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Is Kwari’s demise the nail in the coffin for skill-based shooters?

By on June 4, 2008 reports today that Kwari (site appears to be down) is the latest in a long line of cash-for-shooting sites to go bust.

Launched last year, Kwari boasted that it had an exclusive game and its unique model (the game was free, but bullets cost you money) guaranteed its success.

But, like (bust), Prizefight (changed business model) and a slew of others, Kwari has just kicked the bucket.

As one of my former colleagues at GameShadow wrote in his blog, the concept is inherently flawed. “Gambling works because it’s based on luck. No matter how aware of the growing hole in our pockets, we keep playing because we’re addicted. We’re addicted to the chance we might win big with the next set of cards.”

Whereas if you suck at first person shooters, you will always suck, and few people get addicted to getting their ass whipped. (Should I mention Max Mosley? Probably not).

So investors (who are by their nature competitive, focused on money and believers in gambling) keep backing businesses which offer what investors think gamers want.

Meanwhile, gamers go and spend their time and money on games where the rewards are much less tangible: status, sense of achievement, even good old-fashioned fun.

I don’t think that this will be the last skill-based FPS site we see, but I doubt any of them will ever make money.

And I’m no marketing guru, but I think that the video they put together to promote is terrible: patronising, unfunny and trying to be grown-up by using the F-word all the time. You have been warned. 

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: