Theoretical Microtransaction Fighting Game


#1

Hey all,

I dabble in game design, and today was reading a bit of a book about ways to monetize a game. One major way it gave was through microtransactions. For the uninitiated, this is the idea that a game would be released free to download, with profit coming from people buying in-game items. One of the hallmark examples of this is League of Legends, a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (or something) where most of the character cast and costumesand whatnot can be bought, or earned if one plays the game long enough.
I thought, would people accept this for fighting games?
Here’s the example: Imagine Capcom releases AE for free (we have officially entered the realm of imagination). The catch is, only a few characters are available for regular play. Maybe it’s a set few (Ryu, Ken, Chun, and Guile, maybe) or maybe the list changes from week to week. To get other characters, you spend, to pull a number out of my ass, $4 for a character, or like $15 for a four-pack (like, you can get a Shoto four-pack of Sakura, Dan, Gouken, and Akuma). Now, you can also earn characters by means of Capcom Points or something, which you earn slowly through playing but still can buy you characters given time. Also noteworthy, to avoid buyer’s remorse, all characters are available for test drive in Training and Arcade, just not Versus or Online. Perhaps a $10 Tournament Pass would be available to authorize every character for play on a system for like a week.

I’m just throwing out ideas, not really planning on doing anything with them. I just was wondering how my fellow Fighting Game players would react to something like this.


#2

Given the uproar over gems in SFx Tekken, I’d have to say the reaction would be pretty bad. The ideal solution would be to provide things like cosmetics and costumes rather than characters, because anything that effects character balance is a no-go zone. DLC characters are usually considered an after thought or a promotion if anything, and players tend to regret having to spend money on characters they feel they should have had to begin with. Hell, fighting game players hate to even spend time unlocking characters these days :confused:

In any competitive game with a competitive community though, the highest tier players will have an ego, and just like an MMORPG you can capitalise on that ego by offering ways for them to customise their character and otherwise ‘stand out’.

Custom hitsparks, hats, costumes, tattoos, voices, taunts etc. People would buy these things. If you say, released a street fighter game with the option to buy MVC2 hitsparks for your character and stick Ryu in a Megaman helmet while giving him Bad Cover Art face, someone somewhere is going to jump for their credit card.

The best thing about this kind of microtransaction is that you can give players a large variety by designing a lot of small content and selling each for a relatively cheap price. It’s much easier to convince buyers to spend money if the product is cheap and plentiful as opposed to expensive and singular.

Cash Shop MMO’s can get away with selling items that effect game balance because of the nature of such games, but this is generally considered ‘pay to win’, which is a very negative stigma to have attatched to your game. MMO’s are usually a lot more casual too, and their communities much more forgiving.

But yeah, if you can unlock everything by playing legit for a certain amount of time, and just have the OPTION to buy all characters outright to avoid having to unlock them, that might satisfy some players, but then at the same time a lot of players would be saying “I’d rather buy the game full price and avoid having to unlock anything!”


#3

The average rate for a single DLC character is 5 bucks. Multiply that by 5 characters and that’s 25 more dollars spend on the game to learn/analyze the additional characters.

Buying characters that can be unlocked via playing the game is a lot cheaper.

This is the new age of DLC, and it sucks.


#4

Wow it’s almost as if this idea was good enough to warrant discussion in other threads made before this one :slight_smile:


#5

No


#6

sounds incredibly unappealing.


#7

Your fellow fighting game players reactions would be to throw you off the nearest cliff


#8

I wish it cost people a dollar every time they posted a new thread in FGD.


#9

freemium games have something like 1.5% to 2% of customers actually buy the premium content (don’t remember the exact numbers).

I think that’s a pretty tough nut to crack with a fighter.

Edit: But for something similar (but an arena battler instead of a fighter), look at Bloodline Champions, you can see how people do it.


#10

SFxT is trying with gems but I think Skullgirls is going to be doing it right with a low initial investment and DLC characters.


#11

Disgusting idea, everyone should always at least have the same character select screen, also how much would it suck to buy a character and find out that you don’t like playing him/her and have pretty much pissed your money down the drain.


#12

Spend more than that on food and drinks when I’m out and that goes down the drain in a day lol


#13

^ lol that’s the same attitude I use in order to justify playing the cash shop MMO’s I like.

“I could buy a hamburger, or I could buy a bunch of EXP+60% potions and hit that level I want by tonight. Am I hungry?”


#14

Do I buy Jill, or do I buy a 5 dollar foot long?

Too bad I can’t get both.


#15

Gems are a better option for Capcom because there is very little risk in producing them. Other than QA, once you have the system, we’re talking about a few lines of data (not even code) and then you’re off to the races. Even with silly DLC, a near-fixed percentage of customers will buy it and happily buy more.

Characters are risky. Painstakingly animated sprite characters are incredibly risky… because even the most popular games rarely crack a 5% conversion rate.

Personally, I think the DLC gem concept is terrible as far as playability and consumer value are concerned, and it’s almost certainly a product of Capcom’s troubled financial situation rather than awesome game design… but it’ll probably make more money than it cost to produce. It still sucks, and it’ll especially suck if it’s really successful (good lord I hope not). If SFxT is a blockbuster, expect to see similar systems creep into other mainstream games.

Even though it’s not my kind of game, I hope the DLC plan for Skullgirls bucks the trend and blows the SFxT gem nonsense out of the water. I’d love to see the little guy triumph against market analyst/pseudo-freemium/“monetization-graph jockey” goonery.

OP: It would probably make money if you had a large enough user base. The hardcore community would likely reject it, because it’s an annoying model and there are better options.


#16

I like the idea of a cash shop for cosmetic items. boosts not so much


#17

Everyone will just buy the handful of characters they like and pretend that the other characters don’t exist. It’s a sure way to kill character variety in a game.


#18

…there’s a sex joke in here somewhere, I just can’t quite puzzle it out.


#19

I think its partially hoping for the pokemon effect. I read somewhere that once people spring and spend money once on a game, they’re more likely to do it again.


#20

This doesn’t happen at all in other F2P games.