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Nopp

How popular are "economic simulations" in other countries besides DE?

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Howdy strangers,

 

i have a few ideas for simulation games, like "Industriegigant" (engl. Industry Giant) or railroad tycoon, where you have to setup contracts, manage your staff, routes, salaries etc.. 

But i often read that those kinda games are not very popular outside of germany.

I am not sure why this "would" be true.

Could you tell me if those games are popular in your country, or if you have interest in those kinda games?

 

Btw: Zoo Tycoon or Roaler Coaster Tycoon are a bit different i think...

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I'm from Sweden. I don't have any stats or sources, this is just my impression.. I have never heard of Industry Giant, so I'm guessing it was marketed poorly in Sweden, perhaps outside of Germany in general. Several of my geekier friends have played a fair bit of railroad tycoon and OpenTTD. I wouldn't exactly call either of them mainstream popular though. I've seen a fairly large interest in SimCity and similar (in particular Cities:Skylines) semi-recently. I've seen some small amount of interest in Settlers and Anno games. Banished seemed popular for a while.

 

Among my friends, games like Europa Universalis, Victoria, Crusader Kings and Hearts of Iron have been popular, but I don't really think either of them are considered popular in general. Also, only Victoria is really focused on economy out of that bunch, but I bring them up since they all have complex simulations and might therefore appeal to the same crowd to some extent.

 

PC games that are really big over here are typically FPS and MOBA, with the occasional MMORPG or RTS. Every now and then some major RPG comes out and steals some players (Skyrim and Fallout in particular). The Sims was popular for a while, but I think it pretty much died out. I'd estimate that these games and categories eat up something like 90-95% of all pc gaming man hours over here. Racing, sports, puzzles, economy sims etc share the rest.

 

For consoles, I think simulation type games are barely existing over here.

 

For phones and tablets however, simulation type games are somewhat popular, especially casual ones where you have persistent state but only interact with it a few minutes at a time, once or a few times per day.

Edited by DvDmanDT

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PC games that are really big over here are typically FPS and MOBA, with the occasional MMORPG or RTS. Every now and then some major RPG comes out and steals some players (Skyrim and Fallout in particular). The Sims was popular for a while, but I think it pretty much died out. I'd estimate that these games and categories eat up something like 90-95% of all pc gaming man hours over here. Racing, sports, puzzles, economy sims etc share the rest.

 

That is sad in my opinion. I really like simulation games. The gameplay is refreshing in comparison to the "standard" FPS or Moba ones...

It feels like every year in germany there are a lot new games developed, like simulations of agriculture, fire stations or even bus driving.

Some are really impressive, fun to play and even a lot popular, like "Agriculture Simulator (Landwirtschafts Simulator).

I think the most fun simulation i ever played was Theme Hospital on the PS1. Never played somethin like it after that.

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It's a niche market in the U.S. as well.  Stuff Like Farm Simulator, etc.  Just search Steam for the tag "simulation" and you'll see what's out there.

 

I suspect you'll find it to be a niche market everywhere.   Folks' tastes in games tend to be similar, regardless of where they live or what language they speak.

 

But Germany is also historically known to be a better than average market for simulations.  IE a larger percentage of German gamers tend to be sim fans than say in America, France, or the U.K. for example.  Back in the day, Rockland's sales to Germany were only exceeded by sales to Canada. 

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Perhaps it is a similar phenomenon to how the German market likes complex and intricate board games when the rest of the world seems to like simpler ones, often with more luck involved.

 

 

Wow, never heard of that before. Is there any evidence for that? Would like to read it through.

But as far as a go to know my colleagues and friends here in germany, it often comes to one or two points: To outsmart someone or to have more money than someone.

As someone who created a few niche sites on the internet and who did some research on popular keywords... i have to say i was nearly overhelmed how often "earn more (passive) money" or "become self-employed" is googled here. Germans are kinda focusses on this stuff.

See games like monopoly. It's so popular here.

Edited by Nopp

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I provided a Wikipedia link in my post - follow that and read up on it. There is definitely a different board game market in Germany and German-speaking countries to the typical market in English-speaking countries.

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Coming from my experience with the consumer side of boardgames, the "German Boardgames" thing is kind of weird, and it appears that there is a strong argument that the issue is less that Germans prefer more complex games, but rather there is a stronger boardgame culture in Germany that supports a wider range of more complex games, and thus market production allows these better games to be reliably produced by creators. 

 

 

Most of the adult Germans I know enjoy boardgames and will buy and play them. (This is also a biased view, as many of the Germans I know are ones I've met in some relation to boardgames...) where as most Canadians I know will look at boardgames as something they buy and play with their kids, and then prefer simple rules, bright colours, and stuff they're already familiar with. This in turn seems to artificially raise the sales of the 'same old things' that were popular back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. "Why buy something new that I know nothing about, when I can just buy my kid a reprint of the same game I played when I was their age?"

 

 

Of the adults here in Canada that I know who enjoy boardgames, there is a strong tendency among them to be pulled into one of two groups: Those who have a tendency to favour German Style games, or at least games of similar complexity and depth, and those who think "boardgame night" means "Cards against humanity FOREVER!!!!". 

 

 

 

 

With regards to games: Simulators like Transport Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon, and similar games had decent popularity among people I know, but their sales were not nearly as strong as RTS or FPS games. The market is there, but going after it will be taking a slice out of a probably smaller pie than other markets. However, you'll also have less competition over the size of the pie, which can translate to being far easier to stand out from the crowd in with a really solid, well thought out, and highly polished title. 

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Germany and China in my experience.  I would bet Russia too.  Here in North America there is a following but like mentioned above it is more niche.  Problem with simulation games is they are usually 'culture-centric', largest example of that is being developers rarely port over popular titles into different languages.  Simulation games in China tend to be more 'Chinese' history based losing appeal for some westerners and the Chinese enjoy Chinese variations more so than Western ones.

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With regards to games: Simulators like Transport Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon, and similar games had decent popularity among people I know, but their sales were not nearly as strong as RTS or FPS games. The market is there, but going after it will be taking a slice out of a probably smaller pie than other markets. However, you'll also have less competition over the size of the pie, which can translate to being far easier to stand out from the crowd in with a really solid, well thought out, and highly polished title.


My take as well.

The games exist and there is a market for them. People play them. There are potential customers.

The number of potential players is still huge -- millions -- but not as huge as the markets with tens of millions.

 

I enjoy economy-based games. It ranges from games like Railroad Tycoon and other build-and-expand games, and I've enjoyed quite a few settlement-style games where you start by building a woodcutter, lumbermill, then a smelter, toolmaker, and mine, working your way up to full expansive economies.

 

 

Unfortunately the biggest vocal people in the video game industry tend to dislike economic games, it is common to hear them misinterpreted as RTS games.  Economics is about gradual building, about exploring the interplay between social forces, where many people seem to prefer jumping straight to the army and the epic battles, forgetting about all the critical steps building up to the battles, the economic paths of building the weapons and armor, recruiting the soldiers, keeping the army fed, building and managing supply lines. 
 

I enjoyed BlueByte's series The Settlers, with #4 have a fun oddity where the game is best won by manufacturing the most shovels as rapidly as you can, along with just enough military to defend the shovel-bearers, rather than more typical military-style combat. I remember at the time reviewers talking about how they just abandoned the economic approach of building gardners to take over, instead sending hoards through the swamps and hoping enough military survived to win rather than gardening their way through the swamps as it was clearly designed.  Reviewers consistently pan the series for a slow pace and not enough combat, reviewing them in terms of RTS and not in terms of economics, so it is clear that mainstream perception in the US among reviewers is fairly poor.

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