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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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  • most people are going to play it like it's free, as in, not paying for anything. You'll still have a minority that will help to boost the sales by paying a whole lot more than they should for in game items. Likewise, I have never played a free MMO that didn't have someone running around the home city just shouting out advertisements.
  • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:38PM (#28272613)
    How many of those Mac users are too busy studying, socializing in person, or ransacking the couch for ramen money though?
  • by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:38PM (#28272617) Journal

    I suspect that the median monthly payment is much smaller, and that there's a "long tail" of people-who-would-be-called-irrational-by-economists, who see the game as a social venue and thus are chipping in a lot. I used to play Kingdom of Loathing, and some of the hard core users seemed to be spending upward of $100 a month on the game partly because they spent a lot of their social time in the game and meta-game (forums; auctions; clan dungeons; &c.). They seemed to be getting a whole lot more out of it than I was and I was very impressed at the tight-knit community. Anyway, I just chipped in $10 after my first ascension and shortly thereafter lost interest entirely.

  • Re:bad math (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pollardito ( 781263 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:43PM (#28272679)
    That 5000 is the percent that actually pays, the 1-2 dollar average is across all his users. There's still some bad math or heavy rounding in there since they say that 10% of the users pay, and so the average paid by paying users should not be 25-50 times the average paid by all users.
  • by Dr. Zim ( 21278 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:16PM (#28273471) Homepage

    Actually, as an openly gay mac user, I have to say I've gotten far more dick when I leave my computer at home.

    If you think your hardware choice will get you laid, I'm guessing you don't get much from either sex.

  • by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @10:40PM (#28274477) Homepage Journal

    I was looking at overnight; WoW's population is about to drop like a rock. It's already begun, in fact.

    Character classes have been nerfed into the ground, with the Paladin or DK now being the only two worth playing. Any originality is gone. WotLK had the worst instances the game has ever had, and the only thing the developers now focus on is the Arena.

    I can see it in my own behaviour; I'd be lucky to log into WoW once a week, now, and even just this last night, while I got up planning on playing WoW, it never happened, even though I spent practically the entire night idling on IRC, bored.

    When I'd rather spend a night vegetating on Freenode than playing World of Warcraft, (which I used to genuinely love, incidentally) I know that the game has truly died in the ass...and it has.

    I'm starting to think Guild Wars might be worth a look. WoW sure isn't getting much of my time these days, that's for sure.

  • by drtsystems ( 775462 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @01:21AM (#28275633)
    I actually have noticed that a disproportionate amount of mac users bring their laptops places (library, class, coffee shop, etc) than PC users on campus, but I attributed it to a different reason. I've found Macs to be better suited to portability. Apple laptops are very portable compared to many WIndows laptops (the $500 massive PC laptop doesn't exist for Apple customers). Most Windows laptops I see around campus are massive and heavy. OS X also handles sleeping very gracefully. Maybe this has been improved with newer motherboards and/or Win XP service packs, but Windows always seemed to give me problems with not sleeping and crashing when waking up from sleep. Obviously this isn't always the case, there are plenty of portable PCs, but it seems the ones that college students buy aren't those.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10, 2009 @02:22AM (#28276009)
    This inability to comprehend cleverly worded math problems is how Vegas and wall street were built. The fact that so many people are confused about the math who are regular readers of slashdot, is down right disturbing. Or actually quite promising to the ethically challenged, but financially motivated. Can I interest you in investing into my split strike investment scheme? The fund is actually closed to investment due to its rock solid 15% return, but for the right clientele, I can make an exception. Many large educational and charitable endowments are reaping the rewards already and can attest to the quarterly investment statments I print out.

All seems condemned in the long run to approximate a state akin to Gaussian noise. -- James Martin