Larian's Swen Vincke on Divinity Anthology Launch

14 Oct 2012

Larian Studios' Swen Vincke has penned yet another of his frank blog posts, this time focusing on the launch of Divinity Anthology. In an interesting twist, a bad thing turned into a good thing, and a good thing.. into kind of a bad thing.

Here's a snip:
The Developer’s Cut (and Beyond Divinity) were made part of the campaign as a kind of bonus and to not completely ruin ourselves, we introduced the rule that to access the Developer’s Cut, you needed to be in the top 10% of customers. Whether or not that was a sound strategy is a different matter and open for debate, but that was the idea.

What happened however is that for some reason, people started looking at this like some sort of Kickstarter (this was the very first time something like this was done on GOG), and in the very first hours of the campaign, we saw the average pricing go to heights we never expected. Somebody even paid a 1000US$ for one of the games!!! (Thanks again Alquist for ruining our plans btw )

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Hurah from a financial point, you’d think, but no – because that didn’t fit the model we’d been working with, it caused quite a few tricky issues, and tbh, we’ve really been struggling with finding ways to solve it.

Because the price increased so much, we didn’t attract the crowd looking for a bargain. That in itself wouldn’t have been so much of an issue except that we ‘d announced more or less what our expectations were by proposing a number of goodies that would unlock whenever certain targets were met, e.g. at 15K of supporters, a video of a dragon going to work would unlock, at 30K we’d unlock a tech demo of LMK, my very first (well actually second) RPG etc… And at a very high number (150K) of supporters we’d unlock the announcement of a game we’d only recently decided on. (So fresh is that decision that we don’t even have a name for it yet )

But, because the pricing was higher than expected, the number of players actually buying the games also decreased (these things are quite price sensitive), and as result all the models went to hell, resulting in the expected amount of videos unlocking being much lower than we thought. And believe me – we didn’t make those videos so they wouldn’t be seen They were meant as a reward for buying our stuff, as a big thank you to our players and also a bit as promotion for our new stuff.

So what to do?

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So in the end we realized that there wasn’t a way of fixing this without admitting that we just predicted everything wrongly. And if we’d want to still offer those videos (and tech demo of LMK) as a reward for people keeping on participating in the PWYW campaign, then we’d have to lower the different tiers.

Which more or less is what we’re doing this evening. We’re going to lower the tiers to numbers that we think fit the current trend more or less, except for the last one, which we’re putting high on purpose. Well actually, I’m putting it high, because all the others in the team wanted to put it lower. But I decided to be stubborn