Introduce Economies of Scale to stimulate market activity

Dear all,

I’m a quite new player in PU, but I’m not a new player in those kind of economic games and I’d like to write a small feedback.
I’m enjoying my time, as always, planning strategies and plotting graphs, but I really think that this game has a problem: the lack of market activity. Despite low level materials are actually traded, some intermediate materials are traded in very low volumes (10/20 items per month) and some other materials are not even traded at all (like ship parts).

It seems to be a common behavior between players to produce everything they need, from consumables to construction materials and ship parts.
This create intra-company markets that directly compete with the global market and push the game to a “single player” experience.

I think the main reason behind this, is the lack of an economy of scale in the game.
IRL, it is usually more convenient to buy raw materials or intermediate goods rather than producing them directly, but in this game, this doesn’t happen.

I think the main problem here, is the lack of fixed costs: costs that does not increase directly with produced quantities. I think a good idea would be to bound those costs to HQ lvl or total available land and this can be coupled with a little decrease in soil occupation for multiple buildings of the same type.

As the game progress, players would be motivated to dismiss their old factories to move toward higher added value production instead of just expand their HQ and build another base and increase their fixed costs.
The idea here is that players should be encouraged to go large to be profitable, instead of just building the whole supply line from raw materials extraction to finite goods.
This would also create new opportunities for new players that could not invest in costly factories, but that would be able to profit as a supplier of high lvl players.

I think that adding a new game mechanic like that would stimulate the usage of market and increase the interaction between players.

I know that there are different ideas that could achieve the same goal, but I do really think that the introduction of the concept of EoS would really benefit the game.

What do you think about?


Companys in real life do try to produce everything them self when and where they can. When they don’t its because:

copy right.

Large investment to meet small demands.

Unstable demand/suppy.

Land ownership/private deal with politicians, or just a pre-established infrastructure, or even laws.

Or simply they make insane high profit and they don’t care. Can of redbull cost something stupid like $0.03.

and what ever other reason why

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@BigJohnnytrader Companies in real life do try to outsource everything they can.
Intel just outsourced the production of its 6nm series to TSMC because of their way more advanced production lines, just to make an example.

Outsourcing is cheaper, more flexible, produce better quality intermediate products and its just easier to manage than a plant that is not even part of your main business.
The only exceptions are companies that consume such high quantities of products that can sustain an actual economy of scale on their own and companies that use low-volume/very-high-value components.

Redbull itself buy aluminum cans from Ball Corporation because it is way cheaper than mine bauxite ore, process it into aluminum foils and then stamp the cans.

But, to be honest, this has nothing to do with the game, doesn’t it.

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Sorry when I replied I had just woken up form terrible 2 hour, I don’t even remember pressing send, I often type out replies and not send, which I don’t think i was planning to. At that point only had 2 hour over 24 hours.

But we are on the same page when everything we said, but you are right it wasn’t relevant to your post.

It’s either this or becoming General Electric, aka just do a lot of unrelated things.

I agree it doesn’t feel natural. I don’t know how to fix it exactly, but I agree it’s a problem.

I completely disagree with the headline of this thread. Introduce economies of scale? That would ruin the game, since new players wouldn’t be able to compete with the existing developed player base.

The lack of specialization is a separate issue. The reason it happens is that there isn’t a great deal of difference between a base with 10 different buildings, versus a base with 10 of the same building. In real life, a company that makes 10x one thing will be vastly more profitable than a company that makes 1x ten things. This is due to economies of scale, as correctly noted - as you produce more your cost per unit goes down. This isn’t modelled in PrUn, aside from a small effect on shipping costs.

However, in real life, there are also inefficiencies that increase with company size. If you’re going to hire another 100 production line workers, then you also need to hire managers, adminstrators, and HR reps. And for every few managers, administrators, and HR reps that you add, you need to hire another manager to manage them, and so on. This isn’t modelled in PrUn either.

One way to encourage players to specialise would be to model that second effect, and then give players ways to mitigate it on a per industry basis. So a player with 10 of one building would have an advantage over players with 10 different buildings, but their per unit cost would end up the same as a player with only one building. That way beginners aren’t disadvantaged, and there is still a point in adding buildings, but it won’t be so easy to vertically integrate by having one of everything. At some point it will become more cost efficient to specialise in one or two things and then buy everything else from the market.


@Ficks_Dinkum I’m sorry, but you’re just proposing to introduce an economy of scale (higher volumes are more efficient than smaller volumes) simply with a different method.

Don’t get me wrong, I like your idea, but it won’t really solve the problem with the new players: they would not still be able to compete with developed players with “fully mitigated costs”.

I think that the idea here should be to encourage developed players to move to high end production by replacing the basic one and not by just adding new factories. This way developed players would effectively support new players by buying from them instead of taking money from they selling them their excess production of consumables and raw materials.

Maybe I didn’t explain my idea very well.

  1. Currently a player with 10 of the same building has the same cost per unit as a player with 1 building. But they produce 10 times as much.

  2. Also, currently a player with 10 different buildings has the same cost per unit (equivalently) as a player with 10 of the same building. And produces the same amount (equivalently).

I’m proposing to leave point 1. alone, while changing point 2. so that the player with 10 different buildings has less efficient production than the player with 10 of the same. This way, players are encouraged to specialise.

In practice, the way to do this is to penalise everyone for growing, i.e. implement a negative economy of scale, so to speak, and then let each player choose a single industry not to be penalised in.

Then, as a player, it is still worth it to add buildings - you get more production overall. But at some point it becomes a better idea to pick a specialty, rather than continue to vertically integrate with one of each building type.

@Ficks_Dinkum oh, I see your point now.

I still like the general idea, but I still don’t think it would solve the problem. Not being able to diversify production due to the malus, developed players with many factories would flood the market and lower the price up to the point margins would be so small that the small volumes produced by new players would produce minimum profits.

I think that developed players should be more efficient than new players as this is one of the main incentive to grow and expand.
New players would still be able to survive on the market because market price is not related to efficiency, but only to demand/offer law: if the market price is 400 unit per item, it won’t change if the production cost is 380 or 360. The one producing at 360 would still sell it at 400 and just get an higher profit.

The problem occurs when the offer increase to the point that the price drop to 370 (because this when new players would be knocked out from the market), but the only way to counter this is to decrease offer and increase demand so that the price will return at 400.
The easiest way to achieve that I can think of, is to encourage developed players to move away from the production of initial resources (like ores, consumables and so on) to a more advanced industry that use those resources. I don’t think that posing barriers to players that try to change their main business would be a solution.

The point of the proposal is to make vertical integration less attractive, so that more trading occurs on the CX. If a developed player has many factories of the same type then we have achieved our goal, since that player must by definition be buying the inputs from somewhere else. At the moment players set up extractors and incinerators and smelters and PP1s to make their own prefabs from scratch. But if they had to only pick one of those operations to do efficiently, then they’d be more inclined to go to the market for everything else.

You might argue that instead of two advanced players vertically integrating, they will each specialise in something different and then sell to each other, bypassing the CX. I’m sure that will happen to a degree. But it would still result in some surplus trading spilling over to the CXs, since no two players will be perfectly matched in outputs.

Also, I don’t believe that “becoming more efficient” is one of the incentives to grow and expand. Growing and expanding is its own reward. Developed players don’t need to be more efficient than new players, because they still produce more. If I have 10 factories, I’m making more than a player with only 1 factory. I’m proposing that we introduce a logistics efficiency penalty so that instead of making 10x as much, I’m only making maybe 7x as much. It was still worth it for me to build those 10 factories, but brand new players can now beat me on unit price even though I win on volume.

To be honest though, I don’t think the devs can implement anything like this, since there is too much of a risk that it would annoy those advanced players who are paying for the game. If the game was starting from scratch it would be a good idea to design it this way, but given that subscribers have already built up their companies, coming along now and saying “In the next update we’re going to halve the output of large companies lol” could result in some of them quitting in protest.

Well, not exactly. The point of the proposal is both to make vertical integration less attractive AND push players to develop a market for high end materials. A developed player with 500 smelters won’t solve the problem, but just create a new one.

If you introduce a “land tax” or any other cost that is independent from the production (may be a daily HQ maintenance in the form of “high tech” materials, or really anything else), players would naturally be encouraged to focus on more profitable factories rather than continuously increase land usage.

Yes, some kind of progressive buildings tax could also work. Although it has disadvantages. For one thing if it effectively makes production by larger companies less efficient, then you’re doing the same thing indirectly as applying a logistics penalty. So why not just have the penalty - that would be easier.

Secondly, the tax would have to go somewhere - who is collecting it? Does the money just disappear? If yes then it will feel fake. But if it doesn’t just disappear, then the tax isn’t acting as a money sink, which is something the devs seem to be looking for.

The issue with using high tech materials instead is that when the universe is starting up, no players are producing them. So they would have to be available from an MM, which sort of defeats the point. Alternatively, it can’t be too punitive to operate without them - maybe not supplying the materials leads to an efficiency penalty… aaaand we’re right back where we started. :sweat_smile:

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Well, money “disappearance” can easily be explained with NPC corporations requesting taxes to occupy their planes or something else “lore wise”. Money sink are a must in an economic game or inflation would just rise to the sky in the end. That said, I’d rather prefer “material tax” as they come with a market themselves: every good can be exchanged for money, but materials need to be produced somewhere.

Materials can change as HQ lvl increase. Lvl 1 HQ can easily be free, and the number and complexity of required materials can increase with lvl. At the start of the game, players can decide to remain at lvl 1 and switch to high tech production by destroying (part of ) the low tech production and relaying on the market for intermediate products (that is quite the point).

MM can help, but it is not strictly necessary.
It is not competitive at all and as soon as the first players would start their production, MM would quickly become useless.

Okay, so the proposal we’ve ended up with is “Higher HQ levels require higher-tier materials for upkeep.”

I like this. I think it fulfils all the same requirements as a logistics penalty, but would probably be more palatable to existing players. You still have to decide what will happen to a player who doesn’t supply the materials though. Making their entire company grind to a halt seems a little too punitive.

Also, I note that this is the complete opposite of the original “add economies of scale” proposal - except in so far as a negative economy of scale is still mathematically an economy of scale. :yum:

Anyway, I hope the devs would consider adding something like this.


I disagree with the premise of the OP here. There are economies of scale, most obviously created by using Experts. The player with 10x BLDGx can produce MATx more efficiently than player with 10 different buildings by having more Experts related to BLDGx. Producing one/few product(s) in a Base also makes PU much more time-efficient for the (RL human) Player.

OTOH, maybe that doesn’t add up to a big Cost advantage. I actually don’t pay much attention to Experts; once I get 6 in place on a Base, I rarely tweek them, even when I add new Buildings there.

In any case, if other people would like to see stronger Economies of Scale, it should be reasonably easy for Devs to do that by tweeking the Experts sub-system, maybe just by increasing the Ceilings (max Experts/base, max Eff bonus, etc).

But there’s a downside to increasing Economies of Scale: as Finks_Dinkum notes, it would make things (much) harder for New Players. IRL, this is mitigated by secondary effects: organizations tend to get stupider and less flexible as they get larger and older. “Experts” get old & crusty. New organizations can typically adopt new technologies much faster, gaining (temporary) market advantage, which allows (some of) them to survive and grow… until they get old & creaky. AFAIK, this isn’t modeled in PU at all (other than voluntary retirement of top-end Players who feel like they’ve exhausted the limits of the game).

@Konvolut Experts do not create an economy of scale for 3 reasons:

  • you can have as many experts as you want: you just need more bases.
  • experts cover many buildings in the same production chain (EG: PP1, PP2, PP3, PP4) so you can effectively boost a large part of your production chain with a single expert.
  • expert bonus for low level productions are negligible. As example, 5 experts + CoGC bonus only reduce FE production cost by 10%. Even if you decide to remove metallurgy experts to make room for manufacturing experts, it would still be convenient to keep FE production running instead of buying FE from the market. Bonusses are way more effective for “high tech” products, but they are not traded or traded in such low volumes that you simply want to build up your own production chain just to be able to reliably get the supplies you need, even if you lack the experts to boost it.

I’m not going to type out many thoughts here.

As someone with a very large economic impact (15th base today!) - my actions have been to entirely disconnect myself from unreliable inputs or outputs. Stability of production without putting out fires constantly is the only way you can continue to expand. And that means going vertical production. You aren’t screwed if there is a shortage of some critical item.

I run my entire empire and the only non-base element (Hydrogen, Oxygen, H2O, etc) I buy is OVE\PWO. I’m fully verticalized for every other aspect of my production chain. There’s a value in that level of planned economy.


@lowstrife I have no doubts vertical integration is the way to go now. This is why I’d like to see new feature that force players to abandon it, or at least, make it way less profitable.

this is exactly what kills a multiplayer economic game. Without market interactions, being in a multiplayer game is just pointless.


Experts do not create an economy of scale for one reason - it’s because they give a fixed % bonus which doesn’t change with company size.

Currently the only economy of scale effect in the game is that shipping is more cost effective when you have more units on a ship. So veteran players can get an edge over newbies in that respect, but the effect is small considering the margins on most products relative to fuel costs.

Perhaps LM fees also count since they are fixed and independent of the size of the trade.

All other costs scale linearly with production, hence - no significant economies of scale.


I have no idea how to accomplish it. But I wish there was more incentive\necessity to trade items on the CX.

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