F2p foundations II and OOC issues
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F2p foundations II and OOC issues



f2p online games need more than just a game on launch. This talk tells you about the things outside the game you need like community management, support, metrics, payment systems and more

f2p online games need more than just a game on launch. This talk tells you about the things outside the game you need like community management, support, metrics, payment systems and more



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F2p foundations II and OOC issues F2p foundations II and OOC issues Presentation Transcript

  • Virtual Economies
    by TeutWeidemann
    Consultant Online Entertainment
    Please do not put online for download without my permission. If you use parts of this presentation please quote me as the source
    Free to Play Games
  • Who is Teut Weidemann
    Working on Games since 1981
    Professional since 1987
    Over 70 titles on C64, Amiga, Atari ST, PC, Consoles, Online …
    Specialised since 1996 on online games
    Jobs: Graphic Artist, Programmer, Designer, Development Director, CEO, CTO
    Now consultant for Online Formats
    Also teacher at Film Academy Ludwigsburg
    Companies: Rainbow Arts, Softgold, Lucasfilm Games, Microsoft, Wings Simulations, Jowood, CDV, UBISoft
  • Teut‘s Oldies … 1987-1990
    Katakis, Denaris, Turrican, Spherical, X-Out, MUDS, R-Type, Rock’n Roll, 60 more
  • My „Serious Games“ …
    Andsomemore …
  • Teut‘s Classics … 1997-2009
    And 20+ more
  • Teut‘s New … 2010 - ????
    • The Settlers Online for UBISoft/Bluebyte
    • Nadirim for Digital Reality/Docler in Hungary
    • Both free to play
    • Both browser based, Flash/Flex ‘client’
  • The Settlers Online
  • Monetization Strategies
    Making money with a free game
    “f2p never works in europe”
    Unnamed CEO of <put name here> Publisher
  • Definition: Classic Business
    Retail Sale
    Buy before you play
    Reviews, Demos as guidelines
    Risk of returns
    Very indirect customer feedback
    System Specs sensitive
  • Classic Market
  • No costs involved
    free game download
    or free access via browser
    try before you commit: no costs involved
    Low entry barrier
    Usually low system specs
    Majority are online games (MMO)
    Free to Play (=f2p)
  • Some Foundations
    F2p Business Overview
  • Business model
    Unlimited free play
    Dual currency system:
    “Coins” are earned by game mechanics
    “Gems” are bought for real money
    Coins are used for trade and production
    Gems can be spend in the item shop
    „Achievements“ earn gems too (fair play)
  • Soft Currency
    Part ofyourvirtualeconomy
    Monster kills
    Spend on gamemechanics
    NPC sales
    Will beaffectedbyinflation on elderservers
    Is not convertableintohardcurrency
  • Hard Currency
    Boughtwith real money
    Earned in verysmallquantities
    Monster kills
    Spend on virtualitems
    In Game Monetizers
    Services & Comfort
    Only „drops“ influenceseconomics
    Is sometimesconvertableinto soft currency
  • Why 2 Currencies
    Business depends on hardcurrency
    Should not bepronetoinflation
    Userbaseischaoticsystem, don‘tdependyourbusiness on it
    Drop Rates & Sales are 100% controlledbyyou
    Metricskeytosuccess: hardcurrencyhastobetracked 100% andid‘edaccordingly
    Note: global currencyfor all games = badidea
    Thatswhy Facebook Creditsmight hurt thebusiness
    Ithappened in thepast (Compuserve vs. Genie vs. AOL)
  • Its not as easy as it sounds
    But its all out there
    Google is king
    Hard Currency Sales
  • This is how its done*:
    * If you do it different you do it wrong
    Image from www.grepolis.com
  • $ Packages
    • 2,5,10,20,50,99€ packages
    • Scaled hard currency amount
    • List advantages of larger packages
    • Show older expensive prices
    • Do not page/scroll
    • 3 click buying process
    This fits even 800x600!
    Image from www.grepolis.com
  • Payment Options
    • Depending on choice they witch
    • Depending on country they change
    • Not all options are available:
    • 1.99€ is SMS only
    • 4.99€ can be T-Pay only
    • Reason: Costs of payment system influence your packet sizes
    • Adding payment systems doesn’t cannibalize others!
    The more the merrier!
    Image from www.grepolis.com
  • Other stuff
    • Country selection
    • People do travel!
    • Note the https symbol
    • Progress indicator
    • Other options
    • Friend invites
    • Link to Payshop
    • Explanations
    • Other services
    • Service & Faq
    • Users have to TRUST your shop & service to pay!
    The small stuff
    Image from www.grepolis.com
  • 23
    Integrate into webpage!
    No pop up!
    Not inside flash!
    This is a service page!
    No advertising!
    Less clicks=win
    3 clicks maximum
    Each additional click costs you 30% users!
    A/B Tests
    Image from www.ikariam.com
  • Payment Systems
    Addingpaymentsystems do not cannibalizeothers
    Support iskeytosuccess
    Yourproviderhastobe in the same timezone
    Hastobe flexible withthe UI (noreadymade box)
    Hastobe international (Europe, Eastern Europe)
    (in otherwordsdon‘tuse US onlyproviders)
  • FREE Advice!!!!
    UseGlobal Collectformostpaymentoptions
    UseMoPayfor SMS payments
    Covers 95% marketandareprovenexperts
    Europe, RussianTerritories, Arabian Countries, Turkey, etc.
    Theyaren‘tthecheapest, but thats not important!
    Service is!
  • Definitions
    • Churn Rate: how many leave per month
    • Reg to Active: How many play* after registering
    • *Active User Definition: returning after first day and first login, definition varies
    • Active to Pay: How many actives pay = Conversion Rate
    • ARPU: Average Revenue per User (total revenue/active users)
    • ARPPU: Average Revenue per Paying User (total revenue/paying users)
    • CPA/CPL: Cost per Acquisition/Lead (of user)
    • LTV: Lifetime value (total revenue per paying user over his lifetime)
    • PCCU: Peak Concurrent Users
    • MAU/WAU/DAU: Monthly/Weekly/Daily active users
  • User Flow
    Churn Rate
    Conversion Rate
    Pay Users
  • Revenue Distribution
    50% ofyourrevenuecomesfrom „highrollers“ or „wales“
    Total Revenue
    These Users needspecialattention
    90% of
    Pay Users
    10% of
    Pay Users
    „VIP“ flagneededthrough all services
  • Number of users is key to success
    • Revenue = Active Users*Conversion Rate*ARPPU
    • Printing Money?
    • If ARPPU or LTV > CPA of paying users
  • Market Size & Forecast ARPU(!)Source: IDATE Sept. 2008
  • Sample Business Case
    1 Million registered users
    Reg to Active: Churn rate varies (we assume 60%)
    400.000 Users left
    Rule of Thumb: 5%-15% Users pay
    5%: 20.000 paying users
    15%: 60.000 paying users
    ARPPU 15€: 300-900 thousand/month (ARPU: 0.75-1.5€)
    ARPPU 30€: 600-1.8Mil per month (ARPU: 2.25-4.50€)
  • User Attributes
    • Anonymous
    • Can leave anytime (low stickyness)
    • Usually brings 0.5-2 friends with him (6-8 on Facebook)
    • Once he pays, he pays even more (package selection)
    • Payingusersspendhardcurrencywithindays
    • Most users come from countries we are not used to make business in:
    • Low average income
    • Low or evolving internet infrastructure
    • Low system specs
    • Can’t afford PC or consoles
    • Usually play in internet cafes
  • Browser Game Countries
    • Turkey
    • UAE countries
    • GUS states
    • India
    • Brasil
    • China
    • Poland
    • Phillipines
    • Malaysia
  • Consequences
    Low System Specs & Software requirements
    Localization (or better Culturization) important
    Successful f2p gameslocalizeinto 25+ languages
    Thatswhere US companies FAIL
    Game Content compatible with alien cultures (Muslim, Asian)
    No pigs, cows, alcohol, owls, events on Christian holydays etc.
    Free to play with item sale model (not fremium)
    Special payment systems
    Specifics of Turkey (ePin), Russia (no CC, no accounts)
  • http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6218/playing_with_fire_ethics_and_game_.php
    Monetization Strategies
  • Item Sales: Overview
    In game economy required
    Monetization by player motivation:
    Players Game Progress
    7 ‘Sins’
    Online Role Behaviour
    Item Types
    Retention Strategy (pursue the player to come back)
  • Monetizetheplayerbyprogression: Acts
    Act3: End Game
    • Elite Items
    • Super Powers
    • Rare Items
    Act2: Mid Game
    • Comforts
    • Specialization
    • Leveling
    • Socialization
    Act1: Early Game
    Time Accelerators
    Startup helps
    Power buffs
    Monitoring the player: Best buy offer for his current needs
  • Monetizetheplayerbythe 7 sins
    Vanity: Showing off socially/posing
    Envy: Desire for friends Possession
    Gluttony: Consume more
    Lust: Instant gratifications
    Anger: Wrath on enemies
    Greed: Virtual Wealth
    Sloth: Avoidance of work
  • Monetizetheplayerbyplaying style
    Challenger: Fast Leveling, Achievements, “Raids”
    Trader: Master Trader, Auction House, Resources
    Explorer: Maps, Exclusive Access, Easter Eggs
    Slayer: Better units, faster reactions, comfort battle UI
    Socializer: Gifting, Decorations, Customizations
    Note: Players switchroles all the time!
    Note 2: Ifyourgamedoesn‘tsupport all rolesyousufferrevenue
    Source: MMO Archetypesby Richard Bartle
  • Item Sale Types
    last forever
    May have cool downs
    vanish after use
    one time buff or help
    ImmediateMonetization Actions
    Game hasdirectaccesstomonetizationactionsrightatthemomentwhenneeded
    Comfort: monthly premium services ok, but limits ARPU
    Rent: pay per use/day: not a good idea (time pressure on user), only works for long term rents
  • Processof Design Items
    Every gamemechanicshouldbethoughtabouttomonetize
    Makelistofplanneditemsandactions (! Note thedifference!)
    Attachattributesfor all 3 pillarstoeach item oraction
    Fill in newitemstolessoccupiedcolumnsforthe 3 pillars
    Makeexperimentsforlight, medium and heavy spenders
    Adjustpricesand total gemsspend
    Adjust – Test - Readjust
    Source: MMO Archetypesby Richard Bartle, notethatplayerschangethoseroles all the time!
  • ProcessofResearching Items
    Play hugelysuccessful f2p games, i.e. Metin 2, Dark Orbit, Grepolis
    Makeexcellistof all theiritems in shopandsortthemto 3 pillars
    Makelistof all payedactionsandputthemtheretoo
    Repeat for Runes of Magic, Seafight, Farmerama etc.
    Askyourself WHY each item works
    Watch item shopsfornewitemsandseasonal/eventitems
  • Player Retention Strategy
    Daily Retentions
    • Build queue
    • Daily Offers & Bonus
    • Production limits
    • Specialists usage
    Hourly Retentions
    • Building construction
    • Gifts & Friends
    • Chat & Communication
    Weekly Retentions
    • Rare & Event zones
    • Building upgrades
    • Combat
    Monthly Retentions
    • Wild Zones
    • Alliances & Guild Wars
    • Expansions
  • Requirements
    Pricing Strategy: double your initial thoughts
    Lowering prices is easy (and actually is a good marketing tool)
    Raising prices is hard
    Think about item power when pricing them:
    how much does it give?
    Save time?
    Increase luxury?
    Value that to the hard currency earnings per hour
    Accelerated costs in game vs. deaccelerated costs when buying
    Mask real price by odd exchange rates
    Make sure left overs are there when user spends all his money
    Make sure your monetization strategy allows high spending
  • Oddities in Monetization
    Orwhy ist the Wild West out there
    (wordingby Dave Perry)
    The followingitems
    Best Sellers!
    Odd Examples
  • Item Attributes
    Metin 2 Wedding Ring
    Offersadvantageslikemore XP, teleportationtopartner etc.
    Wedding Ring
  • Item Attributes
    Allowstothrowit on otherplayers
    Cleaningtakes a daysor …
    … a pay item ;)
    No picture given ;)
  • Item Attributes
    Mute button
    Allowsto mute a playerfromchatfor 24h
    Everyonesees YOU didit
  • OOC
    Out of Client Modules
  • Landing Pages
    Various LP’s for various countries, Biz Dev partners or markeitng events
    Ultra fast Loading speed
    Advertises what your game is all about
    In VERY short steps
    Task: Lead user to register
  • Community Pages
    Localized CP’s
    Requires CMS (!!)
    Imagine posting to 25 languages
    At the same time
    Service Portal!
    Here you communicate to active users
    No Flash! (loading times)
    No sound! (office browsers)
    No Advertising! (but your own)
    Task: engage the users within your community
  • Forum
    Use industry standards
    i.e. vBulletin, nothing else
    Forum Web Server and DB Server on their own machines
    Establish a common login for game & forum
    Forum CM is not as easy as it sounds!
  • Community Management
    Is NOT support!
    Lead CM must sit in your offices
    Honest, direct, immediate communication to your users is KEY
    Even if its bad news
    Train your CM
    he is worth thousands of marketing dollars!
  • Payment Systems
    Support as many as possible
    Research what big (European) companies support
    Do not underestimate this point
    Secure transfers
    P.s.: Bigpoint has 160+ payment systems online
  • Support
    Ticket System
    Rights system
    Intl. support
    Support actions
    Reimburse items
    Check player game status
    Check player payment status
    Check player support history
    Includes bans, mutes, etc.
    Support actions needs to logged
    Knowledge base key
    Other problems needs to be escalated
  • VIP Support
    Ticket System auto priorizes VIP’s
    Turn around time less than 12 hours
    VIP’s receive special treatment
    See Pokersites, they do this since years
    Btw, Wales, ask Zynga …
  • Maintenance & Monitoring
    Prevent downtime
    Every hour DT costs €
    Altert system to your IT staff 24/7 (pager, sms etc.)
    Do not think your provider can do this
    Most problems are software based
    Most problems occur when you’re out of office (Murphies law)
  • Maintenance & Update Deployment
    Fixed Maintenance day
    Wednesdays (or Thursdays)
    Mo-Tue is a bad idea, Fr is even worse
    Do not underestimate time needed for deployment
    Deployment strategy is KEY for stable versions
    Without Perforce you WONT be able to do this
  • Life Team – Dev Team
    Life operations draws time
    You won’t have time for other stuff
    i.e. further development
    So you need 2 teams
    Shared resources are ok
    Sizes vary over time as game matures
    Do not underestimate requirements & demands from
    Marketing, BizDev, Support, Community Management, Users, IT
  • Business Development (BizDev)
    Sells your game to media
    But you operate it
    On your servers
    White labeling needed
    BizDev can generate millions of users
    Deals vary from CPA/CPL to lifetime share
    BizDev partners do not cost money initially!
    They are only payed on success
  • E-Marketing
    Your key to acquire users
    Traditional marketing won’t work
    Banners are out
    Forget magazines
    You can acquire users without leaving your offices – world wide
    SEM, SEO is key
  • Player retentionstrategy: Updates & Expansions
    Plan for bi-weeklyupdates
    Major expansionsevery 1-2 months
    High update frequencymeans
    2 Teams: Life & expansionteamneeded
    High Performance Version Control (Perforce)
    Users needtoseethe „service“
    Mini Expansionsweekly (items, events)
    Ever expanding game means users will stay
    Be careful however with major gameplay changes
    As users always will complain
  • Hacks & Exploitation
    Players will find potential exploits, all the time
    They exploit as its „just“ a game
    Guaranteed - at 70k active users
    It will harm your business
    So you need to protect yourself
    Process needed
    Alert System needed
  • Q & A
    Contact me:
    on Facebook
    or Twitter (Teut)
    or LinkedIn
    or Xing
    or ... simply teut986@gmail.com