World of Tanks developer Wargaming has launched a new free-to-play strategy called “free-to-win”.
The idea is that games such as World of Tanks – and its other upcoming titles – will not allow gamers to pay for an in-game advantage. Revenue will instead be generated from the sale of “non-advantageous content” such as premium vehicles and personalisation options.
The endgame here is to elevate the publisher’s titles in the lucrative world of eSports.
“The player community is very sensitive to changes, especially when they concern a monetisation system,” Wargaming’s VP of publishing Andrei Yarantsau told Gamasutra. “That's why we fully focus test any changes we plan to make and introduce only those new features that receive positive feedback.
“Free-to-play games have the challenge of being sometimes viewed as low quality, and we want World of Tanks to serve as proof that a quality and balanced free-to-play game is possible. However, breaking down deeply-rooted stereotypes is no easy task.
“This isn't just about the game economics of World of Tanks, either. We aim to completely overhaul the free-to-play concept that exists as a whole in the gaming community by getting rid of the idea of ‘pay-to-win’, ultimately helping lead what we consider the roll-out of ‘version 2.0’ of free-to-play gaming.”
The company believes that this fairer treatment of players will in turn bring about an increase in profits
“The classic free-to-play model, particularly in regards to pay-to-win elements, follows one simple tenet – the more you pay, the greater your advantage over other players,” Yarantsau added. “It results in huge payments from a small number of users (the so-called ‘whales’) and increases a game's average ARPU [average revenue per user] and ARPPU [average revenue per paying user] numbers.
“Top-payers end up never losing, while those who pay less or don't pay grow dissatisfied with the game. Eventually, many leave entirely and the overall player base shrinks.”