mysticjim Posted March 21, 2021 Report Share Posted March 21, 2021 Hello. First off, this isn't an Alpha 24 bashing, I think everyone has had their say on the actual aspects of the game they like or don't like, myself included. I think getting A24 out into world was an achievement in of itself, and the technical discussions will be ongoing, so no mention of that here, other than a final pat on the back from me to all who made it possible. What I'd like to talk about, somewhat after the event in terms of the A24 release, but perhaps relevant given the pending release of Age of Empires 4, and the recent announcements made about it. So, to frame this historically, in Sept last year, when it was becoming clear that A24 wouldn't be released in 2020 as originally hoped - there were a lot of negative criticisms being thrown around, and in among a thread on the subject I posted this; from Quote If I've understood the current situation right, latter 2020 (i.e. right about now) is the date that was previously sort of tentatively touted as the intended A24 release. There has been some muted hype about it, and as a result - right now, there is a sense of expectation, and probably reading this thread and seeing the kinds of challenges still present in terms of getting A24 out into the wild, you're going to see a bit of collective disappointment. That has happened, and you're right, announcing that in Social Media now - probably not a positive thing to do. I reckon the only way you could still maximise the release of A24 is if you utilise a PR strategy in conjunction with the release. Pick a time in the future, a decent timescale, say June/July/August - maybe even a Sept (a whole year from now) - basically a timescale that even the most overworked, time-starved volunteer dev could reasonably turn around and say, 'yes, even with what is outstanding, that is more than enough time to finish and make A24 ready for release.' And then you build a PR/Social Media/Video content strategy around it - all leading up to that release. Aim to build as much positive engagement and most importantly, momentum, to that release date. Make it become a seismic event with huge anticipation. 0AD is a niche game, in a niche genre. But the genre is a pretty big niche, and I see 0AD as a something of a 'sleeping giant' within it. I'd love to wake it up! With the foundations already in place, the community you have already got fully engaged and actively playing their part, there is potential to really move the needle. Don't trade forever on the 1m downloads of Sourceforge claim or look at the A23 trailer on Youtube having had over quarter of a million views, that's the past. There is plenty of time, there is a great existing community, 0AD could be something really significant, and a strategic release of A24 could be the transform the narrative from an unfortunate delay in 2020 to an epic triumph in mid 2021. Just a thought Now, as we all know, the approach I suggest wasn't adopted, Alpha 24 got dropped, in my opinion, somewhat unceremoniously on the population on what felt like something of a whim, catching a lot of people out with the suddenness of it's appearance. PR was limited to a few hinting messages the week before advising that a release date would be given soon, followed by the actual release (no actual pre-announement), accompanied by a hastily cut together trailer on youtube and social media announcements that the game was out. And that was it, any sense of build up to the release was completely sacrificed, as was any ability to frame the context of the release or pre-empt any of the criticism (fair or otherwise) that followed about the game itself. In strategic PR and community engagement terms, I personally believe it was a massively missed opportunity. Not least because the game that 0AD effectively spawned forth from, is also about to release it's much delayed fourth iteration. It also was slated for 2020 release, but probably hit the buffers last due to the Covid situation. There has also been fan criticism about lack of information as to when it would finally appear, but lo and behold, this has dropped; Now, you can bet, with actual money at stake, this game will be hyped to the ultimate degree and that PR campaign will not be cheap, but come the release there will be a massive buzz around it. My point here is, A24 was ready first. By a considerable margin. And the approach I advocated could have been done on a zero budget. As it was, just by virtue of the reach 0AD has and the established player base, it did make a ripple when it was released, but it was in my opinion a fraction of what could have been achieved with just a small amount of strategic planning. The hype that was generated is rapidly dying down, and this will be completely drowned out now by the noise created by the release of it's bigger, commercial cousin. In short, an opportunity to really boost the fanbase of this great, free game that is available now and to get in before the release of it's major competitor, has been entirely lost. Now, I'm not saying this is the end of 0AD, I'm certain things will continue as they pretty much always have, but this was an opportunity to truly boost the community and player base in a really meaningful way. How many new players, new potential developers, new modders, new everything, could it have attracted to the community? And it was an obvious opportunity from as far back as Sept last year. In the following 8 or so months, all it would have required was a monthly bit of social media engagement, setting a date - even if it wasn't clear that A24 was going to be ready until the last minute, it wouldn't have hurt to have given it an extra fortnight for pre-promotional hype, and a pre-release trailer. The community would have done the rest and a proper sense of excitement could have been generated and spread far and wide. In short, to give a footballing analogy, it was an open goal, missed from two yards out! I know this will split opinion a bit, and yes, I know this is a volunteer project - we are all aware and thankful to those that actually make the game possible. In my quoted post I addressed turning what on the face of it looked like a disappointing delay into a triumphant release. It was the kind of situation that a small indie game in the 21st century, in the most competitive landscape there has ever been, could not afford to miss. I'd love to know why it had to go down the way it did? 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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