On Asking for Money

I’m happy to help a friend in need so long as I think it will make a difference. You have some friends whom you would gladly lend money or your car. You have other friends who constantly need to be “lent” money, and you know it is going down a bottomless pit. They have back-to-back Facebook posts about how much they love their new iPhones and how they can’t afford to buy books this semester.

I feel the same about game developers. I want to keep afloat the companies that make products I enjoy, but I am immediately disinclined to contribute to someone who always has his hand out. I presume that the latter brings in more revenue than it drives away, but I am one of the driven away. I don’t mind a cash shop ad at log-in plus a link somewhere on the UI. I do mind if the most visible (worse: and flashing) UI element is a shop ad, along with a constant stream of pop-ups and item descriptions that ask you to spend money.

There is an old one-liner about how banks will only lend you money if you don’t need it. Close, but where a good banker makes his/her money is being able to distinguish between an investment that will pay off and a black hole of endless “need.” In life, try not to resemble the latter.

: Zubon

8 thoughts on “On Asking for Money”

  1. That’s why I know I would feel aggreived in handing over cash for an expansion to a game which I pay a monthly fee for.

    The only mmo I’ve played for any significant amount of time has been Guild Wars, and I’ve had no problem forking out my hard earned dough for an expansion pack because I know that’s how ANet makes a fair amount of it’s revenue.

    I think I’d have a grump on if a developer had the cheek to ask for a lump sum in addition to the monthly fee for content which could easily be provided for free, and I’d have even more of a grump on if they were asking for this lump sum every 6months or so.

  2. The worst example for this is/was EQ2 in my opinion. every 10 minutes that nasty pop-up would prompt you to upgrade FTP to silver edition (and there was also gold edition after that!). an incredible turn-off.
    if you go to the great lenghts of designing a FTP game with an item-shop from scratch (which to be fair many current FTPs were not meant to be), you’re basically admitting your system doesn’t work if you constantly ask the customer to upgrade the game version or buy something in the shop already. there are more subtle and meaningful ways to do this, without any loud and shrill markers and pointers everywhere on screen.

    Here’s to GW2 hoping.

    1. EQ2X has definitely been the most annoying example of the F2P games I have tried.

      Others may not be that annoying, but a number of them still have big in-your-face interface elements which really helps lower the enthusiasm for the game.

  3. I don’t know about you, but I consider pop-ups and the likes rather “immersion-breaking”. the illusion of virtual worlds is frail enough without the developer constantly needing to step in and remind you that your entire experience comes down to paying cash for a subscription, one way or another. a fatal mistake in my eyes, detrimental to the effect your product is supposed to achieve. QED.

    1. Oh absolutely. Immersion is one of the central themes for what draws me to a title. It may seem silly for a rider passing you by in Red Dead Redemption to suddenly get off his horse, take a leak on the rocks nearby, and then re-mount and be on his way again, but that is an incredibly immersive experience.

      Now if he has paused mid-piss, turned around and asked me if I would like to buy the “Pissing Ability” for 80 doubloons, I’d scream!

  4. Every so often a group of indie game developers gets together and releases a product called the Humble Indie Bundle. This is basically a bunch of indie games packed together and you’re able to “pay what you want” for it – as little as $0.01.

    This is a cool idea, but in recent bundles the purchase page will nag you if you offer to pay less than a certain amount. In the most recent one if you pay less than a minimum amount you have to enter a CAPTCHA.

    This post reminded me of that for whatever reason. I won’t argue about what the indie game bundles are actually worth. However, if you’re going to put up a nag screen if you get less money than what you believe you deserve, then don’t say that customers can pay what they want – set a minimum price.

    Likewise, if you’re going to harass customers endlessly for money through the UI and game website, especially in cases like Allods or Spiral Knights that render the game practically unplayable if you don’t spend money, then don’t pretend like it’s a free game.

  5. Though, there is that one site that allows you to pledge money to various projects. I feel that is a worthwhile use of straight up asking for money.

    But the revamp of shoving cash shops in your face is getting a bit out of hand. I would set a timer on those sort of popups…possibly have it only show up after about an hour or two of gameplay. Then you actually know someone is getting invested in the game. And instead of blocking the whole screen, possibly just have a little notification ping up in the corner that can be expanded to view it. On one hand, yes, I can understand devs trying to get money out of people who are playing for free, as the server space does cost money, but are those popups really bringing in more money than what they are losing by annoying the ever living hell out of players?

  6. Touche salesman. Touche.

    I understand F2P, I also understand how they can be so successful. I just hate the idea that F2P is a) misleading at times, when you cannot unlock certain content unless you pay for it, not even by farming till you have enough in-game currency to buy said content and b) the incessant need to flash you and bombard you with the fact that you are playing a game for free and in order to maximize your fun, you should pay!!

Comments are closed.