With able to motu patlu, it’s actually simpler than you imagine to earn money from freeloaders, and which may be just how some companies offer up games in the future.
A week ago, your head of mobile developer Ngmoco Ben Cousins mentioned that there might be a able to play same in principle as the $60 Skyrim within 2 years. Even if this timeline might be a bit overly ambitious, it certainly suits the popularity of several developers putting increasing resources into free-to-play games.
So how do free-to-play games make money exactly? Below I’ll lay out the obvious and slightly less obvious ways:
Many liberated to play games are powered by ad revenue. Recent mobile blockbusters like Draw Something and, to some lesser extent, Hero Academy monetize themselves through ads. Ads, however, aren’t usually enough to help make the endeavor worthwhile which leads to…
Game developers choose to players throw in a few dollars to get things after they’ve started playing a game rather than to sell their eyeballs to advertisers. The micro-transaction model is much more preferable, that numerous games (including the two I mentioned above) often offer to get rid of ads right after a buying less than $3.
So how do micro-transactions work? Usually, a player can get small things for the best prices (often under a dollar, rarely greater than five), that grow their play experience (including more colours to attract within Draw Something) or add cosmetically to their online avatar (profile pictures in Hero Academy).
On a recent podcast, Jeff Green, the editorial director for motu patlu games claimed that the company’s popular Bejewelled Blitz game now makes significantly more money now being a free game with micro-transactions than it did if it was actually a paid game without micro-transactions.
Naturally, despite having the lure of micro-transactions, its not all players put money down. The creators of Zynga’s Farmville said that only between 3% and 5% of players actually ever spend anything in the game. Added to that many measures that could theoretically increase this conversion rate, like offering up premium bonuses that would offer a competitive advantage, are generally violently rejected with the player base with cries of “pay to win.”
However, based on the game, it’s often very feasible not only to generate profits off the remaining 3-5% of paying customers. Sometimes a lot of cash.
So what’s using the other 95% of individuals who aren’t paying everything to play the game? They are actually a product – one the video game maker is selling on the paying player base.
Usually, what drives men and women to play multiplayer games are one of a couple of things:
To get a wide competitive experience: Using a far larger pool of players provided by the reduced barrier to entry around the game, the paying player is prone to find opponents within their skill range which is therefore more likely to be satisfied from the game and continue playing (and buying micro-transactions).
Messing around with friends: Many players want to spend online play time with friends. However, it’s tough to get online friends corralled together, and this is doubly difficult when said friends have to pay their distance to a game title. If the game is free of charge, it’s quicker to get a critical mass of individuals to give it a shot.
In case a player tries out a free of charge-to-play game plus they don’t pay micro-transactions, will be the experience free? Well, not quite. As stated above, players who aren’t paying aren’t really customers anymore, they’re contractors used by the game company to supply opponents for the paying players. As a result the developers want to dextpky33 these sorts of players in the game provided that possible. Because of this it often takes for a longer time to achieve things as a “free” player than it would in the paying game or than it would for a paying player inside the same game.
Xenoblade Chronicles almost didn’t appear in America. Though game was praised as perhaps the best JRPG in the last 5yrs, Nintendo almost didn’t release it here. It took an enormous fan campaign that netted a huge number of signatures to have the scary maze game a release date. Here’s a preview of my review, coming Friday: It was actually worth the wait.
Kinect Star Wars (Xbox 360) (April 3)
A motion controlled Star Wars game has been a dream ever since the Kinect was first shown almost three years ago. Now it’s a reality. Early indications is that it skews a bit young, but regardless, it’s planning to sell regarding a bajillion copies.