Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
emulated anymore. Instead, most nonpersistent action games tend to sell con-
tent pack upgrades. Trials HD is one such example on Xbox Live Arcade. Trials
uses leaderboards very effectively for social stickiness and expands the initial
offering with Big Thrills and Big Pack track offerings sold as PDLC.
Desktop Defender on Facebook, a tower defense game from Kixeye, nicely
blends real-time strategy and nonpersistent action. The game uses a classic
dual-currency model, in which a player purchases new tower types (which con-
vey new abilities during gameplay). Purchases happen between games, so the
monetization doesn't interfere with the gameplay. The result is that the game-
play remains fast paced while still allowing the Facebook standard free-to-play
plus microtransaction model to work.
League of Legends by Riot Games is another example of a wildly success-
ful RTS game that focuses heavily on PvP combat; it is set in a colorful fan-
tasy world where two teams compete for dominance of a particular map. Each
character plays the role of a “summoner” who controls a champion avatar. The
game is free to play, but offers an in-game store from which users can purchase
virtual goods through microtransactions. Summoners can unlock new types
of champions, buy new cosmetic skins for their champions, purchase various
types of boosts that help speed up the rewards earned through play, and so on.
Because League of Legends exists independent of any dedicated platform, the
developers were forced to run their own payment systems. Players can pur-
chase “Riot Points,” the game's virtual currency, by using a credit card, PayPal,
or through SMS.
Online Trading Card Games
Collectible card games became popular in the United States in the early
1990s, when Wizards of the Coast's brilliant Magic the Gathering game took
high school and college campuses by storm and made mathematician and
game designer Richard Garfield a wealthy man. The game took its business
model from collectible trading cards like Topps baseball cards and Garbage
Pail Kids. Players could buy a starter deck for about $5 that contained enough
cards to start playing, along with the basic rules of the game. Each starter
deck was guaranteed to have a specific distribution of rare and very rare
cards, some of which could be quite valuable. The game makers subsequently
offered booster packs that featured a smaller number of cards, but with
a greater percentage of rare cards. Wizards of the Coast further refined this
model by making subsequent issuances of new series of cards slightly more
powerful than older series. Thus players who wanted to remain competitive
were all but forced to keep buying new series of cards. This model carried
over nicely into dozens of online and social collectible card games, includ-
ing some based on Magic the Gathering . In these types of games, players can
pay to download new booster packs of cards to add to their collection in the
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