During the Q&A with the developers, the expression “game economy” stood oud as a main reason for the company’s decisions and was repeated almost obsessively.
While many players took this term as referring to the profitability for the companies involved, the developers implied that it refers to what everything is worth in the universe of the game (heroes, rewards, content etc).
And it’s true that we can make a very simple analogy of this game to the economy of a country. All players can be considered economic agents and their decisions deal with microeconomics (the economics concerning the behaviour of single economic agents), while SG is the one who makes the rules of the game (an actual game in this case ) and their decisions actually form the macroeconomics of the game.
Why did I start this (probably boring) post? It’s because while for most economics would seem it’s about money, it’s foremost about people and the relationships between them. Economy appeared in history before money and was about the capacity of people to cooperate with one and trust each other in order to work together and exchange goods and services.
I have been playing this game from 10 months, so clearly, I have a very limited perspective of it, but beyond people being mad at the price of the offers, chances for good pulls or mats, overpowered or nerfed heroes, what I can see more and more is the diminishing trust. Trust in what the company says, does and mostly diminished trust in the future of the game.
While some people my stop spending or playing because they get mad on the decisions of the company, if people still enjoy the game, most will still keep going. But if people lose trust in the future of the game, even if they still enjoy it, they will start to reduce their money and time spending in order to protect themselves for that future when the game will not exist or it will not be for them anymore.
Financial crises happen because people lose trust in the markets and the near future of the economy so they stop spending and investing in order to protect themselves. If SG and Zynga want this game to continue with the most players for more than 6-12 more months, maybe they could reflect on this.
It might be very well though that I am wrong and the game will continue and be more profitable with some several (ten of) thousands of players that can afford to pay thousands of dollars/ euros every month, since it seems that even for those spending hundreds of dollars per month the game is becoming unaffordable.