Tobold commented earlier this week that he feels that the Facebook model for gaming is broken. Tami Baribeau gives a more detailed analysis of why she feels Facebook games are an unsustainable business strategy.
I think the latter post is the more intriguing because she identifies that Facebook games were never designed to be sustainable. This would probably be news to the majority of players, even the ones who try it for a day or two, get bored, and move on.
So what makes a more sustainable F2P model? Well, Bigpoint reckon that they’ve just sold 2000 in game items at 1000 euros each (that’s 2M euros from a single item) in one of their games. How do they do it? They let people pay to win, run a game that is intended to be sustainable, and make the high ticket item rare and powerful.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the future of F2P. It won’t be so much about knocking out cheap Facebook games quickly, it’ll be about figuring out what makes a massive online game stickable for players, and then monetizing the heck out of the high spenders by letting them pay to win. This may actually have some good side effects for MMO players if it inclines devs to be thinking more about issues like immersion, sustainability, etc. But it will come at a cost.
(I remain dubious that DarkOrbit has 65 million registered accounts, seems a lot for a fairly low profile game, but what do I know?)