I'll always want to maximize the effect of the boosts I use, and so I will unfailingly pick 3 really effective — and thus really expensive — ones, and play as focused as I can for the 3 rounds they last, to really make them count. This of course then has the flip-side effect of demanding lots of additional pedestrian “pick-up” play, simply to re-accrue the coins spent. Which, in turn, means that you start to consciously plan when to spend your coins — at which point during the day am I most likely to be focused and sharp? And perhaps, more worryingly, when will I be tired and just going through the motions? I think this may end up hurting the game, as those less-important games become tedious "work" to be undertaken merely so that you can have fun "later". It promotes a cynical mindset that I think is fundamentally out of tune with the intuitive, adaptive strategies that drive Blitz. It also kind of reeks of monetization — 100 bucks says PopCap will introduce micro transactions one of these days, so players can skip the "boring games" and plunk down, say $1 for 50,000 Blitz coins. This might actually be timed to coincide with Facebook's introduction of its Credits currency. (It was, during this discussion — in spring 2010).
I have always found the idea of introducing paid power-ups to be a somewhat problematic monetization strategy. The notion that you can pay to get ahead of your friends is a tricky one, and in the case of Blitz is only tempered by the fact that you will still have to be sharp as hell, and lucky to boot — there is no guarantee that the boosts you buy will get you a record score. Still, I think it might fundamentally undermine the sportsmanship that characterizes friendly competition. What will you think about someone at the top of your scoreboard who bought his or her way past 1 million points?
Jesper: That they have too much money on their hands? To me, microtransactions and virtual item trades say something fundamental about users that we tend to forget: people's lives change over time. Blitz may be successful due to both its short game sessions and due to the predictability of the length of a game session. In "serious" console games, it is often unclear how long a game session you are committing yourself to. Blitz is more like Guitar Hero in that you know the time commitment ahead of time, which makes it much easier put in some game playing in a crowded schedule. You could generalize that young people tend to have little money but lots of time, while older people with jobs and kids have more money but less time. Thus, microtransactions may be a way for the older generation to achieve parity?
"the game difficulty ramps up massively, shifting the game from a skill game to a money game as progression becomes more dependent on the use of premium boosts than on player skills."
Note that as a rule I do not publish my F2P monetization models. In this case, I am publishing the methods used by others to make money games, and since I only make skill games, I'm not creating any competition for myself.
"Video games have evolved tremendously over the past few decades; they’re much more entertaining than they used to be. That is not by accident; we, the community of game designers, have been continuously refining our techniques. The most common way we do this is by testing out our games on you, the players, and optimizing for the “best” result (where “best” is defined by us). As this process is ongoing, what kind of relationship exists between the designer and the player? Is it artist/audience, experimenter/subject, entrepreneur/customer, or tycoon/resource? Invariably it’s some admixture of these things, the particular ratios for a given game being chosen by its designers (usually without awareness that a decision is being made). Today, due to the way the Internet is widely used, and because game designers are becoming more serious about certain aspects of their craft, the iteration time of this game design optimization process is shorter than ever before: designers can observe their players much more thoroughly, and more quickly, than they ever have in the past. At some point a quantitative change becomes a qualitative one: the result of all this competency may be heavily destructive. Some aspects of the current notion of “good game design” may in fact be very bad, or at least indefensible, from an ethical standpoint. Today’s “better” video games spend a great deal of effort to undermine defenses that took you tens of millennia to evolve. They tend to be successful at this. As designers keep evolving their craft and gain greater analytical power, what will happen?"
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