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PC Games (Games) The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

How Much Money Do Free-To-Play MMOs Make? 157

simoniker writes "Over at Gamasutra, a new feature article discusses how much money free-to-play MMO games make, with specific real-world stats from game developers willing to discuss how they make money with microtransaction-based PC games. In particular, Puzzle Pirates co-creator Daniel James reveals that 'the average revenue per user (ARPU) is between one and two dollars a month, but only about 10% of his player base has ever paid him anything. As a result, he says, approximately 5,000 gamers are generating the $230,000 in revenue he sees each month.' It's obviously quite a different model from the regular $15/month for World Of Warcraft, but it evidently works for some companies."
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How Much Money Do Free-To-Play MMOs Make?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:21PM (#28272441)

    Stop making your games for Windows only and maybe you'll see more money.

    Hint: on campuses there's at least 50% Mac users.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:22PM (#28272447)

    Wow, when did $46 become a micro payment?

  • d-oh, stupid units (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knave75 ( 894961 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:37PM (#28272605)

    ($50/paying user)(5000 users) = $250,000

    Clearly it should read:

    ($50/paying user)(5000 paying users) = $250,000

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:43PM (#28272683)

    We sit in Starbucks all over the nation, sipping our latte all day long, waiting for the master to return.

  • by SleepingWaterBear ( 1152169 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:49PM (#28272729)

    Well, dunno about studying or socializing, but if you can afford a mac, you're probably not ransacking couches for Ramen money.

  • by LandDolphin ( 1202876 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:03PM (#28272855)
    I have never played a ANY MMO that didn't have someone running around the home city just shouting out advertisements.

    Have not read the article, but it seems fro mthe summary that they know that most people are going ot play for free. But the free draws them in and then some pay for things and they make enough to stay in business.

    A good business model does not require making millions of profit. If a company makes enough to pay it's employees well with a little leftover capitol to grow then it is doing well.
  • by Endo13 ( 1000782 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:09PM (#28272911)

    I love summaries like this one. It's a great tool for figuring out who has poor reading comprehension and/or logic ability.

  • by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:11PM (#28272925) Homepage
    I think a better statement would be 'at least 50% of the people who I see with computers use Macs'. That's because Macs are status symbols first, and computers second (not to say they are not great systems). If PC's were as sexy as Macs then folks would be proud to be seen using them too. And I would imagine those people would far out number the Mac users.
  • by Stauken ( 1392809 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:17PM (#28273005)
    Yeah. Some campuses are probably closer to 90%. Alternatively, theres probably some campuses who have few students who can afford anything close to a mac.
  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @07:45PM (#28273225)

    Yes... the ongoing decline is partially caused due to rampant USD farming.

    Once upon a time, the $$$ you earned were based on real work, and/or legitimate investment using your own cold hard cash.

    And then the $$farmers (botters) came... and didn't follow the rules... they exploited bugs, that allowed them to leverage obscene amounts of phoney $$$ they weren't supposed to have access to.

    They created an inherently deceptive market. Distorting the value of things such that it would be valued increasingly higher, at ridiculous price momentum.

    They got their cronies in place throughout the political arena, so $$farmers have better representation than the people.

    Instead of the past fair work/investment-based economy, huge profits came from breaking the game rules.

    They bring the world economy to the verge of collapse. And the real world is by no means out of the woods yet.

    The $$farmers continue to look for and try to get short-term fixes from their puppet government And matters continue to worsen

    In 48 months, $1000 may be a "micro" payment.

  • by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestes@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:15PM (#28273461) Homepage Journal

    Odd, I got a Mac in college when my PC crapped out thanks to some defective parts after $300 of upgrades. I decided I had enough of futzing with my computer, and fixing things, so I bought an iBook. With student discounts it was cheaper than most comparable Wintel laptops, and did pretty much the same stuff, and I got a free iPod with it. Sure, I couldn't game, but I had more important things to do.

    It actually served my purposes fine, and it was damn cheap. Hardly a status symbol. Hell, even if it was a status symbol it might have left my dorm room 4 times 3 years.

    Stop generalizing to justify your own selection of OS as being far superior to everyone elses. And stop deluding yourself into thinking you OS choice has anything to do with anything that actually matters. Its shallow, and obnoxious.

    And just so you don't call me a fan-boy (which is also vapid, I might add) I'm typing this on my Windows gaming rig, sitting next to my Ubuntu laptop, which is sitting next to a Mac Mini I'm fitting into a mini media center.

  • by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestes@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @10:13PM (#28274283) Homepage Journal

    When I bought my first Mac, an iBook G3 in 2003, it was the best value notebook for my needs. It was actually cheap in comparison to most PC notebooks, which really surprised me. The Mac notebook line has always been good value.

    Sadly this doesn't hold true on the higher end. MacBooks and iBooks were a decent value, and at least comparable to Windows laptops with the same specs, but PowerBooks and MacBook Pro's are generally way too expensive for what you get.

    My HP Pavilion Vista Laptop (now running Linux) was around $300 (maybe a little less) than my girlfriends MBP with the same hardware (less bundled RAM, Apple still thinks RAM is a rare commodity mined from the last rainforest on Venus in quantities over 1GB for some reason), and a smaller screen. This always confused me, how the entry level can be an good value, while the top-end is overpriced.

    Its not even "bling" value, since I rarely see a MBP in the hands of a young person.

    The same is true for iMacs, the low level is a good price for a computer/monitor, while the high level isn't.

    I think Macs have become status symbols in spite of themselves, which is rather surprising.

    Anecdotal, so take with a grain of salt, but I don't know anyone who bought a Mac for the status symbol aspect. ipods and iPhones, yes, but not the computers themselves. I might know the wrong crowd, or am too old to know many people who would do such a thing, though. Half the people in college bought them because that is what they grew up on (odd, I know), or because our school's computer shop only sold Macs, and the only retailer in my town (Flagstaff, AZ) was a OfficeMax (depot?), so you had to drive 150 miles to get any competition.

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @12:27AM (#28275191)
    This is claimed at least once a week, but has yet to be true. Fact is, there's nothing on the market that can compete with WoW.

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