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Archive for December 12th, 2008

Market Segmentation

This is one other reason why the subscription model isn’t necessarily the idea for a business.  Most markets are composed of a variety of customers, and kludging them all into a “one size fits all” may be counterproductive.  Microtransactions and “choose your payment plan” sorts of options for MMOs can widen the user base, which can be crucial if the game design requires a critical mass of players to actually be fun.

I can’t add too much to the article that I linked to, so I’m being lazy this weekend.  Just go read what he has to say, and hopefully it will be obvious that once again, the game industry is behind the curve when it comes to business experience.  Hordes of fanboys cite WoW as the epitome of success in the industry, but that success is not just a triumph of design and marketing, but also a lucky stroke of timing.  Blizzard hit it big, and has warped the industry, but their success isn’t founded in ideal business practices.

The scary part is that they are leaving money on the table.  WoW could be making even more money if they were smarter about how they ran the business model.

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World of Warcraft has been compared to a theme park before.  The static world, colorful presentation and “gaming on rails” all lead to easy comparisons.  I won’t belabor those elements, since it’s enough for the sake of this article to frame the game in a theme park comparison.

No, what’s important to me at this point is the cost to the patron, and how the analogy can be used to illustrate the concept of microtransactions. (more…)

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