Feb. 1st, 2014

pnathan: elephant bypasses fence to drink from pool (Default)
Looking over https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7161901, I am forced to think about monetization of Critters (should it be Critterz?).

It seems clear that IAP enables 'whale' behavior, which substantially increases total & average revenue per user. Since I am someone who likes making money (and likes having a way to keep getting the customer's money), it makes sense to figure out how to 'play' IAP.

By the way, I'm mentioning numbers here, but these numbers are, flatly, provisional and are not final.

Key idea: You get your game and the non-cosmetic content by giving an up-front fee. Cosmetic & 'hard-core' play costs money. Things that increase database burden cost money to cover it. No handwaving.

Set up account and play the game, free, for 24 hours.

Purchase the game for a price point (between 2.99 and 4.99).

This gets you access to N critters. You can play the critters as much as you like, as long as you like,until the service shuts down. Since the game is running online, you will get updates as part of your purchase.

Certain add-ons will cost money. For instance,

- a default emotion set will be available for dogs, cats, and foxes(have to figure out the picture rights for dogs & foxes, since I don't have either). If you want to upload your own pictures, that will be a charge. Say, $0.99 for a picture set.

- If you want to write a history of your critter, it will cost some $X (not too expensive) per critter. Maybe more if you really want to write a lot. This is directly targeted at role-players and people who want to record their virtual pet's story.

- Another idea might be swag. Say, you can feed your cat - Amos - kibble every night. He is a happy cat. However, you can buy 'Tuna' from the swag menu for 0.25[1]. Amos adores tuna, adores you for giving you tuna (boost in stats and behaves better). You feel good, and I get a wee bit of money.

Fundamentally, I am someone who played games as a teen and young adult - you bought them, and that's all. No continual mooching. I played WoW. It seemed reasonable to pay a monthly cut. This worked out, as I knew that they were keeping servers alive and improving the game. I don't want to play a game where I have to 'insert a quarter to keep playing'. Holding your experience hostage to money seems... off. It's not above-board. It's like if a hotel informs you that in order to turn the lights off to go to sleep, you have to pay extra. And then to pay to turn the lights back on. Yech.

Seems much more fair and honest to charge up-front for a fair and reasonable service, with any premium services available and marked as such.

[1] This might actually not be workable due to payment processors wanting a cut. If they want a $0.25 min transaction, it'll have to be more.

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