So I was doing my talk at GDC Online this year. I think I had a pretty good turn out. As I was answering questions after my talk, I came to the realization that everyone has different concerns about the same questions. It seems to me that these concerns can be broken down by game type. Each group has different groups of users, so I’ll try to break them down as I dig into these in later posts.
Free/Social Gaming – Games that make money mainly by advertising or other marketing means. In some cases these games can even be seen as completely free. They are usually seen on social web sites and flash gaming sites.
Free to Play – Generally these are games where you pay to get the upgrade for gear or phat lewts or to be powerleveled or some other legal speed up. Sometimes these games border on the Freemium line by offering access to new zones and areas only if you buy them.
Freemium – Very similar to the Free to play games, these games will generally allow for the most of the same things that free to play games have. They generally attempt to move users towards subscription based modes. There is also a reverse Freemium where the user buys the title and only pays for expansions by buying them. Generally there is no reoccurring revenue, unless the user buys the expansion (I’ve seen people call this free-to-play too, guess it’s just a matter of personal choice).
Subscription – These are our traditional business models. Users pay to play and usually pay monthly. These are still the holy grail of online games. I’m pretty sure publishers only move to free-to-play/freemium if a title didn’t do as well as they hoped and are trying to drive more people to come and try the game.
So I will dig into these a bit more I hope as I have time. We will take a look at the user populations and challenges facing each model for security. There are some interesting problems and questions that come up all the time and are very similar but have very different answers for each model.