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I can finally stop saying it (Gaming)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, February 26, 2023, 09:14 (450 days ago)

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2023/02/rovio-delists-pay-to-own-angry-birds-because-it-hurt-free-to-play-earnings/

In a statement on the game's Discord server (as captured by Video Games Chronicle), Angry Birds Community Manager Shawn Buckelew reiterated that sales of the 99-cent "classic" version of Angry Birds were "negatively impacting our other games, which is what we as a company have to focus on. If those other games do not improve and grow, then the outlook of the entire company changes. It’s harder to create new games or work on new projects. I’m sure that’s not something you would want.”

That's a striking admission considering that Rovio Classics: Angry Birds is currently the No. 2 best-selling paid download among all games on the iOS App Store, well over a decade after its initial release (and nearly a year after its rerelease). But that chart-topping position translates to just $30,000 in estimated monthly revenue, according to Sensor Tower estimates.

The free-to-play Angry Birds 2, meanwhile, attracted 900,000 new free-to-play downloads last month and raked in over $9 million in revenue, according to those same Sensor Tower estimates. But that strong revenue number is only enough to make Angry Birds 2 the 74th highest-grossing iOS game on the current iOS charts.

So their paid ad free version is the #2 best selling paid download, and it made 30K in a month. Meanwhile the free to play one is #72 on the charts, and making 9 million a month.

My thought was that demand for a paid version was so high, that they could have raised their prices. But math tells me they'd have to charge 300 dollars per paid download to match the free to play revenue.

I can conclude a few things here:

1. No matter how low the price, there being an upfront cost AT ALL seems to deter a large number of people.
2. Free to Play has a way bigger reach as a result
3. The difference in revenue is just stupid big

So… we are doomed everyone. There's no going back.

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Now that society has lost and MTX are permanent…

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Sunday, February 26, 2023, 10:13 (450 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Will you be leaving the gaming landscape, or will you accept it and consume?

There are still fantastic no-frills experiences like Dead Space Remake and God of War, and even Atomic Heart (to a degree).

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Now that society has lost and MTX are permanent…

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, February 26, 2023, 10:15 (450 days ago) @ Korny

Will you be leaving the gaming landscape, or will you accept it and consume?

There are still fantastic no-frills experiences like Dead Space Remake and God of War, and even Atomic Heart (to a degree).

I'll keep doing what I'm doing and playing the occasional single player game without microtransactions, holding out as long as I can before the last one is released.

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Now that society has lost and MTX are permanent…

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, February 26, 2023, 14:28 (450 days ago) @ Korny

He’ll just Platinum Death Stranding a third time.

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What a waste...

by INSANEdrive, ಥ_ಥ | f(ಠ‿↼)z | ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ| ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, Sunday, February 26, 2023, 15:00 (450 days ago) @ cheapLEY

He’ll just Platinum Death Stranding a third time.

...he could just work for Amazon and get the same experience.

[image]

...oh wait...

[image]

...there it is.

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Now that society has lost and MTX are permanent…

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, February 26, 2023, 16:59 (450 days ago) @ cheapLEY

He’ll just Platinum Death Stranding a third time.

Death Stranding: The Final Cut

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Why didn’t you stop this?! The world was counting on you!

by Ragashingo ⌂, Official DBO Cryptarch, Sunday, February 26, 2023, 18:45 (450 days ago) @ Cody Miller

- No text -

I can finally stop saying it

by EffortlessFury @, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 02:17 (449 days ago) @ Cody Miller

One of the biggest issues with paid games is that you have to be willing to put down the money for something you've yet to actually play, and often times you don't know that you dislike it until you can no longer refund it. (in the case of physical sales, the moment you open it, you can no longer return it) Free to play has the advantage of letting a player determine they enjoy the product and then give money to the developer if they so desire. Even if the game's design was completely reasonable in its pricing and what it offered, this would still be more advantageous as it greatly increases reach and thus a greater potential for profit.

Game Pass is a decent alternative to this and is what I have always liked about it. Developers of traditional, non-MTX (save for significant DLC) games get paid and players who have the subscription have zero barrier to entry for any of those titles. Instead of whales subsidizing the cost of a F2P game, a subscription subsidizes the cost of every game on the service.

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I can finally stop saying it

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 07:07 (448 days ago) @ EffortlessFury

One of the biggest issues with paid games is that you have to be willing to put down the money for something you've yet to actually play, and often times you don't know that you dislike it until you can no longer refund it. (in the case of physical sales, the moment you open it, you can no longer return it) Free to play has the advantage of letting a player determine they enjoy the product and then give money to the developer if they so desire. Even if the game's design was completely reasonable in its pricing and what it offered, this would still be more advantageous as it greatly increases reach and thus a greater potential for profit.

That doesn’t fully explain why developers don’t just use shareware then. Download a game for free, which contains the first couple levels. Like it? Pay one time to unlock the entire game.

Game Pass is a decent alternative to this and is what I have always liked about it. Developers of traditional, non-MTX (save for significant DLC) games get paid and players who have the subscription have zero barrier to entry for any of those titles. Instead of whales subsidizing the cost of a F2P game, a subscription subsidizes the cost of every game on the service.

I imagine we will find down the line the economics are similar to streaming, i.e. not great. Especially as more and more games are added I don’t see how it would pan out for developers. Either that or it would warp incentives. If developers are paid by say, playtime, then the incentive is to maximize playtime which is often at the expense of fun and artistry.

I can finally stop saying it

by EffortlessFury @, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 07:32 (448 days ago) @ Cody Miller

One of the biggest issues with paid games is that you have to be willing to put down the money for something you've yet to actually play, and often times you don't know that you dislike it until you can no longer refund it. (in the case of physical sales, the moment you open it, you can no longer return it) Free to play has the advantage of letting a player determine they enjoy the product and then give money to the developer if they so desire. Even if the game's design was completely reasonable in its pricing and what it offered, this would still be more advantageous as it greatly increases reach and thus a greater potential for profit.


That doesn’t fully explain why developers don’t just use shareware then. Download a game for free, which contains the first couple levels. Like it? Pay one time to unlock the entire game.

This is a good thought, but if anything it probably comes down to being an unproven model that is seen as highly risky. The wall that appears that blocks you from the rest of the game will have its own unique effect on play retention as opposed to a F2P stamina system, for example. It's not much different than a demo, so to get more insight on this thought I'd want to look into how the industry perceived the effectiveness of demos over the years.

The main reason they're not made anymore is that it takes time and money away from actual development, and obviously corners will be cut wherever possible. Demos didn't have to lack value for their funding to dry up, but there could be more to it.

Game Pass is a decent alternative to this and is what I have always liked about it. Developers of traditional, non-MTX (save for significant DLC) games get paid and players who have the subscription have zero barrier to entry for any of those titles. Instead of whales subsidizing the cost of a F2P game, a subscription subsidizes the cost of every game on the service.


I imagine we will find down the line the economics are similar to streaming, i.e. not great. Especially as more and more games are added I don’t see how it would pan out for developers. Either that or it would warp incentives. If developers are paid by say, playtime, then the incentive is to maximize playtime which is often at the expense of fun and artistry.

I would hope and imagine that there'd be a strict upper bound on any funds sent based on playtime. AFAIK, the Game Pass deals involve a solid upfront payment, so I'd guess that any kickback due to playtime would not be worth designing your game around. Also, one of the best aspects of Game Pass is that its model aids games that aren't specifically designed around maximizing playtime in being accessible.

The key to making Game Pass work is a limited library. Things must rotate in and out and there must be an upper bound on how many games are on the service at a time. This ensures enough funding to properly pay developers for the games on the service.

Additionally, the team over at Game Pass pays a LOT of mind to what they put onto the service. They're not perfect, but they're pretty good at their job, and they most of the games you'll find on there are at least worth a try.

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I FEEL OLD

by Vortech @, A Fourth Wheel, Saturday, March 04, 2023, 12:05 (444 days ago) @ EffortlessFury

Shareware is an unproven model.

I FEEL OLD

by EffortlessFury @, Monday, March 06, 2023, 05:33 (442 days ago) @ Vortech

Shareware is an unproven model.

Not in an era like today's, that's for sure. Completely different landscape than the one shareware existed in.

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I can finally stop saying it

by ZackDark @, Not behind you. NO! Don't look., Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 15:14 (448 days ago) @ Cody Miller

That doesn’t fully explain why developers don’t just use shareware then. Download a game for free, which contains the first couple levels. Like it? Pay one time to unlock the entire game.

There's been some really cool events on Steam pushing for playable demos of unreleased games. Found some really cool gems this last one.

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Isn't Destiny shareware?

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 06, 2023, 08:19 (442 days ago) @ Cody Miller

One of the biggest issues with paid games is that you have to be willing to put down the money for something you've yet to actually play, and often times you don't know that you dislike it until you can no longer refund it. (in the case of physical sales, the moment you open it, you can no longer return it) Free to play has the advantage of letting a player determine they enjoy the product and then give money to the developer if they so desire. Even if the game's design was completely reasonable in its pricing and what it offered, this would still be more advantageous as it greatly increases reach and thus a greater potential for profit.


That doesn’t fully explain why developers don’t just use shareware then.

What makes Destiny not shareware? The free version has a limited feature set. You pay for the full feature set.

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Isn't Destiny shareware?

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, March 06, 2023, 09:48 (442 days ago) @ Kermit

What makes Destiny not shareware? The free version has a limited feature set. You pay for the full feature set.

Because once you pay for a shareware game, you get the whole thing and never have to pay again!

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Isn't Destiny shareware?

by cheapLEY @, Monday, March 06, 2023, 10:21 (442 days ago) @ Cody Miller

What makes Destiny not shareware? The free version has a limited feature set. You pay for the full feature set.


Because once you pay for a shareware game, you get the whole thing and never have to pay again!

They also don’t uninstall parts of themselves once a year.

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Isn't Destiny shareware?

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 06, 2023, 10:30 (442 days ago) @ cheapLEY

What makes Destiny not shareware? The free version has a limited feature set. You pay for the full feature set.


Because once you pay for a shareware game, you get the whole thing and never have to pay again!


They also don’t uninstall parts of themselves once a year.

Fair enough.

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Isn't Destiny shareware?

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 06, 2023, 10:28 (442 days ago) @ Cody Miller

What makes Destiny not shareware? The free version has a limited feature set. You pay for the full feature set.


Because once you pay for a shareware game, you get the whole thing and never have to pay again!

Until they come out with new version.

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I can finally stop saying it

by Joe Duplessie (SNIPE 316) ⌂ @, Detroit, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 18:44 (448 days ago) @ EffortlessFury

One of the biggest issues with paid games is that you have to be willing to put down the money for something you've yet to actually play, and often times you don't know that you dislike it until you can no longer refund it. (in the case of physical sales, the moment you open it, you can no longer return it) Free to play has the advantage of letting a player determine they enjoy the product and then give money to the developer if they so desire. Even if the game's design was completely reasonable in its pricing and what it offered, this would still be more advantageous as it greatly increases reach and thus a greater potential for profit.

Used to love playing the various demos on 360. Most games had a demo in the early days, and ALL XBLA games had a free trial. Gods, I miss the 360.

Game Pass is a decent alternative to this and is what I have always liked about it. Developers of traditional, non-MTX (save for significant DLC) games get paid and players who have the subscription have zero barrier to entry for any of those titles. Instead of whales subsidizing the cost of a F2P game, a subscription subsidizes the cost of every game on the service.

The government should honestly just ban any type of MTX/loot box. They have had such a huge objectively negative effect on the quality of games. Let devs and publishers figure out cheaper ways to make the games if the traditional way doesn't make money any more. Using better tools or AI or what have you.

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I can finally stop saying it

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 19:39 (448 days ago) @ Joe Duplessie (SNIPE 316)

The government should honestly just ban any type of MTX/loot box. They have had such a huge objectively negative effect on the quality of games. Let devs and publishers figure out cheaper ways to make the games if the traditional way doesn't make money any more. Using better tools or AI or what have you.

Simpler and less intrusive: Have the ESRB accurately rate these things on the box. Imagine if lootbox games got an AO rating, because, well, gambling is for adults. That would fix the problem pretty quickly, but those who just REALLY want lootboxes can still have them.

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I can finally stop saying it

by Vortech @, A Fourth Wheel, Saturday, March 04, 2023, 12:14 (444 days ago) @ EffortlessFury

It is interesting that people don't have this sort of risk aversion when it comes to other consumable things. Going to see a movie is a gamble. Read a review and take your chances on if you like it. There is a difference in price, but if you buy two or three tickets — depending on where you are — not really. Streaming options are causing some erosion, but I don't hear people talk about the risk of not liking the movie when they cut out theaters, it's the ads up front, and the hassle of travel, and the quality of the theater itself.
See also books. See also concerts. See also food (not restaurants, where I think some people believe there is a guarantee of liking your meal, but packaged food)

It's interesting. I honestly wonder if it's the fact that games take a lot of time to play. More so than the cost of money, it's the cost of time that makes people more trepidatious. Books are the only other think I can think of that are expected to take more then a few hours to consume (MCU movies excepted)

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I can finally stop saying it

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Saturday, March 04, 2023, 15:21 (444 days ago) @ Vortech

It's interesting. I honestly wonder if it's the fact that games take a lot of time to play.

Could be! And this I feel is only getting worse. Even single player games are getting longer and longer, to not really any benefit to the player in my opinion. Then of course live service games are based completely around massive amounts of playtime to create habits.

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I can finally stop saying it

by cheapLEY @, Saturday, March 04, 2023, 17:20 (444 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I think that sentiment is way overblown. It’s not wrong exactly, but it’s also not completely true. It’s easy to look at stuff like Assassin’s Creed and just see bloat, but there’s also stuff like Breath of the Wild and Elden Ring (or Death Stranding!) which are just as long, but filled with worthwhile stuff that can legitimately be pleasant for 60 or 80 hours. And then there’s stuff like the new Dead Space which I completed in like 12 hours and was one of the best things I’ve played in the last five years. That’s before even touching non-AAA stuff.

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Pay to Not Play

by unoudid @, Somewhere over the rainbow, Saturday, March 04, 2023, 15:56 (444 days ago) @ Cody Miller

D2 Lightfall now has the option to pay to not play the campaign on your 2nd and 3rd characters. $20 and you get to not grind out the campaign and get all of the rewards of playing it. Boosts your character right up to max base light.

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Pay to Not Play

by bluerunner @, Music City, Sunday, March 05, 2023, 12:24 (443 days ago) @ unoudid

Smart money making move by Bungie. Make a good chunk of the campaign just unlock quests for a new subclass, then make the campaign story such hot garbage that people would rather spend money to not hear the dialog again.

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Pay to Not Play

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, March 05, 2023, 15:50 (443 days ago) @ unoudid

I got to not play for free by canceling my preorder. Seems like a much better deal.

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