How to Get More People to Buy Your MMO

After reading this brief article over at Massively, it got me thinking about whether players just have to bite the bullet and buy an MMO to determine whether they were going to like it or not. I think this is completely ridiculous to be perfectly honest. Why should we be forced to pay for a game that we know very little about? Most MMO’s do offer trials of either one or two weeks to give the player a brief glimpse into their game to decide whether they want to keep playing or not, however they are usually for brief periods of time, rather than ongoing. I think one or two weeks (if you find the trial while it’s available) is simply not enough time to determine whether they like the game or not. For the majority of players using these trials, they already have an MMO that they are playing and just want to try a new one on the side, which means that the developers should be doing everything they can to try to take the customer away. A couple weeks might only mean 8-10 hours of time that they spend with your game. How can anyone say that you get a fair assessment of an MMO, a game that can potentially be played for months (in-game,) after only 8-10 hours of play? One month is a much better time-frame. Everyone gets busy from time-to-time, some moreso than others. Several times I have signed up for a week-long trial and only ended up getting to sit down and play for one or two of those nights due to unforseen circumstances, and of course didn’t purchase the game. If I had been able to play for an entire month, my chances of finding something worthwhile in the game would have been much higher, and even if I didn’t, it wouldn’t have mattered anyways since I didn’t purchase the game to begin with.

All the developers risk losing by offering a month is two weeks of play, but they have so much to gain. Here are three very likely scenarios that could occur:

Scenario 1. The player decides that they don’t enjoy the game enough to purchase it. In this case, you’ve only allowed them to play an extra two weeks, but effectively works the same as a one or two week trial.

Scenario 2. The player decides that they enjoy the game enough to purchase it. After their free month of play, they lost their desire to play and cancelled. In this case, you’ve got the purchase price of the game out of them, and they can resubscribe whenever they feel like it now.

Scenario 3. The player decides they absolutely love the game, purchase it, and play it for the next 2-3 years.

Obviously, these situations can still occur with shorter trials, but the chances of success are greater with a longer trial, while costing the company almost nothing extra to let them try it for longer. Once you give the trial a go, you have to wait six months to try it again. This gives the game enough time to make some improvements and add content, but it’s spread out enough for the player that they can’t just keep getting a free month of play whenever they want. It just doesn’t make sense that MMO’s wouldn’t have a longer trial (that is always available) when the content is typically 5-10x greater than a typical video game with profits potentially at 200-300%.



3 comments so far

  1. Tipa on

    No. People need to realize that they don’t need their game the very first day. Waiting for a month or two would be FAR WISER. The economy will have matured somewhat, the press on the newbie zones will have eased, people will be filling the support roles, and most importantly, you’ll know if the game is any good.

    Don’t buy a game first day. Don’t make marketers convince you otherwise. If you want a free trial, wait until one is offered to buy.

    There is no reason to pay $60 for a game you aren’t even sure you’ll like. That’s just feeding predatory marketing practices.

  2. kanthalos on

    I know you’re upset about the hyping of new MMO’s, but I don’t think I even talked about that in this post. I’m referring to games that have been out for a while and are looking to get more people to try their game. The main statement for this piece was that free trials should last a month, not one or two weeks.

  3. Sylvia White on

    Great article, thank you. I really love it.

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