well, wether you support D4 for longer or not, sooner or later you will start working on a successor game. (Remember I still wish Argentina and VR support in D4...) As I see it, you have either the option to go on as usual and go for a normal "AAA" game with big release, lotsa content and 60 bucks for it. OR you could try a new buisness model, more suited to a niche market, especially if you want to continue to develop a Simulation rather than arcade popcorn. For this, as an inspiration and suggestion, I want to outline an
alternative Business Model:
inspired by other niche-market games like Elite Dangerous, Assetto Corsa, Raceroom, Cities Skylines, etc.
We start with a base-game, let's call it DiRT Total, with a very low entry price, like 10 bucks or so. This contains some 4-5 cars, one YourStage Location (let's say Australia) and one open compound like Dirtfish. Included are online rally modes, league systems (maybe ESL compatible), a dynamic career with team management and important(!) online party game modes for the open compound (You know, Infected and such stuff.)
This, with a low entry barrier, will draw in a big number of potentially interested people, getting to feel the physics and atmosphere of the game and so on.
I'm assuming here, that you will finally develop a new somewhat future proof engine, with double-bit precision to ensure support of real-life long stages and advanced physics. Furthermore I assume a focus on simulation through and through, which will be made accessible by some assists for the newbies. Think of how Forza Motorsport does it, without having two driving modes.
What will be the moneymaker, are additional packs you can buy, which all work together and add to the experience. Some examples:
- 15 bucks, Iconic-Rally-Pack (improved Yourstage locations of Wales, Sweden, Monte Carlo)
- 15 bucks, Euro-Rally-Pack (" of Spain, Finland, Sardegna)
- 15 bucks, Americas-Rally-Pack (" of Argentina, LSPR, Canada Rocky mountains rally.)
- 15 bucks, Far East-Rally-Pack (" of New Zealand, China, India)
- 15 bucks, Dirty-Rally-Pack (" of Kenya, Azores, something from Arabs country)
- 20 bucks, FIA RX Pack (Rallycross cars with 3 official tracks)
- 20 bucks, Legends RX Pack (historic and entry Rallycross cars with 3 other official tracks)
- 10 bucks, three more compounds for the party modes.
- 10 bucks, Dudebro Fast n Furious Bullcrap pack. (Gymkhana Freestyle challenges and more party modes, like mario-kart style with weaponized cars or ****)
- 10 bucks, modern Rally Masters (R5, R4, R2 Car pack)
- 10 bucks, Too Dangerous (Group B AWD, RWD and H3)
- 10 bucks, Raid Pack (Bowler Nemesis and friends)
- 10 bucks, World Series Power (WRC cars form 2010+)
Obviously you don't have to release everything at once, that's the point. Getting a steady stream of income to further development and afford making free patches and support for the base game and physics for several years. You just start with like one rally-pack, two car packs and a RX pack (=55+10base = 65bucks everything at start) getting Trpile-A prices from those who want everything and getting a lot more attention from all those attracted by a low entry barrier to try the whole thing.
Then over the years you support the game with constant flow of new packs together with free patches that improve the game and slowly building a great platform for Offroad-Simulation, a niche which doesn't have such a platform yet. Maybe with a schedule like CarPack-CarPack-LocationPack and repeat.
This offers you a steady income stream and offers customers to focus on the disciplines they really want and cars they really want for a total price they would've paid for a AAA game anyway.
Additional, as ESL and leagues would make modding hard anyway, you could implement consumer-friendly micro-transactions. Which means, paying for fancy visuals and never for unfair advantage. So don't sell ingame money! Ever! Or ultra-team-engineers! No gameplay effects at all! Example being Elite Dangerous here, you can sell like official liveries for cars, like 1€ each, or some stupid bobble-heads, or some ugly drift-charms for the bumper, or some alternative driver or co-pilot models, you get the picture. Some people will buy that too, which will further secure ongoing development.
Just as some suggestion if that wasn`t on your radar. Would really love a short aknowledge of a dev if you put it into consideration.
And of course some comments from community, If you would support such a model over several years or you're rather an antagonist of such consumer-customisable business models?