Is World of Tanks creating a world of money ?

For anyone who doesn’t know, World of Tanks is the hard core PC game that is blowing the doors off the the F2P (free to play then monetized thru virtual goods sales) world.

I won’t go into great detail, but the game is basically a big world (or worlds via many different maps) tank combat game where players get into the world with other players and engage in tank battle. It is highly realistic, fast paced, action packed, and fun!

A couple days ago Venture Beat posted this article on World of Tanks, so you can read a lot more about it there. Venture Beat article on World of Tanks

While it was clear to me before that these guys were killing it from a F2P monetization model perspective, now based on some comments in the article (rather than whispers in the industry) I can try and deduce by just how much. It is clear they are in great shape on multiple metrics including two key ones, monetization level per paying user and the percent of total users that are being monetized. I have come up with the following “back of the napkin” model. Continue reading

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Why Free to Play is the Future of Gaming….

Ok, here is the title of the post I wanted to use…I know, way too long…

“Consumers Always Win Eventually, or Why Free to Play is the Future of Gaming….”

I remember when I was a kid and I started buying albums. It was a long time ago, and I don’t remember how much they cost exactly, but it was a lot, I think it was $9 or $10. More than I wanted to spend that was for sure. And even at 12 or 13 years old I remember thinking to myself, “why do I have to buy 10 or 12 songs on this entire album for $10 bucks, when I only want that one song that I love (and maybe a second one). They are making me buy all this other stuff I don’t want to jack up the price”. Well maybe the world wasn’t as cynical as I thought it was (or was it?), and there were some significant limitations on technology and costs. But still, it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted what I wanted. I was willing to pay for it. But I didn’t want to pay for what I didn’t want.

Well along came electronic distribution, flash memory, state of the art consumer electronics design, and a determined Steve Jobs, and presto, the iPod and iTunes. Consumers got what they wanted. They paid for it. But they did not have to pay for what they didn’t want.

Well, the same thing is happening in gaming. Continue reading

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The 10 Yard Line of Virtual Goods….

I read an interesting article today on some innovations, as well as some reservations, around virtual goods in Japan.

We are all pretty aware of how virtual goods work in games by now. Whether it is Farmville or an MMOG, the basic idea is you can purchase, with real money, some kind of virtual “object” that increases your enjoyment in playing the game. This object can be something that you “use” up in the game play, something you can express yourself with thru customization, or something that adds some unique element to the game play that you would otherwise not have access to. There are other types of virtual goods, but these are the 3 main buckets they fall into.

Well in Japan, creative business thinkers have thought up the idea of “Kompu gacha” (or complete gacha), which is a system that incentivies gamers to buy a group of virtual items (one by one) based on the premise that they could win a ‘grand prize’, or rare item, for getting them all. On the surface it looks like a very creative idea to drive virtual goods sales, essentially virtual merchandising. Continue reading

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