Game Information Syndication

so. one of you smart guys who reads this drivel i write (goldstone) had a fantastic question in the comments a few posts back. i just wanted to address his question here with a full post too.

goldstone asks:

I’m interested in as to the reason for providing your api for others to use. I was under the assumption that your business model for this particular project was based around getting as many page views, and therefore ad view, as possible?

Doesn’t ‘opening your api’ (vomit 🙂 ) negate that? Or do you believe this will generate enough goodwill that will in effect act as a driver of traffic to your site? If I can play most of the game from another site, a site that doesn’t show ads and may offer a nicer gaming experience, why wouldn’t I do that?

to which i responded:

fantastic question. my guys have grilled me incessantly on how that works. (none of them are web 2.barf guys.) but, since you can’t eat goodwill, here’s how it’ll roll out: sort of a mix of free and paid services.

so, that means, if you are a site developer, you can buy access into the suite of web services that do all the heavy lifting. basically, for a fee based on traffic, they can build a game on top of our ‘engine’ if you will.

the bonus there is the direct revenue-to-bandwidth translation.

for everyone else, there’s read only access to all the fun stuff. so, you’ll be able to pull what’s going on in the world, just not directly affect it. that’s where all the histories and profiles and stuff live.

so, you’re guild can have a web page that pulls real time guild member status or who’s currently in your guild hall. or your own profile page. or your challenge history info.

the benefit for that stuff is 1) publicity and 2) real-time updates in the world so you know when to come back to our site and play.

now i want to expand on that a bit….

so, we're really building a couple things by making certain design choices up front.

by opening up our developer api (i know that's cliche, but, the web is turning into one huge api that everyone can build cool applications on) we're essentially turning our little game into the engine that could. maybe an offline parallel would be the unreal engine. so, think of it as a distributed, web-based gaming framework.

we can do that because we've built it to be a white label sort of thing. devs can basically create their own 'zones' to play our game. so, maybe they want a narrative rich version. or, a more combat tournament style game. they can do that. heh. and those super web geeks can prolly build something pretty quickly with ruby on rails or whathave you since it's just a bunch of web services.

it'll just be a subscription fee based on traffic.

second, the cool community support part of the game. pretty much anything that can be represented as data along a timeline will be available. a few examples off the top of my head:

  • challenge history. who/what you've challenged and, more importantly, what's challenged you while you've been away.
  • guild membership. who are the latest guild members. who's leaving.
  • location populations. who's currently visible to you in your current location?
  • world news and events. there is an ongoing, global 'storyline.' what's going on in the world?
  • current profile. your stats and figures — or stats and figures of other players.
  • current xp. yes. you gain xp while you're away. people can challenge or attack you and, if your character successfully defeats them, you get the xp.
  • friends' tales of adventure. think blogging for xp.
  • friend requests. who wants to be your buddy?
  • guild bank. yep. a guild bank. balance. transactions. who's taking, who's giving.
  • quest journal. what quests have you completed? what quests has your friend completed?
  • merchant for sale items. lists of the weapons and items a particular merchant will have for sale.

all of those things will be available for subscription outside the site. they are really just trawlers out there fishing to bring people back to the site. site traffic in an ad supported business model is always good.

allowing people to subscribe to your 'calls to action' is a good thing.


4 comments so far

  1. Andrew Wooldridge on

    One of the things that really excites me is the idea of game “mashups”. Imagine if there were a few game apis out there which could interact. Perhaps one type of game focuses on 1-1 interaction like say a dating sim. You also have an rpg engine. One might imagine having a game where you develop a romance while travelling towards the Dark Tower…

    Another possible avenue for “apis” might be to create complimentary features – say having pets, or NPC’s which could be “faces” to other web information. Imagine walking into your tavern and talk to the barkeep, who happens to be an NPC which has slurped up your favorite RSS feeds.

    Having some “real world” hooks in the game might be intriguing.


  2. Kriss on

    You don’t need to generate ‘good will’ what you generate from an open API is dependency.

    If other people are dependent on your existence, they will want you to continue to exist. This isn’t good will, or any tree hugging hippy stuff.

    All open API stuff, where the owner runs and controls a central server (which is where the real value lives) is pure Machiavellian power building 🙂

  3. m3mnoch on

    heh. shhhh…. kriss. you’re giving away my evil plan!


  4. […] can i get an amen to that? […]

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