Open Discussion Pertaining to Monetization Model of Supremacy 1914

  • After all neither model is better and success is possible everywhere. You write as if it is a bad thing that we are a free2play company and that it has to be avoided, but the market trend shows that the free2play segment is actually one of the fastest growing business models in gaming. So if we look at it from a business perspective we are positioned rather well. Of course there are other more modern free2play monetization mechanics that should be explored at some point, as I agreed that ours are quite old by now. But still we have other options to test them in the future without throwing them into a live product.

    It is true that F2P style is the fastest growing business model in gaming, however there's a catch here, all F2P games that arised from nothing and that now are beasts are not only F2P but they actively avoided P2W, which is the reason this whole thread was created, F2P is not a problem, P2W is.


    When thinking of F2P PC games, the following come to my mind, League of Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Rocket League(F2P since 23rd September 2020 some time after Epic Games bought it [first time the game reaching 1M actively playing the game at the same time]), Dota 2, World of Tanks, Apex Legends, Hearthstone, Guild Wars 2, Counter Strike Global Offensive(after costing like 5$ for many years).


    Let's take some F2P Mobile examples too so it won't be so biased by those huge names in the game industry: Call of Duty Mobile, Brawl Stars, Clash of Clans, PUBG Mobile, Fortnite Mobile, Pokemon GO.


    Any way, you get the idea, now, let's compare them and their model to S1914 or Bytro's games in general:


    • Bytro's Games:
      • Buying premium currency affects gameplay.
      • In long run games such as 500p maps, if someone is rich as fuck and wants to spend thousands in the game, it actively affects other players experience and therefore ruining months of hard-work and progress.
      • Removed all sense of competitive environment
      • Removal of customization features
      • No such thing as Season Pass
      • Premium Suscription to get extra features (P2W)
      • Business model does exhaust player base


    • League of Legends, Clash of Clans, Brawl Stars, etc:
      • Buying premium currency DOESN'T affect gameplay
      • In long run games such as Clash of Clans, if someone is rich as fuck and wants to spend thousands in the game, it doesn't actively affect the other players experience and therefore it DOESN'T ruin months if not years of progress.
      • Building more and more to a sense of competitive environment
      • Hard focus on profile and customization
      • Season Pass (kinda new but still a way to make money)
      • No Premium Suscription to get extra features
      • Business model doesn't exhaust player base



    Now I'd like to do a swift change, what do you think it would happen if in this big F2P games, they would apply P2W models too, let's say:


    Example 1: League of Legends, you can only play 10 champions by free, if you want to play the rest, there is no way for the F2P user to get them, only to spend money to get the other 140 champions, also you can only get to build half of the items, the other half is locked for premium members(5$ suscription fee/month), do you really think people would keep playing?


    Example 2: Brawl Stars, let's get the starter brawler who has a shotgun and say that if you are willing to pay 10€ we will give you a double-damage shotgun, and if you are willing to pay 20€ we will give you a triple-damage shotgun, also there is no way for F2P users to get all brawlers, you can only get 5 for free, the rest you need to pay 5€ for each brawler, do you think people would still want to play it?


    Example 3: Fortnite, now you can only build walls and stairs if you are a premium member, also if you are willing to pay 5€ we will give you a legendary assault rifle as head-start in all games, would people still play it?


    Example 4: Clash of Clans, now Premium members are able to extract all the resources when attacking a city, by doing so they would also completely destroy the city, meaning it would be game over for the other player. Would people who spent 2 years building their city risk to just get a game over because some whole was bored in his house? I don't think so.



    I'll repeat what I said in the beggining, the problem is not about being FREE TO PLAY, is about being PAY TO WIN.


    Let's not forget this is a MMORTS, for those not familiar with the term, Massively multiplayer online real time strategy and just to be clear, Massively multiplayer online(MMO) means you need to have a big active player base for the game to keep it success, however I haven't seen a game with +15 active users since 2014, with the exception of 500p where in the last years the 500p wouldn't even get full.


    Your actual business model drains the players, and let me tell you, that is not good, in the long run, this business model will kill itself meanwhile League of Legends, Fortnite and all big and successful F2P MMO's won't get killed by their own business model but rather by their competition which sadly you don't have.


    I don't see the risk in changing the business model if you are straight up running towards your own death.


    You designed S1, the new game, where if morale rises production time gets lower, the idea and the concept are awesome however because of the game being P2W, having it done like that benefits more the P2W user than the F2P user because while I'm sleeping my, let's say, 8 hours I'm only producing 1 unit, meanwhile the premium member is producing 5 units, in terms of balance between a P2W and a F2P, the only thing standing between them was the time required to do things, like building 1 artillery within 24 hours, however in the new game I might get to build 2 artilleries in 24 hours(1 login every 12 hours) while the premium member might get to build 10 artilleries(1 login every 12 hours but has production queue(+4) because premium), so basically you made it worse.


    Bytro's model is perfect for Candy Crush, but this ain't no Candy Crush.


    PS: I remember like a year ago or so that I told you, Freezy, to look into this mobile game which is a MMORTS called Rise of Kingdoms which is also Free to Play and Pay to Win and has the SAME model, however they did the opposite that you did in terms of keeping the player base alive even if they have WHALES and I'm talking about big WHALES like easily spending thousands by the day, and there are no +1000% bonus, and with a vast majority of adult players that also spends lots of money, I myself spent more there in 1 year than here in 8 years. I won't go into further details but if you haven't checked it yet in order to see what's different between your games and that game I think you are making a mistake.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HA8kSdsf_M


    Soldiers! don't give yourselves to brutes

    men who despise you, enslave you

    who regiment your lives, tell you what to do

    what to think and what to feel!

    Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle,

    use you as cannon fodder.

    Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men

    machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!

    Edited 4 times, last by nemuritor98 ().

  • Hey, just wanted to chime in again to clear up some misconceptions. Our game is actually not for children. Our Terms of Service clearly state that you have to be 16 years old to play this game. Of course children can disregard that and still register and still spend, but then it is up to the parents to monitor that and to not hand their children their credit cards. That's the same everywhere in the internet. We definitely do not market the game to children, we have clearly defined audiences our marketing campaigns are running for. The spending playerbase is also mature, with a rather high average age. So we are totally unreliant on any child spending in this game, and we also don't want them to.


    That is interesting! I honestly didn't know the cutoff age was 16 per ToS and not 13, but I mean you know as well as I, in fact you surely know better than I, what the spread looks like. As far as who's making the majority of purchases here I will not deny that I wonder how you could ever be so sure about that as it's not like you're actually checking someone's age before you sell them something (that's potentially addictive) but I will take you word here and I will say that's good on you and on us as a society.

    It's also a little werid how the community is supposed to be moderated in a "family friendly" way then. The chat filter bans words like "bollocks". Who exactly are we worried we might offend there? Whatever. The ToS mandating 16 years of age is interesting to me.


    Much, much more important I think is what I happened upon when looking that up:


    Why on earth is there no english version of the ToS? You guys care about your product and then this? This partially paid service is advertised internationally but the only official documentation is in German? That's a massive, inexcusable, unprofessional oversight guys, seriously. How long has this game been running? Oh, what's that, eleven years? It is not any significant amount of work to translate that thing. Hell, I'll do it for five bucks.



    The rest of your reply pretty much spams the "It works financially, we can't touch it" argument over and over again the way I see it. It's fine if you feel that way but I just don't get it. We're not talking about an overhaul here, a removal of the core features or a complete removal of GM. We're talking about possibly small, gradual, testable and undoable changes. Don't worry, I have absolutely understood that that doesn't matter to you at all, just not why.


    And nemuritor... dead-on, man, thanks for that reply and the comparison with some other services. I'll be honest enough to tell you I couldn't be bothered to put them side-by-side comprehensively anymore as no amount of convincing will ever change anything here, clearly. But thanks for that post. Nice to see that kinda thought put in.

  • Why on earth is there no english version of the ToS? You guys care about your product and then this? This partially paid service is advertised internationally but the only official documentation is in German? That's a massive, inexcusable, unprofessional oversight guys, seriously. How long has this game been running? Oh, what's that, eleven years? It is not any significant amount of work to translate that thing. Hell, I'll do it for five bucks.

    Everything is available in English



    That is interesting! I honestly didn't know the cutoff age was 16 per ToS and not 13,

    Not so long ago the cutoff age was 18

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HA8kSdsf_M


    Soldiers! don't give yourselves to brutes

    men who despise you, enslave you

    who regiment your lives, tell you what to do

    what to think and what to feel!

    Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle,

    use you as cannon fodder.

    Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men

    machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!

  • It is true that F2P style is the fastest growing business model in gaming, however there's a catch here, all F2P games that arised from nothing and that now are beasts are not only F2P but they actively avoided P2W, which is the reason this whole thread was created, F2P is not a problem, P2W is.

    I was not talking only about the big mainstream titles. There is also alot of success and growth in the f2p market for companies and games where you can buy power, as the top mobile charts of the last years have shown. But not only there, also in the middle of the charts (top100) and below for example, which would be totally enough for our company size. You don't need to be at the top to have a sustainable business. It would be unrealistic for us to gun for the top spot immediately.

    We are also not a PC only game, in fact the current playbase of S1914 has a majority playing on mobile, and mobile was what gave S1914 its second wind.

    And another thing you have to realize, for most of the games you mentioned the stars basically aligned. They dropped at the right time. You have to have some luck to achieve that, success is not guaranteed. For those ~10 very successful games you listed probably 100 other games tried to do the same but failed. Quite the risk honestly.


    You are right that the top mobile games where you can buy power (like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale) it is not as apparent since it is combined with a metagame. You basically spend in between matches to boost your account, but due to matchmaking you are soon matched again against equal players, so it appears fair. But that works well there because they have short 1on1 matches. We don't have a metagame yet and it would probably be the natural evolution of the business model. But it is harder to introduce here because game rounds last for weeks and months (=less opportunity to monetize between game rounds), rounds that can be played in parallel so you could level up after round A while you are still playing round B (matchmaking issue) and the rounds can be chosen freely and are filled with lots of players of different skill levels (matchmaking issue).


    If you want to monetize with content & vanity instead of power, like league of legends does it, then you need big game teams constantly pushing out new content (e.g. new heroes or skins each week etc.). Our current offices wouldn't even support such team sizes. On the contrary a game which monetizes with power basically runs by itself and can be supported with small teams. So it is much better suited for smaller companies like us. If you monetize with content you need also need a much bigger community to buy that content, as the average revenue per user is much lower in such games. WW1 grand strategy is a niche however so it would be hard to attract the needed player base for that. Most of your example games are tailored to mainstream audiences with mainstream setting and mainstream gameplay, and work because of that scale. Our historic grand strategy genre can never ever be scaled to such a mainstream level, I hope you can agree on that.


    You gave good examples of what would happen when a game that monetized with content now changes its monetization to monetize with power. It would indeed not make sense for them. But you did not give any example what would happen with games that currently monetize with power (--> a few pay big amounts) if they now suddenly changed to monetize with content (--> many pay small amounts). Players always assume that games would suddenly make more money if they get rid or pay for power mechanics and monetized via subscriptions or content. But that is super unrealistic. Their heavy spenders would suddenly spend a lot less, but they would not suddenly get enough additional spenders that did not spend yet. Their current playerbase, their current pay users, their current game team structure and their current marketing would still be tailored towards the old business model, so in reality they would suddenly lower their revenue and efficiency by alot. No business in the right mind would do that. They would have to change the gameplay, their team structures, their marketing and rebuild their community and attract the right users, basically making a new game out of it. If you are realistic you would see that there is a slim chance for it to work out with a mature game, and that it is better done with a fresh start (new game).


    I would say with our current company structure and game portfolio we don't fulfill the criteria necessary to go into that direction right now. Probably even the current whole grand strategy genre of our games isnt the best fit for it. Of course that doesn't mean that we could not do it in the future, but it takes a lot of effort and also a lot of luck (a hit game cannot be planned, you have to land it at exactly the right time) to grow into such a state. And it is more likely to be done with a product that is designed for that, which S1914 was not. So if we ever go that route I think it is more likely to be done with a new product.


    I'll repeat what I said in the beggining, the problem is not about being FREE TO PLAY, is about being PAY TO WIN.

    From an ethics and player perspective sure, from a business perspective its no problem. As I said the current model is successful and we are in a healthy spot as company. We do not struggle. We are currently growing our games more than we ever did in the past. Since we are not a company of 500 employees we also don't need to be at the top of the charts to sustain ourselves.


    Currently there is no problem -> currently there is no need for a solution.


    There could be a problem in the future if markets shift a lot, and it would certainly be wise to explore options in order to be prepared. But there are probably less risky ways of exploring such options than to change a working business model of a mature game.


    Your actual business model drains the players, and let me tell you, that is not good, in the long run, this business model will kill itself meanwhile League of Legends, Fortnite and all big and successful F2P MMO's won't get killed by their own business model but rather by their competition which sadly you don't have.


    I don't see the risk in changing the business model if you are straight up running towards your own death.

    That has to be super long run though, because as I said, currently S1914 has its most successful year since the launch 10 years ago (most active players, most revenue). Not many games live for 10 years, and even games like Fortnite still have to prove that they will live that long. Your doom and gloom simply does not match with our data and is all based on speculation.

    Probably it is right that League of Legends and some others will outlast our games and still be played in 10 years from now. But that is ok honestly. Not many games can claim to be played for 20 years, probably only 0.0001% of games can claim that. Are all the other 99.9999% automatically doomed? I would say not. There is success to be found also below the top of the charts. And until a game hits the end of its lifecycle new games will be brought out.

    Even with no direct competitor in the genre there is still a lot of competition in marketing, many companies bidding for the same placement spots, driving the marketing prices up over time. It is probably the biggest risk that we face as it means we have to stay lucrative enough.

    Why there is in fact a big risk in changing the business model for an existing product, I have now explained in multiple posts. I hope you will understand it.


    We will see what happens and the saying "never say never" applies. We don't claim to know everything or have the perfect solutions. But I think we can be agile enough to shift our focus if the need for that arises.


    --------------


    I don't have time anymore to discuss this topic with you all every week, but I hope I could give you some insights. In the end I just wanted to give you some honest takes and foster some realistic expectations of why it is unlikely that the current model of S1914 is changing in the near future. I hope you understand.