I honestly believe after reading as many posts, tweets, and redit threads as I have that the RSP program is having difficulties getting available resources to create any new features and functionalities. From a business perspective, I think a major reason is a lack of revenue from this offering. I know this is a huge assumption, but I would go so far as to say that the projected revenue vs. the actual revenue has caused the product management team to allocate resources to more revenue generating features such as DLC’s. I honestly would make the same decisions if I did not believe in the RSP program based on numbers alone.
With all of that, I would like to propose what I believe would be the simplest way to monetize the RSP program to a level that will generate enough money to justify further resources for development of features. These are purely from a business stand point of cost vs. return. The idea is just to get the sales back so you can get the resources back. With that, I have three phases below.
The absolute minimum would be to re-Implement the Quick Match system that existed prior to the “Thanksgiving” patch on 24 November, 2016. For those that are not aware, the system use to populate RSP servers very fast. Unfortunately, a YouTuber complained to the developer that they were “Quick Matched” into a Custom server. Based on that, a change was made that instantly created empty RSP servers. We owned servers on Day one of the RSP program, and even with the larger start numbers (I believe it was 15 on each side), we could start a server within 10 minutes of having about 4-6 platoon members joining.
This should be a trivial change as all you need to do is roll back the QM changes. The risk should also be low as the live servers were running with this for 6 weeks before the change. The reality is, no one wants to purchase something they cannot use. Even with the lack of administration, our platoon was content with the RSP program knowing new features would be added later. This is ONLY because we could use what we paid for.
Even with a single administrator, no VIP lists, and none of the other dozen feature request, people WILL buy these servers because they will be getting SOMETHING for their money other than an empty server.
The most important feature here is the ability to create a list of people who can also administrate the server. Clearly, there are many ways to do this, but having a single administrator is silly and everyone knows that.
Now, there are a lot of features most of us can wait on if we are being 100% honest. So I am going to focus on what brings traffic and regular visitors to the server. Again, if people feel as though their purchase is being used, they can put up with a lot of “coming soon.”
With that, I think the ability to hit escape or tab to see the name of the server the QM put you in is very important. If you used the QM and was placed in a server that you like, how are you to know what server it is to favorite at the moment? This is key in my opinion.
I would follow this up with the displaying of platoon tags. I know you want to do some major development for platoons, but let’s be realistic here; you do not have the resources to do any features right now. Give people the ability to type in a 4-character platoon tag. This is very simple and every single game I have ever played has this feature. Is it perfect? No, clearly there is no protection against other people using your platoon tags. With that, I am sure the community can police itself and remove people who are impersonating on their servers. This is important from a marketing standpoint. If the QM system puts you in a server that has a nice balanced game with 10 people from that group in the server that you seem to get along with, you will probably want to come back.
The last item on Phase 2 would be the addition of a whitelist for platoon members or donators to your server. If you have ever run a BF4 server, you would know this is the biggest benefit you can offer someone as an incentive to donate to your servers. No one wants to wait 7 in queue to get onto a server they are a major donator.
This is where the revenue for the service should start paying for resources for future features. I believe all the above (with maybe the exception of the multiple administrator) are extremely trivial changes that could be done at absolute minimum cost to the development budget. However, I firmly believe with the above changes, there will be many servers rented in a very short time. This is where we can start looking at the community requests.
You have added a few things to the system that are really good. Unfortunately, these things are not the reason people are refusing to purchase/re-up their servers. The ability to select all maps is a great change. The ability to do Vote Map is a great change (though it should no mark your server as custom). The ability to kick / ban people who are negatively impacting your server is a great change (one person cannot possibly be online or on a computer with Battlefield 1 running 24x7 though). The reason people are not buying the servers is because you cannot populate them and get a game running most of the time. When a cool looking car only runs 10% of the time, the only people buying them are the zealots, not the average consumer.
I am sure there will be many people who disagree with what I have said. All I ask is you look at it from a pure business perspective and be honest. If your server were populated most of the time because the Quick Match system was actively sending people to it, would you re-up your contract or purchase a new one given some of the other “coming soon” features? Money talks, and this program is not currently a money machine.
For some reason my last post did not post to the forum.