With free to motu patlu, it’s actually simpler than you imagine to generate money from freeloaders, and which might be the way a lot of companies offer up games down the road.
The other day, your head of mobile developer Ngmoco Ben Cousins mentioned that there would have been a free to play same as the $60 Skyrim within 2 years. Even though this timeline could be a bit overly ambitious, it certainly fits in the buzz of countless developers putting increasing resources into free-to-play games.
Now how do free-to-play games make money exactly? Below I’ll lay out the obvious and slightly less obvious ways:
Many able to play games are powered by ad revenue. Recent mobile blockbusters like Draw Something and, into a lesser extent, Hero Academy monetize themselves through ads. Ads, however, aren’t usually enough to create the endeavor worthwhile which leads to…
Game developers prefer to players throw in a few dollars to purchase things after they’ve started playing a game rather than to sell their eyeballs to advertisers. The micro-transaction model is a lot more preferable, that numerous games (including the two I stated earlier) often offer to remove ads following a buying less than $3.
Now how do micro-transactions work? Usually, a player can find small things for low prices (often under a dollar, rarely over five), that boost their play experience (for example more colours to attract within Draw Something) or add cosmetically on their online avatar (profile pictures in Hero Academy).
On a recent podcast, Jeff Green, the editorial director for motu patlu games online stated that the company’s popular Bejewelled Blitz game now makes considerably more money now as a free game with micro-transactions than it did if it had been a paid game without micro-transactions.
Of course, even with the lure of micro-transactions, not all the players put money down. The creators of Zynga’s Farmville stated that only between 3% and 5% of players actually ever spend any cash about the game. On top of that many measures which may theoretically increase this conversion rate, including offering up premium bonuses that will give a competitive advantage, are usually violently rejected through the player base with cries of “pay to win.”
However, depending on the game, it’s often very feasible to not only generate income off the remaining 3-5% of paying customers. Sometimes a lot of cash.
So what’s the application of the other 95% of individuals who aren’t paying anything to play in the game? They themselves are actually an item – one the game maker is selling on the paying player base.
Usually, what drives individuals to play multiplayer games are certainly one of two things:
To possess a wide competitive experience: Using a far larger pool of players provided by the low barrier to entry about the game, the paying player is prone to find opponents within his or her skill range and it is therefore very likely to be satisfied from the game and continue playing (and getting micro-transactions).
Tinkering with friends: Many players want to spend online play time with friends. However, it’s tough to get online friends corralled together, which is doubly difficult when said friends be forced to pay their distance to a game title. If the game is free of charge, it’s much better to have a critical mass of men and women to try it out.
So if a player tries out a free-to-play game and they also don’t pay micro-transactions, may be the experience free? Well, not quite. As mentioned above, players who aren’t paying aren’t really customers anymore, they’re contractors employed by the game company to provide opponents to the paying players. As such the developers want to dextpky33 most of these players in the game as long as possible. Which means that many times, it takes a lot longer to obtain things as being a “free” player than it will in the paying game or than it will to get a paying player inside the same game.
Xenoblade Chronicles almost didn’t appear in North America. Though game was praised as maybe the best JRPG within the last five years, Nintendo almost didn’t release it here. It took a massive fan campaign that netted a huge number of signatures to get the scary maze game a release date. Here’s a preview of my review, coming Friday: It absolutely was well worth the wait.
Kinect Star Wars (Xbox 360) (April 3)
A motion controlled Star Wars game has been a dream considering that the Kinect was initially shown almost 3 years ago. Now it’s a real possibility. Early indications is that it skews a little young, but regardless, it’s going to sell in regards to a bajillion copies.