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Paying for Multiplayer

December 7, 2010

A financial analyst is saying that games companies need to ‘monitise’ the multiplayer aspect of the games:

Publishers must start charging for multiplayer if they want to reinvigorate sales numbers, Pachter suggests. “We firmly believe that until the publishers address monetization of multiplayer, game sales will continue to be challenged by the publishers’ altruistic decision to provide significantly more entertainment value per hour than ever in history,” he says.

“In our view, monetization of multiplayer is one of the greatest opportunities for the publishers, and we think that it would be a serious strategic error to pass on this opportunity,” he adds.

I think is argument is a little one-dimensional. Games like Modern Warfare 2 are not huge single player experiences (it does not take long to complete) and so to charge full price for a short experience then charge again for multiplayer seems a bit unfair to me. I have no problem in charging for ‘value added’ services or making the single player version of the game not able to access multiplayer, but cheaper to buy. But currently I think most gamers feel the cost of the game includes the standard multiplayer service.

Which is why I noticed with interest that GamesTM was also thinking along the same lines. This is from their review of Black Ops, issue 101:

“But you’ll also know that Call of Duty, over the last three installments, has become a game divided. While the single player continues to suffer under the law of diminishing returns, that multiplayer has sneakily become the main part of the package.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2010 2:59 pm

    Tom: I can’t believe there’s an analyst who thinks that the multiplayer content isn’t already monetised. True, Call of Duty costs $50 a year instead of $180 a year like World of Warcraft, but it’s a little ridiculous to suggest that it’s being given away for free.

    Bottom line: publishers are moving to find ways to increase the monetisation of multiplayer, because they see money left on the table. But the multiplayer component of the major console franchises *is* the game that is being sold now. The single player game is simply an advertisement for the main event.

    Best wishes!

  2. December 9, 2010 9:46 am

    Hi Tom. We pay a small fortune each month to Microsoft (XBox Live) and Murdoch (top level Sky broadband) to feed my eldest’s Modern Warfare 2 habit… maybe publishers should be looking to claw back some money from them?

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