This tells you all you need to know...

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by Mags, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. Mags

    Mags Former MEGA PC Commish

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    This tells you all you need to know...

    about where the Madden team is with Online Franchise.

    ** Taken from the Game Shark review w/ Ian Cummings **

    Was the team surprised that Online Franchise mode was barely touched by the user base? Does that tell you guys that the mode itself needed to be better or that gamers just aren’t that interested in playing Franchise modes online?

    Great question. First, yes, we were totally shocked. Before Madden NFL 11, we primarily made design decisions based on our own gut feel, what we heard from reviewers, and what we heard from our community. Since online franchise was always the number one requested feature (from us internally as well as from everyone else), it was a real eye-opener to see such low usage and frankly, the possibility of how disconnected we possibly could have been from the majority of our audience.
    As to what the actual data tells us, well it’s a few things. We did know that our more hardcore gamers would be upset with some of the depth that wasn’t there (i.e. a realistic free agency/salary cap structure), but we felt confident that the franchise experience was deep enough out of the box (15 years, custom draft classes, online support, injuries, trades, etc.) that we could add features in the future and work iteratively on the mode over time. All those plans changed though when we saw the usage. It was no longer an effective strategy to be spending a major amount of work on a feature that was barely getting used (FWIW online franchise development is also some of the most specialized and difficult engineering in our game). I’ve heard some people put out the theory that usage was low because of the missing features, but that’s not the case in my opinion. If you think about it, the critical time for the cap and free agency is obviously in the offseason, and only a small fraction of our online franchise gamers even made it through year 1 to that phase.
    Are players interested in playing Franchise modes online? Well, yes, some definitely are. I know I am, as are a lot of designers on the team. But how many are there of us? I am not totally sure. What I do know is that it’s similar to the old hardcore Madden PC folks -- it’s a relatively small sect of gamers (in comparison to the big picture of Madden sales), but they are definitely the loudest group.
    There are many very difficult design challenges with an online franchise type of mode, number one being the scheduling. I had an online franchise last year with one of my best friends from high school that was on the west coast, and it was nearly impossible for us to sync up and play our games. Now imagine if I was in an online franchise with people I don’t really know all that well (or at all)...it’s a serious challenge to make you want to stay invested when you aren’t able to play your games. It’s a real drag when you have like an hour to play Madden, (say your wife is expecting you to take her out for dinner, or your kids want to hang out with you or something), and you just sit in a screen waiting and hoping your opponent shows up. I think there are definitely some improvements that could be made to ease this pain…things like removing commissioner dependency, or pre-determined/scheduled play times, but I don’t know if more improvements like those get us any major up-tick in usage of the mode.
    One thing to be clear on—we haven’t given up on the mode. If we had given up, we’d cut it completely as it costs a substantial amount of money to maintain and support. We’re continuing to do extensive research on who is playing, why they are playing, and more importantly who is dropping out and why. I for one am really curious how NCAA’s Online Dynasty numbers stack up this year, because they have an extremely rich feature-set out there with Dynasty Wire, recruiting, web-support, and the like. If they end up with big-time numbers, then we’d obviously re-evaluate our current thinking.
     
  2. gt86

    gt86 Walk On

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    What's it tell you?

    It tells me they say they listen when they don't and are complete idiots
     
  3. ChickenOfTheSea

    ChickenOfTheSea TMFL Goat Herder

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    Cummings is a smart Dude, but hes gotten less and less patient and more and more take it or leave it.

    Sad truth is hes right about the scheduling, and the time zones, and the tiny vocal minority. At least he said they are using NCAA as a test bed.

    Free opinion Friday?-- OF will be gone next year. Madden's heyday was 99-08' its over now and will likely become more and more of a backbreaker dumbed down shell. If we are lucky, the NFL will decide at some point to pull EA's exclusive lisence and allow for someone like 2ksports to create some competition and push EA or we are going to get a progressively worse product.
     
  4. Mags

    Mags Former MEGA PC Commish

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    Scheduling is only a problem caused by the model they created. Go back to spawns. Go back to being able to resume a F'ing game due to any reason (disconnect, the old lady bitching, bad weather...). Those two changes alone would make the game infinitely more accessible.

    There are so many things wrong with the way they approach it, I don't want to go on a rant.
     
  5. coachgaddy

    coachgaddy Mega 49ers, OMFL Pats

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    It just needs to be a feature that is sold separately to determine exact usage. With everybody creating all these dummy franchises just to create them with no intention on playing them thru creates false data for their reports.

    He is right the online franchise community is not big enough to raise the red flag that its an major issue. There only hundreds of CONSISTENT online franchises when there should be thousands for the product to be taken seriously.
     
  6. Stykman

    Stykman RC & MEGA Historian

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    Difficulty of Scheduling?

    Not enought people getting to the offseason in an OF?

    Is this guy from outter space?

    Scheduling, as Mags said, would be a piece of cake if they had the Spawns, like PC. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe at one point, MEGA had 32 players that covered 3...yes THREE CONTINENTS, and 12....Yea...TWELVE Time Zones!!! Its420 in Alaska, Dan in Europe, Luis in Argentina, and the rest in the Continental US. We managed to get in 3 games a week too.

    BINGO Asshead. Good thing it's an "opinion". Why would I go past ANY season if there was No Feature to USE in the offseason.

    See you guys on the Other Side in PC '08.
     

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