GDC08: Free to Play! Pay for Item: The Virtual Goods Debate

Summary

Speakers: Daniel James, Three Rings; Matt Mihaly, Iron Realms Entertainment

Very brief notes…

The roundtable this year was as bad or worse than the last couple of years – probably around 100 people turned up on the first day, crowding out the tiny room, most of whom had no intention of saying a thing, and just wanted to go to a lecture. Ditto on subsequent days, although the room was only 2/3 full on the day I went (but STILL over-zealous CA’s refused to allow people in to the session, I heard afterwards).

CMP / Daniel and Matt – please stop doing this roundtable on its own, do it as a lecture instead, and do a roundtable for the people who genuinely want to talk about it, not listen passively :).

Interesting thoughts

Make the shopping experience in games as enjoyable in and of itself as it is in real life
– social aspect of shared-shopping, so that each purchase has a story behind it

Freestyle are finding that even with the weight of Vivendi behind them they cannot renegotiate better risk deals with credit-card companies when billing outside NA

Wizards of the Coast see that the tiny percentage of people who make the same amount of money living off secondary market as they spend gives everyone else a lot of aspirational power to keep them in the game and keep them buying

If micropayments and virtual goods are king, when will subscriptions die?

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