One of the primary sectors within the multi-billion dollar gaming marketplace is free-to-play games.
Among the most successful of such games is Valve’s Dota 2, which earns nearly 20 million on a monthly basis, while its main competitor League of Legends earns that every day.
This form of game (Liberated to Play, or F2P for brief) has capitalised around the player’s vanity and laziness as a means to monetise an otherwise free game. F2P games interest their players vanity by selling them different outfits or hats with regard to their players (which typically sell well), and interest their laziness by selling strategies to accelerate progression from the motu patlu games. Neither of such additions are essential to playing the overall game though, nor can they actually benefit the player within a match, which is the reason the concept is working very well.
As part of their design, Free-to-Play games are created to be long-term games. In which the Call of Duty franchise releases a whole new game each year, free-to-play games like Dota 2 last for many years without a sequel, with updates and expansions utilized to sustain activity. They make more money than standard games, but over a longer period frame.
With this in mind, free-to-play games have to be more considerate in their players and take measures to prevent alienating them. An individual user may invest hundreds of dollars over the course of this game, but paying users also require other people to experience with. Non-paying users are only as essential to the longevity of your game, in addition to their profits, as paying users are.
The most up-to-date statistics on free-to-play games’ earnings. Note that all except World of Warcraft don’t require everything to start playing.
Expecting individuals to place in money for a game when there’s no practical profit from it seems strange. But traditionally gamers have scorned games that provide advantages for money instead of skill or effort, preferring systems that are more ‘fair’.
These ‘Pay-to-Win’ games don’t sit well making use of their audience, and end up driving away most of their communities. Payday 2 is seeking to introduce a small amount of pay-to-win mechanics in to the game for example, and the resulting outrage has seen the games user rating drop a whole 10% per week and server numbers plummet.
However the vanity/laziness sort of models work the most effective for keeping both forms of players involved and also the game populated for an extended length of time. A lot of the successful free-to-play games avoid the ‘Pay-to-Win’ model and stick to ones that don’t make paying players any superior to non-paying players.
Nz made Path of Exile provides cosmetics since their only selling point in the game, refusing to market anything that provides an in-game advantage. Path of Exile has over 7 million accounts registered together with the game, and contains just released its third major expansion at no cost. The video game is entirely playable at no cost, from beginning to end.
“Some people like cosmetics. They love to demonstrate,” Path of Exile’s lead programmer Jonathan Rogers told Polygon.
“There comes a point once you play a game title a great deal that this ceases to become a game plus it gets to be a hobby, and laying down extra income for a hobby is not really so strange. It changes the connection using the game, makes it more personal.”
Though Rogers they “probably would earn more money once they went pay-to-win”, Grinding Gear Games still made enough to cover costs whilst keeping expanding the overall game without alienating the players. No more than 2.2% of users in free-to-play games constitute nearly half the revenue, so retaining both paying and non-paying players is important for your motu patlu to be profitable.
The paying players provide income, but the non-paying players help provide critical mass to the game itself. Given that most free-to-play games are Massively Multiplayer, with a huge number of players playing on a single servers as the same time frame, player retention is essential for any free-to-play game.
The alternative method is to produce a system where money saves time and energy, but doesn’t give you an advantage over non-paying users. With sufficient effort and time, anything in one of those free games might be unlocked.
League of Legends uses this in their scheme to the game. You can purchase new skins for your characters, the same as in Dota 2 or Path of Exile, but you can also purchase entirely new characters with money. But simultaneously, the newest characters might be earned totally free without having to pay anything. You can grind for them, or dextpky33 to them, there’s no difference.
This sort of system generally more successful since it gives players an incentive to get something than cosmetics, while concurrently players who don’t pay aren’t disadvantaged either. Cosmetic-only games still make profits, but of your top four free-to-play games two (League of Legends and Field of Tanks) use some type of a period-saving system to have money using their audiences. One uses cosmetics since the main selling point (Dungeon Fighter Online), and Crossfire can be a pay-to-win Asian title that hasn’t had much success with Western markets.
Wargaming, makers in the massively successful Realm of Tanks, call the thought ‘Free-to-Win’. Just about everything that can be purchased in-game, from better ammo into a better trained crew, could be bought with earned credits or bought gold. The only problem is the fact this will take time, which happens to be where plenty of users decide to pay.
Hugely successful World of Tanks has was able to have 1.1 million users online as well, and states to have across a 100 million registered users.
Jasper Nicholas, Wargaming’s manager to the Asia-Pacific region, explains that “If you’re the kind of person who can’t spend three hours to achieve a particular quantity of experience points and you would like to make the grade by 50 percent, then you can definitely pay for it. It doesn’t really provide you with almost every other advantage.” The field of Tanks micro-transaction model works very well which it averages more revenue per user than any other able to play title.
The downside to this type of model is that it often walks a great line. Everything in a game title might be free, but also in some games setting up money winds up being necessary to progress. War Thunder as an example, has progression inside the game so slow which you either need months of leisure time, or weeks with a paid account, to acquire anywhere. The time-saving model works, but it’s difficult to perfect.
That’s the whole free-to-play industry in summary though. The ideas work, as evidenced by the big hitters like League of Legends and Dota 2, but perfecting those same ideas for totally different games is difficult. Although the base idea, of making profits off scary maze which can be free to play, has proven itself after which some.