What do you expect when you buy a game?

I have a question (several, actually) -- when a publisher releases a game, do you feel that they owe you, the players of that game, updates to the game in perpeptuity?

How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?

Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?

Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?

Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?

Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?

Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?

Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations (and thus possibly face bankruptcy or at least a weak business model resulting in less captial for the next project) in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?

I'm curious where people think the line is drawn... what you expect to get for your money.

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Andrew Welch / el Presidente / Ambrosia Software, Inc.

I have a question (several, actually) -- when a publisher releases a game, do you feel that they owe you, the players of that game, updates to the game in perpeptuity?

No, but they do owe the players of the game updates until the game is bug-free.

How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?

Enough to make the game bug-free.

Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?

No, but if they do continue to enhance the game, it would encourage me to continue to purchase games from them.

Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?

Support (the technical kind) should always be available, and for free. Updates that are released should also be available for free, unless a substantial portion of the game is rewritten. EVO -> EVN appears to satisfy this. I did not feel that EV->EVO did.

Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?

No. Not at all. Never.

Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?

Especialy not.

Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?

After the game stops producing significant profits, but (hopefuly) before the source is obsolete, I think that publicaly releasing the source is a good thing. It is not owed to us, in any way, shape, or form, however, and the source should not be released if it is obsolete.

Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?

No, but they should be willing to have some leniancy.

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(url="http://"http://home.maine.rr.com/mithril/")Epsilon(/url)

I think shareware presents a slightly difern't playing field on this isue than comercial software. In share ware they do not as much OW you bug fixes, because you should have seen the bug while trying it out, nor do they as much ow you to fix blatent turkys cause agian you should have seen it to beguin with. Though both of these cases if you don't give them those it will have verious levels of a damging effect on the companys PR. How ever there realy has to be considered a limit at wich you might be doing your self more harm that good.
Two notable examples that have gone against the grain were EVO and Ares, but only for those who had previously purchased these two titles, people might have felt less giped coming from EV to the new EVO 1.0.2, but they sertainly felt very giped by what they presived as a poor senerio to a barly imporved version of the engine. Ares by far was probly a greater PR disaster, and though some understand that a lot of updating did go into the game especialy in the area of the networking, and though I understand there was a upgrade offer, the later alone would have gone a greate deal to eleviate the stress of the situation. But its shear complexity only made things worse as I folow.
Buissness is buissness, I sertainly understand this, but companys far larger than AmbrosiaSW have been hastled far more over far less. So don't feal personaly atacked over isues of sequels, updates, ect, people will want what they want, and they will try to get it. Your place as the buissness man is in truth to try and reap the most benifit from that fact, some times you will have to step on some toes, and some times it will pay to bend a little. Ultimatly its your company, and your desision.

- KMQ

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Originally posted by andrew:
**I have a question (several, actually) -- when a publisher releases a game, do you feel that they owe you, the players of that game, updates to the game in perpeptuity?
**

Yes, although I have no idea what perpeptuity means. πŸ˜•

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Originally posted by andrew:
**
How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?
**

As many as it takes to get it right.
To fix known bugs and othier obvious failures.
Publisher doesn't have to do it, but then I'll feel cheated. :mad:

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Originally posted by andrew:
**
Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?
**

No. And I wouldn't expect anything more.
But giving any extras, like AI fixes or such,
will be appreciated and will make my decision to buy
again from that particular company so much easier.

Graphic improvements on original EV were shining example
of this. Totally unexpected, unnecessary, and much
appreciated. πŸ™‚

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Originally posted by andrew:
**
Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?
**

Support, yes. At some form. A board like this is fine.
As for updates, bug fixes should be free.
Other improvements are gray area.

Quote

Originally posted by andrew:
**
Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?

Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?

Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?
**

Absolutely not. None of those.

Quote

Originally posted by andrew:
**
Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations (and thus possibly face bankruptcy or at least a weak business model resulting in less captial for the next project) in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?
**

I don't believe doing half assed job is good business in the long run.
But anyway, yes, developer/publisher should ignore his greed :rolleyes:

And to conclude, I still want to make it clear that you guys
have done a terrific job. At least this far. πŸ˜‰

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Originally posted by KMQ:
**Two notable examples that have gone against the grain were EVO and Ares, but only for those who had previously purchased these two titles, people might have felt less giped coming from EV to the new EVO 1.0.2, but they sertainly felt very giped by what they presived as a poor senerio to a barly imporved version of the engine.
**

I agree that the engine from EV -> EVO was not significantly updated (though there were some important changes/additions), but this is fairly inline with many squels (Doom -> Doom II, Marathon -> Marathon II, Myth -> Myth II, etc.).

Many people did like the EVO scenario, and putting out an official, cool new scenario for EV is exactly what a lot of people wanted, judging by the reception that EVO got from the majority of players out there.

Certainly some hard-core EV players felt EVO wasn't "worth the update", but I think it's safe to say that many, many people did.

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**Ares by far was probly a greater PR disaster, and though some understand that a lot of updating did go into the game especialy in the area of the networking, and though I understand there was a upgrade offer, the later alone would have gone a greate deal to eleviate the stress of the situation. But its shear complexity only made things worse as I folow.
**

This is a bit of a different situation. This had less to do about improving on Ares than it had to do with releasing Ares at all. Ares was originally released with no marketing 2-3 years ago -- shortly thereafter, the publisher fell off of the face of the earth, and the product languished.

Sure, people who bought Ares before may not have seen much of an update in the Ares we released (though again, some significant changes were made), however our intent was to get the game out there at all, rather than having it die a slow death from a non-existant publisher.

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Andrew Welch / el Presidente / Ambrosia Software, Inc.

Here's my responses:

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Originally posted by andrew:
do you feel that they owe you, the players of that game, updates to the game in perpeptuity?

Not in perpetuity, but to some degree.

Quote

Originally posted by andrew:
**
How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?**

Hard to say. At least a couple. Major problems that get discovered should be fixed for sure, and if there continues to be interest in the game, it's reasonable to see updates to it now and then.

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Originally posted by andrew:
**
Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?**

I think this is a common and fairly reasonable expectation on the part of gamers. If the game goes through more extensive development, and the bugs are virtually non-existent (which is of course highly unlikely to impossible), then no. However, as I said above, major problems should be fixed.

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Originally posted by andrew:
**
Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?**

I generally consider these to be services that either should basically be free and expected, or the reasonable cost of them is so small (say, $1-2 a person per upgrade), that it's almost not worth it to charge it. I think that from a business point-of-view, you'll lose more money from lost customers than you will make by charging money for these services.

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Originally posted by andrew:
**
Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?**

No.

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Originally posted by andrew:
**
Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?**

No. If someone else wants to do it, and the origional author gives concent, then of course, more power to him. But sequels are not an expectation for me at all.

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Originally posted by andrew:
**
Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?**

No. It's their property, their choice, their business.

Quote

Originally posted by andrew:
**
Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations (and thus possibly face bankruptcy or at least a weak business model resulting in less captial for the next project) in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?**

Well, no... As I mentioned above, certain services are indeed expected of game developers, and failure to meet them will most likely result in loss of client base.

As an example, say you bought a carton of milk. On the way home, the carton burst and spilled a half gallon of milk on your car. It is reasonable to expect that the milk company will pay for the cleaning bill. You probably cannot force them to, but if they do not, they will lose your business, and the business of everyone you talk to about the incident.

So, if a game is faulty and is constantly crashing, or has flaws which seriously detract from gameplay, and the developer refuses to do anything about them, then you will most likely no longer do business with that developer.

The question comes to you then. Are you worried more about your current financial motivations, or about your future financial motivations? Certainly if facing bankruptcy, then the answer is that now is more important. If facing a possible lesser product for the future, then maybe.

My expectation is for problems to be fixed, but only within reason.

(This message has been edited by MisterT (edited 06-20-2000).)

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Originally posted by MisterT:
**
The question comes to you then. Are you worried more about your current financial motivations, or about your future financial motivations? Certainly if facing bankruptcy, then the answer is that now is more important. If facing a possible lesser product for the future, then maybe.
**

No -- it has more to do with an opinion that many people seem to carry -- which is that we are somehow deficient if we don't come out with a sequel to a game, or if we don't continue development on a game (other than bug fixes).

I don't agree with that. I think we owe people a quality, bug-free product (within reason -- some of the things people consider to be "bugs" are judgement calls, or so minor that they are barely worth discussing), but anything else is not something they should demmand as their right.

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Andrew Welch / el Presidente / Ambrosia Software, Inc.

Shorter to answer you this way. I do agree with you, SeΕ„or El Presidente

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Parlas pas frances, parlas pas espanhóu, parlas pas ingles, parlas pas italian, parlas pas portugues, me sembla pas normau, parla patois, ňc parla patois.

When I buy a game from Blizzard, Nintendo, Playstation, or any other large name corporation, I expect to pay $50 every time I want a new game, or even an update/Expansion. Exa-Brood Wars for Star Craft. However, when I buy an Ambrosia game, I expect a whole other level of service. I do realize that with great service comes great price, and I am amazed that its only $25 for a game, and $15 to upgrade a game to a sequel. I do want to note, that service should not come with a sacrifice to quality, so I appreciate that you fix the bugs for no cost. If Ambrosia, and only Ambrosia, charged $50 for a shareware game, I would probably still buy it.

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"Not an Electric Sausage" Marvin

"Happiness is like a warm gun"-John Lennon

I am a proud member of Dogbert's New Ruling Class

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Originally posted by andrew:
**No -- it has more to do with an opinion that many people seem to carry -- which is that we are somehow deficient if we don't come out with a sequel to a game, or if we don't continue development on a game (other than bug fixes).

I don't agree with that. I think we owe people a quality, bug-free product (within reason -- some of the things people consider to be "bugs" are judgement calls, or so minor that they are barely worth discussing), but anything else is not something they should demmand as their right.

**

Well, let me start this off by saying that I think we agree more than you think we do. πŸ˜‰

I was approaching the question from a friendly-advice type angle, trying to tell you what I deem appropriate/sensible business practice. There are those of us who, as you say, wish to have constant updates. If you wish to continue to have their business, then it is prudent to make updates. At some point, of course, their business will no longer be worth as much to you as what you could get from working elsewhere. The question is where you draw that line.

Personally, I don't think you're obligated to us at all in any way, shape or form. That's what we call free-market capitalism. If you wish to remain in business, then of course you will provide some support (this board, for example), and updates to fix major bugs. And to do more than remain in business, then it is a good idea to figure out at which point it is that the non-essential updating is no longer profitable. I hope that clears up my position on all this. πŸ™‚

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Everything is catching, yes, everything is catching on fire.

Hi Andrew,
At first I thought your email was more of a rhetorical remark, but having read subsequent messages I thought Id add my few pennies worth.
Are you basing your questions upon the feedabck you receive from this webboard, or do you get similar responses through other avenues? Is this webboard reflective of the wider community of players or does it have its own dymaics?
The reason Im asking these questions is that, in my experience at least, the EVO webboard seems to be an interesting exchange between producer and consumer, with a pretty healthy communication going on. It is perhaps easy though, to fall into the trap of thinking that the webboard represents the feelings of a majority of players.
Your first three questions could be answered by adopting a model from other products.
If you look at the game as a product like say, a washing machine, then there is a reasonable case for assuming that the thing is guaranteed to work perfectly (well, you know what I mean) for the first year. After that, perhaps a small fee could be charged (a few $ or Ł) in return from a commitment from yourselves to ensure that the game stays compatible with OS updates and is bug free et.c, for a fixed period. Updates to the initial product (for whatever reason) are in your gift in this period (and it is for you to decide if this is good PR or not), but not a requirement of the guarantee.
Sequels are only a good idea if they are a good idea. They are not owed to anyone.
You own the source code, you do not owe it. Its up to you what you do with it and why.
Do I detect a faint whiff of sarcasm in your next question?
When I purchased my license from you I assumed only those things I mentioned in response to your first three questions.
Im certainly impressed by your commitment to this webboard and the community of players and developers. I dont feel that you owe me a sequel, but your encouragement of the continued development of plug ins keeps me interested in the game and the possibility of future sequels.
After all, each plug in can be seen as a kind of sequel, or a new chapter. There is nothing else like EVO for the macintosh and Im not a big gamer. However, once I had played through EVO a couple of times, I would have forgotten about it, had it not been for the possibility of continued play with the plug ins. So, I keep coming back to your website, looking for games you produce and hoping that you will continue to work with the ideas behind the game.
Read into that what you will.
BTW, not everyone wants Multiplayer, you know! I imagine there are even one or two of us also who are prepared to wait patiently for EVO3 and dont give a flying **** whether its EVNOVA EVBOSSANOVA or EV bloody WONDER. Just keep on being a cool company mate. Dont let em get you down!!
Happiness

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rΕ™ΓŸ

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Originally posted by andrew:
How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?

As many as it takes to get the game "virturally" bug free

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Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?

No, just about everything that poeple need can be given by a thirdparty, but if you wan't loyal customers and a good reputation, you'll give poeple more.

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Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?

If I've payed, then yes.

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Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?

No, but if the game made you alot of money, why not? πŸ˜„

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Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?

No, no, and no, but, again, if the orignal made alot of money, and someone else wants to do it, what's the harm?

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Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?

No, but it might boost your image a bit.

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Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations (and thus possibly face bankruptcy or at least a weak business model resulting in less captial for the next project) in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?

It depends, if you can afford to ignore your financial situation/motivations than yes, but if you can't than no (personally, i'd rather have a hope of future software and future updates to existing software than a dead company)

Besides, most of these have relatively cheap solutions, for example:

Tech Support: hiring some one to work at a desk and awnser tech support questions all day well cost alot. sulotion: put a web board on you site, this well not only be cheap (maybe even free) but BETTER than a single person; the collective knowledge of everyone on this web board has pretty much every awnser to every question about EVO, getting second opionions is also a good idea, not to menchen that poeple who don't even ask the question can benifit from it... there's a catch though - for the first few months, few poeple well have awnsers.

P.S. Please excuse any typos, or misspellings

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I agree with SkyHawk completely except about whether EVO was more than just an update. Most games do not offer the chance to make your own plug-ins with new maps, pieces and especially story lines. I think we are a bit spoiled here (as we were at Bungie) by having the chance to easily make and find plug-ins that essentially rewrite the game.
Otherwise I agree totally with Skyhawks answers, especially stressing free updates until bug-free and free tech support always for registered users.
Jude

Quote

Originally posted by Skyhawk:
**I have a question (several, actually) -- when a publisher releases a game, do you feel that they owe you, the players of that game, updates to the game in perpeptuity?

No, but they do owe the players of the game updates until the game is bug-free.

How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?

Enough to make the game bug-free.

Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?

No, but if they do continue to enhance the game, it would encourage me to continue to purchase games from them.

Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?

Support (the technical kind) should always be available, and for free. Updates that are released should also be available for free, unless a substantial portion of the game is rewritten. EVO -> EVN appears to satisfy this. I did not feel that EV->EVO did.

Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?

No. Not at all. Never.

Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?

Especialy not.

Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?

After the game stops producing significant profits, but (hopefuly) before the source is obsolete, I think that publicaly releasing the source is a good thing. It is not owed to us, in any way, shape, or form, however, and the source should not be released if it is obsolete.

Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?

No, but they should be willing to have some leniancy.
**

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What are your opinions, andrew?

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-Shade

<---- The information went data way ---->

"It's your asphalt."

(url="http://"http://www.theonion.com")The Onion, America's finest news source(/url)

Quote

Originally posted by andrew:
**No -- it has more to do with an opinion that many people seem to carry -- which is that we are somehow deficient if we don't come out with a sequel to a game, or if we don't continue development on a game (other than bug fixes).

I don't agree with that. I think we owe people a quality, bug-free product (within reason -- some of the things people consider to be "bugs" are judgement calls, or so minor that they are barely worth discussing), but anything else is not something they should demmand as their right.

**

When people insist that Ambrosia should come out with sequels to certain products, they are offering themselves as potential customers of that future product. In addition, I believe that sequel requests are a compliment rather than pressure. Your customers like your highly addictive and anti-productivity suite of entertainment titles and believe that only you can come up with a worthy sequel. As you can read from the replies, we expect just as much from Ambrosia as from other companies, which isn't too much. Personally, I am satisfied if you can come up with good products constantly. Everything else is a bonus.

I remember an introduction of shareware companies that was once published in Macworld in which the writer, when mentioning Ambrosia, said that your company "seems incapable of turning out schlock." As long as you can keep churning out great products, your customers will be grateful. Anything beyond will cultivate a loyal customer base which can help generate free advertising. Word of mouth is usually more effective than blinking ads.

Instead of going straight through the questions, I'll just say what I generally think.

I think the only thing the company actually owes the buyer is a playable, as-bug-free-as-possible version, including any updates it takes to get there. For anything beyond that, I think it is up to the company how they want to set their profits-to-customer-loyalty ratio.

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-Shade

<---- The information went data way ---->

"It's your asphalt."

(url="http://"http://www.theonion.com")The Onion, America's finest news source(/url)

I'll try to make this as unbiased as possible.
There are several things that make Ambrosia unique, and unique to my liking. They make shareware games exclusively, allowing for a trial period before you buy. They make games for the Macintosh exclusively, which limits their target buyers, but I think makes those buyers all the more loyal. Third, at least for the EV series, they have invaluable resources for customers, in the form of this site. No where else have I seen such dedication and listening to the consumer. I commend Ambrosia for how much it gives to the buyer, which I think some people take that for granted from this company.
But with this strong producer-consumer bond, one must expect requests from the consumers. And if the company has decided to work further on a product, they have a better chance at pleasing the public (and therefore increasing profits) if they make what the public is asking for, rather than improving things the way they hope/think the public will like.
In short, since Ambrosia is apparently making EV3 (or EVN or whatever), they should tailor the sequel to what people in general (on this webboard and/or elsewhere) would like.
It's up to you, of course. I hope I don't come off as a lecturing know-it-all, because I'm certainly not.

Captain Bob

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Q: When a publisher releases a game, do you feel that they owe you, the players of that game, updates to the game in perpeptuity?
A: Yes. And he should pay us $5 for each bug in the game. Even in the Beta version.

Q: How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?
A: As many as I want

Q: Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?
A: Yes. They should do whatever I want them to do.

Q: Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?
A: Yes. In fact I should tell them what to do in the plugs.

Q: Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?
A: Yes. I must have what I want because I am a pathetic lowlife with a boring job.

Q: Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?
A: Yes. I should tell them what to do.

Q: Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?
A: Yes, so I can make a cheap ripoff of the game and sell it for more.

Q: Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations (and thus possibly face bankruptcy or at least a weak business model resulting in less captial for the next project) in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?
A: Yes. I may not know jack, but I want want want!

Q: I'm curious where people think the line is drawn... what you expect to get for your money.
A: Wherever my stupidity and selfish, unrealistic wants end.

Yours Truely,
-The EV Community

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Originally posted by andrew:
I have a question (several, actually)

Okay. Go ahead.

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-- when a publisher releases a game, do you feel that they owe you, the players of that game, updates to the game in perpeptuity?

Sure.

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**
How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?
**

As many as they want (I think πŸ˜• )

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**
Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?
**

If you mean more than a bug-free version of the game then yeah. I would like sometihg that has a little jump in it's step.

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**
Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?
**

Yes.

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**
Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?
**

Actually, I would rather have a sequel to a good game rather than a bad one. However, the sequel should be better at least if you do make a sequel to a bad game.

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**
Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?
**

As long as a just as qualified person is doing it, fine. Also the storyline should be kept within the one of origianal. It shouldn't change to drasticly.

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**
Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?
**

Uh... sure.

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**
Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations (and thus possibly face bankruptcy or at least a weak business model resulting in less captial for the next project) in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?
**

No. I want that company to make just as good games in the future rather than making a sweet game now. It doesn't matter if it is delayed due to lack of funding. I really don't care about delays. Just as long as it isn't delayed for like 2 years.

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**
I'm curious where people think the line is drawn... what you expect to get for your money.
**

JUST MAKE A GOOD GAME DAMMIT!!

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Feel the Jive
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"My son is not a Communist! He may be a liar, a bum, a Communist, but he is not a porn-star!"
-Abraham Simpson
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How many updates do they owe you for the money you paid for the original game?

--Just enough to make it bug-free.

Do they owe you more than a bug-free version of the game as it was originally presented?

--Yes.

Do they owe you continual support/updates without you paying any more for this?

--No, but it's nice to have.

Do they owe you a sequel to the game, no matter how well the original did?

--No. But die-hard fans would enjoy one.

Do they owe you a sequel even if the original author of the game is not interested in doing that himself?

--If the first game did well, it is likely that the sequel will do well. They are not obligated to do a sequel, and should not do one if they do not feel that it is good enough for sale. Sequels can be made (and do well) if the original author is not interested, as long as a good job is done.

Do they owe it to you to release the source code to the game as open source?

--No.

Should a game developer/publisher ignore financial motivations (and thus possibly face bankruptcy or at least a weak business model resulting in less captial for the next project) in order to appease their customers in the above scenarios?

--That's good for the fans, but not for the business. I would not reccomend it, but you're probably a better businessman than I am πŸ˜‰ .

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"All will bow before the Icelandic Emperor."

"Join the Icelandic Coalition -- or be killed!" Someone should understand that.