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F2P Game Monetization: Good vs. Evil
Tim Morten (Frost Giant), Eric Kress (Deconstructor of Fun), and Ed Zobrist (USC Lecturer, former Epic) talk about the future of F2P monetization
It was just a joke!
Sometimes I don’t realize how much of a tech/Silicon Valley/India bubble I’m in. After losing subscribers and getting many messages telling me the “A Fork in the Road” link in the last newsletter doesn’t work, I was very happy to realize that not everybody cares about Elon/Twitter. That’s great!
Anyway, to be clear: the “A Fork in the Road” message at the end of the last newsletter was a joke!
You can check out the basis for the joke here: Did Elon Just Kill Twitter With a Google Form?
F2P Monetization: Good vs. Evil
“Pay to win” is a bad word in Western markets.
IDFA deprecation kills the ability to target whales.
We may be amid a global recession that could last another two years or longer.
More games are going cross-platform.
Mobile growth, where F2P monetization schemes are more accepted, is slowing.
Amidst all of the changes and trends going on in the industry, how should a F2P game developer think about their game monetization strategy?
I led the development of a #1 top-grossing 4X game (King of Avalon at FunPlus). 4X is viewed by many as having the most egregious pay-to-win monetization practices. Further, the new game I’m working on needs to determine the monetization scheme we will deploy for a new shooter game.
Tim Morten led production for the StarCraft franchise at Blizzard and led the conversion of StarCraft 2 to a live services model, including a F2P monetization scheme. Tim’s new company Frost Giant is working on a new RTS game that will also introduce a F2P monetization scheme of some kind.
Eric Kress is the popular co-host of the This Week in Games podcast (which I used to co-host with Eric) for Deconstructor of Fun and Principal at Gossamer Consulting, a games-focused consultancy. Eric has lots of opinions on F2P monetization… lol.
Finally, Ed Zobrist hosted a class at his USC Advanced Games Business course on the future of F2P monetization, including all of us mentioned above. Ed is retired but formerly had a full career in game development and was previously Head of Publishing at Epic Games, doing a bunch of stuff on Fortnite.
In the discussion below, we debate many issues related to F2P monetization, and we hear about Tim’s new F2P game Stormgate.
Check out the full discussion with this group of luminaries, and I’m there too!
Ed Zobrist. USC Lecturer/Retired, former Head of Publishing at Epic Games
The full outline is below if you want to skip ahead. Also, there is a Q&A section that strayed a little bit outside of just F2P monetization, so I separated it and will publish that in next week’s newsletter… so stay tuned!
5:21 Stormgate Monetization
10:34 Defining Pay To Win
11:37 Advice on F2P Monetization
16:16 Starcraft 2 F2P Pivot
18:53 What is Predatory?
25:58 Audience Differences
37:56 Business Implications
44:58 Final Words