[casual_games] Different Payment Models
natsuume at boomzap.com
Sun Oct 8 16:07:16 EDT 2006
Yeah - the problem with Micropayments (and it was the buzz word at Austin as
well) is that it is trying to follow the Korean model of "pay 10 cents for a
virtual rabbit" etc. I'm just not sure that the US market is going to go for
that. And even if it is, I'm not sure I want to make those games. The idea
that we're going to have to cover every game with a thousand buy-on-able
crap items does a few things:
1) It forces our design to match that - precluding the idea of simple, clean
games that have very simple mechanics that don't NEED add ons.
2) It drives players into the idea that they will only buy virtual crap for
one game of the other. Why buy 10 virtual pets for game X when there are
400+ games released a year?
3) It forces game designs that have a lot of longevity - so that you play
long enough to care about the game enough to buy characters, jumpsuits, and
Honestly, there is a lot of good fun to be had in games that are only really
fun for an hour or two. But there is no shame in that. There are rides at
Disneyland that are only fun for 5 minutes - that's no reason to disparage
them. How to monetize THAT experience, is the root of the question...
The point is, instead of micropayments under the Korean model of "spend a
few pennies to buy a world of worthless virtual crap" model, I would suggest
that the games themselves should have enough value that playing them a few
times should be worth a buck or so, without crippling them (and then letting
the player buy them into playability through micropaid features) or coating
them with bells and whistles that they don't need.
The micropayment model, like PuzzlePirates (truly great game, BTW!) creates
a model where users "stick" to a particular game - which is a real killer to
small independent startups that have to fight that. Yes, I know they were
also small indie developers too at one point, but the point is that the
world simply can't support a large volume of puzzlepirates style games - any
more than it can support more than a few WoWs. This model inherently
stimulates consolidation into a few key developers. This is great if you are
a well funded or successful developer. Not so great if you're a couple of
kids fresh out of college making your first game.
The high consumer value of aggregated content is inherently going to drive
user "stickiness" to the portals and distributors - and there's not a lot
anyone can do to fight that. So it seems to me that our challenge as
developers should be figuring out a a good revenue model that supports
innovation and experimentation for games sold through the portals - one that
could free independent developers to make smaller games that are good fun
for an hour or two, but perhaps no more, which remain profitable for the
developer and portal (and publisher, in many cases).
For instance, go look at the cool little flash and java games that are on
Jay is Games every day (http://jayisgames.com/). There's some truly great
stuff there - inventive, interesting, and original. But the vast majority of
it is going to have a very rough time monetizing in the current casual game
distribution model without advertising. The question is - how do you get
From: casual_games-bounces at igda.org [mailto:casual_games-bounces at igda.org]
On Behalf Of Chris Dillman
Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2006 12:31 PM
To: IGDA Casual Games SIG Mailing List
Subject: Re: [casual_games] Different Payment Models
>By having a small monetizeable unit to buy games with, we can start doing a
>lot of new and interesting things that allow us to maintain our IP while
>still working with big advertising companies. And again, for fresh young
>developers, that's good too, no?
>To be honest, I was really excited about this model when I heard them walk
>through it - and was hoping:
>1) To hear other opinions on the model or other possible models for
>extracting money at lower price points.
You would probably call this model micropayments.
You might want to read the
Tho a true micropayment is supposed to be like pennies or less any how.
There was a lot of MMO style games moving to or playing with this
idea out at E3.
for instance runs subscription servers and micropayment servers
where you can play for free if you want or pay for additional features.
They report making a long more revenue off of micropayment servers
then off of a normal full subscription server.
Personally I love the idea for both MMOs and casual games...
I also like teh idea of ads in games.
There are MMOs I would play... like D&D online... but not for 15$ a month.
5$ maybe... or free plus ads would be great.
I think micropayments might work well for WT and other large portals.
But they will not work well for a small game developer with a few games.
1. There is no standard way on the web to easily pay a micro payment.
2. Its work to even get people to sign up for any service.
Which means its even more work if a new player need to sign up for a
micro payment service. Or 10 services if they are using 10 different
What might work well is having it offered in addition to normal $20 fee etc.
3. Wild Tangent offers a in game Ad SDk now also.
You might want to take a look at that.
Email: chrisd at plaidworld.com
iChat / AIM: crackbunny at mac.com
Plaid World Studios http://www.plaidworld.com
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