In the F2P world of the future, we will all be consumed

Courtesy of Jester’s Trek, I’d like to share a video blog from the Escapist today about Microtransactions. This is an interesting videocast because it’s smart and makes a great deal of sense, and seems to be aimed at developers who are considering venturing into F2P rather than to players (who we assume are the majority of The Escapist’s readers).

Some bullet points from my point of view:

  • Note how quickly he starts referring to players as ‘consumers’ rather than players. That’s very telling. When I play games, I prefer to think of myself as a player because to me, consuming is a different type of activity — at least at the moment. But it does highlight how the F2P mindset has a very different take towards player driven content. It may well turn out that F2P is the best possible basis for a solid RP-driven game, in which you can buy the props your character wants/ needs or that you as a GM want to use to set a scene.
  • Note the emphasis (sensible I think) on designing around a charging strategy rather than tacking a cash shop + transaction model in at the end.
  • Note how he points out realistically that other players ARE content in an MMO. Paying players will still want someone to play with, and it won’t matter to THEM whether the other players pay or not.
  • Note how he points out the importance of mixing the player base. He does it for cash reasons — the best way to encourage a non-paying player to buy something is to let them mix with the paying players.  I’d encourage diversity (frex, I think it’s bad to split PvE and PvP players onto different servers) because I think it builds stronger and more robust communities, but in this case the arguments both lead to the same place.
  • Is his voice for real, or autotuned? I can’t decide.
I do sometimes wonder about the ubiquity of video blogs. I know that on text blogs (like this one) the majority of page hits are during the working day, so presumably people browse blogs from work. I can’t see how you’d get away with watching videos at work though.
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9 thoughts on “In the F2P world of the future, we will all be consumed

  1. World of Tanks gets this just right, I think. Up to about tier 5 tanks, you can get by quite easily without paying anything, but after that the grind is such that paying makes things significantly quicker. At about tier 8, you almost HAVE to pay in order to not lose credits each round. The trick is, by that time you’re much more invested into the game, so you’re more likely to want to pay anyway.

    WoT does allow you to pay for better ammo, which theoretically gets you a small advantage in battle. However, it’s priced such that it’s really a huge waste of money, as the actual difference it makes is fairly minimal – when you miss 50% of your shots, you’re basically throwing money away.

    • Not really, WoT has gold ammo which is the same thing as selling player power and in fact worse in that it is effectively player power ceiling unachievable by any other means. As there is no ingame economy because there is no such thing as trading among players, it is exclusiv to cash users and those lucky few who fight successfully in clan wars. Considering the fact that it is unfeasible to play with anything higher than tier8 without premium in the long run, premium could also be considered selling power as advancement beyond a certain stage is next to impossible without it. The tier8 heavies are also a power for cash thing as the tier8 grind is otherwise a fairly lengthy endeavor. So WoT sells player power on three levels: Gold Ammo, Tier8 Heavy Tanks, Sustainability of Tier8+ vehicles. Interestingly at least the former two give rise to the most complaints with the players.

      • If they keep battle records as accurate as is indicated in Tobold’s interview, I wonder if they would openly publish or address the stats on how many battles are won because of this gold ammo?

  2. I don’t do podcasts or videoblogs – I don’t have the time for them.

    Blogs, Twitter, forums etc – I can easily catch up on them from my phone on the train to work or in the office while wolfing down my lunch at my desk. If I’m in front of the computer once I am home I will be either playing a game or doing something else that requires concentration.

    Also, I prefer text as a medium. It allows me to quickly go back over something if I wanted to pull out a piece of information or double-checking something for a reply I’m doing.

  3. Oddly I think CCP may have won the Monocle War after all. Now that the player base has been “listened” to whatever that means no one is rioting or even unhappy, none of the offending content has been removed and monocle sales are up to 184. A few extra items have been added to the cash shop including cheaper eyewear. A lot of bitter vets threatened to quit and a handful may have actually quit. And while the Americans were rioting, rage quitting and refusing to log in the Russians quietly conquered the best part of nullsec.

    CCP has localised in Japan and signed a deal with Nexon to promote them there. I suspect that will have a far bigger impact on player numbers. We already have a couple of Japanese corps in our alliance.

    • “none of the offending content has been removed and monocle sales are up to 184. A few extra items have been added to the cash shop including cheaper eyewear. A lot of bitter vets threatened to quit and a handful may have actually quit.”

      I think you are somewhat missing the point. The price point of the monocle isn’t wrong morally, it’s wrong financially.

      184 sales? How much does that bring them in on a larger scale? How much revenue did they lose over scaring off some of their veterans?

      I am hesitant to believe CCP came out ahead on this. How much more would they have made if the monocle was 1/10th the price, and 10+ times as many people bought it, and no one quit over it?

    • “the Russians quietly conquered the best part of nullsec”

      So, they were smart conquerors. Well done, guys. Gotta pick the right fights.

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