The September issue of Game Developer Magazine dropped into my mail box this past week.
Game Developer Magazine does not print their articles online and I am sure would object strenuously to my reprinting it wholesale, but I though just a repost of the paragraph headings would be instructive. They were:
- Don’t Assume Other Games are Profitable
- Don’t Design Yourself Into a Corner
- Don’t Expect Recognition for Your Restraint
- Don’t Expect Miracles
- The List Goes On…
While he was writing about Triple Town, which fits into the social gaming bucket, a lot of what he wrote clearly hits the mark even when looking at the MMO world.
I thought it was interesting that, in the last section, one of the mistakes he pointed at was emphasizing aesthetic (cosmetic) items rather than consumables. That makes me think of EverQuest II and their apparent cosmetic mount based economy as well as League of Legends, which sells only cosmetic champions and grind reducing buffs. People always point at the former, but I wonder how much of the money they make is really from the latter.
The end of the article points to a video of a presentation he did at GDC which gets down into the nitty gritty of money. You can find the video here, and it has bookmarks so you can skip right to the “But does RotMG Make $$$” section if you like.
In the video he mentions his own blog, which I ran off to find. Titled Game Tycoon, it has more insight into the free to play scene.
And while the focus is more on independent development, the basics certainly apply to the larger budget MMO sphere, especially given the impending demise of City of Heroes and SWTORs F2P plans, which they aren’t sure will even be viable.
Addendum: And the CEO of Wargaming.net just weighed in on free to play and how publishers do not understand it, which seems to fit with the theme here.