Readers’ Choice: Battle of the Business Models

“How will the ‘battle of the business models’ turn out? Free-to-play-with-item-shops wins the day or is it buy-the-game-pay-by-the-month?” - JuJutsu. The eternal battle between business models (real-money transactions vs. subscription) has already “turned out.” There will always be subscription-based games, and there will always be free-to-play games that get their money some other way. The models produce very different types of games and, just as importantly, they feel different to players. There will be more free-to-play games than subscription games, and subscription games will be of a higher average quality than free-to-play games.

Want me to comment on something here at Nerfbat? Ask/provoke me in the Readers’ Choice post.

4 Responses to "Readers’ Choice: Battle of the Business Models"

  1. Ironhide

    I am a big fan of the free to play model. Lots of new games coming out, I hate having to pay $30-$50 to try a new game when 9/10 of them suck so bad I will not continue to play.

    why not do both? Free, with alacarte shop system, and then a “pro” version that is a monthly all-you-can-eat option. That way I can start free, and if I like the game, move to actually buy it.

  2. Free to play games have a different feel to them because the model applies more pressure on the development team to produce items that increase either ARPPC or the ratio between ARPPC and ARPUC. When the money motivation is readily visible to the developers you get things like, “People will buy this crossbow as it is but sales will increase x% if I add two more points of agility to it because with the added agility it will be the best item in the game.” In a subscription model, the ratio of ARPPC to ARPUC is much closer to 1:1 and as such revenue streams are more steady or predictable as a function of churn. In free to play, you have the potential to earn more from every customer but you’re always in a constant state of closing the sale with the customer.

    A hybrid like you mention is really a free to play game with a packaged discount option and not a free to play game with a subscription. Free to play adds chaos to the revenue calculations and changes the design philosophy of a team. I don’t believe subscription and free to play can coexist in the same game. One will always be a disguised version of the real underlying game philosophy.

  3. I wish a high quality “pay per hour” game would come out for the US. I’d love to remain active in games like WoW and LotRO and so on, but its a pain to have to remember to resub then unsub. I’d much rather buy time in chunks and then if I just didn’t show up for three months I wouldn’t have to remember to cancel and any time I had left would still be there.

  4. [...] Heartless_ Gamer.  (And in a parallel effort there was an unrelated post about subscription models over at Nerfbat as [...]

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