Pete Davison: Monetize Me

Posted on June 9, 2011 by


Comin’ atcha like a machine-gun today. And by that I mean I will be using bullet-points.

  • I have changed my day counter to the number of days since I started posting every day because 1) it’s more satisfying that way, 2) I’m annoyed I missed my 500th day and 3) I’m sick of having to bring up a calculator every time I want to work out how many days I’ve done this non-stop.
  • E3 coverage has calmed down somewhat. Most of the big announcements have been made. Now it seems to be mostly up to the show floor team to flesh out those announcements with some hands-on impressions. Kind of sad I’m not there. One day! Maybe.
  • Getting people to pay for things is complicated. Whiskey Media did a bold experiment with charging for content and so far it seems to have been mostly successful for them. I haven’t signed up, but then I don’t read their sites that much. If I was more attached, I might be convinced — as someone on the other side of the potential paywall, I’m all for ways in which content creators can get paid for their work. Unfortunately, some people are still wary of this sort of thing — although porn sites have been running a successful “pay for content” industry for years. Like most things technological, porn once again leads the way.I think about this every time I cover a Facebook game. Who is paying for the stuff in these games? There are fucking hundreds of the bastard things, so they must be making money somehow. Are people really forking over hard-earned money purely so they can pussy out of completing a quest objective? Are people really spending money on an “exclusive” cat statue to put in the middle of their field that is not real?

    Then there’s the free-to-play “proper” games — many of which are actually getting seriously good. These I can actually understand paying money for somewhat more. The recently-remastered APB, for example. You can play it for free, but for access to full character customization (which is probably something of a bandwidth hog) you have to fork out for a premium subscription. This is still cheaper than the game was on its initial release, though, because although you’re paying monthly, you didn’t have to pay anything for the game in the first place. Unless you went out and bought it when it was released, in which case more fool you for not reading reviews first. (As a free to play game, though, it’s pretty good fun — I suggest you check it out.)

    The key, it seems, is to make sure that people don’t feel like they have to pay for something. If you grind to a complete halt in a game until you fork over some Facebook Credits or you bank details, that’s a bad thing. If you can make progress in a game without having to pay anything, but spending a bit of money speeds things up a bit or gives you some sort of additional (non game-breaking) benefit, that’s a good thing. If you can spend money in order to not have to complete mission objectives, that’s a bad thing, although some people really are that lazy, I guess.

    The next few years are going to be interesting to see. Will people start paying for content on websites? Will people want to shell out $60 for Call of Duty and then subscribe to Elite on top of that when free to play games offer competitive services for significantly less?

    Will this bullet point ever end?

  • Why yes, yes it will.
Posted in: Pete Davison