#AGDC/PlaySpan Monetization Forum/Consumer Choice in Play and Pay

16Sep09

GDC Austin is in full swing and the Twitter chatter is going strong.  There were a number of exciting summits on Tuesday but the one standout was my client PlaySpan’s Monetization 2.0 Forum. Standing room only as over 220 industry executives packed the room to hear from industry trailblazers. The breadth of speakers and subjects was impressive culminating in a fantastic case study by Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer, Dungeons & Dragons Online where he discussed switching over to a hybrid monetization model and providing consumers choice in play and pay is increasing ARPUs with virtual goods as the key driver.  If you’re at the show, stop by PlaySpan’s Booth 801 to check out the eye-opening DDO Ultimate and Nonoba demos and explore ways to optimize your digital goods commerce and payments.  Read on, the following is a detailed summary of the day’s events:

2pm, Opening Remarks
Karl Mehta, CEO, PlaySpan
Karl Mehta opened the Forum with market insights from the VGMarket/PlaySpan Digital Goods Buyer Survey. The survey talked with 2425 respondents from the PlaySpan Marketplace examined individual digital goods purchases and sales behavior across multiple genres and platforms.  12% of those surveyed in US purchased virtual goods last year. The industry goal is to take that number to 25% in 2010 and deliver virtual goods and digital goods to the mainstream.  10% of 55-64y purchased virtual goods, women 25-34y making up the largest group of buyers. The survey also ranked the popularity of payment methods: PayPal #1 (50%), Credit Card #2, Ultimate Game Card #3, Cash #4, and Spare Change at #5, ahead of Google checkout and money orders.  (Survey findings will presented in detail at Engage! Expo next week.)

2:15pm, Social Gaming Panel
Moderated by Ned Sherman, CEO, Digital Media Wire
The next panel focused on social gaming trends and featured senior executives of the five major players in the viral and social space.  Moderated Ned Sherman asked the panelists to share case studies of unexpected successes and failures, how they measure success, and to tell us something we don’t know.  (On September 30, Ned Sherman will be digging in deeper at Digital Media Wire’s NY Games Conference, if you’re planning on going discount code: GDC will get you $100 off.)

John Pleasants, CEO, Playdom
Having recently joined Playdom from EA, John offered an interesting perspective on the direction of the gaming business: “The gaming business is a $45B business growing at a rate of 10%, no other $50B business in the world is growing double-digits in this economy but two-thirds are shrinking, the traditional business, and one-third which is online is booming at over 30% globally.  The most exciting part is online social gaming.  Playdom is at the nexus of free2play, online social gaming, live services (vs software model), it’s so current and has so much momentum behind it, along with the audience here, we are shaping where the industry goes next.  Very exciting time.  What’s working well – Mobsters II came out 6-7 weeks ago on Facebook  – key metrics around virality, engagement – first game that has sequelled – Mafia category is now 3y old, long-lived.  What’s not working – Sorority Life wardrobe feature – more features doesn’t mean better game – we misread audience. Metrics watched includes DAUs, ARPUs and virality, engagement most sacred which is the highest quality measure of the quality of the game, repeats, frequency/depth of usage, time on site, 24 hours – 72 hours – 1 week after a game, you can predict what’s going to happen to a game.  We are best at monetizing games, that said monetization is not more important than growing the industry, getting people on the platforms, overly focusing on monetization is a trap.  We are a game producer and platform/publisher – we make great games, distribute them well to multiplatforms, thus we watch operational metrics, currency programs, virality, business intelligence.  Sharing, rewards, referrals are features incorporated in all games – haven’t cracked the nut on UGC yet – mass participation will grow the business – had a fashion item contest in Sorority Life with huge participation – wound up selling 12 as items in store.  Launching game with synch play, live service access through any portal.  Can’t own customers in a web world, always one click away from losing customers, must earn them through better service.  And by the way, we’re hiring!!”

Sebastien de Halleux, COO, Playfish
“Playfish is the fastest growing in the social gaming sector, 7 of the top Facebook games are from Playfish, we also top MySpace, Apple charts. Since 2000, 100+ mobile titles.  We were frustrated by retail, catalogue, portal experience, sought distribution revolution, saw Facebook platform as a distribution opportunity.  Playfish puts your friends at the center of the experience, part of the game DNA, value you get is derived from interaction with friends, similar to the fun you have with friends around a game of Monopoly.  The company is 20 months old, started in London, now has four offices including one in the Arctic Circle- organically grown to distribute 130mm games – 1B game sessions in a single month – social games are addressing latent demand and receiving enthusiasm of large audience.  Surprises – 4th largest country on Facebook is Turkey. Some countries have zero revenue, when it comes to monetization, it’s not one size fits all. Monetization question is global but propensity to purchase inside a game is equal across countries.  Most popular games – Pet Society 17mm MAU and Restaurant City 14mm MAU – both audiences larger than WOW – both less than 6m old.  Monetize with virtual goods in-game microtransactions where players buy goods for self-expression or collectibility.  Virtual Goods pioneered in Asia but now widely adopted around the world with items upwards of $40.  Sell 20mm items daily in Restaurant City – pay with attention based currency (earned by time playing) and/or real currency.  It’s not retail – try before you buy. User is put in control. This is the first time not telling the user how much the entertainment is worth – some spend hundreds of dollars because you have simply removed the ceiling, can monetize the demand curve more closely.  Quiztastic! on Facebook, based on UGC, harnesses creative power via crowdsourcing friends for relevance – many want to participate in game design process but not necessarily coders – Quiztastic! creates a socially relevant filter than creates a high quality experience.  Next trend on web will be the access method, play same game on MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Google Android…a service accessed through preferred community site, in that respect you do own your customer. Era of destination sites is marginalized compared to reach you can get by going to users, not a product on a standalone platform.”

Lance Tokuda, CEO, RockYou
“RockYou is a virtual social app-based ad network focused on monetizing social apps and viral widgets.  With the number of page views that virtual goods generate, developers can make decent money on the side just by putting ads on remnant inventory of page views, getting $0.05 – $2 CPMs depending on the quality of the experience.  Things we did well was grow our reach, now at 211mm/month with ad network and Facebook/MySpace games.  What didn’t work was building apps to take advantage of Facebook viral channels, competitors copied and overloaded it.  Now building high quality experiences and let virals take care of themselves.  Remnant inventory advertising, branded ad sales – goal is to reach 40-50mm US, 200mm worldwide to become a must buy for brands – Did you know that 80% of ad money goes to these must buy top ten sites like Facebook, MySpace…. (Developers should check out AppSavvy too.) Biggest spenders:  ATT, Sprint, P&G, studio theatrical trailers. As for UGC, only 10% of players will actually provide UGC, very hard to retain recurring engagement, Facebook limits distribution self-expression – apps don’t own profile space anymore.  Other features like competition, exploring, leveling, and socializing are stronger than UGC on Facebook platform. Big fan of synch games. And did you know you can increase CTR 5x by simply changing icon on bookmark to red 16×16 square.”

Gerardo Capiel, VP Product Management, MySpace
“Oversee the MySpace apps platform. OpenSocial and MySpace ID allows external sites to integrate with MySpace profiles and activity streams. 120mm users worldwide, 70mm US.  Skews young, 60% under 25y, 80% under 34y. Young ethnically diverse engaged audience slightly more female.  Games have been successful.  Apps generating 30% activity from engagement channels.  But what works on one game doesn’t necessarily work well on the next, same for platform, Facebook experience not necessarily the same as MySpace. One size doesn’t fit all. Watch active user engagement metrics daily, provide developers best tools to drive those numbers yet don’t generate revenue directly from apps, rather generate revenue when app developers are successful and want to advertise more on the MySpace platform to acquire greater audience. Also, track number of game developers coming onto the MySpace platform. Game developers have become a large source of ad revenue for MySpace. Depending on game developer goals, MySpace offers CPM, CPC, cost per install, and rev-share.  MySpace is a social network based on self-expression and mashups, persistent profiles play a big part, show off rewards earned, things created. Site also allows flash. Interested in developing for MySpace, check out the SDK at developer.myspace.com.”

Robert Goldberg, SVP Business Operations, Zynga
“Been at Zynga 6m.   Zynga marries best of web with best of game design, get good games out quickly and iterate to other games over time.  Biggest failure in terms of investment/time was Guild of Heroes, a deeply immersive 3D game on Facebook, but not a very social game, not appropriate for Facebook, decommissioned it.  Need to design more to social principles, experience friends in new and different ways and express yourself through games.  Farmville launched 8 weeks ago, 16mm DAU, 40mm+ MAU – caught fire – appeals to a wide audience cross age groups, genders, countries, appeals to a variety of game play – for those interested in leveling up, to those interested in expressing themselves through decorating, have fun staying connected to distant relatives.  Good games on Facebook, MySpace are about communication, self-expression and game play – combo of two create the social experience.  Farmville some items only purchasable through farm cash (real $$) not earned coins – no negative feedback yet, enough free game play to enjoy the game – haven’t spent a dollar yet and on Level 31 without spiffing coins or cash. Texas Hold Em largest synch game, something magical about finding a friend at a game.  Striving to make asynch play that closely approximates synch play.  We have a great relationship with Facebook, MySpace platforms – why not stand on the shoulders of giants.  Games running on both Facebook Connect and MySpace OpenSocial.  Game play is more about social fabric underneath rather than where you’re playing.  Hmm, tell you something you don’t know –  pink tractors outsell red tractors on Farmville!” (This hot tidbit got retweeted!)

3:05pm, MMOs & Virtual Worlds
Moderated by Nanea Reeves, SVP, EA Online
“Online monetization is currently a big topic at EA, target 7-8% free2play conversion, 5% on social networks.  Topics for the panel: business models, offerings, consumer base, and fraud.”

Cary Rosenzweig, CEO, IMVU
“IMVU is a 3D free2play virtual world that allows developers to sell credits to users rather than cashing them out directly to us. Rapidly growing, hiring engineers!  Making $1mm+/month (will have a big announcement in 3 weeks), 80% revenue from consumer (microtransactions + UGC), only 20% advertising – managed offer or banner ads.  Oh what a difference a year makes (big laughs from the audience-that’s for sure! from the panel) – one year ago $750mm in venture capital money went into advertising-based virtual worlds, then it was abandoned to launch virtual goods models.  The essence of a strong business model: fight fraud, build economy, provide a service customers will pay for.  Do the math, you have to be a massive planet to base business on advertising, if you’re a satellite, monetize directly from your customers, increase monetization per active user, monetization machines can be more successful than those with larger customers bases without a monetization machine.  Free2play metrics:  track engagement, user hours (50mm monthly), overall transaction value (understand relationship between user hours and monetization- $50mm US back and forth), conversion (user base active in economy – 51% not paying anything), repeat usage, watch retention more than acquisition, lifecycle value over 2 years, markers – did they buy or sell something, buy or sell currency, put them in buckets and move them along.  Free to paid conversion rate targeting, 5-10% in Asia, 20% is an anomally, if you’re at a 5% and go to 6% you’re up 20%, more than a trial strategy, people that play for free, engaging larger community, adds value to those that play.  In the business of UGC, like eBay market, 20,000 active users/developers out of 150,000 create 3-4000 items created each day. 2.5mm 3D items in the catalogue to customize.  Many come to IMVU to buy credits for items they want, not selling virtual goods directly. Top 10 creators earned $100,000+ last year real cash.  There will be a revolution in the west when mobile companies charge what VISA charges, trillions will go through mobile, right now mobile payments are not reasonable at 50%, must drop to 10% to tap customers can’t tap now. Fraud is surprising low, we have a good handle on it, whenever you can get cash out, there will be fraud.  We let the market decide quality, extremely long tail, top ten items 0.02% of sales, players buy to look unique for social capital.”

Joshua Hong, CEO, K2 Network-GamersFirst
“Large scale hardcore MMORPG free2play portal launched 2y ago, manage 4 MMOs from Asia.  Free2play phenomena started in Asia, all revenue comes from selling items, make very little advertising.  MMO ARPU is high, game play is long, persistence is everything, relationship is long, community customer service is key.  Social has different DNA than MMO.  Hardcore segment will grow. They start with game boy migrate to iPhone to social gaming to console to MMO.  Turkey 75mm population, 50%+ under 25y, predominently Muslim but trying to become more western, looking for more content.  MMO combined with free2play is a winning combo, global perspective, emerging marketplaces like Brazil.  Why pay for box, then subscriptions. Free2play is another pricing option, a try before you buy, large percent of sales come from all you can eat membership model packaged as item microtransactions because that’s what members want.  Make a lot of money in Turkey, Eastern Europe, not reliant on credit cards or PayPal, rather sell prepaid cards or code, works in China too, payment that’s easiest way to go.  Watch Turkey, Brazil, India, Russia – kids looking for amazing digital content, speed to market, free2play way to go. Avoid China/Turkey fraud with prepaid cards.”

Johny Mang, Live Operations & Publishing Director, EA- DICE
“Free2play games, two titles Battlefield Heroes cartoon shooter and Battle Forge free RTS game. Both PC games. Microtransaction business works for packaged goods titles too.  Some markets localized with billing instruments that are popular work above planned ARPUs – selling decorative items, emotes, items progress faster through game experience, no tangible benefit in game play.  Other markets without language perform under plan.  Free2play sells boost on Battlefield Heroes sent it to top of charts, booster packs to equip army with skills and power, designed with higher conversion rates into the game.  Game design influences conversion rate, if items give functional advantage, smaller user base higher conversion than buying decoratives, how well positioned to monetized geography, conversion rates 5-10% very good, some markets will rate lower.  Korea homogenous market – clear demographic and established payment instruments different than Europe.  Looking at game economies where vast majority of players wont ever become customers, whatever opportunity to monetize free-riding audience I welcome, taking away illusion of ad market, may not sustain 80% of revenues, but if it brings in 20% it’s very welcome – offer reward programs or advertising, it’s welcome, microtransactions innovate in advertising space to give back to audience through ads, tie ad campaigns to virtual item rewards adds different flavor to frontal bombardment of content they’re not interested in.  Maximum potential starts with localization on billing, content.  What will happen to $20-30mm game production business model 3-4y from now.  Give consumers/audiences the tools to get what they want.”

Tom Hale, Chief Product Officer, Linden Lab/Second Life
“Second Life is a 3D virtual world that is similar to MMO, it’s a game for creating and selling things and making money, 189th economy in the world.  Making $80mm-100mm via hosting services (letting 3D content persist e.g. renting an island), virtual currency transaction fees, and premium subscription. Make some money in-game advertising for events, self-referential. How to work with advertisers to provide them and us a value, to integrate brand well into game where doesn’t ruin immersive experience.  Cash going into games from offers where you have to fill out survey – different than game advertising.  Help content creators grow their brands, mechanisms to promote, try product, rating/ranking not as useful because of charting, gets lost in the long tail.  Top merchant on Second Life is a sweater maker $1mm/year, has employees, outsourced in China – word of mouth – everyone knows she makes the best skirts.  Will see more interchange between virtual worlds and games, see that a bit with offgame trading services already, metaverse economy bigger than any one.”

Craig Alexander, VP Product Development, Turbine
“15y developer of traditional core MMO games: Asheron’s Call, Lord of the Rings, Dungeons and Dragons Online.  DDO went from being subscription-based, now 2 weeks into free2play microtransaction model, great being a part of the big monetization transition going on: core games last to make the transition.  Went with hybrid monetization model because of high fixed cost of running MMO, desire to grow revenue and offer flexibility and choice to consumer – not everyone wants to pay subscription, leaving out a significant part of the market with paywall barrier, hardcore will pay more than the subscription price – moved from mandatory subscription to optional subscription bundled with dual currency, its a balance of time vs. money, if you put enough time into game, you can play for free, or you can pay your way through convenience and consumable items.  Surprised that paid subscriptions have gone up since going hybrid, currencies are way up too, contrary to what DDO modeled would happen. DDO building own content, democratization of the design process, merchandising what players want to consume, big volume transactions are infrequent with dual currency. PC Retail is in serious decline, 3-4 years off but console going away as well.” (more on DDO below, see Fernando Paiz)

John Bates, BD Strategic Marketing, Entropia Universe
“MindArc are the creators of the Entropia Universe MMO virtual worlds game, virtual currency is backed with US dollars, approved as a bank in Sweden.  Currently one world in the universe, Planet Calypso, growing to multiple worlds in the platform.  In-game wallet – we don’t take money til item is used, e.g. when bullets are used up and players needs to replace – the fact that sooner or later the player has to fix or replace drives economy.  2008 $450mm US exchanged in universe.  Advertisers increase loot pool.  MMOs were the original social networks – very social.”

3:55pm, Monetization Demo
Chris Benjaminsen, Co-Founder, Nonoba
“Partnering with PlaySpan to provide micropayment solution for flash games. Nonoba.com is a casual community of UGC flash games, a showcase for GameRise turnkey solution for developers seeking to build a game community, completely customizable flash games platform, community APIs deep integration into any social network or community, high scores, achievements, ranking, translation, build multiplayer flash games with SDK, hosted in the cloud, free to distribute anywhere. Currently there are 235 games built by 100+ indie developers in 21 languages as well as commercial clients licensing the technology directly,
open infrastructure for everybody, system running for 2y+, teamed up with PlaySpan to help developers to make a living at it with microtransactions, payment APIs offering integration, content management, accounts, permissions, wallets.  Worked with PlaySpan to develop Ultimate Pay. PlaySpan already has 85 providers, huge audience, money in the ecosystem, they are experts in handling payments, excellent fraud protection.  Demo for Ultimate Pay at www.nonoba.com.”

4:15pm, Platforms
Moderator Charles Hudson, VP BD, Serious Business
“Facebook is launching an integrated payment system
. Feels like the history of electricity, for first hundred years electricity was used solely for lighting, no one imagined anything else, had to screw washing machine into light socket.  Then they figured there must be a better way.  It’s the moment in time we’re in right now.”

Ramu Yalamanchi, Chief Product Officer, hi5
“We’re a social entertainment platform with a games channel and virtual currency, 60mm worldwide. Very global, monetize games in surprising markets through currency and localization support, 40 currencies, 50 languages, many small ad markets actually quite good in virtual goods monetization.  Items in games drive monetization, current view is premium model payment path, collecting through offers or stored valued cards, will start to see hybrid of advertising and direct payment, creativity paying people for attention, segment those willing to pay and those willing to give time.  2008 launched open platform, metrics measures success dollars for DAU, MAU, adoption on the platform.  A successful game is 100,000-1mm DAUs in 6 weeks.  Monetization – hi5 markets similar to Facebook, MySpace $MAU, $DAU, lower across all markets 30-50% but still better than advertising.  Top requests are for real-time, 3D support, and distribution to bigger audience, go from zero to hero with friends.  Regarding fraud, individual attacks not so coordinated, spam been a problem a long time, handle coins for developers so they don’t need to worry about it, there is no cash out component, still need to pay attention to in-game fraud.  If you give people a way to open their wallet, they will, be it stored value cards.  Favorite game is Organized Crime on hi5, of course”

Danielle Deibler, Engineering Manager, Adobe
“Adobe makes tools to build content including Flash Runtime which a lot of social game developers use on the PC side.  Seeking to integrate Flash platform for secure payments, trust factor is important, working with PayPal, Visa, PlaySpan, don’t want platform lock-in like Apple.  Half of web flash game developers monetizing via advertising, many convert over with mochi coins virtual goods systems out there, 20% starting to introduce virtual goods in last 6m, multiple monetization methods in-game ads turned off if buy virtual goods, subscription is not popular for flash, might change with casual MMOs using flash for browser-based games.  Get in, talk on Facebook, get out quick.  Don’t build WOW for casual where it takes 6 hours.  Feature requested most is 3D support, gaps in mobile, tv, global.  Go with payment aggregator so you can concentrate on game play mechanics.  Favorite game is Shadow Complex and Hello Kitty, US beta.”

Damon Hougland, Senior Director, PayPal Platform
“11/3-4 PayPal Developer Conference. Fraud prevention, focus on total end to end experience- in-game and beyond the game.  In 190 countries today but it doesn’t seem like that’s enough, pride on fraud control, Paypal does it better than anyone. Games coming to set top boxes, aggregation, escrowed digital goods – customer wallets/$ come first.  Fraudsters love the SDK as new tool to automate, fraudsters talk to each other, but Paypal is very good at tracking down the large networks, lots of experience from eBay, it’s a main preoccupation.  Favorite game? My kids love Lego Star Wars.”

Jason Citron, Founder and CEO, Aurora Feint
“Social gaming platform for iPhone, it’s like Facebook/XBLA for iPhone, millions of users, thousands of developers, hundred active games in app stores from SDK, provide hosted services like leaderboards, chat rooms, multiplayers, acheivements, and provide visibility in app store with OpenFeint, social cross-promotion technology, by engaging in a game friends are notified of achievements. Only in-app purchases allowed in $.99 apps on iPhone, cuts off free2play upsell, so single purchase apps is where it’s at, iTunes model for ten years, price trending toward $1, 10-15 apps on phone, average spend is $80.  Short bursting game sessions not much attention or focus, play for about 30 seconds and leave, leverage social interaction with friends, invite friends to play. Most requested feature is multiplayer with social cross-promotion.  Huge piracy issue on iPhone and iPod Touch. Make money with Apple Affiliate Sales, sell more games via social cross promotion: instead of Apple 30%/Developer 70% its Apple 25%/OpenFeint 5%/Developer 70%, it’s a great program! Favorite game is Shadow Complex for XBLA.”

5:05, Transitioning Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO)
Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer, Turbine
The highlight of the day came at the end when Fernando Paiz delivered a compelling presentation on the effects of offering hybrid monetization:  “Our challenge was imagining what it means to transition an existing premium fantasy MMO in a North American market from a box retail subscription model to a hybrid microtransaction/subscription model to get a flexible monetization platform without scaring away customers or ruining what’s fun in the game.  Turbine had been in business for 15 years old, Asheron’s Call around 10y with big franchises like Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings, constantly innovating with game design and alternate business models. Subscription models are hard to make work. North America slowly more accepting of microtransactions.  Launched DDO Storm Age in Febraury 2006. Delivered a fun role-playing dungeon crawl experience, action combat and integrated voice chat.  Light on the content expectations, limited advancement, no solos, and it was a hard subscription sell, people willing to pay for the box but not sure it was worth $15/month.  Since 9.09.09 launch worked on additional features, accessibility, level cap increases, solo difficulty, small party play.  When undertook relaunch we were trying to define what is the nextgen business model that would support large populations and has an ecommerce system reusable for Turbine.  Release needed to feel meaty, worthy of a AAA launch, took level cap to 96 levels of advancement, polished combat, store game-changing, adding value to subscription plan.  Central to the release was to give a choice on how to play the game, and how to pay for the game.  Many might be willing to pay $50 for  box and $50 goods but not able to justify a subscription of $15/month. Wanted to give the customer flexibility to pay as much as they want to. (A revolutionary concept!!) Guiding principles: don’t do it halfway, present fundamental choices time v money, rent unlimited access with subscription plan or buy a la carte depending on how many hours you’re going to play.  Had a healthy subscriber base that we wanted to preserve revenue, had good game mechanics, weren’t starting from scratch, goal of game is to quest for super sword of awesomeness, not willing to give easy button on that and sell it as high end loot, however there are several things you need to unlock that you can buy.  Got push back for charging for a dungeon but its a handcrafted adventure, developing new content is expensive, want to charge for it.  There are tiers of customers – free – no credit card needed for first 4 levels which are free, limits in place to counteract goldfarmers, fraud and spammers, then there are premium and VIP customers. Had to upgrade payment system and decided to partner with PlaySpan. Turbine handling the billing and game integration and PlaySpan handling front end and back end of web-driven in-game store hosted on their proven microtransaction platform on their servers, skinned for DDO.  Learned it’s important not to skimp on testing, 4 weeks is too short, need 10w, observe usability sessions, where are users going to get stuck.  For DDO, the game stayed the same, players never need to use the store but its always ever-present, and seamlessly integrated. A third of the content is free, prompted when its time to buy.  Critics warned hybrid model might cause confusion, we’ll lose all our subscribers, can’t charge for features that have been in the game for years – none of this proved true.  Quite the opposite.  Eventhough it has only be a week from switching the paid subscription model to the free2play microtransactions/subscriptions hybrid, the results have surprised everyone. Paid subs actually increased since launch (9.1-9.9-9.14), 22% of players have discovered the store including those with free points, 70% put things in cart have checked out, experiencing reduced acquisition costs with 3x CTR on banner ads for the game, now 24th overall ranking and #8 in North America MMOs in XFire ranking, was at 104 in overall ranking #33 in MMO list, trending up in play hours, passing Conan, Warhammer.  So far so good! Items selling – heal potions, experience boosts, resurrection cakes, new cast, additional character slots, catalogue of 400 items, conditioning of free players in buying the loot and gear for characters. To prevent fraud, disallowing real money transactions. Always fine-tuning, where do we go from here and how do we adjust.  Hired people to work the store, merchandise the items.  If it helps us acquire more users we’ll make more things free.  Exploring a lower cost subscription with no points, also exploring offering a subscription with a lot of points for more  as well as product bundles. The DDO case proves players will spend on virtual goods in a subscription game.  Giving players choice to opt-in removed a key barrier, and without a ceiling some paid higher than original subscription!”

5:45-7pm, Cocktails
The evening ended as guests mixed it up at the afterparty.

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