If I tell you “Game X is kinda like Farmville”, you take that as a negative. Same but reverse if I say “Game Y is like Civilization”. This works on a broader view too; F2P, ‘casual’ game, WoW-clone, zombie-survival, yet-another-MOBA, etc. This can work for or against you, depending on the tag.
Two recent examples of this I want to talk about today; Clash of Clans and ArcheAge.
CoC suffers from being a mobile game, being F2P, and being labeled as a ‘casual’ or ‘timewaster’ game. Now let’s be very clear, CoC is a mobile game, it is F2P, and one could argue it can be played casually to a certain extent (this was especially true prior to Clan Wars). The difference between CoC and 99.999% of all other mobile/F2P/Casual games is CoC isn’t garbage.
From a coding perspective its wonderful; being able to get into the game in a second or two from clicking the icon is awesome, it doesn’t crash, its net code is really solid, and as far as I’ve experienced its bug-free. It runs well (granted on an iPhone 5s), looks great, has an amazing UI, great balance, depth, etc. Basically CoC is better across the board than 99% of ALL games, mobile/F2P/casual or not. Civ V vs CoC? Toss up IMO, and I’m not joking with that.
And while no one needs to shed a tear for CoC, with the game being the highest grossing iPhone app month after month, how many MORE people, especially ‘serious’ gamers, would give the game a shot if the perception of it being just another mobile/F2P/casual game didn’t exist?
Similar comment about ArcheAge, but here the stigma of F2P hangs around its neck (sadly accurate, thanks Trion), along with it being an Asian grinder MMO import (not accurate). For AA this might actually matter, as it isn’t yet a runaway success ala CoC. AA is also forced to deal with general MMO burnout; a lot of people who I know would enjoy the game aren’t even bothering because they don’t want to get started in yet another MMO that might not last.
To some extend this issue has always existed, in the SNES/Genesis era any movie-based game was assumed to be garbage when it was announced, but is it just me in feeling that today it’s far more prominent and shapes option more than ever before?