Old online game needs a kick-start...
August 28, 2005 6:42 PM   Subscribe

How does one rehabilitate a commercial online game that has been around for a long, long time?

My company owns an online trading card game. I started as a player of this game in 1997, was hired by the developers in 1998, became the producer in 2000 and was the Executive Producer in early 2003, when our parent company closed us (for non-financial reasons). I offered to purchase the game, so it wouldn't go offline. They agreed, and my company owns this game. (It is a Windows game you download and install - zero bloatware, adware, spyware or similar.)

Three expansion sets later, we are totally in a rut. I am trying to drag the community back through running events (every night at 10pm), but what else can we do?

Keep in mind that this is mostly just me running the show. I don't have a full-time job, so I have time to throw at this project, but not a lot of cash. .. so taking out an advertisement is unlikely. What suggestions do you have?
posted by andreaazure to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Dare I suggest you open source it, and let the community decide what happens next?
posted by furtive at 6:45 PM on August 28, 2005

Having been a volunteer press guy for the online gaming community, I can tell you that there are a number of people in your boat. Look at Meridian 59, for example (hell, his story reads almost exactly like yours). Meridian was one of the very first fully 3D online worlds. In fact, Brian is more than willing to offer advice and share strategies.

You may want to get yourself small-budget representation. These guys specialize in small-budget online titles, and I know the proprietors from way back. Probably your best bet for getting your name out there.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:23 PM on August 28, 2005

I am strongly in favor of free software, but I don't think open source is the answer here. "The community" still needs somebody to run the server and organize things; andreaazure will be in the same position whether or not the source code for that server is available.
posted by Eamon at 8:38 PM on August 28, 2005

Open sourcing might help spark people's intrest, epsecialy if you get a link on slashdot.
posted by delmoi at 10:12 PM on August 28, 2005

Good for you and your commitment to the game! I take it you're talking about ChronX? I think the best thing you could do is reinvent the game and market it to a new segment of people. Can you port it to a browser-hosted environment, preferably Flash? Can you make it a game people can enjoy playing just 10 minutes a day? The collectible card / strategy game genre is still surprisingly niche, despite some very deep and accessible gameplay. I think it has potential.
posted by Nelson at 12:04 AM on August 29, 2005

For the record, my legal agreements on the game either completely prohibit open-sourcing it, or make it so painful as to not be worth it (depending on which lawyer you talk with).

And after getting bapped on the nose for self-linking before on the blue, I will neither confirm nor deny the game's title. =)

Good stuff so far...
posted by andreaazure at 10:05 AM on August 29, 2005

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