Video games' Tim Burton struggles with sales side of social games

BigHead Bash
BigHead Bash

You know, the most important part of a social game? Unfortunately, the creator of creepy console game hits like Alice told Gamasutra that his Shanghai-based studio, Spicy Horse, has struggled with adapting to the social games business model. In creating its first-ever game in the genre, BigHead Bash, the developer didn't even consider a business model until later in the game's development.

"The truth is, being a 'traditional' game company, we just started with a gameplay demo built by a two-man prototype team, and left the business model thinking until a much later date," studio head American McGee told Gamasutra. "Part-way into production I started pressuring the team to find a theme and make sure that theme linked into a 'monetization narrative.' To me, the idea that we set the game inside a store made a lot of sense -- and it was the 'toy store' theme that I pressed for that reason,"

McGee went on to say that he and his team of developer are well-versed in traditional games, which focus primarily on game play and art--the business model has always been laid out for them in that regard. This is the first time the designer had to consider ways for his game to make money before it's even been released. And as social gamers are quite aware, a free game without a way to make money somehow--almost always through virtual goods--won't be a game for very long.

However, McGee and his crew have come up with several means to make money through BigHead Bash, some of which sound rather clever. For one, the game's central setting is within a toy store, and players will soon be able to buy physical figures based on their in-game avatars through a 3D printing service. Of course, this all comes along with those lovely microtransactions. BigHead Bash is currently in open beta, and plans are to "officially" launch the game in February 2012.

[Image Credit: Spicy Horse]

Have you tried BigHead Bash yet? Do you think a traditional games developer like Spicy Horse like survive in the Facebook games world? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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