“Predictable in Hindsight”

Concerning the demise of All Points Bulletin:
Blogger pundit points are awarded only if you said at the start something like, “this game is doomed,” “this will never work,” or “this game will not last a year.” Shall we say within 30 days of launch, with greater points for saying it before launch? No points are awarded for negative comments that could be vaguely interpreted as a prediction of demise.

Of course, if you are taking points for this one, you must also take all the games where you said something similar and subtract points for each one that is still going. I expect to find few predictions that APB would announce is cancellation within 3 months, that WWII Online would still be going today, or that Asheron’s Call would still be live 11 years later while AC2 barely made it 3 years. You can check your own pundit score on the effect of NGE on SWG (still live!).

: Zubon

All Points Bulletin – The End

Well that is that.

APB has been a fantastic journey, but unfortunately that journey has come to a premature end. Today we are sad to announce that despite everyone’s best efforts to keep the service running; APB is coming to a close. It’s been a pleasure working on APB and with all its players. Together we were building an absolutely amazing game, and for that, we thank you. You guys are awesome!

From all of the Realtime World staff we thank you for your continued support.

The servers are still up, so join the party and say goodbye!

– Ben ‘APBMonkey’ Bateman (Community Officer)

– Ethic

More Perspective and Visualization

Months ago, I went through a brief exercise helping you think about how much money Blizzard had in the queue to buy sparkleponies. That was a $3.5 million queue. I just heard that All Points Bulletin consumed $100,000,000. So go back to that $3.5 million exercise and repeat it once a week for half a year. You will have almost gotten to $100,000,000.

: Zubon

alternate hypothesis

APB: Deep Knowledge

A commenter at the PC blog every PC gamer should follow Rock, Paper, Shotgun with the moniker ExRTW gave a long, insightful comment on the news story about all the layoffs for All Points Bulletin (“APB”) developer Real Time Worlds.  In my opinion, the saddest part is, rather than being a revelation, it really just seems to confirm everything we knew or should have known about the game.  The game definitely had highlights, but the community pretty much seemed to be unified on the main problems of the game: vaporous design and silly business plan.  As ExRTW notes, they were pretty big problems for a released game.

The biggest issue, for me, was the business model.  It confused me even though I could rationalize that $50 for 50 hours of gameplay (not counting art time) was a pretty good deal for a fun game.  I would guess most potential consumers who gave APB a free pass with some of the gameplay could not do so when they also saw “subscription.”

I’ll be honest.  I still have hopes for APB.  There is some great potential, but I imposed the 6-month wait (or Steam sale) rule on myself for the game before launch.  Hopefully there is some energy and funding to change the big problems before the game goes belly up.  Good luck to all ex-employees of Real Time Worlds, and good luck to those staying the course in the emptier halls.  I hope all you guys can land on your feet quickly.

there will be blood

APB First Impressions

All Points Bulletin is the new game from Realtime Worlds now in open beta with the Key to the City event.  Somehow, whether being an unselected beta applicant or just on the mailing list, I received a key to the event.  I had already decided not to purchase the game at this time without having played it, and I will get to that.  Yet, a little “beta” preview never hurt anybody. 

I loaded up the game, and there was an impressive character creator.  I pressed random a couple times (the best way) until the generator gave me a character that I liked.  The best part was making a pudgy guy.  I am so sick of male Adonis figures, and I like “flawed” characters in all my RPG’s (table-top or elsewhere).  I don’t think anybody would love Sam Gamgee quite as much if he was the WWE-equivalent of a hobbit paladin instead of a pudgy, pie-eating stalwart.  So, I was happy to make a fat Irish Enforcer.

Continue reading APB First Impressions

APB Business Model – Back to the Old

Via Massively, I learned that All Points Bulletin, a game much on my radar, has received a release date (NA – 6/29, EU 7/2) and a pricing plan:

The retail client will be available digitally or in stores ($49.99/£34.99/€49.99) and will include 50 hours of ‘action’ game play plus unlimited time in the social districts. These districts include character customizing, socializing, and marketplace trading. Once you burn through your initial 50 hours of action play, you can purchase an additional 20 hours for $6.99 (£5.59, €6.29) or opt for the 30-day ‘unlimited’ package at $9.99 (£7.99, €8.99). There will also be 90 and 180 day discounts available.

I do like the pre-loaded hours option.  If they were available, I would likely have hours in World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online, and who knows what else.  So kudos to them for going back to a play-by-hour, and giving the consumer more options.  Yet, from all that I have read All Points Bulletin is more like a Grand Theft Auto version of Team Fortress 2 with a thin veneer of persistence found in the MMO genre.  It sounds like a lot of fun, but I am just not sure about their subscription and pseudo-subscription model. 

Continue reading APB Business Model – Back to the Old