During the Browser vs. Client-based Freetoplay MMOs panel at GDC Europe, one major problem with client-based games was also brought to attention that normally never receives that much attention at game conferences. The game-client’s size.
“Size does matter,” IGG’s chief operating officer Kevin Xu told a slightly giggling audience. “The smaller the better.” IGG’s mixed strategy has them currently publishing both browser and client-based games and according to Xu, the latter’s success has been influenced by their download size. IGG’s most successful client-based game is Godswar Online, which cost 800.000 to developer and has a download size of around 150 megabytes. According to Xu, the game had a 60% download completion rate, generating an average of $ 1.2-1.3 million US dollars a month. “With 1.5 Gig games, we had so much trouble converting with only a 15-20% download rate.”
“We are a publisher ourselves, so when we develop the game, we know it has to be small. There’s a lot of developers trying to go into the f2p space. They come out with games that are gigantic of 2 3 gigs. It doesn’t help us with publishing.”
“For core gamers, less than 2 gigs is fine,” Gamigo’s Patrick Streppel added. According to gamigo’s research, the preferred download size varies per demographic, with racing gamers being the worse. A150 megabyte tennis game in Germany apparently wasn’t an advantage for his company at all, but “for a core game everything under 2 gig is fine.”