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DongHunLee

Game design focused on Free to Play type game?

22 posts in this topic

Hi.

 

I want to know superb and proven technique about free 2 play type game. 

 

Of course I have been played many of them and know how they design paid items and etc, but copying them is not enough for theory. 

 

So I want to investigate and research seriously before deeply make my game's design document. 

 

So eventual purpose of this strategy and research is to know,

 

[how to earn maximum money by F2P type game?]

=

[how to make user eager to buy paid item continuously? how to make them fanatic?]

 

 

Any useful comments or information site, articles? 

 

Thanks.

Edited by hardcoreDEV
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1: Never force the player to buy something just so they can keep up with the competition, everything in the game that changes gameplay, the player should be able to get by just playing the game and not spening a singel cent on it. You want to make the player want to buy something not force them.

2: You can use commercial ingame to make money instead of ingame purchases. I can't recall I have seen this in any game that is not a mobile game so I really can't say that it will work.

3: To make people "fanatic" you need them to be coming back every singel day to play the game. Here the balance in the game comes in. You do not want to make a chess like game with perfect balance because then you won't need to balance the game. Why do you want to make balance changes all the time? Because that require patches, people love patches and people love when a game changes the meta, because then they can discover the new strategy that work for that patch first. Extra Credits talks about this in one of their videos, worth a look. http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/perfect-imbalance

Cheers!

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As ShiftyCake points out, vanity items is a very good way to make revenue in a F2P game.

Selling items that directly effects a players ability in the gameworld is risky to say the least.

A reason why many people are wary of F2P games are because of the unbalance these purchasable items causes.

Some of these F2P games are even refferred to as a P2W (or Pay to Win) games.

 

I must say that I dislike the way you are talking about your potential players.

 

 

how to make user eager to buy paid item continuously? how to make them fanatic?

If your aim is to make "users" fanatic in order for you to make money, I suggest not making a game at all.

Edited by AlanSmithee
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you know,,, with no money, no devs, means poor quality, or break down of team or company.


I'm not sure I follow. Care to explain further so I can maybe help you with this?
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You never enter the gaming development world with eyes on getting rich, you mkae games because you love it. If you can make a living on it, good for you! But you have to put that as a secondary "objective". Yes, making games cost money, alot of it, it's a sacrfice we do as developers.

If you are only after the cash, enter a business school and educate yourself to something fancy and join EA Games as a Production Manager, they don't know shit about games but they make alot of money :P

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You never enter the gaming development world with eyes on getting rich, you mkae games because you love it. If you can make a living on it, good for you! But you have to put that as a secondary "objective". Yes, making games cost money, alot of it, it's a sacrfice we do as developers.

If you are only after the cash, enter a business school and educate yourself to something fancy and join EA Games as a Production Manager, they don't know shit about games but they make alot of money tongue.png

 

even if I do that, I just earn salary. and not my game, not my team. 

 

Its not truly my thing. 

 

At there, I don't have my own users, my real comrades. 

 

Its just all for EA's owner. 

 

I don't want to serve as slave to someone else for just a small shit salary. 

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The idea is to create something ahead of time on your own. It's really hard to get team members. If you make something substantial, you can start a Kickstarter - just make sure to get your friends and family involved as well, don't just rely on strangers for money, because that can sometimes fall through. With the money, you can improve the art and hire a composer. You might want to focus on a small, polished game, because large games are a pain and can really drain money you don't have.

As an example, this game cost me 100 hours of my own time, with 60 of those 100 hours just me lollygagging, and at least $80: http://games.softpedia.com/get/Freeware-Games/Block-Critter.shtml - the Postmortem story wasn't very successful, but at least I learned from it.
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To make any real money in free to play, that is to say more than a "shit salary" as you put it, you need critical mass of players engaging with your game and having a high retention rate with your game.

 

I am by no means an expert on F2P, as I work for a AAA developer, but there seem to be two successful models.

 

1) Pay to win in a non-competitive game. Pay to win allows people desiring to spend the money to do so to progress faster. Faster progression in a competitive game gives no incentive to people who don't want to spend to win so in general you will lose these players and you won't have a critical mass to support your paying customers, which results in your game being abandoned. In non-competitive games this doesn't necessarily disincentivize non-paying customers, as they can still progress naturally at a more deliberate rate. This type of game tends to be supported by people called "Whales" (it's a gambling term for big spenders). Where a small percentage of the population supports the game financially.

 

2) Pay for aesthetic/customization. Another model doesn't stall progress at all, but rather users can pay to make their characters look unique. Special skins, cool effects, items to decorate your house, etc. This type of game doesn't turn off non-paying users as much, and can turn non-paying users into paying users more easily. Some ideas for increased monitization could be to have limited time/quantity items for sale, which might convince people to spend money if something cool is a limited edition skin. You could also have a resell option and take a cut off of the sale of those items.

 

In the end, neither of these models will work if you don't have a game that will both attract and retain a critical mass of players for an extended period of time. This comes down generally to having a great game that is continuously fun to play, and a LOT of marketing spend. At the end of the day, research other successful F2P games out there and choose the model that appeals most to you.

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I know how it hard to make game that is both attract and retain a critical mass of players. 

 

So first there need investor, then dev team. 

 

So the cost of game dev can kill easily most of challengers who can't make this structure. 

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I've worked only in mobile f2p since joining the game industry. Here are a few tips:

 

1) Limit players daily gameplay through artificial means (stamina, energy, etc)

   a) If a player wants to play more a day, they pay more

2) Have monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly events

   a) You want players to develop appointment style gameplay where the game becomes a habbit and they check the game multiple times a day

3) Use exponential curves for difficulty

4) When it comes to items/monsters/classes, never let the player buy what they want, let them buy a chance at getting what they want (i.e. gotcha in puzzle and dragons)

5) At minimal, have some social mechanic

6) Make sure everything is data driven

    a) Track the metrics for everything

7) You will lose 50-90% of players within the first 2 minutes, so make sure your NUF (new user flow) is amazing

8) Your art (style and theme) and game icon will be a large component of drawing in players, much more than interesting gameplay

9) If they game doesn't work, drop it and start a new one. The games as a service phenomenon means don't try and find the silver bullet, build a new gun

10) Correct economy sinks are CRUCIAL, if your game takes off you don't want to have numbers growing to an unmanagable size

 

Hope this helps

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One thing to consider is, making your game cheaply, hence you won't need to spend a lot to keep the game running.

 

For example, a game i play used to only use images, not moving visuals, and added the option for players to download an imagepack and directly load images from there instead of from the server, which was faster for the players and decreased server-usage.
(this is an example, server-cost are getting lower and lower, and thus the game i talked about is allowing high-res images to be taken from the server during play nowadays)

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Indeed, if there's one thing you want to optimize is server usage. This is the single reccurring expense you want to cut on, so using as little server power as you possibly can is key to making a profitable F2P game.

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I am sure you know most free games are only seen for a few minutes a day by the masses, where they'll usually collect or spend their daily stuff. Make sure there is randomization or it will not be entertaining to revisit each day.

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2: You can use commercial ingame to make money instead of ingame purchases. I can't recall I have seen this in any game that is not a mobile game so I really can't say that it will work.

Gaia Online and Neopets have both used sponsored product placement as part of their money-earning strategy.

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Thanks to useful tips.

 

I want to target middle-hardcore gamers but easy to start game for casual users, which is defense+rpg+skill selection and combination like Diablo3 style for Android/iOS.

Edited by hardcoreDEV
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I am sure you know most free games are only seen for a few minutes a day by the masses, where they'll usually collect or spend their daily stuff. Make sure there is randomization or it will not be entertaining to revisit each day.

 

Facebook games and some Mobile games perhaps, but AAA F2P, certainly not, and many other PC-based F2P are rather immersive.

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How many game  transitioned to  'Free to Play' after running as a pay to play game for a substantial time already ???

 

They had a chance to make money the old way first and then to milk  something they largely already had paid for using F2P mechanisms.

 

How much different is trying to do the F2P from the start ???  These days unless it is a pretty good game players will play for a while and then grow tired of it.  If they can do that 'playing' in F2P mode and then bugout, the company not only didnt get the money for the dev, they had to pay to have the player play for free.

 

 

Can the popular  theme carry them through to continue playing to want to purchase additional components??

 

Some games require the 'bought' items to play (to even survive)  in the advanced parts of the game (Raids or whatever).

 

 

Can you build a NEW game with enough draw to get the players involved enough to actually pay for it  (since you will be offering a way to play without paying...)

Edited by wodinoneeye
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I'm going to point out to Bethesda's The Elder Scroll Online and Final Fantasy XIV.

Possibly, the subscription model might make a serious comeback here, and F2P isn't so much the future as it may be "an option".

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