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Non-annoying microtransactions


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#1 vipesoft   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:33 PM

Hi there,

I'm working on my game Blasting Forever, a top down space shooter. Here's an excerpt from the design doc:


The protaganist is an inhabitant of a planet, which has come under attack by an overwhelming force.
He decides to face these impossible odds and make a stand for as long as he can, by meeting the
enemy with its own ship.

In the game this translates into a never ending stream of enemy space ships, which the player must
withstand for as long as he/she can. Over time increasingly harder enemies appear, symbolizing the
advance of the bigger capital ships following the scouts. Each ship the player takes out is worth
points. Naturally the harder enemies are worth more points. The player can also decide to venture
away from the home planet to meet with the capital ships. This gives the player some control over
the level of difficulty.

A player can design its own ship. Every design the player decides to save is uploaded to a database.
This database is used to provide enemies for other players. Basicly a player is fighting the designs of
other players controlled by the AI. Interaction between players can take place by players challenging
each other to best their design or by posting their designs to social media.

A current build can be found here: linky (pretty rough)

I have doubts about monetization. What I'm looking for is a way to add micro-transactions, without annoying the player. Since the player can create his/her own ship out of parts, I was thinking about having parts locked at the start of the game. The player can unlock these parts by gathering ingame currency, or buying ingame currency with real money and then unlock the parts with the ingame currency. At the moment this is the best way I can think of to achieve my goal, but I'd like to hear what others have to say about this.

links:
designdoc
current build

Sponsor:

#2 glhf   Banned   -  Reputation: -585

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:54 PM

Micro transactions are easy.. steam for example when i want to buy something I only click buy, confirm.
Don't need to fill in any details.

#3 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17321

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:12 PM

Sounds pretty cool, I love the concept! You've got a good way of generating large volumes of content without having to do all the work up-front yourself too. Posted Image


As for monetization options, the idea you already have of being able to buy more in-game currency with real world money seems pretty solid, and has been shown to work in a number of existing games -- plenty of people are willing to spend a small amount to get ahead in a game without grinding through all the lower-level game play themselves.

Another thing a lot of games do is include some "premium only" content, which you can only obtain by spending some real-world money. Given the single-player nature of the game balancing isn't really an issue you have to consider, so you could make a selection of the more powerful and cooler-looking items premium. This could be particularly effective given your system of playing against other designs, as people might encounter these premium items during game-play and wish to add them to their own designs -- they potentially actually get to see the items in action before making a purchase.

Just be sure to strike a balance where premium items are an "extra" rather than a requirement -- if players feel like they need premium items to play properly, or that the game is incomplete without premium features then they will be annoyed and may not continue to play.


Hope that's helpful! Posted Image

#4 vipesoft   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:22 AM

Thanks jbadams. That kinda reflects my thoughts.

Another thing a lot of games do is include some "premium only" content, which you can only obtain by spending some real-world money. Given the single-player nature of the game balancing isn't really an issue you have to consider, so you could make a selection of the more powerful and cooler-looking items premium. This could be particularly effective given your system of playing against other designs, as people might encounter these premium items during game-play and wish to add them to their own designs -- they potentially actually get to see the items in action before making a purchase.


I haven't thought about making certain items premium. My ingame currency system was more of an advancement/experience system in that regard, so the player wouldn't be flooded with all kinds of options at the start as well that he/she has something to look forward to. Real money could than be used to advance faster.

I think your suggestion of premium items is a good one, as this is a real incentive to spend money on the game. I think in general most players who will spend money on microtransactions in a game are the recurring players, as they have a motivation (I like this game) to buy something to increase the pleasure they get from playing it. There's also a good chance that these players advance to the higher levels of the game. By offering every unlockable for the price of ingame currency would mean that my most likely target audience for micro-transactions aren't offered a reason to make them.


What I take from your comments on "what makes a good premium item", it wouldn't necessary be the items that are powerfull, but also items that have a certain cool factor about them. I'll have to think on what makes something cool. That'll be hell to define Posted Image

#5 Zethariel   Members   -  Reputation: 310

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:23 AM

Cool stuff is usually the clothes, the pets, the glittering weapons. Every kind of visual that says "I'm fabulous and better than you" is a potential for premium items. Things such as hair dye, face changers, even gender switching items are good things to try.

Other premium services may as well be global chat, colored chat text, some premium travelling options (cheaper transport/transport from any place to somewhere) -- all the stuff that makes the game easier, but not to the point of draining all the fun. If the game is based around fighting, cut down the time needed to travel -- if the game is about travelling, bring in repel potions to cut the fighting.

As jbadams said, refrain from using things such as weapons or essential potions as premium shop fodder -- while it does up the income, even to the point of surpassing some subscription games, gamers are divided artificially to those that are froobs (free noobs) and premium. Also, if it is required, it is no longer a premium item per se, just a necessary thing that everyone has to get in order to play properly.
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