All interesting and valid factors raised in your assessment. Also a very interesting video (is that a Spoils action figure in the video?) that you linked and for me one of the points it brought up: The theme of The Spoils. I was one of the early artists who worked on the Spoils, and I too found the theme to be quite “out there” for sure. But they definitely did a proper job of standing out from other IPs, whether in a good or bad way, it was I think, necessarily important for a small start-up IP to differentiate itself and create its own niche, if not spawn a whole different and original genre! It was risky, but also a valid one to take. Whether or not it has appeal, or if people even care about anything other than gameplay mechanics, is a different discussion altogether I guess. Of course, it’s impossible to please everyone, but endeavouring to find that sweet spot to appeal to a wide audience is very exciting and challenging indeed.
Generating Interest / getting new players on board:
I think it would be on uneven grounds for a start-up game company to draw comparisons from games like Blizzard’s Hearthstone, Yugi-oh or Pokemon where they have a very strong lore and the mega budgets to build lore with anime, games, cinematic shorts, comics, etc. In an ideal world, I suppose we would like to see all of those things to fuel and build interest. But, reality.
However, I think Volition is a different thing altogether, as it’s Crypto. Now that’s a different kind of draw it will inevitably tap on.
Before, I didn’t know why people mined Cryptokitties. Maybe there is little else to do in terms of variety, and mining cartoon cats is more entertaining than seeing your currency just idling there. But it also became that you could earn quite a lot of money by selling/trading them off. Thousands of dollars for a digital cartoon cat drawing anyone? Well, some people are up for it.
Anyway, I have little doubt that Volition has the potential to create enough of a draw to steal a big chunk of that Cryptokitty pie. But perhaps a question is: How many of those miners coming on board will be actual card game players? Bigger question is, would it matter if it got big enough? Though I’m sure some casual miners would develop interest in the actual game itself along their mining way. Win some here, I guess.
But, say if a high volume of people from Cryptokitties and similar copycats (<- see what I did there?) came over and started mining away the finite pool of cards from the actual potential CCG players, would that turn the community off? It’s like art collectors buying and selling for profit instead of really appreciating the craft. Worse, and depriving others of it or jacking up prices here. I read that a very high volume of people coming on board to suddenly buy Cryptokitties caused Ethereum to clog up their transactions/processes? Would all of these factors deter potential CCG players? But still, it’s not stopping Cryptokitties, so…
Personally for me:
I’m not a table top card game person. This is probably irrelevant, but just to give some perspective from a non-card game person. Growing up, I never played because I didn’t have any friends who was into it to influence me, and they were very expensive back in the day for a teenager to afford. I also live in a very tiny country where card games are quite the niche. So I only bought collectible cards like the Dragonball ones in the 90s that were just collectible for fun. And then I’ve only ever played Hearthstone, which I enjoyed, but the daily brawls quickly became quite a chore for me because I didn’t have that much time on most days. I didn’t mind buying packs, but not doing the dailies made it feel like I was missing out on free packs, and gave me the illusion that I was always lagging behind if I didn’t keep up with opening free packs. It was pressuring in a casual sense, if that makes sense.
But even though I don’t play CCGs, I would on a whimsy sometimes buy random physical packs of various card games because I liked the theme/artwork.
Sorry if I’m digressing from the original question at large:
How to get new players on board?
This got me thinking: How about doing something else for the casual miners? A side mining quest option which is not part of the main card game. It could be cards or stamps that are just collectible for fun, but related to the game of course. Like Panini stickers or something. And on these, there could be bite-sized information (or secrets, easter eggs, treasure hunts) to hint at the lore, etc. You can go wild with this.
Secret Crypto Path / Treasure Hunt: Like in Ready Player One? Some items will leave you clues that can open a path towards the treasure. Once you solve the answer to the first clue, maybe you can enter a room with like say, 99 crypto doors to choose and mine open, and only one of those doors is the right one and will take you forward to the next clue, going down like a multi-layered puzzle / treasure hunt, it will give you some prizes along the way but ultimately lead you to the big prize: $100,000 + A super rare legendary over-powered card! Make the hunt deep enough to last like a year for anyone to plausibly solve all and win. Show a leader board so everyone knows who’s ahead! HAHA! Exciting and rewarding, yes? People will come and mine just for the hunt itself! You’ll probably have to hire someone with a degree in Treasure Hunt Building.