Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
8.10 Which Models Fit Best with Which Type
of Game?
Although there is no perfect prescription for success, some game genres do
lend themselves to certain types of business models. In this section, we'll spend
some time discussing the types of monetization strategies you should consider
wedding to certain types of games in order to maximize your chance for satis-
factory returns.
Role-Playing Games
RPGs are well suited to microtransactions, selling features, and expansion
packs. Typically, RPGs give the player a vast game world (or at least a world
that appears to be so) in which they create a single character and spend the
majority of their time exploring the world. Along the way, most RPGs take the
player's character along an epic and transformative journey from a lowly novice
who spends his time slaying rats or bunnies to a heroic and lordly grandmaster
who flies, teleports, battles huge demons, and so on. This kind of game pro-
gression and a reward structure based on empowering a single character (usu-
ally given a unique name by the player) personalizes the game experience and
thus incentivizes the player to spend on any improvements made directly to
that character. The player character effectively acts as an avatar for the user in
the game world, and the degree to which players identify with their characters
can be very deep indeed. Players especially seem to favor items that distinguish
their characters from one another, creating a sense of individuality within the
game world. Thus, anything that is rare or unique gives the player bragging
rights and a way to feel special inside the game world.
Selling convenience features also tends to work well in RPGs. Because the
players often spend a tremendous amount of time in the game, anything that
speeds up the less desirable play experiences or reduces the time they must
spend on tasks that distract them from leveling up their characters tends to be
popular. For example, you could sell users the ability to carry more items (such
as by offering them a magic bag, or similar) so that they don't have to return to
a central location and sell back their “loot” as often. Or perhaps users want to
change key features about their character (like race or gender) months or years
after the characters are established. This is an easy and wholly optional service
for which some players will eagerly play and other players will never even con-
sider (but not suffer for its existence).
Alternately, subscription models have traditionally been popular for online
MMORPGs, but these are waning as of late. There are several problems with
the subscription model, but the most notable of these is that users can be
monetized only to the amount of the subscription if subscriptions are the only
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