Evil Genius of F2P
Saw this last week:
Unfortunately, Tobold actually already linked to this Demotivational poster before I could finish this post, thereby costing me street cred.
It is a fairly common statistic (if unofficial) that less than 10% of F2P gamers actually ever spend money in the cash shop. Most of the resulting commentary has focused on how this ~10% subsidizes the other 90%. This is not actually the case. The evil genius of F2P games is how the non-paying gamers subsidize the paying ones by simply being there. If you are playing LotRO “for free,” what you are actually doing is giving paying customers a reason to actually pay money.
Think about it. If 90% of F2P gamers don’t pay, then the game would presumably have only a tenth as many players if it were not F2P. Hell, the entire point of LotRO going F2P was how they would have shut down the servers otherwise. It did not matter that there were already paying customers; the problem was there was not enough paying customers. When the F2P switch is flipped, you suddenly get a huge influx of “freeloaders” who have a very compelling reason to buy items that make them stand out from each other. Meanwhile the already paying customers are happy because now they have the ability to keep paying for a game they enjoy, and a whole bunch of new people to do it with.
Facebook and Google aren’t doing you a favor by providing “free” social media services. As the Demotivational mentions, you are a product – in this case private demographic information, music tastes, favorite shows, etc, all freely updated by you on your own time – to be sold. You may “get” some bit of value out of these services (else you presumably would not use them) but Facebook/Google/F2P MMO developers are obviously getting a lot more from the bargain. F2P and social media is honestly the biggest marketing coup since fashion apparal designers realized that people would actually give them money for the privledge of wearing advertisements, e.g. shirts with the company logo on them.