On Colors and Post S3 Monetization

Barring some unlikely and unforeseen situation, Season 3 of Killer Instinct will be drawing to a close in terms of the primary content releases. My main purpose in this thread is to [once again] address the future possibilities regarding Killer Instinct DLC in the form of Colors, Accessories and to a lesser extent Costumes. Iron Galaxy has, to my knowledge, expressed on several occasions that the release of additional cosmetic items has been toyed with and considered across the past several years. Frankly, I’m becoming rather dissatisfied in my inability to further support this game digitally. In what I hope relates to other forum members; I would like to give Iron Galaxy and Killer Instinct more of my money. I have already given hundreds of hours in time, bought numerous physical collectibles and memorabilia - but have run out of game-related assets to purchase.

However trivial this may sound, it is a ‘problem’ that does not affect or exist in countless other popular Online Multiplayer games and even some other Fighting Games. In most instances I buy content for the content itself - KI is more of a two way stream; I want the content and to be supportive to keep the game alive. Street Fighter V is in its 1st year of relevance and already they’ve begun the steady stream of additional colors and Costumes. DOA5 and its successors have literally hundreds of costumes available for purchase; albeit with an off-putting payment structure. League of Legends remains to me the biggest example of ‘why’ to dedicate a team to content such as this.

Is determining a pricing model really what’s holding KI back from this? Is there not a large enough team for the art assets?

I fully understand the desire to keep KI pricing approachable and without bringing on possible bad press. Can we then, come to a pricing model as a community? Perhaps Colors can be released in Themed packs - or divided by Seasons. KI Gold was introduced early on with literally no exclusive content (barring EXP Boosts) to be gained from it. Why not use KI Gold to purchase said theoretical additional items? These are conversations likely happening (or having already ended) in the background with little to no concrete public announcements or requests for direct community feedback.

Rhetoric aside, what does a Color 8 cost in KI Gold, and what does that relate to in real world currency?
Is this an acceptable price point for a “Color 12” or beyond?

Should Colors be released individually or as packs?

Should all character receive equal treatment in regards to additional content?

Can the Killer Instinct art team be involved directly with community input to determine highly requested items/colors? Even going as far design competitions or votes?

I hope this comes off as less of a rant and more of a cry for conversation on the topic. Let me know your thoughts - yes, I’m beating a dead horse.

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It’s so crazy, right? You are far from the first forum member to express this point of view, and won’t be the last. Users on twitter and other forums like Neogaf have all said the same thing; there is an actual desire to not only purchase really awesome KI content because it’s cool in the game, but also because it supports the finances of a game we want to succeed. MS did a community fund last year that knocked it out of the park in terms of expectations; it was a runaway success by every public measure available to us (including praise from MS). And yet, the only talk of a community fund this year is just “we’ll think about it, stay tuned”.

I don’t think that’s good enough.

You are correct in saying that the main revenue stream of SFV was always going to be costumes and accessories. SFIV released something like 7 or 8 costume packs per character over the course of its life, many of them phoned in and lazy, but a ton of the community bought them. I was such a fan of SFIV in its first few years that I bought all the costume packs just to support the developer; I probably used maybe 5% of the costumes in real matches.

And yeah, the SF franchise isn’t the only game to get this. DoA, as you mentioned, does this, and you can bet Tekken is going to be doing it too (any person who follows multiple FGs will know about all the crazy customization options for Tekken arcade players). Dota, League, Overwatch, and other prime esports games are proving that you can literally fund the budget of an entire AAA game just by putting funny clothes in cool colors on your characters. Make it an homage to past games that your fanbase likes? Double the sales! Hmm, if only the fighting game genre had decades of iconic, well-loved designs to draw from…

I think what makes it so frustrating is not just that it is a clear market trend and fans have been clamoring for it for years, almost literally throwing money at the screen… but rather the game itself seems custom built to support exactly this model, yet it hasn’t even tried. The game has a built-in store and what seems like the infrastructure to support all this stuff easily. Why has MS not done this? Are there technical reasons?

I tend to not like when people oversimplify game development, because there’s tons of stuff going on behind the scenes that we don’t understand. But I just… can’t understand these business decisions MS is making. It blows my mind, both as a consumer and if I tried to put myself in the position of the funders/developers of the game. It makes incredible financial sense AND it is a great extension of goodwill to the community. If there are technical limitations that prevent this from being something done regularly, I would invest whatever capital is needed to fix it, and I would have done so at the start of Season 2. It would literally be the #1 priority for me to invest in fixing over the entire game.

Release them as packs. Charge $1 for a set of 5 colors for your favorite character, and then let people buy the entire cast for $10 in a mega-pack.

What is the cost of developing a color? In my view (as a programmer by trade), it seems like nothing more than a texture swap to me. If the game was smartly built, it’s possible they could simply release a set of RGB color values and apply it to a “base” texture that can take any color and instantly look cool, and then you release special textures for the color 9s, etc, that have stripes and other doodads that are unique to that color. I didn’t make the game, though, so I don’t know if this is how they did it.

Is it challenging to get some artists to think up 5 new colors and then color some textures (fans have proven they can do this for free and quickly for mods, even without access to in-game developer tools)? Is it the cost of the QA? Is it the cost of putting it in the game and releasing a patch? Are any of these costs too much when you consider how quickly this product will sell, and how quickly it will offset the cost to make them?

You and me both. But the more we let MS know this lack of support is unacceptable, maybe the more they will pay attention. Maybe it’s too late for KI now, I have no idea. If so, then sucks to suck. But I feel we would be doing the game a disservice if we didn’t yell at them over this. They are leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table for some extremely low-risk content. Heck, I imagine they probably have a few dozen throwaway colors during development! Just release some of those and charge us! We won’t even know.

Some of the stuff we ask for has a clear cost, like new stages and characters. That’s hard to make and I can see why investing in it is risky. This is the polar opposite of that. Content that a modder can make in a few afternoons that almost every single person in the community has asked for and is willing to pay money for is not a high-risk investment, MS.

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I’d like to revisit more of your points later, when I’ve slept and had some coffee.

What you’re building at though, is because no form of cosmetic DLC releases already exist, they’ve missed the opportunity entirely unless one is created ASAP. Better put: Season 2 was the logical time to implement additional colors (mainly colors, accessories and costumes are far less important and realistic given time/assets required). By not adopting and conforming to this extremely common and widely-accepted business model money has been left on the table.

Moreover, we’re at the near-end of Season 3. If a Season 4 happens, then we’re essentially at the 75% point of Killer Instinct’s peak in popularity. Anything post Season 4 will naturally decline as time goes on and new Fighters erupt. I would love to see how the numbers have changed from Season 1 to 2 and 3. As players have come and gone, easily creatable content has gone unsold.

Final point for now: Games with Gold almost always releases games with DLC available. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate for instance, coincidentally has something like 15 $5.00 packs of Costume Packs. How have those items been selling since WO3G went on GWG compared to prior? Are there numbers showing how much KI Gold was sold after S1 of KI went GWG; and if so, might that have been higher if Colors existed that could only be bought with Gold?

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hopefully we can just buy Shadow Lords DLC, don’t wanna play other characters for unlocks (especially if have to on harder difficulties)

would prefer DLC over new batch of characters if a season 4 IMO. KI is more complex than other fighting games, and can be too many characters.

I tend to wonder how sensitive some people at MS might be to monetizing certain aspects of the game given how poorly the original pricing structure for the game went over as well as the communication of said structure. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I mean, sure, WE want to support the game, but I could also see a number of fans out there that might not want to be nickel and dimed to death for colors, outfits, accessories, stages, etc.

I’m sure some would say “I paid for the ultra version and now you want to charge for separate DLC?” Or talk about hoe much they’ve already spent on the game as a whole.

I could see this being a much more complex issue for MS beyond cost-benefit, manpower or the demand coming from a small segment of the fanbase.

That said, if they made this stuff and priced it reasonably, I could see it providing a nice gap to help fill in the time between seasons 3 and 4 as well as within the content gaps that come between characters in season 4.

I’d be interested in the following:

Individual Character Add-On Pack:
-One completely new outfit
-Two sets of accessories for that new outfit
-One new set of accessories for original outfit
-Three new colors
Total price: $5

Individual Items:
-One set of accessories: $1
-One new color: $1
-One new outfit: $2

Stage Pack:
-Two brand new stages
-Two modernized retro stages
Total Price: $10

Individual Stages: $4 Each

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I dont think I’ve commented on this subject yet…but just to add my voice, YES, I would love extra dlc and wouldnt mind paying for it, just avoid the 100 dollar price point DOA 5 uses for its content seasons…

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Well I think part of it is that Season 3 isn’t over and we don’t know what we have for the money we already spent. I bet we will hear about chances to buy stuff after we know all the unlockables in Shadow Lords.

-sniff- I want more pretty colors, too. :cry:

Its weird, the KI community is the only community I have seen that is literally begging for microtransactions XD

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I’ve literally been spending 40$ for Colors as I give the actual figures away to my brother. Character customization is a thing. It’s quite odd that this game is lacking so heavily in it.

I’d add that skins and what not go much further back than the current triple A’s that make their money off them. I remember playing the original unreal tournament series and downloading new skins and models for the game.

Just to be clear, there’s a good way for KI to do microtransactions, and there’s a bad way.

If they make content, I hope they do it the good way. That is, make the content people want, and charge them a fair price, both individually and in bundles.

If they release 1 color for every character and charge $30 for a bundle of all of them (to give an extreme example of an unfair price), it might even be more upsetting than if they had not done it at all.

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Weird as it is, I feel like the MS team almost doesn’t like their own business model. In S2 they created and included 3 new sets of colors for every character (including a retexture) and all the accessory recolors, which we probably would have been fine paying for. And now in S3, they’re “bundling” the new colors and skins within the Shadow Lords mode, where again, we probably would have been willing to pay for at least some of that content on its own.

So I feel like even though KI is very clearly designed to support microtransactions, there seems to be a sense on the part of the team that they aren’t super comfortable with them. They’d rather give us costume content for free, with only the requirement that we actually play their game (accessories/colors unlocked at levels in S2, and S3 costumes are unlocked through Shadow Lords). Only if you’re just really opposed to playing the game do microtransactions figure into the equation at all.

It’s an admirable desire I suppose, but still feels like a huge missed opportunity. So long as they aren’t gouging me, I’m more than happy to purchase some of this content separately.

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Well… that depends, really. I personally think they kind of botched the way they handled accessories in S2 (and S3), so I’m not sure how on board I would have been paying for that. They fill your inventory with reskins of the same accessory (but not terribly many of them), rather than just giving all the accessories default colors that match the costume of the same color slot. In reality, we should have 9 colors for every accessory, and they should just automatically be assigned when we pick the color of our base costume. Then, if we want to get into mixing and matching colors (ie, assign color 7 legs with color 3 arms on the color 6 costume), THAT is what the accessory customization screen should have been all about. Instead, what we’re left with is a half-system that is extremely bloated and considerably less customizable to boot.

But yes, it’s still a missed opportunity because they should be unloading stuff on us regularly. Colors are just the start, and I feel they are probably the easiest and cheapest thing to do, so they should be able to dump a new color pack on us once every 3 or 4 months, probably, with 3-5 colors for each character + accessory combination. I would pay $10, easily, for that bundle across the cast (so they could have milked me for, like, $40 extra dollars by now if they had made this regular since mid-Season 2). Literally nothing more than recolored textures and the QA time it takes to put it in the game. Then, they should be releasing new costumes periodically… maybe once every 6-8 months, or at the very least, once per season. I really, really want a Ryu-like costume for Jago. I can’t believe it’s not in the game yet, letting me mix and match headband colors with gi colors and putting cool emblems (one of the accessory slots) on the back of his outfit.

And I’ve also ranted about the missed opportunity for announcers, again leveraging gamer nostalgia for games they’ve loved in the past, both FG related and non-FG related.

It really makes me wonder if there is some technical limitation to this, somehow. Maybe the game actually isn’t very well built for adding stuff like this, despite its outward appearance? Unfortunately, a) I think we’ll never get a clear answer from MS one way or the other, and b) I’ll never understand why, if such a limitation exists, it wasn’t priority #1 on the list of things to fix in the game since the very start.

And I suppose the real tragedy is that the team always seems strapped for cash and time. Meanwhile, they have an entire fanbase that is desperate to help fund the game, and they don’t seem to be interested at all. I swear, if they come back at a future time and say “well, the interest for more KI seasons just wasn’t there, we ran the risk analysis and we couldn’t justify investing more in the brand”, I will flip my lid.

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Not gonna lie - I would pay a nominal fee to see you flip your lid :joy:

I actually didn’t mind the way they did the S2 accessory colors by and large, even if the interface is a little clunky. I wouldn’t have paid a lot for those and the new colors, but I certainly would have been willing to pay something. The new mimic skins haven’t really impressed me yet, but if they’ve got some cool stuff for Hisako I likewise could’ve seen myself paying for some of that as well.

Definitely though, it’d be cool if they were to greatly expand our accessory options. I’d love to have holiday-themed costume packs, steampunk-themed costume packs, Sci-fi packs, etc. I get that some of that stuff might be kind of hard to implement for some of the cast (is Aganos just a haunted house? :open_mouth:), but it’s just such low hanging fruit it’s incredible it hasn’t happened yet.

Take my money MS! Take it! :dollar:

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I dunno, I think the poor communication by certain news sites was what caused the backlash, not the system itself. By and large people that actually understood the business model seemed okay with it or in favor of it from the beginning.

I don’t think it’s that hard! I’m sure I’ve flipped my lid on these forums several times, and you hung out with me at Evo for a good chunk of the time, including some times I was tired and irritated about some random thing.

Oh, also, you’ve played me in the videogame, so I’m pretty sure I’ve flipped my lid there too, lol.

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I’ve been saying this for ages.

KI has a rabid fanbase that would GLADLY hand over money for new content, they would buy every last piece fanatically. Yet here we are having to BEG for things to throw our cash at. Its kind of sad that they’re letting this opportunity go to waste, we want to support the game and the team monetarily but we can’t.

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I think that most people grew to like the structure, but the initial sentiment as I remember it was a lot of head scratching and wondering if it was free to play or not or why couldn’t it just be a normal retail release, etc.

However, I should say though that the communication breakdown was more in the media’s reporting to people than it was from MS informing the media. I agree there. But I specifically remember the months following E3, where any article involving KI invariably had comments sections with people bashing the pricing structure, free to play, etc, while other fans that actually knew what was going on having to correct them and clarify what MS was doing.

I like the idea, but after years of people asking for ( new accessories/ hair/ costumes) I’m just not sure the level of the designers of accessories is there to make them. No one has addressed it nor has anyone discussed future plans beyond ‘it’s been discussed’ (crickets)

Not to disregard the team, but I think we would have seen them if anyone knew how to do it- look how miras bottom half swirls around as if her midsection is a puppetstring attached to the bottom half.

Especially if we were willing to pay for it…

Yeah, that’s on MS though, not the model itself. MS’s lines of communication to the press about anything Xbox One related before and near launch will go down in history as the worst the industry has ever seen. They are still recovering, 3+ years later, and it’s entirely possible they will never fully recover.

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