2014/11/23

F2p reached its limits?

The ceo of SuperData research claimed that f2p reached its limits:

http://www.screwattack.com/news/superdata-ceo-says-free-play-popularity-decline

I tend to disagree. Some reasons here.

First there is a lot of talk about families and kids. If you ask big f2p games about their audience then you will notice that families and kids are not their audience. In fact most f2p games have a pretty mature audience. PvP games tend to address 90% males 16-25 years old while MMO RPG's and strategy games have an average age beyond 30, some of them even 35+.

F2p is not for kids. Do not try to target kids with f2p games as it won't work revenue wise. Kids are to a large extend non payers and that has obvious reasons (no access to payment systems). And believe me or not: this is good.

The talk also claims LoL has a 11% worldwide market share. Having $681 yearly revenue thus us hard to believe. I can name 10 games who have more revenue, some even double than LoL. Add all the medium and smaller ones then LoL can't even reach 3% worldwide market share.

Most companies analyzing the f2p market fail to notice that older good f2p games are still around with a healthy audience and revenue. If you check just the genre MMO RPG's: there is an endless number of games available and every week more are coming to the list. Most of these games you never heard of.

Furthermore the analysts underestimate the mobile f2p market. As most of you should know most revenue of App Appstores on mobile are coming from f2p games (not apps, not paid apps, just games). Considering that the number of mobile users will double in the next 2 years to 3 billion (and that is a conservative number as the growth is exponential) we soon reach a point where the worlds population own smartphones and control their lives with them. This means the good old and new f2p games on App stores will also double in revenue.

And last but not least: the audience of f2p games is not a fixed amount of people. It is not static. In fact it is a very dynamic group which loses people all the time (no interest anymore, death, job, etc.) and gain many people all the time as new humans are born every minute and come to the age to play on mobile. So no, there will NEVER be a saturation in target audience.

Often analysts make the mistake of taking a sample of a few months as a forecast basis for the future. This is of course a basic approach but fails to take trends into consideration. It also fails as it usually only takes a sample of the market and forgets how large the f2p market really is: it includes mobile, client, browser games and territories like Asia and Japan. And some territories are just not explored yet in f2p and will grow really fast really soon (like India). there you go, 1b people added to the audience.

All in all I tend to disagree for the above reasons. I say that the f2p market will continue to grow and dominate all other business models on most formats so that sadly we might see some type of genres, game types or formats diminish over time simply because it doesn't make sense for companies who invest in games for revenue to go the risky route.

2014/07/14

This Blog isn't dead

I am just very busy at the moment, sorry for the lack of updates. I am also flying to Casual Connect soon to hold my talk about League of Legends. I hope that between there and GDC Europe / Gamescom I get time to update here.

Cheers Teut

2014/05/09

Why do you forget

People forget online games are 35 years old. People also forget that commercial MMO's are 18 years old. They also forget that plenty of professional research has been done decades ago.

So I am always surprised that f2p publishers and their ceo's, designers or producers present surprising new discoveries about their players although it has been written decades before.

Let me give you some sources everyone should read completely before even claiming the "news" is yours:

The Daedalus Project
http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001588.php?page=1

By Dr. Nick Yee the one and only long term research about player behaviour in online games - and plenty of other topics. Must read for everyone working in online games.His research is so important that he now works at Ubisoft doing exactly this: researching player behaviour in online worlds.

Edit: Link to his player behaviour paper: http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/pdf/3-2.pdf

Dr. Nick Yee is one of my mentors of everything I know about online games.

Designing Virtual Worlds by Dr. Richard Bartle

He invented the thing you know? Reading the book has to be done with a grain of salt though as he is hooked in the old world. Still his research he has done at the University of Essex is so fundamental that it should be fundamental knowledge for everyone in online games.

Raph Koster

My 2nd mentor is Raph Koster, designer of Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies and many more. He talked about online game design at conferences 2 decades ago but not many people remember that. Most of his talks are still available on his website. Worth a read. Or two.
True treasure and could be seen as laws of online game design:

http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming2/laws-of-online-world-design/the-laws-of-online-world-design/

Any of this new to you? Then you should bow to the wisdom of the above three people and humbly thank them for their openness!

MMO's where invented here

2014/05/08

Lack of Updates - but!

Sorry for the lack of updates but I am pretty busy either visiting conferences or assisting my customers. So Ubisoft Blue Byte released two further titles into open beta you might want to try:

Panzer General Online

and

Might & Magic Heroes Online (German only, English follows soon!)

Cheers Teut