# Pay What You Want Model

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[Note: this is related to PC games, so I wouldn't thing ads to be something to add here]

Hello all,

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13 minutes ago, Thiago Monteiro said:

Of course, in the end, if I set the price of a game, I wouldn't include only the costs to produce it, but also to produce the next one.

Of course you would. You know that and I know that. The point is that your audience may not. In fact, your audience might have firmly decided that you won't.

The key to getting someone to pay more than they normally would is to provide some additional value. With computer games, it seems longevity (through support and additional material) is the best form of added value. This is why people pay for early access games - products that they know are incomplete in their present state; because they are getting more later on.

So I was saying to make sure that you provide it... I'm saying to make sure that your buyers are aware of it.

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What is interesting about that blog post, is that there are clearly identifiable prices that people had a tendency to aim for, and that these are easily identifiable as common price ranges for certain types of product. IE, you can think of common product size and quality expectations for those specific price points. £29.99 seems about standard for a complete PC game, £19.99 for a smaller game or significant expansion, £14.99 for a budget game, etc. It tells you how people thought this game was placed before purchasing it, and I'm sure this is something you do yourself when asked to price up a game - compare it to the market standards, apply a risk factor, etc.

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3 hours ago, SomeoneRichards said:

I don't know. I feel that a minimum price would turn out to be the de facto price.

The funny thing is that as much as players like to believe they would support games they like; they don't.

This is a old meme but it proved a very interesting point. Most people who used WinRar kept using it as a free trail, even after it kept telling them to buy it. WinRar is worth it's price but people chose to keep using for free even if it meant braking the agreement.

Even people who do have concerns with breaking the agreement will instead use 7-zip or other free zip software than pay for WinRar.

In short, it is human nature that if we can get what we want for free, we will take it for free. Many players who see the "Pay What You Want" model just thinks "Hey! A free game!".

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1 minute ago, Scouting Ninja said:

The funny thing is that as much as players like to believe they would support games they like; they don't.

This is a old meme but it proved a very interesting point. Most people who used WinRar kept using it as a free trail, even after it kept telling them to buy it. WinRar is worth it's price but people chose to keep using for free even if it meant braking the agreement.

Even people who do have concerns with breaking the agreement will instead use 7-zip or other free zip software than pay for WinRar.

In short, it is human nature that if we can get what we want for free, we will take it for free. Many players who see the "Pay What You Want" model just thinks "Hey! A free game!".

Exactly... (Some, maybe most) people only pay when they think they're getting something extra if they do so. Having a developer stay around to support or expand the product is something worth paying extra for. I'm saying make sure people understand the connection between paying for the game, getting better/more games.

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1) Do any of you have/have had experience trying to market/sell your game with this strategy?

Not games, but music. I sell albums and EPs on Bandcamp. My old EPs have a 'pay what you want' option.

2) Would you add a minimum value or maybe this would just defeat the purpose of the pay what you want?

Yes, I would add a minimum price to anything that I didn't want to give away. "Pay what you want" is basically "almost everyone pays nothing", which is why this model died a very quick death in the music world after Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails tried it and got disappointing results.

3) How would you convince people to spend more?

I wouldn't - I simply wouldn't choose this model for anything serious. I think it's based on the discredited idea that most people want to pay but value the product at a lower level, whereas what we tend to see is that most people - including some who would have happily paid full price if necessary - will gladly pay nothing if that option is available.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, SomeoneRichards said:

I'm saying make sure people understand the connection between paying for the game, getting better/more games.

That is a good point, but how?

How to you make it clear to the player that supporting your game results in better content. Most players would think of there other games and about what "support" they got from buying it and will realize that "support" isn't worth that much.

Steam almost killed piracy in multiplayer games like Counter Strike Global Offensive, because it provides a much better multiplayer experience, people feel that is worth buying.

The players reaction and inconsistency between what they say and do, is what formed the modern game market. Where micro transactions that where designed as a alternate Pay What You Want model, now is a Pay To Win model.

Because players don't want to pay for the game, but will pay for an edge over the competition.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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I think it's worth adding that, besides the support part of paying more money and gaining an edge over the competition, collectibles seem to be another driving force towards higher expenditure. Or at least that is what the number of special editions lead me to believe.

4 hours ago, SomeoneRichards said:

What is interesting about that blog post, is that there are clearly identifiable prices that people had a tendency to aim for, and that these are easily identifiable as common price ranges for certain types of product. IE, you can think of common product size and quality expectations for those specific price points. £29.99 seems about standard for a complete PC game, £19.99 for a smaller game or significant expansion, £14.99 for a budget game, etc. It tells you how people thought this game was placed before purchasing it, and I'm sure this is something you do yourself when asked to price up a game - compare it to the market standards, apply a risk factor, etc.

In an ideal world, you'd get a good chunk of people to buy in the price range you consider the game worth, and all the rest (non payers, or very low payers) as marketing expense to bring more attention to the game. The problem seems to be how cause the maximum amount of people to actually put up the cash. While there are moderate successful cases, it does seems that is very risky and only perhaps worth if one cannot otherwise draw attention to the game .

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