The secret of the success of the most addictive game

It may not be one of the great productions of 2022, but one of the most played games (and in a way, one of the best) last year was Vampire Survivors. It is a simple game (not simple) in substance and form, with an overhead view and in which we control a warrior besieged by hordes of monsters. Controlling is a saying, since the warrior makes attacks automatically and our function consists solely of moving around the map, going climbing the abilities of our character as we level up and, well, survive as long as possible.

The game is so well calibrated, its balance between difficulty and reward so well measured, that it has become the most addictive game of 2022. Few games in recent years have come up with such an effective formula to mesmerize their players (Hades would be another recent example), turning his games, which fortunately do not last long, into a true digital drug. For this reason, it is convenient to repeat what was already said in the summary of the year: the game has just released a closed and paid expansion, but regardless of that, that such a product does not opt ​​for a model freemium of micropayments to obtain improvements, or of loot boxes, and that now it can be obtained for free on mobile platforms, is quite a rarity in these times.

Anyone who has paid a few euros to get small advantages in the digital parcheesi of his cell phone, new designs for a character from Marvel Snap or digital letters in Genshin Impact You know how easy it is to spend a little money almost without meaning to. And it is not a question, by the way, of criticizing the economic strategies of the games: not all games have to be played on a 500-euro console or cost 80. Some games are good that they are free for mobile phones, accessible to all, and that its monetization strategy is based on the (voluntary) payments of the most loyal players. It is not a matter of contesting the model freemiumno, it is only a matter of pointing out that the digital medium has flirted many times with the less honest monetization strategiesand that an option as well-intentioned as that of Vampire Survivors It is simply a small miracle.

A moment of a game game, with our character in the middle.

The game is back in the news due to an interview that its creator, Luca Galante, had last week with the American media IGN, and a statement published by the studio. It is curious what Galante has about the success of the game. “Since launch, I’ve tried not to look at the numbers the game was running,” she says. He also says that his efforts focused more on continuing to work on the game and polishing it thanks to player feedback. But, evidently, there came a point where he found out about the absolute triumph of the game and, when asked about the secret of that success, he repeats something that creators of all kinds have been saying since the world began: “I have no idea, I know it! which makes it really scary!”

Galante himself talks about the reluctance he felt when it came to releasing additional paid content (Downloadable Content, DLC), since today, he says, he feels that “DLC is designed around monetization instead of a good service for the players. This suspicion is confirmed the studio, Poncle, which in its statement regrets how when thinking about the mobile version of the game, which they ended up doing themselves, they could not find a partner who wanted what they were looking for: a “non-predatory” monetization. Meaning no loot boxes, overpayments, or ads all over the place. The worst face of the digital world can be summed up in this: companies that, like vampires (pun intended), want to suck as much money as possible from users.

“The beauty of being independent is that we can do almost anything as long as everyone on the team is on board,” says Galante in the interview, in a declaration of love for games. indies. The success of Vampire Survivors, says its creator, hopes that it “encourages more independent developers to continue promoting their projects.” Some statements that end with a great phrase: “I’m not saying this out of my good heart, I’m saying it out of selfishness: I want to see more games like Sky blue, Undertale, Wandersongs either short hike getting the attention they deserve!” Perhaps success has a bit to do with this. All the ones you cite are indie games, made by a very small team. All of them renounced making monetization the axis of their work. And all of them, by the way, are masterpieces.

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The secret of the success of the most addictive game