Yesterday I posted about PlayMesh games.
I’ve taken a more intense look at the games they put out.
Originally, I thought the idea of taking exactly the same game, reskinning it, and attempting to foist it off as something new was stupid.
And yet I downloaded every version and played them.
I admit I did so mainly to find out what the equivalent of buying land in the vampire game was, or what the equivalent of the Godfather was in the robot wars game.
So, obviously Playmesh is not an innovator. It is a company like Blizzard, which takes a solid game concept and refines it to an enormously polished game. There is another company, Storm 8, doing the same thing and with the same business model.
It is the business model that is absolutely brilliant. The game is a relatively fluffy abstract game of limited resource management. The limited resource is “energy” (or mana, or fuel, or whatever), which is spent to perform money making activities which can then be used to upgrade equipment or purchase income generating properties. The reason that energy is the limiting factor is because when it is depleted it takes a certain amount of time to recharge.
Which shows once again that the only real commodity ever is time.
So, the business model is this: sell exactly the same game. Have a free version that gets you a very few cheat points, or a more expensive game that gives you a lot of cheat points.
If you buy cheat points, you don’t have to spend time doing the mundane tasks early on in the game, and you can do more advanced mundane tasks. In essence, you trade “real” money for time, and you got the “real” money in the first place because you spent time in real life doing something to earn it.
So, a very smart business model, although from what I’ve seen in their reviews is that they are rather polarized. Lots of people think the games are stupid, and lots really like them.
However, if they are going to go with themes, then they should really go further. The most “disturbing” one was Vampire, but culture has made Vampires completely campy long ago. Same thing for Mafia.
Be bolder, I say. Be edgy. Make an evil cult theme. Make a porn star them. Make a serial killer/rapist theme. Make a corrupt politician theme. Make a drug addict theme. Make a homeless person theme.
Even better, make a “freedom fighter” theme, and release it along side the “terrorist” theme.