[casual_games] Different Payment Models
tuna at tunatech.com
Mon Oct 9 12:23:03 EDT 2006
$19.99 seems like a good price point to me. Once you get much under that
price, some developers will struggle to make a return (overall), and you
also don't give the publisher/portal far to go when trying to bump
sales/special offers. As things stand, the rrp is $19.99 but many
portals offer various schemes to get games cheaper.
Having worked extensively in the retail sector of games, the last thing
you want is to have a low rrp followed by even lower discounting. I've
seen where that goes and it isn't pretty, for developers or many
publishers. Sure you may grab some extra sales if the rrp of all games
was $9.99, but double average game sales across the board? I doubt it
you'd get anywhere close.
Also, I know that many companies have researched the time limit/product
content/price ratios very carefully and, generally speaking, the 1 hour
+ $20 + feature unrestricted has worked best for mainstream casual
titles. Like many of you, we'd also wondered how they'd arrived here and
had planned a series of tests. While we may still do some, I've seen
enough data to be convinced that it works as a general rule of thumb. I
would still like to be able to disable certain features and detect if a
game has been bought though, and I think certain games benefit from
slightly different models (less time, feature restrictions).
I'm very much a fan of micro-payments, but you need a critical mass of
people who use them or it just doesn't work. That's probably just a
matter of time, but whether it'll be next year or in 5 years is unclear.
Every year people say it will happen, and every year it doesn't, except
for on very specific games. Micro payments need to be global and either
for your entire market - e.g. XBLA, or much bigger than your market -
e.g. through paypal or a similarly known and accepted payment system.
Also, I don't feel pay per play is compatible with the casual world in
many cases. The casual demo model works because it draws people into the
game, and keeps things easy for a considerable amount of time. The pay
per play model requires repeated plays, so each game can't be too long.
Pay per time playing could work but I'm not sure if there is a
psychological element to get over. I'm working with a pay-per-play model
at the moment but that's more along the lines of if you play for an
hour, you a subsequently billed accordingly, and the product revenue is
split according to the time spent on each product during that hour.
Advertising within the download is an interesting one. It would be nice
to generate a little revenue from each download, especially if people
play for more than a few minutes.
I also agree completely that there is no good reason players should be
able to cheat the DRMs by downloading the game from another provider -
that's plain daft and an easy fix, although I'm unsure how many sales
are really lost through this.
Just my random thoughts...
lharrick at san.rr.com wrote:
> Also, how did the standard of $20 per game come about?
> Personally, I think the price point is too high.
> I am one of those people who would almost never pay $20 for a game
> (compared to other forms of media and entertainment, I feel the price
> is not a good value)... but there are many games that I would buy if
> the price were lower ($5 -$10 range).
> - Liz
Tuna Technologies Ltd (Sheffield, UK)
Cross Platform Game Development
Tel: +44 (0)114 266 2211 Mob: +44(0)7771 524 632
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