The few players that pay to not play are making games the top games, superfans is a new word I recently heard given to whales as whales is a term that’s no longer deemed nice to have as these are people who are not liked in a games ecosystem by others.
Why do we still rely on this? How can this be a healthy business model that alienates the majority of users and in part makes for the exit rates of 80%? 80% would kill off any normal game outside of mobile space, but the way mobile works is you keep paying and users get stuck into the ecosystem.
Now what if every player would stay and play? Looking at some games like Dota 2 you can see that numbers slowly grow over several years. It’s offering a game that is fun, doesn’t require anything to play it as much as you like, get more fun over time as it’s improved and better balanced. But also the player constantly gets fun new items to use or sell/gift to other players.
Mobile games aren’t generally designed to build a lasting community that will grow itself. Adding in an invite button trough social media doesn’t generally make for a great incentive. Making people actually enjoy playing and so much so that they actually start talking about it with friends, on a stream, that’s when you grow your community! Offering a solid service, giving a one on one contact with the developers also helps in developing better games as you get constant feedback at all stages of your game.
All big successful (not crazy advertised) games are fun to play. They offer smart in app purchases that give carefully balanced new game play, but are never overpowered or make other players instantly hate you. Other games are old fashioned payed for, making it most important to actually have the game be the most fun it can be.
Successful games don’t need whales, that effectively push out most other players with their buying spree’s. Games need a lot of players and a healthy community if they want to thrive. In the end everyone will purchase something or give back to the developer in any way possible. Over time 80% of players will account for nearly all the revenue and not the other way around.
Those driven out of games might not even be tempted to ever try another game as they are constantly given poor experiences. This is my biggest fear, that those who do enjoy games are systematically given the worst experience for them, decreasing the amount of joy that players have and not building fond memories that are shared with friends.