FUTURE OF DMB PC GAME
05/24/08 – Forum (Dayne Myers)
As promised, the Imagine Sports management team has been reviewing our overall company strategy and product plans in regards to the future of the PC game. We conducted surveys and focus groups with you, members of the PC game community, as well as consulting Diamond Mind staff and, of course, Tom Tippett.
In doing so, it was our hope that we could produce a version 10 of the PC game, and we explored various options for doing so. However, as we look ahead to the future of the games industry, there is no question that online games will be the key to our success and the core focus of our investment plans. Given industry trends and limited resources, therefore, we will not produce a version 10 of the PC game for the foreseeable future, and our marketing efforts will focus exclusively on our online games. We will, however, continue to produce season and projection disks for version 9c and issue appropriate patches or updates so long as it remains financially viable to do so. We also plan to go forward with the CPS upgrades and are ensuring Jim Wheeler has the tools he needs to do this.
There are a number of reasons for these decisions, but it basically comes down to 3 business factors:
1. Industry trends. The greatest growth in the games business is now online, while the market for PC games, on the other hand, has been in decline for some time, particularly in regards to sports. Even Madden Football is not immune - Electronic Arts recently announced that it would discontinue producing a PC version of its most popular sports title.
2. Resources. Tom has informed us that it is unlikely that he will have the time to work on a version 10 for the foreseeable future, and the work required is not something Luke could do alone at this point. On top of those significant limitations, it is simply easier for us to upgrade the online versions, where installation, compatibility, and operating systems are not an issue. Whereas you would need a patch every time there is a new version of Windows or a new operating system like Vista, none of that is an issue in online games, and Mac users do not need a Windows Emulator to play DMB. If you can access the Internet, you're ready to play ball. And on the Internet, development cycles are in weeks, not months or years.
3. Cost. We do not feel a new version can proceed without a new interface, something that neither Tom nor Luke feels capable of doing, nor is anyone else at Imagine able to do so for the PC game. This would require us to outsource this work at high cost.
Unfortunately, it is neither practical nor financially prudent for us to undertake a version 10 at this time or for the foreseeable future. And, given the relative return on investment, we must focus our marketing efforts and budget on the online games.
We understand that this will be disappointing to many of you. However, the Diamond Mind customer base and revenues are simply too small to enable us to do many of the improvements to the game that you would like to see. Only by dramatically growing the customer base will we be able to improve Diamond Mind in the ways you'd like, and the kind of growth we need to sustain and advance the game engine can only be achieved via the Internet.
So, now what?
For the reasons listed above, the future of Diamond Mind is online. We invite you to be a part of that - you can have a say and be involved in that future. However, we do not want you to feel forced to play the online games, so we will continue the disks and such for the existing PC customer base. We hope to make it worthwhile for you to try the online games and intend to add new features that will enable you do pretty much everything in the online game that you can do now in the PC version - and more - but with the extra convenience and flexibility that a server-based system can provide.
For example, we have just completed a new version of "Diamond Mind Live" - a server-based version of Netplay that now includes league play … with the ability to set your own league schedules. Not only does this avoid the connectivity, IP addressing and firewall issues that can afflict Netplay, DML will enable you to play your Diamond Mind leagues in an orderly yet flexible manner without going through the hassle of having team owners sending line-ups and settings to the commissioner who runs the games for centralized leagues, or emailing results to commissioners and waiting for the latest stats in distributed leagues - that is all automated. Gone will be the fear of cheating, so if a team gets hot during a homestand, you'll know it's legitimate. Also, your opponents will no longer be able to look over your manager profile for an unfair advantage. And, backups are maintained on Imagine Sports servers, so if your hard drive crashes or is wiped out by a virus or you just bought a new system, we've got you covered. You'll always be playing with the most up-to-date ratings and data because we'll be maintaining it for you.
The next stage of development will be to add a solitaire style of play and season replays, with all single seasons available to you without needing to buy season disks. We have yet to determine how we will price these future products, but we intend to offer special pricing and discounts to those of you who own the PC game, with special consideration to the amount you have purchased from Diamond Mind over time.
We are now testing this DML League product, and we invite the PC game community to be a part of that testing and provide us with feedback that will enable us to craft the game to meet your needs and desires. We will also be forming a customer advisory group of DMB-PC customers to help provide us with further input and feedback as we build out the online game. We have already gotten some great ideas from you, and we look forward to more. If you would like to volunteer, email Pat at Info@diamond-mind.com to sign up.
In the meantime, we would like to offer you a free 12-month subscription to Imagine Sports, which includes unlimited live game play. This offer is available only to our current registered DMB PC customers who are not yet subscribers of the Imagine Sports online games and will expire on June 30. Email Support@imaginesports.com to sign up.
We understand that the online games may not be for all of you. Of course, you still have your PC game, and we will continue to offer the season disks and support for version 9 so long as that is financially viable and move forward with upgrades of the Classic Past Seasons. So, for those of you who prefer to play on your PC, you can still do so, and we respect your decision. That said, the door is open, and we hope to welcome you to our online world and look forward having your input into the future of those games.
If you wish to discuss all this further, I will hold a chat on the DMB forum on Tuesday, May 27, at 9pm EST/6pm PST. Please join in if you can.
Thank you for your loyalty and commitment to Diamond Mind.
CEO, Imagine Sports