Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
A good rule of thumb is that for every five people playing your game,
you can count on no more than one of them purchasing your DLC. (A 20
percent attach rate for downloadable content is considered quite good.) And
please note that these sorts of attach rates are for traditional retail or con-
sole products—games in which the user has already made a considerable
financial investment. So before investing heavily in creating DLC, it pays
to have a thorough understanding of your user base. If your game has an
install base of a million users, spending an additional $2 or $3 million in
developing and testing for downloadable content that might sell for $2 per
copy ... well, you can do the math. On the other hand, for games with a
pervasive world, a user base that remains engaged for months, and in-game
mechanics that promote social stickiness (like prestige gear that can only be
found in unlocked zones, etc.), this kind of investment might make finan-
cial sense.
Cover Charge
One interesting hybrid approach to the free-to-play model that has begun to
gain traction recently is the practice of allowing users to download the game
free, but then mandating that they spend a small amount of money before
they are actually allowed to play. This money is then converted into in-game
currency, such that the developer is basically guaranteed at least a minimum
spend from each user. This method is the equivalent of forcing users to pay
a cover charge to enter a nightclub, but then guaranteeing them two “free”
drinks once they are inside. Dust 514 , a recent FPS game by CCP, the develop-
ers behind the highly successful MMO EVE Online has recently announced
this model for their PlayStation 3 sku. 2 The model provides a way of offer-
ing the game for free but still guaranteeing that only serious users investigate
the product, while at the same time bolstering at least the initial intake of
revenue.
Sell Your Players' Eyes
Do you remember the scene in Blade Runner where Rutger Hauer visits the
Chinese eye designer? Unfortunately, the way you'll get to do this won't be
nearly as cool, but on the bright side, you're much less likely to end up the
victim of a psychopathic replicant. If your game has a great number of users,
their time and attention has value. You can sell advertising as a way of deriving
value from users who want to play your game for free. You'll need to make a
2 http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2011-07-11-dust-514-requires-cover-charge-from-ps3-players
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