I’ve been following the Allods Online debacle with fascination. The pricing on their cash shop, for opt-in purchases, is incredibly high and much more expensive than everyone expected… except for MMO Industry veterans, I think.
I did some reading this morning and discovered that players on free-to-play games are broken loosely into two categories, those paying $1 or $2 a month, and the dedicated who are at $50 a month (that is actual data from Puzzle Pirates).
I used to play Achaea, a text-based MUD, which I loved. My character Shusen become the guildmaster of the Ashuran monks, made many good structural changes to the way we were organised, and bought some epics (called artifacts). The guild’s patron God even built an awesome in-game statue of me in the room of honour.
I wish I kept records of how much I spent, but guessing, it’d have been ~$600 over two years. That’s around $25 a month. I’m guessing. Point is, that’s a F2P game, in which I chose to pay to pwn. Its mechanics let you get more powerful with cash.
Allods had stated they do not need you to pay to kick ass, and you can fully enjoy the game without playing. Recently, patch notes suggest otherwise with some inconveniences that can only be properly eliminated by paying out.
So whilst reading about this I came across a Gamasutra interview with the CEO of the Puzzle Pirates game (of which I’d never heard) who quoted actual figures for income per user. It describes how you only need a few dollars per user, per month, to then justify spending some money on attaining them. If you convert them into dedicated paying players, then the profit comes in.
That CEO has a blog with a fascinating presentation embedded which gives metrics, revenue per user, users per hour of the day and more about two of his games.
Because I’m not an MMO industry blogger like Wolfshead, Tobold, Spinks, or Thats a Terrible Idea, I don’t know this F2P economy. I suspect they all do. I also expect they’d have predicted the Allods cash shop would be geared-up to generated $50/ month income from the dedicated.
So if that’s the case, the question goes to, what will people pay to play Allods? Certainly gpotato aren’t naive, they know what the average user income can be for F2P games, but they have executed their PR very poorly. A new piece of the Allods puzzle has come to light with the fact that a Astrum is now merged with a disreputable company called mail.ru, the speculation being they’re incompetent.