Micropayments Are Good

I’ve been playing Savage 2 game for a bit, and I think these guys have really nailed how the whole “play online for free (but give your money to us little by little)” strategy should be done. Not sure if this is can be called ‘micropayment’, but at least their 5-10 buck payments are smaller than 20 buck games.

Their concept is really simple:

  • The game is free: it’s not trial. It’s not demo. It’s not “free download”. The game is free. Absolutely free. I think this is a terrific idea for spreading the game. People want free stuff, so why not give it to them.
  • People can pay for some stuff (that’s the catch): They are selling ‘premium accounts’ that give you some benefits (you can see more stats and get some extra perks – I think they could do bit better job saying what exactly all these benefits are). It cost like 10 bucks only. That’s again cheap.
  • People can pay for ‘items’ (that’s another catch): There are runes in the game, and if you spend 5 bucks, you can create yourself rune (or runes) that help your character a bit (like… give you more health or armor etc.). I find this terrific idea: it’s not ruining the game balance, but it’s very good offer for such a small price.

I think they could describe the benefits bit more clearly (so that the buyer really understands what he gets, and how many runes you get and so on), but I really like the concept. It doesn’t feel like ‘trial version’ (although I suppose that’s what it is by definition: feature limited version that you can play as long as you want). I suppose they have done good job hiding it.

That’s something worth checking out and learning.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. 2Moons works like that, too. Totally free, but you can buy items that “boost” you in different ways without ruining game balance.
    2Moons is an 3D MMORPG.

  2. That’s old news among many games.

    Selling items that makes you slightly more powerful or give you more experience are old news in Rappelz (2006) and Gunbound (2002).

    Also there are games which cap non subscribers, like Tibia (1997).

    All of them been successful.

  3. I’ve really wrestled with the concept of microtransactions – there are just so many problems that can come up. Is what you buy temporary or permanent? What happens if the company goes out of business? How do you make the gameplay balanced for everyone?

    That said, many of the games I’ve spent a lot of time with recently are powered by microtransactions. No matter what my objections are, they seem to be winning. DLC – growing more and more popular – is *almost* the same thing, isn’t it?

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