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Author Topic: Confessions of a free-to-play games producer  (Read 1807 times)

mouser

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Confessions of a free-to-play games producer
« on: September 18, 2015, 08:11:20 AM »
Interesting article today talking about how free-to-play games morphed from making cool things to being all about collecting data and money.

Quote
Time passed, Free to Play became a thing. I went from company to company. Each time, every new project became less and less about how we can do cool things, and more about how we can track and target users to get the most whales possible, boost chart position and retain users to shove as many ads on them as possible.


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Confessions of a free-to-play games producer
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2015, 08:44:43 AM »
I only play Ludum Dare *actually free* games!

So does anyone know how these other games get this kind of info? "We know where you live, we know your income level, we know your relationships, your favorite sports teams, your political preferences. We know when you go to work, and where you work."

"When you work" I can see, usage pulls on a server, "where you work" might be just everyone wants an email and it might be a work email, but sports teams, relationships, and political prefs!?

EDIT: Sorry, sloppy lazy reading of the story. I was thinking about info the company wanted entered directly somehow to "unlock a code" or something.

wraith808

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Re: Confessions of a free-to-play games producer
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2015, 08:49:56 AM »
SocialMediaAndYou.jpg

mwb1100

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Re: Confessions of a free-to-play games producer
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2015, 10:02:32 AM »
So does anyone know how these other games get this kind of info? "We know where you live, we know your income level, we know your relationships, your favorite sports teams, your political preferences. We know when you go to work, and where you work."

Just a guess, but I imagine that it's because most people don't pay much attention to the permissions granted to games installed on their devices.  So the games are granted all sorts of permissions and simply watch whatever else is happening on the device and report back to the company.

wraith808

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Re: Confessions of a free-to-play games producer
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2015, 11:11:43 AM »
So does anyone know how these other games get this kind of info? "We know where you live, we know your income level, we know your relationships, your favorite sports teams, your political preferences. We know when you go to work, and where you work."

Just a guess, but I imagine that it's because most people don't pay much attention to the permissions granted to games installed on their devices.  So the games are granted all sorts of permissions and simply watch whatever else is happening on the device and report back to the company.


^ This.  I go on facebook sparingly, but I have one friend I play words with friends with, and though I know I shouldn't... I do.  And having fiddler up while you connect to that site?  It's quite eyeopening.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Even the one that I know is a single-man shop (Galaxy Legion) has some things in there that are being done by facebook that are quite dodgy.

Deozaan

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Re: Confessions of a free-to-play games producer
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2015, 02:52:33 PM »
As someone who makes games as a hobby and hopes to (eventually) make video games for a living, this kind of thing really frustrates me.

The free-to-play games have created a race-to-the-bottom culture where fun gameplay has been replaced by psychologically addictive tasks. It gives players just enough of a taste of potential fun/reward, then blocks progress by money gates or extremely long wait times (to encourage players to pay up). It's essentially one huge Skinner box, with people playing for months, even when they recognize that they're not really enjoying it anymore, simply because of the feeling of being on the verge of having fun with it. There's a perpetual feeling of "Once I get this upgrade things will be fun."  but as soon as that upgrade is attained, the game changes is such a way that the next one is needed to continue progressing.

It sucks. A lot.

But because there are innumerable F2P games on the market(s), trying to sell your game for even a measly $1 can be really difficult.

Why pay $1 for an indie game made by 1 or 2 people which doesn't look nearly as nice as any number of the other "free" games out there in the same category? And how can I, as a developer, survive (economically) in this situation without resorting to the same data collection and other sleazy tactics? (These are rhetorical questions.)


Deozaan

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Re: Confessions of a free-to-play games producer
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2015, 02:55:49 PM »
So does anyone know how these other games get this kind of info? "We know where you live, we know your income level, we know your relationships, your favorite sports teams, your political preferences. We know when you go to work, and where you work."

The article is specifically about Facebook games/integration. So once you login with Facebook, they now have access to pretty much everything about you on Facebook. All your likes, friends, etc. Not only that, but all of your friends' likes and friends, etc.

And like he said, even if you fill out entirely false information on Facebook, anybody you are linked to on Facebook (as a friend, or as someone you play Facebook games with, or someone who logs in on the same computer or IP address, etc.) they can grab a lot of information from them about you. There are already plenty of other good articles/explanations about how that's possible and how that works.

It's just scary and sad and frustrating all at once.