We know what virtual goods are going to be sold in games.
We know that the experience when we sell virtual goods is almost the same as selling things in the real world.
We know that there is a science behind the power of persuasion, a power we can control.
And we know that people buy things to solve their problems.
What does schell say?
Lens #109: The Lens of Profit
Profits keep the game industry alive. Ask these questions to help your game
● Where does the money go in my game’s business model? Why?
● How much will it cost to produce, market, and distribute this game? Why?
● How many units will this game sell? Why do I think that?
● How many units need to sell before my game breaks even?
Gamamoto does an attempt to make his own monetization lens. This still leads me to nowhere. I want understandable theory with practicle tools to improve my game design.
I think we also state the problem why so many games are failing to break even. Push to hard and you will loose the players because you ruin the game experience. If you make your game to easy and players can solve the problem on their own, then there is no reason to buy anything.
The usable lenses
To use this lens, think about your players’ feelings about items, objects, and scoring in your game. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is valuable to the players in my game?
- How can I make it more valuable to them?
- What is the relationship between value in the game and the player’s motivations?
Lens #8: The Lens of Problem Solving
To use this lens, think about the problems your players must solve to succeed at your game, for every game has problems to solve. Ask yourself these questions:
- What problems does my game ask the player to solve?
- Are there hidden problems to solve that arise as part of gameplay?
- How can my game generate new problems so that players keep coming back?
Lens #14: The Lens of the Problem Statement
To use this lens, think of your game as the solution to a problem. Ask yourself these questions:
- What problem, or problems, am I really trying to solve?
- Have I been making assumptions about this game that really have nothing to do with its true purpose?
- Is a game really the best solution? Why?
- How will I be able to tell if the problem is solved?
Lens #19: The Lens of the Player
To use this lens, stop thinking about your game, and start thinking about your player. Ask yourself these questions about the people who will play your game:
- In general, what do they like?
- What don’t they like? Why?
- What do they expect to see in a game?
- If I were in their place, what would I want to see in a game?
- What would they like or dislike about my game in particular?
Lens #22: The Lens of Needs
To use this lens, stop thinking about your game, and start thinking about what basic human needs it fulfills. Ask yourself these questions:
- On which levels of Maslow’s hierarchy is my game operating?
- How can I make my game fulfill more basic needs than it already is?
- On the levels my game is currently operating, how can it fulfill those needs even better?
Lens #52: The Lens of Economy
Giving a game an economy can give it surprising depth and a life all its own. But like all living things, it can be difficult to control. Use this lens to keep your economy in balance:
- How can my players earn money? Should there be other ways?
- What can my players buy? Why?
- Is money too easy to get? Too hard? How can I change this?
- Are choices about earning and spending meaningful ones?
- Is a universal currency a good idea in my game, or should there be specialized currencies?
6 Lenses are quite a lot. But I still got the feeling that there is nothing to hold on to.
Actually he already solved his problem by playing your game. That means you succeeded in lens 14, the problem statement. But also in 19 and 22, the player and his needs.
If players don't like your game on first sight, then check those lenses again. Use the 6 paths framework of the BOS. Try to find out what your players want. What are their problems? Who are the noncustomers? Etc. ISFE is a good site to start.
So the customer has solved his problem and is enjoying your game. That doesn't mean he has or will spend any money on your game.
Now let's take the other lenses 7, 8 and 52. A good amount of problems, great endogenous value and a good balanced economy make a great game. Asking money for any of these things will completely screw up your work.
And now what?
Do you remember the chain of buyers in the BOS tools? If not, check my previous blog post or the BOS website for all the details.
Now here is the plan. Let us make a lens of persuasion and try to apply it to each member in the chain of buyers.
Lens??#: the lens of persuasion
Since your game will be free, you must persuade the player to spend money on your game. To use this lens, try to anser these questions keeping all other lenses in mind.
- How can we use reciprocity to persuade the player to buy things?
- How can we use scarcity to persuade the player to buy things?
- How can we use authority to persuade the player to buy things?
- How can we use consistency to persuade the player to buy things?
- How can we use liking to persuade the player to buy things?
- How can we use consensus to persuade the player to buy things?
- Overdoing in persuading will disturb the experience. When is the best time to persuade the player? Am I trying to much? Or am I trying not enough?
Persuading the user
The user is there to enjoy the experience. He is immersed in the experience. Game monetization in almost all games are focused on this link in the chain of buyers. Users buy emotional and impulsively, or so they say. An article on gameindustry.biz tells us different things.
Anyway, because the users is so immersed in the experience, timing is the most essential part of the sale. Take the lens of the interest curve and that of the flow and consider this: The to salesman in the real estate business visit a few uninterested houses first before they take their client to the most suited house they have. Most likely the flow and interest curve has something to do with it.
In a freemium point G of the interest curve should be the point where you do an offer that can persuade the player in buying something in your game. The flow curve in a freemium game should look different.
Most freemium games do it this way. They will make the game so difficult so that the gamers would buy items to achieve their goals. Just look at puzzles and dragons and all match 3 games for some examples. Be careful not to push to hard, because players will have the feeling that you have to pay to win and will most likely leave your game.
In some way dungeons and dragons online do it like this. They offer new adventures from time to time.
It seems to me that a combination of both curves will give the best result. Just keep these 3 things in mind:
- keep track of the player's progress
- wait for the good moment to offer something
- don't push to hard
It's not what we offer, but how we offer it
I'm starting with this first because I think you better start with this.
Imagine that the player has finished his first level and has just learned to play the game. Wouldn't that be a good time to ask for some small commitments that can be made? Just show him a window where he can check the things he wants to do. Like this:
This shouldn't be hard to do. Crossy road does this really good. Right at the start the game immediately give free coins and gifts. Maybe we could do even better if we just use some other words. Something like: "Wauw, it seems you play a lot of x-games. Here is a gift for a pro like you."
Temporary offer for sure.
You can use review score of game magazines or game websites in the app store. Can we do something like this in our game to? Maybe you can offer the full version of your game for 5 euro or dollar and tell the gamer that it is recommended by the game magazines.
Concretely taken this means that we have to tell the player that we like the same games, that we are collaborating with him by telling him we want him to have fun and we need to give him complements. At some point in the game, we must tell all this to our players. Maybe we can use a character for this?
This can't be that hard to do. When you offer something just tell your player that xx% of your friends that play this game are taking this offer.
persuading the buyers
I think that you should not count on the users to earn your money. You can not ask any money related contribution from them. Instead adres the buyers in a honest and smart way. They often see gaming as a hobby and are more willing to pay for a game.
Buyers will check the in-game store for sales etc. They calculate every price in your shop to get the best deal there is. Your in-game shop can be compared with e-commerce or e-shops.
Most games have a single window with all the items for sale. They only use the "best buy", "most popular", "sale" or "temporary" text to persuade customers. And that's just sad. Treat your in-game shop like an e-commerce. Use the lens of persuasion on your shop or check these links to improve your shop and your revenue.
Persuading the influencer
Who can influence your behavior from within the game?
Kids can get their parents to play with them. And adult players are influenced by their friends. But can we use the lens of persuasion on influencers?
I have no idea to be honest. I'm really in the dark here. Maybe I should do some research and share my work in one of my future posts.