Non-paying players are a key part to your game’s success, said Stephen Hutchins today at Develop:Brighton. The senior marketing manager for Paladins: Champions of the Realm developer Hi-Rez Studios made the comment in a wide ranging talk on acquiring and retaining players for your game.
“A lot of these players are not going to pay.” He said matter of factly, though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t court them, even if they never pay to play your game. “Free players have a huge amount of value in free-to-play, especially for the paying players themselves,” he continued.
“It's important not to forget that, they are the competition… that make these games great at times, but they are also key parts of the community that everyone is interacting with, and no one really cares who's paying and who isn't, as long as the games fun and fair.”
He also adds that non-paying players have a unique and relevant take on the game.
“They are also an important point of quality control, as they'll often be playing the game and grinding it in a way your paying players won't. So make sure you listen to your free players with as much excitement and awareness of the knowledge they bring to you, as you would your paying players.”
His comments come at a time when many games are looking at increasing advertising costs to attract players, with Google and Facebook CPCs doubling over the last year alone. A factor that’s been compounded by GDPR making reaching out to lapsed players all the harder, as many have email addresses, but no permission to actually email them. That all means companies are having to innovate to stop costs rising.