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What will free-to-play gamers pay for – the wooga experience

By on January 19, 2012
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At a client last week, I was asked what virtual goods are most popular with customers. I remembered that wooga CEO Jens Begemann had given the answer for one of their most popular games and via Twitter, Nicola Hibbert was kind enough to steer me to the GamesIndustry.biz report of Jen’s talk.

wooga’s most poplar virtual goods in Monster World

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wooga’s flagship title is Monster World. It has eight ways in which people can spend money in the game:

  • Avatar customisation – 0.3%
  • Cosmetic decorations – 2.3%
  • Territory expansion – 2.8%
  • Instant building shortcuts – 6.3%
  • Buying materials instead of finding / farming them – 9.6%
  • In-game currency: 10.5%
  • Magic Wands (which make crops grow instantly) – approximately 1/3
  • Woogoo fuel (which powers factories to make rare items) – approximately 1/3

Conclusions

Jens concludes that his audience (which is 70% female) values “hurry-ups”, or virtual goods that save time in the game more than aethestic items which gender stereotyping might suggest.

I think that the reality is more nuanced than that: when a game is well designed to incentivise people to purchase hurry-ups, they will; if it is a game where customisation and personalisation are more central to the game, customisation elements will have a higher proportion of the revenue.

More importantly, it shows the importance of consumable items, rather than permanent decorative items. If you don’t have a clear strategy of consumable virtual goods in your game, you should develop one very soon.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com