Capped Free-to-Play
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 April 2016, 10:20 am
I was reading an article on Pocket Tactics on the Free-to-Play model of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, soon to be released on iOS (a game I'm waiting for). The game gives you between 100 and 300 gold for beating a scenario, depending on difficulty level, plus very small amounts of gold for stuff you do in those scenarios (e.g. 1 gold for killing a monster). You can then use that gold to buy characters and adventures. There are 5 characters costing 2000 gold each, and 4 characters costing 4000 gold each. The first adventure costs 750 gold, but the other 5 cost 4000 gold each. So if you want to buy all characters and all adventures, that will cost you 46,750 gold. If we estimate generously that you'll make on average 250 gold per scenario played, you'll need to play 187 scenarios to buy everything.

Or you can get all characters and adventures for $25.

I find that a very interesting and fair business model. $25 for all the content in the game is probably something I am going to buy. Unlike other Free2Play games which can ask for endless amounts of money, the money cost of the game is capped at $25. On the one side you'll get people who "buy to own" Pathfinder Adventure Card Game for $25, and on the other side you'll get people who refuse to pay anything but can still unlock all the content by grinding a lot. Not sure what intermediate options there are going to be.

And this isn't the only game that works like that. Magic Duels just released the latest version on the iOS and added not one, but two expansions to the game: Oath of the Gatewatch and Shadows over Innistrad. If you decide to buy all cards instead of playing for them, you still can't spend much more than $50 per expansion to get all the virtual cards. That might seem expensive compared to other iOS games, but for the Magic player that sounds dirt cheap, as buying enough physical cards to get one expansions is easily 10 times that expensive. Personally I am using a mixed strategy here, I spent enough money so that with the gold I had already accumulated over the last months I got the complete Shadows over Innistrad, but I'll earn the cards from the other expansion by playing.

Right now I'm quite happy deckbuilding with all those new cards, doing a "vampire deck" and so on. Having access from cards from 4 expansions makes it easier to create theme decks that don't suck. I only wished that there were better filters, right now it is hard to find for example all cards containing the word vampire in the game without using external sources. But to come back to the business model, I am also quite happy with that, knowing that I did spend what I wanted to spend, and that the game isn't pushing me towards spending more.
Tobold's Blog

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