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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessIs charging for offline content for an online game a valid model?
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Author Topic: Is charging for offline content for an online game a valid model?  (Read 1004 times)
Spectragate
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« on: March 07, 2020, 08:45:22 AM »

I'm currently working on a puzzle game which is primarily multiplayer focused (1v1). Multiplayer games are a pretty hard sell for an indie game (ie, getting that initial player base to grow, because nobody is going to play a multiplayer game that nobody else is playing).

My plan was to release the game for free with the online multiplayer mode unlocked, along with one offline bot you can play against. The game would then have a single DLC purchase which would include: A campaign, a puzzle mode, survival mode and whatever other offline content happens to make it in. If a new mode is added, it would just be patched into the DLC that people already purchased (so it's a one-time purchase).

I'm concerned about a few things:

1) When the game first launches, it will be hard to find people playing online. If the only other content available to the player is a single bot, they might get bored before ever actually getting back into online.

2) Like in this thread, some people have a big issue with 'demo' or 'lite' versions of games. While this game wont be surprising you with a paywall 3 levels into a campaign (which I think is where people get mad), there would still be an element of opening the game and on the first screen a menu item says "Pay $5 to get the single player DLC".

3) I don't know any games that use this payment model. I'm sure there are some out there, but I've not been able to find any to gauge how effective it is. The only one that I think comes close is Prismata, but I don't know how well the single player DLC sold compared to their cosmetic items.

Does anyone have any tips/thoughts on the three items above? Is this model more common than I realize, or am I heading down a path that might turn players off? I'm pretty sure the multiplayer part has to be free no matter what (see Artifact), but I'm not 100% sure which path to choose for the payment model around it.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2020, 08:53:04 AM by Spectragate » Logged

Foxwarrior
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2020, 08:21:31 PM »

Free-to-play multiplayer games that have singleplayer campaigns you can buy for money aren't that rare in my experience. Usually they give away enough campaign to serve as a tutorial for people who aren't confident enough to dive right into the multiplayer.
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Spectragate
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2020, 06:45:08 AM »

Usually they give away enough campaign to serve as a tutorial for people who aren't confident enough to dive right into the multiplayer.

In my experience, this can appear as less 'getting multiplayer and a few levels of the campaign for free' but instead 'The game tricks you out of money by hiding the rest of game behind a paywall'. I think it's because people who are unaware of the campaign not being fully available get invested in the first few levels, then feel like they've been bait-and-switched into paying for the rest of the game or lose all their progress.

Are there any games you can think of that use this method, but is not misinterpreted by their audience? I'd be curious to see how they present it.
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