income reaccumulate as apposed to workers regenerate. Oh and if you buy 500 workers as I have the 30 regenerate doesn’t happens till you use the buy worker and get below 30 workers left. Still good game hellfire flush I figure like halloween they’ll be thanksgiving Christmas new years etc expansion holiday packs don’t forget mardigras expansion pack.

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