Sandbox Interactive joins Stillfront

    • Jikap wrote:

      They might've gambled on them being able to greatly increase Albion's popularity when it releases on mobile properly.
      A good marketing push to coincide with the mobile launch (with ready-made plans to quickly scale up Albion online with its possible increased population,) might actually do wonders for the game and its players.

      While most of their other "featured games" on their website doesn't inspire much confidence from a gamer standpoint: "BitLife was among the top 5 most downloaded games on iOS in 2019",
      This could suggest they might know what they're doing when it comes to marketing. Or they got lucky.
      It will be interesting to see what they will cook up for Albion. I'll at least give them a chance.
      Hey there,

      here is some general background information:

      When it comes to more casual free to play games marketing is one of the absolute key factors to determine whether a game is successful or not. There are thousands of thousands of these games - and which of these games are the most successful/popular is often determined simply by how good the company behind it is at marketing. Successful casual F2P game companies are often highly skilled marketing machines.

      Now, compare this to us. We have a great game with a road map for years to come, our lifeblood is the quality of the game that we make, in collaboration with the player community. That is what we do best.

      Marketing has never been our strength (yet). We just recently hired our first in-house marketing manager (who is doing a great job so far, by the way!). We are starting to get better at this, and the limited amount of marketing that we do works really well.

      Now, here is the thing:
      Take Albion Online - a great game but (so far) extremely limited marketing - and combine that with a Stillfront, who are an absolutely marketing powerhouse the outcome is that you take the best of both worlds.

      And the idea is precisely NOT to turn Albion into a more "casual/typical F2P" game. Stillfront already has a lot of games that are like that. Joining forces with us, they can enter into an entirely different segment - i.e. sandbox MMORPGs - that they currently do not cover.
    • Korn wrote:

      Jikap wrote:

      They might've gambled on them being able to greatly increase Albion's popularity when it releases on mobile properly.
      A good marketing push to coincide with the mobile launch (with ready-made plans to quickly scale up Albion online with its possible increased population,) might actually do wonders for the game and its players.

      While most of their other "featured games" on their website doesn't inspire much confidence from a gamer standpoint: "BitLife was among the top 5 most downloaded games on iOS in 2019",
      This could suggest they might know what they're doing when it comes to marketing. Or they got lucky.
      It will be interesting to see what they will cook up for Albion. I'll at least give them a chance.
      Hey there,
      here is some general background information:

      When it comes to more casual free to play games marketing is one of the absolute key factors to determine whether a game is successful or not. There are thousands of thousands of these games - and which of these games are the most successful/popular is often determined simply by how good the company behind it is at marketing. Successful casual F2P game companies are often highly skilled marketing machines.

      Now, compare this to us. We have a great game with a road map for years to come, our lifeblood is the quality of the game that we make, in collaboration with the player community. That is what we do best.

      Marketing has never been our strength (yet). We just recently hired our first in-house marketing manager (who is doing a great job so far, by the way!). We are starting to get better at this, and the limited amount of marketing that we do works really well.

      Now, here is the thing:
      Take Albion Online - a great game but (so far) extremely limited marketing - and combine that with a Stillfront, who are an absolutely marketing powerhouse the outcome is that you take the best of both worlds.

      And the idea is precisely NOT to turn Albion into a more "casual/typical F2P" game. Stillfront already has a lot of games that are like that. Joining forces with us, they can enter into an entirely different segment - i.e. sandbox MMORPGs - that they currently do not cover.
      So far the only positive you seem to be able to spin rhetoric about is the marketing. If this is the reason you sold out then why not just outsource your marketing to a professional marketing company? That way you keep 100% control of game design, content and payment model.

      And don’t pretend that you still have control because you don’t. The press release states that the co-founders will remain PART of the management team. There will be stillfront people calling the shots. You no longer have control of your own company and may get overruled on both design and revenue model.

      You could easily have outsourced marketing. Don’t be so disingenuous to suggest this sale was for the good of the game ... it was simply a question of money. Don’t get me wrong I don’t begrudge you that at all, I would have done the same, but I’d have respected you a lot more if you hadn’t been trying to spin this as something it isn’t.
      Midgard
      T8 Fibre, Ore, Hide, Wood & Stone Gatherer
      T8 Gathering Gear Crafter
      T8 Bags & Capes Crafter
    • Asgaeroth wrote:

      Stillfront seems like a reasonable company. I like their mission statement and I don't see any serious controversies in their portfolio. I might look into some other of their products to try.
      Blizzard has good mission statements too. It's just a shame that the people who have the final say in these type of companies (now SBI as well) are hired to do one thing and one things only; produce revenue.

      In modern gaming history (past 5-10 years), two things have been true in terms of companies looking to increase profits:

      1: Lower costs (staff layoffs, reliance on cloud server networks that can hold a lot of individual players but struggles when they all are in the same zone)
      2: Appealing to the masses, to the point where the niche of the game is neglected.


      The thing with video game development is this;

      Who are you making the game for? If you appeal very strongly to a specific group of players you will make an incredible game for them.
      But if you appeal a little to everyone, you'll make an OK game for everyone.

      In the case of Albion, I hope that Stillfont understands that this game needs to appeal strongly for open world, full loot PvPers.. while still making it acceptable to more casual players. That's what makes this game so good. If they start to appeal strongly to the casual players instead of the niche, it will become an OK game instead and people will leave for the next game that appeals strongly to them.
    • Midgard wrote:

      So far the only positive you seem to be able to spin rhetoric about is the marketing. If this is the reason you sold out then why not just outsource your marketing to a professional marketing company? That way you keep 100% control of game design, content and payment model.

      And don’t pretend that you still have control because you don’t. The press release states that the co-founders will remain PART of the management team. There will be stillfront people calling the shots. You no longer have control of your own company and may get overruled on both design and revenue model.

      You could easily have outsourced marketing. Don’t be so disingenuous to suggest this sale was for the good of the game ... it was simply a question of money. Don’t get me wrong I don’t begrudge you that at all, I would have done the same, but I’d have respected you a lot more if you hadn’t been trying to spin this as something it isn’t.

      Hey there,

      the reason why the press release says that the founders will remain "part of" the management is that the founders are already only a "part of" the management. Sandbox was founded in 2012. No staff changes at all are planned as part of the acquisition.

      The following managers are also founders: Our CTO, our Art Director and our Lead World/Level Designer.
      The following managers are not founders. Robin (CEO + Game Director), our Head of Operations (Customer Service, News Content, etc), our Marketing Manager, our Head of Accounting

      In terms of "outsourcing marketing" - that simply does not work in the way that you envision it. Sure, there are tons of these marketing agencies out there, and we are actually working with one and have tried others. If it was that simple, then why would any game company actually have an in-house marketing team? In general, when it comes to outsourcing, it can work, but it will never be as good as if you build up proper in-house skills either organically or by acquisition.

      And on your last point: of course any business arrangement or sale/acquisition is also about financials and money. But that does not imply that it has to be bad for the game. Ultimately, if you buy a business, the last thing you want is for that business to get worse. There is just no point to it. And on our end - and as you can see in the press release - a significant part of the deal relates to how well Albion does in the coming 4 years and we have the required degree of independence to ensure that it does well - by continuing to do exactly what we have done in the past.

      Stillfront itself only has 14 people centrally. Their model is based on a hands-off approach and that's probably one of the key reasons why they have been successful and one of the key reasons why we decided to join them (we did have other offers as well). See this interview with Stillfront's COO for some background on their approach.
    • Hello,

      I really think that big question on most of our minds is:
      Will Albion transform in a pay to win game now?

      I also ask this question because looking at Stillfrort's featured games, they are mostly pay to win.
      This may work on some games and I know that they are targeted to a certain demographic.
      So in a game where full loot pvp is mostly the main attraction, it will be sad to see that the people with the bigger wallet will dominate.
      Sure you will make money because people will pay eventually but I strongly believe that you will lose players to this.
    • Delure wrote:

      Hello,

      I really think that big question on most of our minds is:
      Will Albion transform in a pay to win game now?

      I also ask this question because looking at Stillfrort's featured games, they are mostly pay to win.
      This may work on some games and I know that they are targeted to a certain demographic.
      So in a game where full loot pvp is mostly the main attraction, it will be sad to see that the people with the bigger wallet will dominate.
      Sure you will make money because people will pay eventually but I strongly believe that you will lose players to this.
      Hey there,

      please see the statement immediately above your post.

      Stillfront itself only has 14 people centrally. Their model is based on a hands-off approach and that's probably one of the key reasons why they have been successful and one of the key reasons why we decided to join them (we did have other offers as well). See this interview with Stillfront's COO for some background on their approach.

      One of the many reasons why they decided to acquire Albion Online is precisely that it is different from their other games as this allows them to diversify. There are no plans whatsoever to change Albion's business model or game design philosophy. Albion's staff and management remain unchanged and we'll continue to work on the game exactly as we have done before and, as always, in close collaboration with the community. Never change a running system.
    • The interview with them claiming to pursue a hands-off approach is at least mildly reassuring.

      We will put the blame back on SBI then, if the game deviates from being an open world focused game ;)

      Hope SBI is up to the task of transitioning the game back on that track. Static dungeons have been neglected since its very inception and all updates so far have turned the game into instanced-focused content. I hope the updates in the coming year will bring the emphasis back to the open world. (Static dungeons can be considered open world too, that's fine).

      The whole 5-man instanced, random dungeons, etc has really taken the conflict out of the world unfortunately.

      5-man, random dungeons and HCE are so lucrative people barely even care about the new world boss zones. The balance is just off. Open world should come first before anything.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Phosphia ().

    • Phosphia wrote:

      The interview with them claiming to pursue a hands-off approach is at least mildly reassuring.

      We will put the blame back on SBI then, if the game deviates from being an open world focused game ;)

      Hope SBI is up to the task of transitioning the game back on that track. Static dungeons have been neglected since its very inception and all updates so far have turned the game into instanced-focused content. I hope the updates in the coming year will bring the emphasis back to the open world. (Static dungeons can be considered open world too, that's fine).

      The whole 5-man instanced, random dungeons, etc has really taken the conflict out of the world unfortunately.

      5-man, random dungeons and HCE are so lucrative people barely even care about the new world boss zones. The balance is just off. Open world should come first before anything.
      Hey there,

      we are on it :) Take a look at our most recent dev talk here.
    • @Korn Since you sold 100% , Is it possible that in one year(or even less) they will fire everyone from SBI ,after they will hire other people and will implement P2W elements into the game? Business is business.
      Because thats how i imagine what will happen in 1-2 years. They will just earn insane amount of money and will close project, since noone will play p2w shit game.

      My first thoughts was - "Oh great! They will have better marketing! Good job SBI!" . But after i read that you sold 100% company , i doubt that everything will be fine.

      P.S i just really worry about future of this game ;(

      The post was edited 5 times, last by Equart ().

    • Korn wrote:

      Jikap wrote:

      They might've gambled on them being able to greatly increase Albion's popularity when it releases on mobile properly.
      A good marketing push to coincide with the mobile launch (with ready-made plans to quickly scale up Albion online with its possible increased population,) might actually do wonders for the game and its players.

      While most of their other "featured games" on their website doesn't inspire much confidence from a gamer standpoint: "BitLife was among the top 5 most downloaded games on iOS in 2019",
      This could suggest they might know what they're doing when it comes to marketing. Or they got lucky.
      It will be interesting to see what they will cook up for Albion. I'll at least give them a chance.
      Hey there,
      here is some general background information:

      When it comes to more casual free to play games marketing is one of the absolute key factors to determine whether a game is successful or not. There are thousands of thousands of these games - and which of these games are the most successful/popular is often determined simply by how good the company behind it is at marketing. Successful casual F2P game companies are often highly skilled marketing machines.

      Now, compare this to us. We have a great game with a road map for years to come, our lifeblood is the quality of the game that we make, in collaboration with the player community. That is what we do best.

      Marketing has never been our strength (yet). We just recently hired our first in-house marketing manager (who is doing a great job so far, by the way!). We are starting to get better at this, and the limited amount of marketing that we do works really well.

      Now, here is the thing:
      Take Albion Online - a great game but (so far) extremely limited marketing - and combine that with a Stillfront, who are an absolutely marketing powerhouse the outcome is that you take the best of both worlds.

      And the idea is precisely NOT to turn Albion into a more "casual/typical F2P" game. Stillfront already has a lot of games that are like that. Joining forces with us, they can enter into an entirely different segment - i.e. sandbox MMORPGs - that they currently do not cover.
      congrats. Does this mean the marketing policy of allowing the community to compensate community marketing pieces like other sandbox games do will change? I know there is a ton untapped free marketing potential for Albion that could easily be opened up. Most of the marketing and definitely the moat successful marketing campaigns for say eve online where player created.
    • Equart wrote:

      @Korn Since you sold 100% , Is it possible that in one year(or even less) they will fire everyone from SBI ,after they will hire other people and will implement P2W elements into the game? Business is business.
      That's not really how Stillfront operates. As stated above, centrally, they only consist of 14 people. These 14 people look for successful and well-run game studios to acquire and then let them continue what they do best while encouraging them to help each other out where it makes sense - in our case, that would be in marketing. See this interview with Stillfront's COO for some background on their approach.

      This is drastically different from how other companies / publishers handle games after they acquire them. We all know how this often turns out. And that's also why we did reject offers from those type of companies.

      It was extremely important for us that we have the independence to continue to run the game as before - with exactly the same team and the same core philosophy, in close collaboration with the community. That's what made Albion successful in the past and will allow us to take the game much further in the future, even more so due to Stillfront's marketing support that we can now draw on.
    • @Korn Everything he said - sounds cool and promising , especially this part - "if you want to get as much money as you can in short term and leave - we probably the wrong choice."

      Anyway im a bit sceptical , but I will support you guys until you add P2W elements , hope it will never happen :evil:
      Congrats you guys with good deal, and have a good holiday! 2021 will be hard but very exciting year for everyone!

      Stay safe guys!
    • Equart wrote:

      @Korn Everything he said - sounds cool and promising , especially this part - "if you want to get as much money as you can in short term and leave - we probably the wrong choice."

      Anyway im a bit sceptical , but I will support you guys until you add P2W elements , hope it will never happen :evil:
      Congrats you guys with good deal, and have a good holiday! 2021 will be hard but very exciting year for everyone!

      Stay safe guys!
      Adding "p2w" elements to Albion would almost certainly make Albion less profitable as a business. There are actually quite a few MMORPGs who tried that and went straight downhill from there. It would be business suicide to alienate our player base just for a quick buck. So it's not just that we do not like p2w and pinky-promise not to do this, it just does not make any sense on top of that.

      Albion has always been built in close collaboration with the community. A fair and solid business model is part of that. That's also why our business numbers are so strong and keep growing. There is absolutely no reason to change this. The fact that we have such a loyal player base was actually explicitly mentioned by Stillfront in their press conference on the acquisition.