Karos Online - New Ways to make money with video games
This is a little insight into a new game and it is also a bit of a discussion about how money is made with an online game.
When it comes to making video games we have to think about cost and how we are going to monetize the project. It takes time and money to make a video game and in todays world it is not uncommon for development of a game to run into the millions of dollars.
So inevitably you have to give consideration to how you are going to sell a game. And this is an important factor in the design of the game. I take a look at a game that just hit the market. This game is Called Karos Online and it is totally free to play.
So how do they make their money?
They use an interesting system that you are no doubt already familiar with. They charge for extra stuff. This is something that runescape, eternal lands and other online games do. And it is something that the more traditional games even do to some extent. Dragon age origins has a variety of expanded content that you can purchase ranging from inexpensive pranks and gifts to whole additional campaigns.
But not paying doesn't mean you have to suffer!
This game is built around the purchased content - but not in a way that is detrimental to the game. You can still get the full game (As far as I can tell there are no locked off areas or level caps that you have to pay for) What you can get is a selection of interesting items like lucky fishing poles that will double your catch or enchants that will give you 50% more experience which means faster leveling up. There are literallly a whole mess of things and you can play the game and check out the items on their website. KarosGame.com
This type of monetizing has different names and it can loosely fall under the term of micro purchasing. Although not quite. Micro purchasing would be more like spending very small amounts of money as you play the game - something like two cents here and ten cents there. These purchases are bigger than that.
And the quality of the game looks superb. They didn't skimp on the game design here.
The Important thing to consider from a game makers perspective
Development of a game starts at the very beginning! And figuring out how you are going to monetize a game means laying in the ground work in the very early stages. The way that Karos is monetizing this game was clearly decided upon very early. Otherwise you would have to scramble to change a lot of stuff later on in the development cycle. So, don't just think about all the fun stuff you are going to design - think about every aspect of the game including the financing.
Here are some screenshots
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