Mines Weren’t Crafted In A: DayZ’s Business Model

By Nathan Grayson on May 29th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

I am so, so sorry for what's probably my most convoluted headline ever. No I'm not.

DayZ will make money… or continue to be dead trying. But in order to do that, its standalone has to first become, well, existent. We’ve seen bits and snippets stumbling around in YouTube’s muddiest brush, but Bohemia has yet to pull the trigger on anything the succulent-brained masses can play. Good news, though! A closed alpha test is now underway, and the Rocket man/myth/legend himself has a pretty good idea of how we’ll be paying for it. The short version: ever hear of a game called Minecraft?

Speaking with Gamasutra in an interview the size of god a very big dog one of my interviews, Rocket outlined where DayZ’s at now, and where it’ll end up in the near future:

“What we’re doing at the moment is, we gave free keys as a gift to the forum moderators, the Reddit moderators, people who helped out with DayZ development, and stuff like that. I guess there’s about 30-100 people involved with that. We are doing content updates all the time. The Steam model is really working well for us.”

“From here, once we’ve finished our server/client architecture – because we’re moving it an MMO model – we’re reviewing the situation of that in June, and then we do an alpha, just like Minecraft. People pay X amount of dollars and they get early, cheap access to it, and then once it’s beta, price goes up, maybe, say, $10, and once it goes retail, the price goes up $10.”

Given that Minecraft sort of went on to become gaming’s biggest breakout success in ages, that sounds like a fairly sensible plan. So look for that sometime around June or July, and then die. In a videogame where survival is oftentimes considered unlikely! And after that, you can just rot. Rotate around in your chair, go outside, and get some fresh air, that is. Summer’s a glorious time of year, after all. Wouldn’t want to miss it!

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57 Comments »

  1. Alfius says:

    I am entirely ok with this.

    Although of course this does mean that my gaming progression will look something like this for the past/next year or so.

    (Early 2012) Wargame: European Escalation
    (Mid 2012) DayZ
    (Mid 2012 – Early 2013) ARMA 2
    (Early 2013) Day Z
    (Mid 2013) Wargame: Airland Battle <– present day
    (Mid – Late 2013) Day Z Standalone, ARMA 3

  2. nasenbluten says:

    Arma 2 has been on sale dirt cheap many times already, I don’t know if a lot of people would pay $30 or more for almost the same thing. Maybe to get rid of all the withSIX crap?

  3. golem09 says:

    I love how THE WEB thinks that readers of this article are desperate to know the 10 Moist Cupcake Recipes Everyone Will Love.

    Also, wasn’t this known since basically the standalone was announced? Or am I mixing things up in my head as I usually do?

    • Berzee says:

      When I eat cupcakes, I don’t like to just eat one kind.
      I like to eat TEN kinds, to maintain a good balance.
      A cupcake buffet, sailing by on little boats like in Stacking.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      When the zombie apocalypse comes and you’re starving to death because agriculture and commerce have broken down, I bet you’d be grateful for 10 kinds of moist cupcakes.

    • Lanfranc says:

      I get mostly links to Xbone articles and something about Bell Helicopters for some reason. I’d rather get an article about cupcakes. :-/

    • Shuck says:

      Oh man, I want some moist cupcake recipes. All I get is celebrity makeovers, gossip and swimsuit pictures.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Does anyone have a recipe for those orange-flavored cupcakes with the little silver BB candies sprinkled on the top? I frigging love those things.

      • Berzee says:

        You will need:

        1 pack cupcakes
        1 bag oranges
        1 box BBs (from your local sporting goods retailer)
        1 sharp knife

        Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While oven is heating, place cupcakes on greased baking sheet. Cut oranges in half with knife. Squeeze juice out of oranges into some kind of bowl. Mix BBs into bowl of orange juice, stirring with knife. Throw away knife, it’s no good anymore. Pour juice+BB mixture over cupcakes. Microwave on high for six minutes. Chill, serve cold.

        Turn off the oven.

        • wrycon says:

          Wrycon rates this recipe: 4 out of 5 Stars

          I like to use buckshot instead of bbs for a more meatier and toothbreakier effect. Also, I enjoy shaking a can of Orange Crush, piercing it with the knife and spraying it on my face and hair and then shaking my hair over the pan. The orange soda coupled with my phermones create a sheen that comes through in the final product. My kids can’t get enough of them!

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          I didn’t realize you were joking with that recipe until I broke several teeth on those goddamned BBs. Thanks a lot.

    • jrodman says:

      All I get is No Advertising. How odd.

  4. TaylanK says:

    Actually, Mount and Blade did that alpha funding model long before Minecraft.

  5. JoeyJungle says:

    I really hope the initial price is $10 and the final price is $30. I already bought ARMA 2 + expansions to play DayZ (and never ended up playing it because I’m dumb and couldn’t connect to servers even after updating to the latest version), so a part of me feels like I’ve already paid my entry fee. I have no gripes at all about them making a standalone version they can charge for instead of a mod, and totally understand the sequence of events that brought them to this point. I love that early adopters are going to be given a discount on the game. I just hope the initial price isn’t too expensive and the final price isn’t comparable to most retail releases.

    So basically, I love what they’re planning, and I hope that they execute it well.

  6. Don Reba says:

    Strangely enough, WarZ’s developer says his game is very successful financially. So… there is another path to profitability.

  7. Freud says:

    They have significant design challenges ahead of them. At the core of DayZ is a brilliant game. In reality it turned into a tedious sniper deathmatch game that lost it’s appeal much more quickly than it should. Hackers ruining the experience didn’t help either but I think the main reason for people stopping playing was that gameplay wasn’t all that much fun in the long run.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think the gameplay was great, but it needed to work on the reasons to not be a bandit. I think the point at which the mod broke was when they removed the bandit skin. It went back in, but it was too late by then, as the spell had broken.

      It seems clear to me that with the base-building and a reputation system that can reinstate reasons not to kill, it will work.

      • newprince says:

        People will HATE this idea, but I think one way is to designate areas where players can make towns. They won’t be safe (enough zombies or large enough bandit groups could take it over), but could afford special events/functionality like a trader and limited defense options. Bandits wouldn’t be able to use these places, and would be killed immediately if they showed up. It’s based off of MMOs with open PvP rules. Bandits could camp outside and wait for players, but players could also band together and counter-bandit the bandits… I just think there’s not going to be a big enough ‘social’ incentive and bandit disincentive without creating something like settlements.

      • Colej_uk says:

        The bandit mechanic worked ok, but it didn’t quite sit right with me either. It was a forced mechanic in a game where the design philosophy was based around not putting any restrictions on the players. I’m sure there are clever solutions to try.

      • Cheradanine Zakalwe says:

        I’m probably in a minority here, but I don’t think a bandit skin is necessary. I think killing on sight should always give more rewards than not doing so. I even thought the massive spike in killing that occurred was the evolution of understanding of the game and entirely appropriate.

        Why do I think this? Because it gave value and meaning to choosing not to kill someone. Trusting others should be hard and the rewards less because you’re choosing to do the right thing BECAUSE its right, not because of any tangible reward you might get out of it. Day Z explores morality in a way no game has before, because your decisions (to kill or assist other players) has such an enormous impact, either by saving their life, ending it or giving them a fantastic piece of equipment. Doing the right thing is the reward in and of itself.

        Of course, there are more indirect ways to target the issue that I agree with – namely, making the zombies far more of a threat (which makes taking a shot when zombies are near a VERY dangerous proposition) and reducing the amount of high end weaponry (making it more difficult to secure a kill and thus less likely to take the chance.

        • jonahcutter says:

          “Day Z explores morality in a way no game has before”

          I just don’t see this at all about DayZ. At least no more than any other open-pvp game. UO, Eve, Shadowbane, Darkfall, Mortal Online and any others offer up the same type of “moral” choice.

          Hell, even games as mainstream as WoW offer the potential for “should we fight or cooperate/should I gank the lowbie or help him in his quest” emergent gameplay.

          The philosophizing about DayZ seems to ignore just about every other game that allows players to interfere or cooperate with each other.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          I disagree with this point tbh, morality issues are all well and good but this is a video game, there needs to be things in place to influence peoples behaviour, if the most rewarding and easy thing to do is to just kill on sight, there is no reason to do anything else, and the game just devolves into a deathmatch. This isn’t what a lot of people want from a zombie survival game imo.
          Resources are the key, if you know that a guy is likely to have only a tin of beans its worthless killing him, in fact it can at that point be more rewarding to work with him so you can help each other clear out some buildings etc and gather more supplies. If everyone has enough food for hours of play, enough ammo etc. Then there is no point working together and ofc it is much more rewarding just to kill people and grab his stuff, those that die have to restart, those that live keep increasing their supplies so they never have to worry.
          Agree about the zombie point, this to me puts more emphasis on teamwork as you need to create situations where a heavily armed person might struggle to clear buildings etc on his own. If they find the balance right they can avoid perpetual deathmatch and create much more complex decisions other than just moral ones, “I don’t necessarily want to kill him, but I want his stuff…..so fk it” is a much easier decision than “Hmmm, I don’t necessarily want to kill him, but I want his stuff…. then again he could help me clear out that petrol station full of food and ammo”. That is the balance they need to find with this to make it really good.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I enjoyed it immensely the first two weeks. Then I realized it’s exactly as you say, a sniper deathmatch. One where players camp the leetest weapon spawns, or kos for the hell of it. There’s approaching zero survival gameplay outside of dodging other players’ bullets.

      There’s no desperation to survival, outside of immediate pvp. The zeds are easily spoofed and supplies are plentiful. You don’t need to make hard choices about NOT attacking other players. Ammo and food is plentiful. Go ahead and blaze away, more ammo and beans will spawn.

      And tents… tents removed much of the pain of perma-death. And thus much of the difficulty of choice in starting a fight.

      I think that core balance has to change for the game to not remain a large-map, slow-paced deathmatch. Which is fine if that’s your bag. But it won’t scratch my apocalypse-survival itch.

      • derbefrier says:

        Took the words right out of my mouth. Random spawn points plus less spawn points for food, ammo etc would be a lot better.would make camping certain locations pointless and it would hopefully make sure you are not so rich in resources you can run around killing people with reckless abandon. The mod was just too easy so understandably people got bored and started to treat it like a deathmatch. If these problems are addressed I will probablt buy it if not well soon enough there will be no shortage of dayz clones to choose from. Surely one of them will get it right.

        • jonahcutter says:

          I hope they get it right.

          But I suspect it may end up the same basic core, with lots of cool bells-and-whistles that don’t fundamentally alter what has already been seen.

          Sure, building bases is cool. But the game basically becomes a guild-based wargame then. One where death means even less, because of the ability to hoard vast resources. Something similar to Shadowbane or Darkfall, but with guns.

          That can be fun. But again, it’s not the apocalypse-survival game I’m looking for.

      • S Jay says:

        Quintessential question: did you ever meet some DayZ player that died because he lacked food or water? Never heard of one, maybe it happened, but it is pretty hard to accomplish that even on purpose.

        It is not really a survival sim, but a AS50-asshole-survivor sim.

        (Yeah, I was one of the assholes).

    • Colej_uk says:

      I haven’t played DayZ recently, but I have to say I’m actually a fan of every person being a potential threat, I hope they don’t neuter that too much. It’s quite rare to encounter another player and I like the rush of adrenaline of seeing somebody and not knowing whether they’re hostile or not– knowing that they probably are but also having to balance that against the guilt of taking the first shot. It’s one of the best parts of the game experience for me.

      If the game starts forcing most players to be friendly then I really think they are in danger of loosing something special. At the same time promoting team work is cool too. It’s one of their trickiest design challenges I’m sure.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        There needs to be a way to control the amount of player killing though imo. Everyone should be a potential threat, yes, but if you know that 90%+ of the people in the game are going to shoot on sight then they are an almost guaranteed threat and you have to play the same, at that point it just becomes a really slow paced deathmatch and playing in other ways is just not possible, so things such as bandit skin does help in my opinion, it gives players a reason NOT to shoot and thats important because otherwise everyone just takes the path of least resistance, as has been proven in games countless times, here the path of least resistance is shoot first.
        The other thing they MUST stop in my opinion is the ridiculous server hopping and ALT-F4′ing that happens in the mod, people going to a deserted server, getting fully stocked and then going back and just taking potshots at people is stupid, as is switching server, moving 100 yards, then switching back and appearing behind someone. So I hope they get the server structure right, make a character on a server and it stays there etc. This blatant cheating behavior was the worst part of the game and very widespread, hopefully they can also do something to stall straight up hacking, also a problem in the mod.

        • Colej_uk says:

          I think ‘control’ is the wrong word. I wouldn’t want any kind of rules or limitations as one of DayZ’s strengths is it’s openness.

          And to play devils advocate a little- just because 90% of people are threats doesn’t mean you have to play that way. It’s a harder game if you choose not to, but taking the moral highground shouldn’t be easy in a game about survival. The relentless killing is not so much a weakness in the game design, it’s more a weakness in human behaviour.

          That said, what they do need to do I think is make it easier to detect if people are hostile or not. By the looks of things they are doing this with raised/lowered weapons and some revamps on communication. With a bit of luck this will help promote team-play a little too.

          100% with you on the alt-f4ing. I thought they had already introduced a decent solution to that though? Your character stays in the game for 30 seconds or so after quitting…

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            They may have fixed the Alt-F4 thing a bit now, not sure i haven’t played in a while. I completely understand your point about forced limitations, they shouldn’t be in the game, more along the lines of there need to be good reasons to work together also. Its about survival, others should be able to aid your survival as much as destroy it, as would be the case in a real life situation. Give players a good reason to work together as well as to shoot each other. If everyone has a maximum amount of stuff and aren’t in danger of dying to zombies then there is no need to work together, then you have slow paced sniper deathmatch, if thats what people want then fine but its not what I want to see from a zombie survival game. Thats kind of the point, working with others shouldn’t be the more difficult way to play the game, if i can get together a group of people I should be in a better situation than the lone guy running around taking potshots at everybody, my survival isn’t mutually exclusive to others survival and the game should reflect that.

    • kyrieee says:

      I think it’s amazing as a PvP game. The anti-material rifles are a bit silly so I hope they don’t include those, but other than that I just love it.

  8. Clavus says:

    Rocket tweeted this picture earlier (leaping zombies): https://twitter.com/rocket2guns/status/339708447505399809/photo/1

    I really can’t wait for the Standalone to come around. It’s a game you play to take a holiday away from others games. Really don’t want to play the mod though, the community is fragmented and it’s too easy for hackers to ruin your fun. Just one more month or so…

  9. pupsikaso says:

    It might be too early to judge the standalone, but from what we have available on youtube it doesn’t seem to be much more progressed than the Arma2 mod. For an Arma2 mod it is great, but for a standalone, so far, it seems rather underwhelming.
    I hope development will ramp up soon and we’ll get to see the things that were not possible in just an Arma2 mod.

  10. DestroyYourEgo says:

    You can’t see it, but I’m moving my hand in a jerking motion to this article. No, I’m not getting off on it.

    Now I’m rolling my eyes.

    Day Z? Pssssh. Lammmmmmeeeeee! With a gay name like “Rocket”, I just have to say- keep stroking losers.

    Keeeeeeppppppp stroking.

    “Day Z is NOT lame- it is the most realistic, militarlistic zombistic apocalyptic game ever. EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. You’re just gay if you don’t like it.”

    Yes I am gay. And no, I do not like Day Z. This game is the used rag I keep under the bed.

    Keep strokin’ puppets….

    SoD is gonna be waayyyyy better than this. This might be better than War Z, but that’s not that hard to do. Honestly. I just sneezed, and even THAT was a better experience than War Z.

    I guess the gist of my comment isssss I really don’t like Day Z. And I like to be the one nay-sayer in a left-handed circle jerk. Keep strokin’….

    I predict Hackers will ruin this just like they did the Arma II mod and War Z. Face it- people suck.

    Some of those hackers might be on here commenting. Keep that in mind before you stroke someone on here.

    • Stiletto says:

      So, rage much? :D

      • pupsikaso says:

        The guy’s been on a roll today. He’s posted on everything from this week’s articles to things 3 months old.
        Not sure what he got mixed up in his crack pipe…

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Well, crack from the sound of it. Not sure what his sexuality has to do with his preference for or against DayZ either, as a big old queen myself I’m rather a fan of it.

        • darkChozo says:

          It really makes me regret that the block button doesn’t block things from showing up in the recent comments box. It’s basically spam at this point.

          • pupsikaso says:

            There’s a block button???

          • darkChozo says:

            Should be one below any comment that’s not your own, assuming you’re logged in and such.

  11. Eddy9000 says:

    Mine…craft?

  12. cyrenic says:

    DayZ is the best MMO I’ve played recently.

  13. Badava says:

    I was just casually reading the comments and am baffled at how complicated you think a working system for heroes/bandits would be. Some of you gave constructive comments which I concur with, such as countermeasures for being a mindless bandit thus making the game a pending deathmatch every time. The rewards shouldn’t really give you an upper hand, just give you the feel you’re doing the game right, whilst bandits should be scolded in one way or the other. Otherwise this is not a survivalist game, but yet another random TPS multiplayer shooter. I understand some of you in saying you should make your own calls as much as you want, and that that means complete freedom to you, but it just doesn’t sit right with my thought of a post-apocalyptic survival-based game. I hope Rocket shares this notion with me. So, let me get to the point of this post; the simple way of “forcing” players to make smart-moves and not just mindlessly kill to loot or whatever is to take away looting corpses. I mean, think of it! It may not sound right to you at first, put let me provide a plain scenario. You want to be a bandit and you just have to fight the urge to loot someone (because if you’re not killing someone because of loot now, you’re doing it all wrong; shooting-on-sight is the disease of the community that has become DayZ nowadays, but there’ll always be someone who just goes around shooting and that’s fine). What if, in this case, you had to keep the player alive to be able to mug him? We’d now have the choice of being good/bad and going up to players by surprise and asking them to holster/throw away their weapon, loot them and then decide if you’re going to be a complete a**hole and kill them as they’re harmless now. This actually is the case with uniforms currently; you simply cannot take a uniform from a player. If this was DayZ gameplay, pointless killing would actually become just that; pointless! I know, I know: “OMFG, U N00B, IT WOULD TAKE AWAY FROM THE REALITY OF THE GAME!”. It would benefit the gameplay, believe you me. And as far as reality in any game is concerned, I’m pretty convinced you’ll never want to address your bowels just as you’re looting something with a small icon on your HUD saying now is the time you have to take a sh*t, and if you don’t you’ll sh*t your pants and the other players will be able to smell you by their HUD’s smell-o-meter. Games can only go so far in realism, the point is to keep it fun and let it have a replayability value. I had so much fun with DayZ the first few weeks and then the COD-style gameplay it has welcomed put me away from it forever (and the hackers, of course). I did, however, enjoy wasting 2 of a three-bandit group that set-out to kill my month-old character for no apparent reason.

    tl;dr You can loot players if they’re alive (through stick-ups and such) and cannot if they’re dead. There, solution.

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