Would there be a geographical element to the game? (travelling, etc.)
In this vein, I would imagine that two competing similar businesses could exist if only because a portion of the users wouldn't bother going the distance to the "best" of these places and settle for the closest one... this is a decision a lot of us do on a daily basis
I had the original idea that a player's physical location would determine their 'in world' location, but the more I think about this idea the more limiting and less fun it sounds. Forcing the player to physically move to a new location to progress in a meaningful way is not only irritating, but seems more targeted for a mobile game...
That was something I forgot to mention ( I know, scope, I know. ) in my previous post about tie ins with mobile devices, but I think I'll leave that for another day and another post.
Back to the topic though. I was more focused on the aspect of having multiple locations of business. Since this is a fantasy world, new locations for players to 'settle' can be spawned at will so that players generally have the option to settle in a similar, but unpopulated location. To avoid frustrations, I think modifying the core of those locations would be a bad idea though. (You move in to a little village. It grows in to a gigantic city and your business flops for whatever reason. Don't want that.) I think dynamically allocating space for players is another problem in and of itself again though, but in my head, I like the sound of it personally.
We still watch football don't we? Besides, I've seen fully asynchronous games where you get to play "a turn" once per week, and they still do good.
If your concept is sound, and if you have a subset of users in mind, some will survive these limitations for sure...
If you can make the outcome of matches played uncertain, keep a level of competition, and make it very hard to break ahead, games will remain fun to watch, and will provide entertainment while money comes in.
I know I haven't said it, but the random nature is almost a function of the sport I plan to model, so as long as my AI and handling of the simulation is at all accurate in any way, the results should not be predetermined. I think I am worrying about nothing in this regard, and you bring up good points with just 'watching' a game. Granted, how many people sit down and let the CPU play out a game of Madden and watch? I think I've heard of some very specialized leagues that do just that, but that's certainly not the norm. Regardless, hopefully it would be entertaining to watch.
Over the last couple of years, we've focused so much on Soccer-mums, that I don't think soccer-mums have anymore time left to play games. They're so busy on Farmville they can't even raise their kids. Might as well focus on somewhat busy adults with limited gaming time and build an experience suited for them.
This is a terribly amusing point. I certainly wasn't targeting my game at that level of casual, but simply more of people who tolerate social-multiplayer aspects in their game. I wasn't imagining forcing you to advertise your business to your friends to progress, but doing so enhances the experience for both you in a tangible way. More so how games with co-op are generally more enjoyable when played with others.
For the rest of the post, I'm affraid that you've been very unclear about the exact nature of your concept, perhaps because even some of it remains unclear to you. I don't come out of this lenghty reading with a precise understanding of what you're trying to achieve, which makes it hard for me to comment efficiently on your questions...
This unfortunately does not surprise me. The entire time writing my post I could only think about how muddled I was making it out to be. I have a clear picture of what I want in my mind, and I'm still working on making it sane (In scope). I think if I were to sum it up in a single phrase, it would be something akin to Football Tycoon Manager? Football Manager Tycoon? But, just replace Football with another sport. You run the business, you appease the customers, you give them a place to grow and develop their talents. That is effectively phase one. You then grow as well, making deals with good players to promote your business, acting as a host for events, developing leagues, and expand, each location unique (or the same I suppose) to increase your influence and popularity. It's key though that for a 'connected' user, their accomplishments are known, or felt, even if they are in minor and non-detrimental ways.
For example, say you have a group of customers who you've officially sponsored and have a manager to help them acquire games. They find a game, and you're the home team! Hurrah! On the bus that shows up days later could be someone else's (Another human player) team, that they have built up and developed over time. That other player will experience the exact opposite situation. If there aren't suitable human teams for yours to be playing against, it's a simulation! Generate more players, a team name, and a silly logo or something and ship them to the player. No big deal. The game would have to be intelligent enough to not pitch max-ish stat players up against rookies, but that's a technical problem, not a design one.
Also, simply typing it all out and re-reading it is a very helpful exercise sometimes.