Articles of Interest

Turbine’s D&D Online is generating 500% more revenue since adopting a complementary free-to-play model. Interestingly, the revenue spike is driven in part by a doubling of paying subscribers — a nice demonstration of how blended revenue models for online games can be particularly profitable.

Facebook will be taking a 30% cut from developers who use its Credits virtual currency, claiming that “early testing has shown that users paying with Facebook Credits are significantly more likely to complete a purchase than the average Facebook user.” 30% is an unsurprising percentage for Facebook to begin with because the bar has been set there by so many other digital platforms; most developers are unlikely to object as a result. I, on the other hand, would rather not forsake 30% of my revenue if I don’t have to (but then, I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook eventually forces everyone’s hand by proactively merchandising titles that use Credits…)

Apple has banned thousands of apps containing adult content from the App Store without warning. With each passing day, this platform feels more like the “worst of both worlds” — i.e., all the disadvantages of an open platform (like too much competition, piracy, etc) and all the disadvantages of many closed platforms (remorseless management, poor merchandising, etc.) The emergence of successful F2P games in the App Store may be exciting, but it strikes me as a silver lining.

Wiiware reportedly generated $59m in 2009 (30% growth of 2008)… which doesn’t make me much more excited about the platform. Note that only one original WiiWare game apparently earned more than $2m in revenue in 2009, and that’s the incomparable World of Goo. And the next runner up may actually be well below $2m — it isn’t clear from the report.

Nice Gamasutra editorial on crunch. I liked this line: “In film and television, if an early treatment was suddenly plunged into full production, it would be considered a catastrophic failure of the development process. In the game industry, when a fledgling creative vision is suddenly staffed with talent, it’s considered ensuring success. This is a fundamental fallacy in our thinking.” I agree with the author on vertical slices: nice risk management in theory, but in practice an amazingly fun but crude-looking prototype is more valuable.

Offerpal and Amazon (via Mechanical Turk) have joined forces to essentially turn every single F2P game into a crowdsourcing game.

There’s more to life than games:

Brilliant satire: if the practice of journalism were like the practice of medicine in the United States

9 Responses to Articles of Interest

  1. Regarding Facebook Credits, there are a couple of advantages you get:

    1) Facebook is a brand that people really trust, it’s very authentic (unlike Myspace). That alone I think would generate you at least an extra 30% of revenue. Internet transactions are still very sketchy to many people, and I’m guessing that prevents many potential customers from spending money on Facebook apps.

    2) With a common currency, you’re going to get spill over from other games. Since the smallest dollar transaction people can make is $5, you’ll end up with a lot of people with $1, $2, etc in left over credits. This means that it will take a lot less to convert these Facebook Credit-wielding people to paying customers.

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