Concord is Tone-Deaf in this Market Featured Image

Concord is Tone-Deaf in This Market

When I first saw the showcase trailer for Concord during Sony’s State of Play, I was instantly intrigued. It showed off a ragtag team of colorful misfits getting themselves into hijinks that wouldn’t be out of place in Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve personally never seen the movies, but I’ve seen and absorbed enough supplementary media secondhand to see the parallels. Seeing the space gang fight their way out of an unwinnable scenario with goofiness and cunning hooked me in, making me want to see more.And seeing that this game was going to be a 5v5 hero shooter instantly killed any interest I had.

Really Concord? Another Multiplayer Live-Service?

Concord is marketing itself as a 5v5 hero shooter where players fight against the opposing team to contest specific objectives and tasks in a fast-paced, hectic environment that doesn’t feel out of place in a game like Destiny. It makes sense because several ex-Destiny devs are actually working on this project.The model that Concord is going for mirrors that of Overwatch and other premium hero-based team shooters that were released back in the day, with the developers promising consistent and frequent updates in the forms of changes, lore, and characters to provide Concord with a healthy supplement of post-launch support. In short, it’s following the formula of the profitable live-service video game.While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the live-service model when done right like Helldivers 2, its presence is souring for a lot of gamers. Live-service usually means FOMOs, battle passes, and constant presence of microtransactions to facilitate engagement and player retention. It’s a recipe that works, but it’s a product that is redundant in this oversaturated live-service market.

It also doesn’t help that the internet hasn’t taken too kindly the design choices and art direction Concord has taken with its game and characters. However, taste in aesthetics and design is completely subjective, so it all depends on the player. In my opinion, some characters look alright while others are an affront to the eyes. (Also, the lead designer for Concord has said some questionable things in the past…)

Concord poses as another game for players to try to devote their time into, competing with other live-service games for that time space. Singleplayer-focused gamers probably won’t care or spare a second glance at a game like at Concord, but it’s definitely marketing itself to appeal to gamers who prefer the online multiplayer space—and that space is already filled to the brim with so many games that are in a constant tug of war for a gamer’s attention.

Think about all the other, more popular live service games right now, like Valorant, Overwatch 2, Rainbow 6 Siege, Apex Legends, etc. The list goes on. Concord is entering into a minefield of a market that is dominated by titans in all directions, attempting to take a piece of that proverbial pie for itself.

If Concord’s barrier of entry was like its competitors, it might fare much better, but that isn’t the case. As a matter of fact, that’s our next focal point.

Concord Pricing and Platforming

Sony made the wise decision of porting Concord to multiple platforms from the get go because it was clear the game was not going to break even if it remained a sole PlayStation 5 exclusive. It at least broadens the playerbase, giving more players the chance to try the game out.However, the game’s barrier of entry, being a premium and not free-to-play, might be a hard pill to swallow for people who are on the fence (if there are any at all). In a market saturated by Hero-type shooters and a genre dominated by Overwatch, Concord is fighting an uphill battle with so much working against it.And this comes after Sony’s Helldivers 2 PSN account fiasco that nearly killed the momentum and goodwill Arrowhead Studios’ game had built up since its release. As a strict multiplayer-only game, Concord is going to require all players on non-PS5 platforms to sign up with a PSN account, as is the case with the recently ported Ghost of Tsushima, which requires a PSN account if a player wants to try out the multiplayer Legends mode. If you live in a country that doesn’t have PSN service, sorry! You’re out of luck! Goodbye potential 177 customer countries!

Concord had the wonderful timing of being announced during a time where faith in the PlayStation brand is at an all time low.

What could help assuage gamers’ doubts about the game would be a more widely available beta test or demo environment to give players on the fence a chance to try out the game before casting judgment. These betas are a great way to gauge a game’s state and health prior to launch and a great convincing tool for the more hesitant players. Free publicity and PR are great tools to boost the outreach of a game.

Such is not the case for Concord, with the beta being locked behind preordering the game. Players are going to have to bite the monetary bullet if they even want the chance to try out the untested game. Though preorderers do get extra beta keys they can share with friends, that doesn’t change the fact that so many aspects of this game are locked behind a paywall. Even a money grubbing, greedy company like Activision-Blizzard lets players try out the newest Call of Duty briefly with betas before the game launches (at least that was the case with Vanguard, which was a complete dumpster fire of a game).

To further compound this, if players splurge even further and buy the DELUXE version of Concord, they will get three days early access to the game—a multiplayer game. There is no singleplayer content for the player to explore in those early three days. Concord is exclusively built for the multiplayer suite.

That’s bound to be healthy for a game designed around being competitive and sends a wonderful message to potential players. 

“Hey, pay extra money and you will get a chance to play the game earlier than others. What? You can’t afford it? Guess you’re going to be behind the learning curve PEASANT.”

Concord is one of the few MULTIPLAYER-focused games to this earlier access nonsense, which was previously dominated by singleplayer or PvE experiences. Some may argue that it is only a three day difference and, in the grand scheme of things, this level of early access is not that big of a deal, but I vehemently disagree.

It is a practice that I personally detest, a tactic that publishers are utilizing to nickel and dime gamers at every chance they can. Just look at the slop Ubisoft is pushing for as of late and how all of those games are filled to the brim with egregious prices in an attempt to get their customers to subscribe to their subscription service rather than purchase the game. 

In an industry that proves to be further and further consumer-unfriendly, everything about Concord comes across as ignorant at best and completely tone deaf and delusional at worst.

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