When companies put too much emphasis on nickel and diming gamers, they lose sight of the long-term potential of a loyal player — and any successful F2P game is built on a foundation of loyal players.
“In a lot of freemium games I’ve played, it’s obvious to me that they just want to wring me for everything I’ve got in the shortest possible time,” says Peter Molyneux, one of the most recognized creative talents in the gaming industry, while talking with Game Industry International. “That’s all. They want to squeeze me into ten hours of gameplay, get everything out of me, spit me out, and that’s it. And that’s wrong.”
Nevertheless, Molyneux left the console world — and Lionhead Studios, the Microsoft-owned company he founded — to found indie developer 22 Cans in part because he saw freemium as the future of gaming. The right kind of freemium. So take 22 Cans’ first release, iOS game Curiosity, as an experiment in business models that explores a player’s motivations.
“Money is an important part of everyone’s life, and you’ve got to think of the emotional reason why people spend money,” says Molyneux. “Until now, it’s just been about getting people excited…excited enough to spend $60 on something on a shelf. That’s withering away now. We’ve got to think of other ways of doing it.”
Curiosity’s approach? For starters, make people curious about what it is. Then make them eager to find out before anyone else.
Rather than blocking or limiting access, Curiosity organically creates a desire to engage and discover. In keeping with CaaS principals, content — and how a player wants to interact with it — is king.
“The first approach is to use impatience,” says Molyneux. Curiosity involves knocking blocks away in order to find what’s underneath…and then knocking more blocks away to find out what’s under that. Players can buy tools that help them clear more blocks faster.
In that way, Molyneux taps into two core human behaviors, but that’s just the edge of a very large playground. “Humans are impatient beings, but is that the only emotion we want to pull at? No. Curiosity is one of many ideas that we haven’t really experimented with. The idea of group challenges, that I’ll put a bit in and you’ll put a bit in, and you put a bit in, and we’ll get all this. All of those things we have yet to explore.”
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