Just a thought I had during my last campaign play-through. I think it’d be a neat feature to be able to buy exclusive rights to car bodies, so that competitors will have no or limited access to using them. This could be a real advantage if your body research is ahead of the curve, and you can secure a body for exclusive use (get some prestige perk?). This would be expensive, of course. I don’t have the idea fully fleshed out, but something like this:
Upon researching a new body family, you could:
- buy exclusive rights to the full body family (very expensive, but no competitor could use any of the same family, giving you a competitive and prestige bonus)
- buy exclusive rights to a body variant within a family (less expensive, but would only give you competitive and prestige bonus for that one body variant, the rest of the family is still free to be used by competitors)
Once rights to a body (family or variant) has been acquired, you could then sell the rights of use to competitors for a price, giving you some of the money back, while keeping the prestige bonus (as buyers would recognize it as a “knock-off”).
Of course, the competitors could also buy up rights to bodies before you do, and in that case, if you’d want to use the same body, you could negotiate with them for a price to use it as well - or be out of luck and would have to skip that body altogether.
I think something like this would give another interesting depth to the campaign game. Would you want to invest huge amounts of money into exclusive rights to a body? Is paying a competitor for a body they have the rights to make financial sense if you are trying to compete in the same market?
This system would probably require a huge amount of AI programming so the computer-controlled competitors make sensible decisions… so just food for thought.
More thoughts on this on how this could work.
When buying rights to a body (family or variant), you’d have to put it into production within a certain time period. If not, then you’d forfeit the rights to the body and its rights go back to the general pool. The exclusivity rights would be valid for 10 years, or 5 years after the body’s natural unlocking date. To use a body that unlocks in '80 for example:
- You don’t have any body tech and it unlocks in '80. The exclusivity rights would expire in '85 (i.e. you have 60 months to develop a model and put it on market to retain the exclusivity rights).
- You have three years worth of body tech, so the body unlocks in '77. The exclusivity rights still expire in '85, but now you’d have 96 months to develop a new model and put it to market to retain the rights.
- You have six years worth of body tech, so it unlocks in '74. With 10 years of exclusivity rights, it would now expire in '84, but you have 120 months to develop a new model and put it out on the market.
This way, there is a strong incentive to actually put a model in production in a reasonable time, so rich companies don’t just buy up rights to all models.
As for the payment scheme to use bodies that already have exclusivity rights on them, it could be two ways of payment: lump sum, or % of sales. To use an '80 body again, and I’m using fairly arbitrary numbers here that seem reasonable in the context of the game as it is now:
Say, you bought the exclusivity rights of the body family in '77 for $200M. Now, you are the only one that can use that body family until '85, giving you a prestige bonus. If you haven’t put a car in production by then, then you forfeit the rights and effectively lose the money, and lose prestige. If you do put it in production by then (i.e. for the purposes of the game, you have a signed off engineering project that is due to finish before '85), then you keep the rights and prestige, and others have to pay you to use the body family or any variants.
- A competitor could buy the usage of the entire family for … say $25M.
- A competitor could buy the usage of a variant within the family for … say $10M
- A competitor could buy the usage right of the family or variant for a percentage of sales (e.g. 5% of each car’s sale price that they sell for that body - so if they sell a car in that body range for $15k, then you’d get $750 per car sold… they sell say 10,000 cars during its 10 year run (however many facelifts that includes), then you’d get a total of 7.5M). The sum would be paid each month based on actual sales.
You could negotiate each sale type (lump sum vs. percentage) and amount with each competitor. The same would be the case if you’re trying to buy the rights from a competitor who already bought rights for a body you want to use. (Could be a simple “here’s my offer, take it or refuse, then try again” method).
Just more musings… the more I think about it, the more I’m intrigued by this idea. But maybe I’m completely out to lunch here.
Considering how morphable many of the bodies are, this would be rather odd? It is an interesting idea for sure, but I think there will be enough benefits in using bodies early once we ramp up the “old body penalty” effect to where it should be. It is still super low since the days of us having too few bodies and too many holes in the lineups.
We probably are at the point where that is no longer the case and that penalty can be inched up. That will make being ahead in bodies really beneficial because you have a longer period of “this body is considered modern” than your competitors.