So I’d like to speak on the topic since I’ve disagreed with certain parts of the CPG pricing policy for the longest time. This post is purely related to the cosmetics since I think the orb prices are fine.
From what I know about the f2p business models, there are three general ways to earn money as a free-to-play game.
The first is cash in-bro out model. Basically you make a cheap, lazy piece of garbage, drop that turd on the AppStore and Google Play, aggressively market it to retarded schoolkids and then abandon it within weeks after making a bit of cash. This is clearly not what we are dealing with here, so it’s irrelevant to our discussion.
The second is relying on a small group of players who have a lot of disposable income and dump a lot of it into the game. This model generally works best for games with recognizable names, often based on successful franchises. Some of the lesser known games also use this model. I have a feeling that CPG might be trying to go for this approach. The constant stream of expansions seems to be aimed at part at keeping people paying by giving them more stuff to buy. Cosmetics also are probably aimed at the hardcore fans of the game. When using this business model, companies often set their pricetags higher than you would expect since their income comes from a few people with a lot of money.
The final approach is based on making most of the players spend at least some cash. That can be done through some scummy tactics, but again CPG is definitely not doing that. This approach is usually used in conjunction with the previous one, with some one-time deals to entice newcomers and higher general pricing to fully reap the rewards of getting the people hooked. That is exactly the approach the CPG is taking, and the one I want to argue against.
Duelyst has a pretty healthy playerbase which was extimated at about 15 thousand or so unique players per month the last time I checked. Applying the rule of thumb and general statistics I would say that about 200-300 hundred people (1-2%) are “whales” for the game - those high-paying customers who don’t care about the money and just buy everything that comes out. So everybody else is in the camp of people who either pay a little or don’t pay at all.
So here comes the math and estimates, and I’m terrible at both, so feel free to correct me. Currently most of the money comes from those 1-2% of the players, I assume. So they probably make about 20-30 thousand dollars reliably every month, provided those players drop about 100/month at the game. The rest of the playerbase provides some ammount of money which is almost impossible to estimate, I would say about 40-50 thousand dollars a month through the sheer number of players. However, that money is bound to be highly unreliable and mostly come in after expansions and new services like the boss crates are rolled out.
So. Why I feel CPG should kick down the prices on the cosmetic items. There is a group of players who are inbetween those who pay very little and the “whales”. I am one of them, and I would guess about 10% of people are the same. These people drop a fair ammount of money on the game, especially after expansions come out, but generally a reluctant to pay more than necessary since they don’t have enough disposable income to become “whales”. Such people would spend money on skins and icons and other cosmetics if they do not feel overpriced. And right now they do, absolutely. 8 bucks is quite a bit, especially here in Russia. And I think that applies to many different countries. I think a lot of people from countries with terrible dollar exchange rate can be persuaded into buying cosmetics by lower prices. And that’s only one example of people who want to throw money at the game but simply feel like that would be too much of a waste. A lot of those people could drip in small ammounts of money every month, if some things costed less. And right now that potential is wasted.
And people who want to pay more, but can’t afford to pay THAT much more also end up not giving you any money. I am one of them. I had an urge to buy that sick Faie MKII skin many times, and every time I thought to myself: hell I can buy an entire game with that money. And I usually ended up buying a game. I think a lot of people are on the fence, just like me in the community.
Giving us one-time discounts wouldn’t solve the problem, though it will generate an income spike for CPG, so they might do it if they need some cash. But just kicking the prices down will cut their income from the “whales” while generating quite a few new “whales” in the process. Say they drop the prices by 30%. They will sacrifice about 10000 dollars a month from their devoted customers. But that would also make another 10% of the playerbase pay more. How much more is hard to say, but if 1500 people start dropping at least 10 bucks per months they will generate 15000 dollars a month, overall putting CPG in the black.
Of course all of this is pure guesswork. But I still feel, that my estimations are correct. Just from me alone, CPG are missing about 30 dollars of potential income which I would have dropped at the game. Add up that money from all the other people like and you get a pretty decent stack of cash.
Concluding this wall of text, I must say that I just hope CPG prospers and continues to produce high quality content - if I personally can’t afford the skins, I’ll live with it if it means the company ends up making more money.