Expectations vs. Price; No Man's Sky vs. Pokemon Go



  • Between the discussion started here and the conversation in Love & Respect from the August 17th Easy Allies Podcast, I've got something on my mind I'd like to work through, with everyone's help here of course.

    In September of last year, the first trailer for Pokemon Go was revealed. Social media feeds were flooded with people saying how great this game looked. Features like trading, battling other Pokemon, and raid style boss encounters were shown off. Flash forward to this July and the release of Pokemon Go, none of these features were implemented. After an update, the broken tracking system was removed instead of repaired. Despite all this, general consensus was that it's a great game and you literally could not go anywhere without hearing about it. I think it's fair to call the game well received.

    In December 2013, a trailer for No Man's Sky is shown and again, social media is flooded with people saying how great the game looks. From what I can tell, all the features shown in this announcement trailer made it into the final release (besides maybe the sand worms? Not sure). There have been a few disingenuous features Sean Murray made comments about (such as multiplayer) but on the whole, most of what was shown to us was delivered. Despite this, after the game's release, it has seen a huge number of people claiming the developers lied. I think it's fair to say the game's reception was mostly mixed to negative.

    So I was asking myself, what really is the difference here? One game lies about nearly every feature present on its release, removes more features after launch, and is lauded as one of the best things ever. One games delivers on almost every single promise, has a longer window from announcement to release (meaning more changes occured), and a good portion of the population calls the developer liars. There is one thing that sticks out as a difference between these two - price.

    Since launch, I've complained about how shallow the mechanics of Pokemon Go are, to which the usual response is, "well, it's free, so it doesn't matter." On the No Man's Sky thread I linked to earlier, a few people mentioned they would be more interested in the game if it wasn't $60. So that really feels like the defining factor here but I also find the logic behind it a little worrisome. If something is free (albeit absolutely littered with microtransactions), we as consumers are more than happy to forget any broken promises and ensure the game becomes an absolute hit. Yet if a developer charges for their game upfront instead of asking for microtransactions, then they had better deliver on every single promise, otherwise they are liars and cheats. The proposition of a game's price dictating its actual value just doesn't mesh well with me because that essentially means all free games are inherently better.

    Am I missing something here? Is there something else that is causing such a difference in the way these two games are received?



  • While I agree that the main difference between the two games is the price that allows a player to not form a commitment to a free Pokemon go vs. the full priced indie game, the main problem with NMS was, like predicted, expectations. Every game becomes repetitive after some time, but that, somehow, is supposed to not be the case with NMS. The lack of features in both games is a fact, but with Pokemon GO, you didn't invest (well, you cold, but it wasn't necessary) any amount of money, and after having fun for certain amount of hours, you could put it back on shelf without a bad conscience. The price was compensated, while that was not the case with NMS. People feel that it didn't justify the price. This conversation would further be a part of human psychology than video games.
    TL;DR: Both games were criticised due to the lack of features, but I agree that the price, along with overstretched expectations, was the main factor for the higher level of hate towards NMS.

    And may I also say, that I am probably one of the rare people that feels that cost was justified and that the game is great and it met all my expectations.

    Youtube Video



  • My very quick thoughts about this since I gotta work.

    Personally I don't see anything appealing about either of this games, but given that Pokemon Go's barrier of entry is none existent, and that NMS is something you actually have to pay a full price for I definitively see a big difference between the two cases. Specially because many people bought into NMS expecting something that it wasn't and I think that is in no small part because of the job they did at marketing and selling this game, had I bought this game with such expectations I would have probably been very dissapointed.

    So I essentially think that the problem is the way this game was sold to people, and that is something I have very big issue with.



  • Okay, so I figured expectations would come up. Here's what I don't get - the announcement trailer for Pokemon Go shows a whole slew of features and it doesn't deliver on them. So it would be fair to say expectations are high and the game delivers far, far below that threshold. Yet I can't remember one person actually calling Niantic liars. I guess what's bugging me is that if a game is free, we no longer hold it accountable. A wise man once said, that ain't right.



  • @SabotageTheTruth My guess is that the marketing is a source of that. NMS was overhyped over too long period and people in turn expected a LOT. Pokemon go had 2 or 3 trailers pre-release and one showing at E3, which was just enough. People hadn't had time or information to develop a complete picture of what Pokemon Go could be, while with NMS, people had so much time that the imagination could fill in and then overfill the blanks of what the game could be.



  • @Nillend Yeah, I agree. One of the other things that is confusing is how people handled the delay of No Man's Sky versus the delay of FFXV. Sean Murray and even people reporting on the delay of No Man's Sky received death threats, yet nearly everyone is okay with the delay of FFXV. Maybe humanity matured in a few months and figured out death threats is going way too far when it comes to game delays, but I dunno. I can't help but feel like No Man's Sky is being bullied on the playground and I want to protect it but at the same time, none of these developers are my friends and in reality, they all want my money in one form or another.



  • @SabotageTheTruth said in Expectations vs. Price; No Man's Sky vs. Pokemon Go:

    @Nillend Yeah, I agree. One of the other things that is confusing is how people handled the delay of No Man's Sky versus the delay of FFXV. Sean Murray and even people reporting on the delay of No Man's Sky received death threats, yet nearly everyone is okay with the delay of FFXV. Maybe humanity matured in a few months and figured out death threats is going way too far when it comes to game delays, but I dunno. I can't help but feel like No Man's Sky is being bullied on the playground and I want to protect it but at the same time, none of these developers are my friends and in reality, they all want my money in one form or another.

    There's a lot of differences here, it's not perception. Everything that happened is a consequence.

    • No Man's Sky- Over hyped before it was ready, interviews kept vague and the man in charge kept saying things that weren't true. When every industry vet knows this is when you hand these things off to PR people so nothing gets said that wasn't intended. Also charged $60 for what really amounted to nothing more than what a $15 indie game offers.

    And now has total media silence following the game's release, giving no apology, no insight on to what's being worked on, no clarifications on the paid DLC, no comments on the multiplayer function being a lie. And the outright disaster that is it's port to PC.

    Everything they said (Or didn't completely define) is what led to the expectations people had for the game. A VERY simple yes or no would've sufficed on every interview instead of telling half of the story, even until the VERY DAY before release he insisted that things like meeting players on other planets was something you could do, which was quickly proven false.

    It's like telling a kid at christmas a hint about their christmas present, and then they open up the box and it's a sweater.

    • Final Fantasy 15- Has been met with more and more delays over the years, several complete overhauls of the game and it's mechanics since the days it was known as FF13 Versus.

    It's not promising anything more than it's giving us, the delays are clearly defined to polish the game, including the current delay to november, the game itself is FINISHED but they don't want it releasing without the extra polish, so they're holding it back. Could they release it now? Yes, yes they can. But it would ruin the game's image, and they know it. Takes balls to hold back a game you know isn't ready even though it's finished. Something No Man's Sky could've benefited from.

    They aren't keeping us in the dark on anything.

    • Pokemon Go- Had nothing more than a trailer, no hype was introduced into the ether, the game was not in the public eye whatsoever during it's development until it hit beta stage, it had no promises to fulfill, it also cost 100% nothing to play. There's zero correlation between this game and the others.


  • I think there are more factors than price, like Pokemon being a long-standing franchise, and the mobile audience mostly paying attention to social media rather than game news and interviews.

    Price is a big one though. Free2Play has no barrier to entry, and getting rid of that hurdle lets everyone try it out. It's hard for people to feel entitled about something that is free, even if they did promise a lot of features than was on release. It's a societal ideal that "you can't complain if it's free". Only when people did pay for things in Pokemon GO did they start to complain when they "removed" tracking (putting in quotes because it's not removed, it just wasn't working and used a lot of bandwidth). Take the biggest game in the World for example, League of Legends, is a free2play game. Along with efforts of having constant updates and eSports marketing, it definitely wouldn't have been that big without being f2p and the mentality to keep f2p fair. Heroes of Newarth, released about half a year after, was at a $30 price, I believe, and it did not even show up. If DotA 2 had a price on it like CS:Go and originally with TF2, it would have had the same fate.

    For No Man's Sky, $60 is already a steep price, and I even thought it was going to be $20 as it makes sense for a small company to price it low as their development costs aren't high. Being a full price game, entitlement will set in. People want their game, and it doesn't even matter what the game was shown as. I've seen trolls buy Gran Turismo and want a demolition derby mode.

    Now the reason for No Man's Sky's high price is because people will buy it at that price. It's business that when you have a product that people want, you will price it as high as the consumer will tolerate. No doubt Sony has had a hand in it because they have all the business data in the world to know how to price a game. I have no doubt that No Man's Sky still sold a lot despite all these criticisms, so I believe it will be a business success either way.



  • @ZyloWolfBane I respect your opinion but I honestly don't think it's that simple. A few corrections to be made - Sean has made it clear what is coming next with the game (base building) and also states the multiplayer was a fluke that was due to the server load the first day. Whether or not that is actually true, time will tell. The same goes for Square-Enix saying the game is already finished, they just need more polish; without the proof, we're just left taking them at their word and they certainly haven't been the most honest publisher/developer. Also, we may travel in different circles but the hype around the trailer for Pokemon Go was surreal when that announce trailer came out. People I didn't even realize played Pokemon were talking about how excited they were to trade and battle with their friends.

    I'd honestly like to know how many $60 games deliver on every single promise made from announcement to release without fail on day one. I'd say the numbers would be extremely low there, that's a sad part of the industry these days. Jones comparing game developers to politicians in the most recent podcast may have gotten Kyle to call him insane, but... he's got a damn fine point. I think that level of authenticity is unfortunately a thing of the past.



  • @ZyloWolfBane I think this is pretty much a perfect summary.

    The more that I look into this, and what was said of the game before release I can't help but think more and more that they were being extremely disingineous with the marketing, and as consumer is seems perfectly appropiate for people to be very critical of the whole situation based on that.



  • @SabotageTheTruth What are you talking about? People got plenty pissed at Niantic the very first second they had anything at all to complain about.



  • No Man Sky competes with every other full priced game at Gamestop,Pokémon Go as a worst case scenario if the game sucks i uninstall it and i'm not down 60$.

    The shallow mechanics don't matter "just because it's free" but because that's not the point or the draw of the game,the point is it gives people an excuse to go outside and socialize or explore their neighbourhood. If you want the full fledged Pokémon experience it's not like you can't,there is a alot of them on 3DS. Telltales and Quantic Dream games have shitty gameplay but doesn't matter because again that's not the point,you buy those games for the story. Most games/genre are very good at certain things but poor at another,that's what makes them so good and different.

    You're getting it all wrong,No Man Sky is bad at comparing itself to other full priced PS4 games meanwhile Pokémon is excellent at comparing itself to other free phone app,which is why one is good at what it does and the other not so much.

    If your statement that "all free games are inherently better" was correct every one would be playing F2P MMO's on their PS4 and nobody would buy retail games which is obviously not the case. Money is a factor yes but time is more valuable than money,people won't play something just because it's free but free AND good is always a good value proposition.

    As for me i'm cheap and buy most digital games on sale for cheap and physical games on sale for around 20-30$ so even at 20$ No Man Sky is a low priority,it doesn't look very fun imo.



  • @Stephleref said in Expectations vs. Price; No Man's Sky vs. Pokemon Go:

    No Man Sky competes with every other full priced game at Gamestop,Pokémon Go as a worst case scenario if the game sucks i uninstall it and i'm not down 60$.

    This, but there's another couple of things at play here.
    First, obviously there's the "It's Pokemon" factor. Can't really ignore the fact that a mobile version of Pokemon no matter how broken was always going to be a hit with the fans.

    Second, and the one that I find more interesting, is the novelty factor. To give a really condensed version of something I'd probably never end up finishing explaining, both games were marketed as being something special and unique, and only one of those actually ended up achieving that. Pokemon, through all it's crappy system stuff and broken code, is still absolutely freaking mind blowing to most people who are playing it. In the Venn diagram of "People who want this game" and "People who have played a similar game", there's virtually no overlap. Unfortunately for No Man's Sky, that overlap is gigantic, and it created a massive issue because a large percentage of people in the "People who want this game" bubble didn't exactly want to be part of the "People who have played a similar game" bubble and felt deceived.



  • Nostalgia is a powerful drug. As someone who's a bit disgruntled with Pokemon Go (why only gen 1, why?) (Yes I know it's for nostalgia), I was pretty surprised at it's reception. Especially the folks who've been saying that it's way better than Sun and Moon, which objectively, it never could be. But in the end it's gotta come down to the whole money thing. I wouldn't pay $30 for Pokemon Go and I'm not gonna pay $60 for No Man's Sky.



  • Thanks for the input allies! In the end, I'm just glad there's a few of us loving NMS and maybe Pokemon Go will be fun one day. A guy can dream.