Friday, 28 February 2014

Does Dust 514 need the PS4?

With now confirming what we already knew, that the next evolution of DUST 514 with be shown at Fanfest, speculation is understandably begining to bubble in the forums and social media.

Will it have the player market? What are Rouge's plans for the BPO questions? How will the Eve/Dust link be expanded.

But inevitably one question has been asked a lot. Will there be a format change or increase in availble formats?

Playstation4? PC? Steam Box? 

One arguement that Dust alumni, Battlefield 4 streamer and all round good guy, DS The Drunk Heavy as well as many others, have consistently given for the jump to PS4 to be an essential move for the game and CCP, is that it would enable the playerbase of the game to grow.

But is it? When you sit down and look at the figures in a cold and dispassionate way, I can see no evidence that would support that hypothesis. Certainly not for at least another 18 months.

Sony have recently announced that they've sold 5 million PS4 since launch. A grand figure to be sure and only likely to increase to something like 15 million by the end of its first year. But the PS3 has over 80 million units still out there. Yes, the new console is the media darling and it has some great games but everyone didn't stop buying the PS3 overnight. Sony only stopped making the PS2 three years ago after all. 

Now a figure that I've heard been flung around a lot in the various channels of chat in Dust is that the game has a retention rate of just 1 percent. This is may or may not be the truth but it seems a little off considering that that the retention rate for new staters that join DUST University is something like 35%.

For the record retention rates in Free to Play games is based on how many players in month 1 are still playing in month 2. For a better understanding of the mechanics of player retention I'd read this,

But let's assume that this 1% figure is correct and do some hypotheticals. The record for most players on the game is 9255 during the launch of the game. If that retention rate is correct, then 925,500 players downloaded the game in total during the launch and 9255, 1%, hung around and played it long enough to be part of the figures. 

Out of 80 million consoles only 1.15% downloaded and tried the game. So let's put it like this. If that figure was transposed to the 5 million PS4 out there that would be just 57,500 downloads in total. And just 575 regular players on PS4.

575 players. If each of them spent £1739.13 on Aurum then CCP would make £1,000,000. Who here reading this, thinks the development costs of porting the game to PS4 would cost just one million quid?

Less than 1% I'd wager. And no ones spending that much on Aurum any way.

Growth of the games playerbase can ONLY be achieved by increasing the player retention percentage. Increasing it to just 2 percent is an 18,510 record for most players on the PS3. For the PS4 to match that, it's version of Dust would need a retention rate increase of 32 times that of the PS3. Very unlikely I'd think.

There is an arguement that CCP haven't really advertised the game. That the figures are that low because players aren't aware of the game. Well, that's true. But without increasing the rentention first, the marketing budget would be wasted. Spend that money making the game better first.

This is why I await CCP Rouge's plans with great interest. A switch to the PS4 is what players want.

But it isn't what the game needs.

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