Just because you run a game called World of Tanks doesn’t mean you roll over your customers. Quite the opposite, according to Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi, speaking to Games Industry International.
“Here’s our business secret,” says Kislyi, “We don’t try to squeeze the unsqueezable.”
Rather than working on a typical free-to-pay model where spending money translates to better characters and equipment, World of Tanks takes a different approach. “The premium account doesn’t give you any advantages on the battlefield,” says Kislyi, ‘it just helps you advance faster.”
And that plays into Wargaming’s more psychological approach to monetization. In short, you could call it the “give people what they want, when they want it” plan.
“We understand that the most valuable thing that each player possesses is his time,” says Kislyi. “If he doesn’t want to spend any money on the game, he just plays a little bit more than those players who invested more in a premium account. We’re absolutely fine with this.”
Partially because it works. Wargaming’s player retention holds up remarkably well over the long term, and the game consistently ranks among the most played PC games on Raptr.
“What we discovered for this audience is that if you try monetization tricks with special events or sales, you can get more money out of a paying user,” says Kislyi. “Statistically, though, such customers get upset and leave the game because they feel they are paying too much. He’s no longer a member of the community, he’s not on the forums, he’s not posting. Let them spend what they feel comfortable spending.”
“Sustainability and longevity is most important,” he adds.
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