Executive Producer David Webber talks AdverQuests: Are MMOs Coming Soon to a Banner Ad Near You? — The MMO Gamer

Executive Producer David Webber talks AdverQuests: Are MMOs Coming Soon to a Banner Ad Near You?


In Communist China, sword destinies YOU!

Steve sits down again with David Webber, Executive Producer at SpriteBox Studios.

David is all too eager to give us a status update on company’s debut title, Sword of the Ultimate Destiny: Battle of the Three Kingdoms 9, and discuss what new projects they have in the pipeline.


Read on for the transcript.

The MMO Gamer: First of all, for those among our readers who may be unfamiliar, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what it is you do at SpriteBox Studios.

David Webber: Sure. I’m David Webber, the Executive Producer here at SpriteBox. I’m basically in charge of overseeing the day-to-day development operations of the studio.

The MMO Gamer: Last year we talked about your studio’s debut title, Sword of the Ultimate Destiny: Battle of the Three Kingdoms 9. Could you bring us up to speed on how the game’s been doing?

David Webber: Well, unfortunately we had to shut down the North American servers shortly after launch due to a lack of player response.

The MMO Gamer: I’m sorry to hear that. Was your new “macrotransaction” model to blame?

David Webber: No, I don’t think that was it at all… hell, the Sword of the Ultimate Destiny sold out on all 50 servers the very first day.

The MMO Gamer: What was it, then?

David Webber: It was a combination of things, to be honest with you. I’d blame our marketing department first and foremost. I mean, you were the only interview I ever got booked for to promote the game, and no offense intended Steve, but you didn’t exactly bring in the Benjamins.

The MMO Gamer: None taken.

David Webber: The other big thing was our follow-through just wasn’t there. I looked at our analytics, and 80% of the people who downloaded the game either never even installed it, or if they did, never ended up actually making an account.

The MMO Gamer: Maybe they read our interview first.

David Webber: Very funny.

It was a learning experience, to be sure. We figured that if we built it, they would come. But it turned out that players are even more fickle than we originally thought.

So we rounded up some smartest guys in the room types. I mean these people were good. We’re talking about fifty dollar an hour consultants, here.

And we had a little bull session, and bounced around ideas for how we could reinvent the entire paradigm of MMO game delivery.

The MMO Gamer: What’s wrong with the current system? The traditional box on the shelf model hasn’t been doing too badly now for over a decade.

David Webber: The question I’m asking is, what’s right about the current system?

With a traditional MMO you have to drive to the store, stand in line for ten minutes to buy some kind of box, if you can even find the right one. Then you take it home, open it up, and you’re dealing with discs, pieces of paper are flying everywhere, you’re typing in cryptic number sequences… it’s just a mess, a total mess. We knew there had to be a better way.

We thought digital delivery was the way to go at first, and in hindsight we were half right. But do you know what the biggest problem with digital delivery is?

The MMO Gamer: I give up.

David Webber: There’s just too much effort involved, too much responsibility. We found that, literally, for some people clicking a shortcut on their desktop is a Rubicon which will never be crossed.

The key to reaching that audience is tearing down all the barriers to entry, getting them into the experience as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

In short, we wanted people to be playing a game, before they even realized they were playing a game.

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  1. MechanicalCannibal says:

    You know, Steve's last article with David Webber was oddly prescient. I wonder if this is too. Three years ago I would have kind of threw a half hearted lol out there, but this is the year of Facebook Games and Smurfberries.

    Many flash ads are already little minigame sorts. Making them persistent seems inevitable.

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