Friendly game monetization - is it possible? (Topic)

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Friendly game monetization - is it possible?


We used to pay money for a game from $ 10 to $ 60 and get content for that same $ 10-60. Today, alas, everything has changed. CEOs of large publishers agree that the monetization model is more profitable for them, and they are introducing various loot boxes, pay to win systems into games and specifically make statements that they say that single games are not in demand by gamers now. However, their methods are aggressive. Believe it or not, it turns out that there may be a friendly or positive model of game monetization.

At the Project Horseshoe 2018 conference, which is dedicated to the pressing problems of gamedizing, its participants released a report "Balancing entertainment and profit", where they considered monetization options that are loyal to the player, and do not squeeze money out of him. Game designers from Electronic Arts, WB Games Montreal and Schell Games participated in the preparation.

This is our common problem

In the context of the report, developers put forward the opinion that today monetization is not just a product of marketing, which it once was, now it has become a part of game design, as it directly affects the game balance and the player's pleasure.

The conference participants believe that today there are two types of monetization in relation to the player - loyal and negative. We all know the negative monetization of games: lootboxing, time rush, pay to win and donation. In other words, the player must pay to advance in the game, the levels are built in such a way that without buying improvements, you will not progress further, and all the player's decisions are less valuable than microtransactions. Either run, gameplay is impossible without spending money.


Positive monetization should not interfere with the gameplay, but, on the contrary, expand or change it. According to game devs, positive monetization looks like this:

  • Emphasis on social interaction and player vanity to spur them on to show off their acquisitions and status.
  • Create an opportunity for players to give each other different gifts.
  • Create an in-game economy with supply and demand rules.

We have an idea!

We were presented with six methods for developing monetization in games. It is impossible to use all of them at the same time - the developers say, but they will help you adhere to a friendly strategy:

  • New gameplay : by paying money, the player gets a completely new gameplay, different from the previous one. For example, a new quest chain or the ability to complete the game for a new faction.
  • New Features: The player is given new opportunities to explore and learn the game. For example, he will be privileged to unlock a new fighting style, new strategy or mechanic.
  • Altruism: A gamer can feel like an altruist, as his money can be useful or significant. For example, he can support another player with his payment, or some of his money can go to charity.
  • Bragging: Players can show their status with items. For this to happen, the play space needs to be quite large, and the players need to be willing to show off their belongings.
  • Player does not pay: the game exists by playing and earning money from it. For example, due to its large audience, it contains advertising or product placement.
  • Pleasure from the purchase: if the player pays, then he should feel pleasure from the purchase, anticipate what it will give or open in the game.


What is good and what is bad?

In the report, the developers described the main models of good and bad game monetization and even assigned them a rating from 2 to -2. "2" are models that are very friendly and must be used in the game, "1" are models that are also good and recommended for use. "0" - models can exist, but do not play an important role, in fact they are, but they do not bring profit, "-1" - schemes that designers should avoid, players will tolerate them, but will not be satisfied with the game one hundred percent and " -2 "- are strongly not recommended for use.


Notably, many methods have their own likelihood of increasing friendliness when used correctly. Thus, even damn loot boxes can be interesting to the player if used wisely.

Aggressive and unfriendly methods

Gain one time "-1"

One-time cash boosts make the player feel like a cheat. Otherwise, they might feel like pay to win. It is impossible to make such game monetization friendly.


Skipping content "-2"

When the levels or sections of the game are so terrible and bad that players are even willing to pay to skip them and they are given such an opportunity - this is a failed strategy for making money. Gamers have no respect for such a game.

Loot boxes "-1" possible growth to "1"

According to game designers, loot boxes have potential, but the approach is important. For starters, players should be able to earn loot boxes. They should also see the maximum and minimum amounts that they can spend on various in-game items. The items from loot boxes themselves should not help to play better, but only make it possible to play in a different way.


Pay to win "-1" possible growth to "0"

In all cases, it is advised to avoid this model, but if it does exist, it is wise to make sure that people who do not buy anything can find entertainment in the game that does not require spending. Also, such gamers should be able to unite in groups in order to resist the number of players spending money on the buildup.


Time rush "-1"

Even with some reasonable practices for this monetization model, it is not recommended at all. Any restriction affects the player's desire to continue.

Neither this nor that

Price for the full version of the game "0"

This is the basic principle. The player pays once for the game itself and that's it.

Profitable advertising inserts "0", possible growth to "2"

A method when a player receives in-game currency for watching ads. It has potential, but it is worth implementing it, making sure that the player receives a sufficiently valuable reward for it, and does not have access to constant viewing of ads.

Percentage of winnings "0"

The percentage that the developer takes for himself. Usually this method does not cause problems, since the loser already loses everything, and the winner receives his reward, albeit with a commission.

Subscription "0" possible growth to "1"

This type of monetization is neutral, but it can be friendly if the developers do not add grinding to the game to make the player spend more time in it.

ImagePaid entry to events "0" possible growth to "1"

This method can not only bring money, but also arouse interest in the game, create a sense of involvement in the event among players.

New worlds in game "0", possible growth to "1"

Adding new locations with a paid entrance can be a good strategy, but with its own conditions. The location needs to be well-designed and filled with content to justify the purchase. Also, fragmentation of players in these locations should not be allowed.

0 Competition Fee

This model is suitable only for those who aspire to become a professional in the game and fight with the same professionals. Invest in the game to get stronger. It does not bring a lot of profit, but if it is, it is necessary that players who are not interested in such pumping can safely play without it.

Friendly methods


Advertisement "1"

This is the right friendly strategy, the main thing is that ads do not knock the player out of rhythm and do not annoy.

New paid content "1" possible growth to "2"

One of the best monetization techniques. Players have fun buying new characters or weapons, and developers get paid to create them. It is important that new content does not devalue old content.

DLC "1" possible growth to "2"

Also a good method, however, often add-ons come out very expensive, both in cost and in price - this is a minus.

Gambling "1"

Many people enjoy gambling, so if the game shows an accurate probability of winning or losing something, the conference members do not see anything wrong with the model.

Gifts "1" possible growth to "2"

Also, in their opinion, gifts that players can buy and give each other in the game are the most pleasant and friendly method of monetization.


Transactions with percentage "1" possible growth to "2"

The model, when players sell items to each other, and the developer takes a percentage of the sale, almost never gets negative from gamers.

Cosmetic items

In order for cosmetics to be profitable, it must be made exclusive and desirable for players, but it is important not to overdo it so that it fits into the atmosphere of the game.

New ideas

And in the end, game devs came up with new methods of friendly monetization that don't exist yet.

Asymmetric game mode

Imagine a game in which gamers play as a soldier and one player as a large monster and confront them. To play as a monster, you need to pay separately. So gamers playing as monsters will get a new experience, but since they are opposed by many other players, soldiers - this will not be pay to win.


In-game crowdfunding

A developer can announce an in-game fundraiser to create new content - so players will pay for what they really want to see, and developers will profit from it.

Paid Memoirs

The model implies the creation of a memoir for the player's character, where the main moments of his adventure will be recorded.


Personal physical goods

Sell players real items associated with their character. For example, printed T-shirts or small 3D printed figurines.

Gifts + Events

The developers propose to combine two models at once, so that players can give each other paid access to events. So one person can pay for several friends at once, or players can pay for experienced players to be on a team with them.


Fee for titles

Players can pay to rename a character or temporarily name certain objects on the map.

At the end of the report, game designers came to the conclusion that the main thing is to put monetization in the game design initially and not use schemes that harm the players.

Like much else in the industry, game monetization and how friendly it will be depends entirely on the developers and their attitude towards their consumers.

The Topic of Article: Friendly game monetization - is it possible?.
Author: Jake Pinkman