In the past couple of years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of games that use randomness in the game. Let me explain, if you have played any mobile, console or pc game in the past few years, you might have opened up a chest or a box or loot to get some skin for a gun or a character or some emote. There is one thing common between these games, the use of randomness or luck for the person playing the game. Now before I further explain this model, let’s take a look at some of the games that use this new model that might be what your game needs to go viral.
The most common ones are FPS games, with so called “skins ” for your guns. Now to get these skins, you need to use some kind of money system within the game, let me remind you this is not even remotely connected to real world currency. Now when you start the game, this fake currency is really easy to get, but as you play further it gets really difficult to get those. Also these skins are “random”, based on luck.
Valve’s CS GO is one of the most famous for making these skins and selling these. If you wanna know how much Valve makes by these virtual skins, check this out.
Now, the two key things that you can learn here are the “random” and the “fake currency”. The reason behind doing that is basic human psychology. The use of both of these is a huge powerful techniques that people are starting to realize.
Randomness – Ever figure why people who gamble get so easily addicted, why while playing tetris you worry about what block will come next. Games with randomness increase the chances of people playing it again. The reason is our mind tries to identify patterns, that is what it is programmed for, and when we don’t know what will come next, our mind is not able to process it and tries to find patterns and thus it wants us to play more.
Virtual Money – Our mind performs many tasks even while we are playing the game. Sure you are enjoying the game with all the randomness. But if I were to tell you that you can play it again for $1, your brain will trigger a “Nope!” realizing that it is not worth it. So, this is where the virtual money comes into play. Let’s say you can buy 3 skins for $3 and another scenario where you can buy 3 skins for 500 gems where (500 gems will be equal to $3), more people will go for 500 gems. Why is that?
The reason is, in the first scenario, you only get 3 things for 3$ whereas in the second option it converts to 500 things. Even though the goal is same, it masks of the effect of the trigger that you get when you use direct money.
THE NEXT LEVEL
Now, these games have been there for a while and are usually for consoles or PC, so there is cost of maintaining, the time taken in releasing updates, the hassles in paying via consoles and the most important of them all, not everyone plays that, not everyone has consoles. So some genius person came with this amazing model that I believe is the new “Farmville”. (http://www.onlinemarketing-trends.com/2011/02/top-5-farmville-economics-statistics.html)
So, last year a game called Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle was released, you might have surely heard of Dragon Ball Z! but what you might not know that this game has been downloaded over 100 million times! in ONE year. They might be doing something right. There are a few more examples, which as of today have been released such as Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Naruto Ninja Blazing, Pokemon Duel ( Released one day before this post )
Now, what is the reason for all of this, you might be wondering. The reason is all of these games were developed by different companies but look at how strikingly similar they are.
The top bar includes stamina and the two fake currencies, your level, then it is four tabs for all the “free gifts” that you get by logging in every day. Play/ Quest mode where you can actually play. The bottom bar includes other stuff such as getting more characters, shop etc.
Now, the reason why I like this model is the seamless use of gameplay + randomness + fake money. Not only do they have gems / stones they have one more currency to purchase other stuff. Instead of skins, you have characters based on your luck that you can get using those “Gems”. With this being on iOS and Android, it becomes easier to dispatch updates, reduce the load on artists, constant updates which means that the lifetime of these games will be lot longer than console games. Add in co-op and competitive gameplay and you have a complete package.
WHY WE WILL SEE MORE OF THESE GAMES
With the audience being larger than the consoles and the reduced stress on the developers, developers will soon start to realize that this is indeed the new “Farmville”.
THINGS TO REMEMBER.
Currently, if you have IP like Nintendo or Disney, this is a goldmine for them and I do hope they make the most of out it, just because it has been proven to be successful. As for us, it might not be that useful right now, but maybe after many iterations we can find a way to properly utilize this game model in our favor.
THE MAIN QUESTION
So, why should we learn from this model. Well, for years game companies have been struggling with micro transactions and increasing the game price over 60$ without being hated by the gaming community. This model, being freemium, does it more effortlessly than other games that have being doing it in the past. It is also more rewarding in terms of content. If you haven’t played any of these yet, I highly encourage you to do so.