Artifact's pricing and value didn't quite line up, says consulting designer

"Obviously, when the customer's complaining about it, there's something wrong," says veteran MtG designer Skaff Elias

"Obviously, when the customer's complaining about it, there's something wrong,"

- Artifiact consultant and veteran Magic: The Gathering designer Skaff Elias discusses the game’s decline.

Valve’s digital trading card game Artifact likely hasn’t had the impact the company was hoping for. A recent story from Eurogamer speaks with some of the people involved in the game’s development, including the team at ex-Artifact consultant studio Three Donkeys, to figure out where the game went wrong.

As the full story points out, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why a project failed to take off, but Three Donkeys’ Skaff Elias notes that the game’s unique pricing model was often a cause for complaint, and that there was some mismatch between Artifact’s pricing and perceived value.

"What's wrong might be your marketing efforts, or your explanation, or you're not providing enough value, or you're charging too much,” says Elias. “There's a whole myriad of things that could be wrong but it's pretty clear that something was wrong there on that particular disconnect.”

Elias tells Eurogamer that Artifact might’ve overcome some of the hurdles it encountered if it had launched as a free-to-play game, like fellow digital TCG Hearthstone.

"For the amount we were charging them, we either had to do one of two things. We either had to lower the price or return more value from the customer's perspective,” says Elias. “I mean, it seems obvious but it had to be one of those. And ways of returning value, there's a lot of different games doing it in a lot of different ways.”

Until earlier this year, Elias and Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield had been consulting with Valve on the development of Artifact. Valve terminated its contract with the duo’s company Three Donkeys shortly before the announcement was made, but Garfield said at the time that both he and Elias remained optimistic about the game’s future.

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