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General Gaming  » Does the financial model really matter?

14 posts found

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 4136

OP  12/05/13 2:50:17 AM#1

So I was just kinda poking around Steam today, and this kinda struck me funny

I was looking at a lot of the F2P games I have in my library on Steam, and my playtime on them (usually around 10-15 hours). I admit, when a F2P game is good and I'm having fun, I have no problem dropping a little bit of cash on it. And then I was looking at a lot of games I've picked up on sale and haven't even got around to playing at all yet, but hey, for a couple of dollars, why not, right?

So, the question isn't which would you rather play, or rather be inclined to pay for.

The setup is, you have 2 identical games that are set to be completed within the next 2 years: Game A costs $1 up front, with some free DLC content. Game B is Free, but the DLC costs $1 to unlock. The actual gameplay, graphics, DLC, everything between the two is identical, and we'll assume the game looks reasonably fun and interesting (whatever your taste is) and is getting reasonably good early press, only the revenue model is different.

The question is: Your an investor - you are looking to invest in Startup Developer A or B - you can only pick one - which would you be more willing to invest in and why?

I guess it's a round-about way of which do you think makes more money, once you take the "It depends on if the game sucks" question out of it. Does it really depend on the game (i.e. can you actually write a game to fit a financial model, or can you always backfit a financial model onto a game design effectively?) Is money up front a barrier to entry that prevents purchase, or is it guaranteed revenue?

You can go any way on the DLC you wish, I left it vague intentionally: cosmetic only if it makes you feel better, or maybe it's The Sword of a Thousand Truths and insta-kills everything, it may be part of the discussion, because that variable may matter to a lot of people.

Invest in Developer A or B?

(login to vote)

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 1811

12/05/13 2:57:36 AM#2

I would choose neither, since there is no developer C who charges $1 for the game up front and then <1% for the DLC.



Advanced Member

Joined: 3/11/11
Posts: 882

12/05/13 3:03:38 AM#3

I would pay up front since I know the basic amount up front from a reputable developer with known mechanics in game from quick research has value for me.

Also, its not just about supporting the developers, which of course is important to continue the development... but I feel it creates a financial model that encourages devs to create content that is more suitable to my style. I am not interested in collectible pets which are vanity, and f2p has a lot of that. So by having a financial system that is modeled closely to the b2p, then devs have to create content that is much more worthwhile rather than milking the MMO addicts that like to collect pets spending $1000 on virtual vanity. The MMO devs have to think on becoming more effecient on developing content, keeping up with trends, and trying to set new goals in an upfront financial system more so than a f2p system.

Also, I prefer an upfront system becuase then I can own the physical copy of the game, and what ever other merchandize like a game manual, in game map etc.

“Write bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble”


Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 4136

OP  12/05/13 3:15:02 AM#4

As for my own answer, I could really go either way....

I find that I do try a lot of F2P games and I treat them more or less like I do Demos/Trials. This read pretty much sums the demo angle of it (and why we don't see many of them anymore) from the developer viewpoint, and although I don't personally agree with their finding from the consumer viewpoint, I find that the conclusion is pretty much the same: I find 99 reasons not to buy the game, so I uninstall the demo and I don't.

Occasionally, one will really grab me. I spent a little bit of money with Nexon on Vindictus (that game is a blast for me) - spending about the same as I would have a typical MMO subscription fee. I bought some red beans, I enjoyed Firefall for a good while. And occasionally I'll get another month on my SoE account to play around (that's not quite the same thing but almost).

And that brings me back around to Steam. I find that I have almost no hesitation in trying most F2P games. I'll give just about anything a Download and try it if it's free. But it takes a lot to convince me to actually spend money on the game - it really has to grab me - and not just by play time... I sit and spend a lot of play time on Candy Crush too, but that doesn't make it a fulfilling gaming experience, it's one step above twiddling my thumbs while I'm otherwise wasting time in the waiting area at the Dentist's office anyway.

I find this is really pertinent on the Apple App Store (and from what I hear the Facebook arena), where the average purchase price is a lot lower. I find I'd rather spend $0.99 or $2.00 or even $5.00 than put up with a game that hits an instant time wall and tries to milk out $1 to cut down a 20-hour wait time, each use, and I could see someone, if they didn't realize it was costing them a buck, dropping a ton of cash on a game that way (and I read about "The Whale" all the time). It's not nearly that bad on the PC front, or the MMO front, but it's getting there.

I find that I'm more willing to throw a few dollars at a game I think is even remotely interesting (knowing that I won't get back doored with required-DLC or hit with some pay wall later on), even if I possibly won't play it often.

I like supporting developers of people who make games I enjoy playing, or often times even developers who just have a neat idea (I bought Kerbal Space Program - it's neat, I don't play it, but I still think it's neat and I don't regret having bought it). I really do like giving them my money - that sounds odd, I know. Not "holy cow have my wallet I'm paying $500 for a founder's badge". I'm fortunate enough to have a bit of disposable income, and I step back and view it as "Would this give me as much entertainment as a pack of chewing gum ($1)? A ticket for a movie ($15)? A decent steak dinner ($40)? A night with the kids out at Chuckie Cheese or a weekend up in the park ($60)?"

Not many games hit the $60 mark - maybe that's why I can't get into the Console scene so much (that and my thumb dexterity). And when compared to a movie ticket (or a couple of drinks at the bar), an MMO subscription really doesn't seem that bad (provided you get at least a few stiff drinks worth of enjoyment out of it).

But the question of money up front, or 99 reasons not to pay for it... I don't know. If I were trying to publish a game today, I think I would want to stick a low price tag up front, and hope that it were good enough that word of mouth or marketing or whatever would drive people to it, rather that put it out for free and have 99 people find 99 excuses not to pay for anything, and have to rely on that poor guy who doesn't realize his niece is clicking the "Buy DLC" button over and over again and wracking up a $1000 bill... but on the flip side, that's only if I had the privilege of putting out what I would like, and not having to do it for a living. If I'm relying on this game to feed my family and make a living, 'thar she blows.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/07
Posts: 1432

12/05/13 3:22:24 AM#5

I didn't read the OP, but if the product is good, it will sell no matter what billing system is used.


A good MMORPG is becoming rare because the trend is to copy others and hype small differences using advertising. This leads to an awful lot of mediocrity, which sparks irrelevant debates over small things, like the OP's post.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/20/13
Posts: 523

12/05/13 3:26:27 AM#6
Originally posted by Mors.Magne

I didn't read the OP, but if the product is good, it will sell no matter what billing system is used.


A good MMORPG is becoming rare because the trend is to copy others and hype small differences using advertising. This leads to an awful lot of mediocrity, which sparks irrelevant debates over small things, like the OP's post.

Dammit Mors why do I always have to agree with you.


Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 4136

OP  12/05/13 3:31:31 AM#7

Originally posted by Mors.Magne

A good MMORPG is becoming rare because the trend is to copy others and hype small differences using advertising. This leads to an awful lot of mediocrity, which sparks irrelevant debates over small things, like the OP's post.

Could just as easily be about Console games with Day-1 DLC, or App Store titles, or subscriber TV service, or available ISPs, as it is MMOs.

Yeah, I would agree that, as a consumer, it's more or less irrelevant, because there's the extent that I will vote with my wallet, but there is a relevancy because if there is no other option because of some external influence, then the choice isn't between A or B any longer, it's between A or nothing.

Kinda like if I want to travel cross-country... I don't have to stand in line and get Full-Body-Scanned or stripped searched and arrive 2 hours early to be pre-screened for boarding and sit in some cramped seat on a airline, I could vote with my wallet and choose to drive or go by train (or if i really have a big wallet, charter a jet), but is there really still an option?

What tom_gore said in the second post is extremely true: too often the real answer is "neither" because the publisher does both. And in some cases, it may be warranted and valid (like a major expansion for an existing game), while in others it feels like an extremely dirty money grab (Day-1 DLC, timelock items, etc)


Advanced Member

Joined: 8/27/11
Posts: 202

12/05/13 3:57:34 AM#8

If those are the only two options I had to choose between, I would definitely go for A. You can always count on peoples' hype buying a game without thinking about it. Then they discover it sucks but that's too bad, your money is already in my pocket.

Additionally, the market is becoming more saturated so it is more hard to keep people playing one game for a long period of time. Also, attentionspan.



Novice Member

Joined: 11/05/10
Posts: 897

12/05/13 4:04:19 AM#9

As an investor I'd pick A because I want a secured and quick ROI. Although Game B has more potential to earn me money, it's risky.

As a player I'd pick B because it's more flexible. If it turns out nothing in the DLCs interest me, hey I got a free game!


Novice Member

Joined: 11/29/13
Posts: 18

12/05/13 5:11:44 AM#10

as an investor i will go for B, i believe higher the risk higher the return so ill stick to B.



Advanced Member

Joined: 12/17/06
Posts: 203

12/05/13 5:17:18 AM#11
I would go for B. (provided they have already designed DLC content). I think "free to enter" model in this situation would work better and bring money faster (i.e. everyone would finish starter areas and then either stagnate or purchase new content)


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/18/08
Posts: 2270

12/05/13 8:17:54 AM#12

Doesn't matter much to me. I would never invest in a game with a monthly fee because they are all doomed to fail at this point if they aren't already established. Other than that the financial model doesn't matter much to me.


Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 13667

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

12/05/13 8:31:08 AM#13
As an investor, I would see what the target audience prefers and which model best fits the game. Doesn't make a damn bit of difference which I prefer.

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein


Novice Member

Joined: 8/23/13
Posts: 25

12/05/13 8:48:44 AM#14

If it was only as simple as that, it wouldn't matter which you pick. It is not that simple, if a developer is designing a game to be f2p than the creativity gives way to creating consumables, no f2p game is with out these. Be it a token to raise your level cap a pet or some shiny new threads, and I wouldn't want to leave out the crafting items or the RNG boxes.

P2P games is about making worlds for people to play around in and expanding them, which gives the developers freedom to create and express ideas that don't have to bring in a daily quota of cash.