It’s become a bit of a joke today when EA releases a game. “Cash grab,” is a word you hear thrown around. Along with words like “anti-consumer,” “pay-to-win,” and many other unbecoming titles.
And yet, they may have turned a corner. Maybe? As Battlefield V released, the promise for the game is simple: all new “DLC” or game content will be free. The only form of revenue will be from the game sales and from in-game cosmetics that have no gameplay impact.
Though, similar thoughts were had before the Battlefront 2 debacle. No new paid expansions? Just some loot boxes? No big deal! Of course, that was until the loot boxes contained game defining ability enhancements.
The verdict is still out on EA and Battlefield V, but the purpose of this article is to showcase one important fact: earning a gamer’s good will is worth its weight in gold.
I think that message is being learned by EA pretty quickly: earning a bad reputation from gamers can hurt the profitability of your company. Sure, sometimes you won’t make as much money if you try to do right by gamers, but the long-term rewards are worth it.
I think earning the ill will of gamers typically comes in a lot of different ways, but here’s a few ways to “earn” it:
- Paying full price for a game and then adding in-game content (such as a DLC) that puts people who don’t buy it at some kind of disadvantage
- Having a free-to-play game that is almost impossible to progress in or is an immense grind in order to get people to pay money to reduce the grind to manageable levels (I call this: pay-to-suffer less)
- Giving other players advantages by spending money (loot boxes with meaningful rewards, experience boosts, etc.)
- Changing core mechanics of the game without community input
- Adding excessive amounts of DLCs
- Radically changing your payment model in a way that negatively impacts your previous players
- Putting in mechanics simply for the sake of adding “length” to the game (aka, grindy mechanics)
Try to avoid these. I know, I know. Game development can be costly, but I think if gamers have proven anything it’s that we’re willing to spend money on games we love and are passionate about. People will buy cosmetics if you make them interesting and not impact gameplay (and the game is good).
People will spend money on DLCs or expansions if they are meaningful additions to the game. Don’t just add new unit packs or things that really don’t add meaning to the games. Instead, add new or interesting mechanics or content.
Just look at the companies out there that have earned a good reputation and gamers’ good will. Blizzard has been one of those companies for a while, and literally just about any games they make will be successful because of the reputation they’ve earned. Now, they have made a some missteps recently, but I truly believe that Blizzard could release just about any game right now and it would sell millions.
Or take a specific game as an example: Path of Exile. The game is entirely free-to-play with consistent content updates. The game possesses no true pay-to-win or pay-to-suffer less mechanics. You can upgrade your stash to hold more items, get more some more character slots, or buy cosmetic items. That’s it. All the updates, all the content, and the entire games is completely yours. And the game is wildly successful because of it (in addition to some fine gameplay as well).
More so, games that treat the gamer well makes me want to spend money on it! When I see a developer treat the gamer well, it earns my respect, and with my respect often comes a willingness to give some money for something I may not need (like cosmetics) for the sake of supporting the developer.
Treat your gamers well, developers and publishers! If you do right by them, they will reward you more times than not!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little ramble sessions as always. If you did, let me know about it on Twitter! Likewise, feel free to catch me live playing games on Twitch or check out my videos on YouTube! Thanks so much for reading, friend!