Global Game Industry News Blog

Friday, July 28, 2006

Interesting Retail Idea

I think the thing that makes me nervous about this has nothing to do with extra content for pay, but the idea that some publishers will take this opportunity to make me pay any time I want to play a game (like WoW), but for something that isn't like an MMO where that makes sense. "Why can't I pay Mario?" "Because you haven't payed your rent for it." "I was renting?" There needs to be a balance between asking me to pay and having me pay and get it.

This is one of my gripes with Xbox Live. I bought the system, why should I pay for the service? Let me buy games and content through it. This is more where Wii and PS3 seem to be going.

GameDaily BIZ: Opinion: How to Fix the Broken Game Business - The Retail Solution
In other words, publishers need to think like media programmers, not car salesmen. Think of World of Warcraft and where the real profits come from; it's the user engagement. Publishers can also leverage the pricing of add-on products that can be subsidized by in-game ads. You may get extra levels and online member access if you agree to get ads in your games. If you don't want ads, that's ok. You'll just pay more for your game services. Retailers can be paid to upsell these services by paying commissions for additional services. Each game SKU can be tracked to a retailer, as was done last year with RYL. This forgettable MMO had different retail SKUs for each retailer and promised to pay a bounty for online sign-ups. Don't you think there would be more WoW users if the guys at Best Buy tried to sell online sign-ups as well?

I think Microsoft gets this model with Xbox Live and its Arcade services. If publishers engage consumers with excellent experiences, they will spend time and money. If publishers just hope to sell the same repackaged crap with license for $60, they will lose. Today's gamer is a media consumer. The competition is MySpace, music, blogs, YouTube and online games.


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