I see a lot of discussion on the forum on FTP VS C2P VS P2W. It’s interesting to see people’s point of view on it. I am reframing this topic by…
- shifting terminology … let’s start with whales, dolphins and minnows.
- the difference in value between “true fans” vs “whales”
- noting how a developer prioritizes and treats a player will determine long term sustainability
- the Ethics of “free to play” games
Whale vs dolphin vs minnow
- non payer
- Killer whale
The difference between Whales vs True Fans
“True fans spend money because of what you (the developer) do; whales spend money because of who they are.” https://www.gamesbrief.com/2011/09/whales-true-fans-and-the-ethics-of-free-to-play-games/
Strategic CX question for SGG: Are you targeting Whales or True Fans?
- If your customers suddenly stop, realise how much they have spent, and suffer buyer’s remorse, you’re targeting Whales
- If they know how much they’ve spent and view it as value for money, you’re targeting True Fans
So how do you grow True Fans?
Start with your biggest assets (listen, communicate back with consistency and frequency, and empower and promote their work):
- alliance leaders
- content makers
- beta testers
Purchase brands vs Usage Brands : pivot your approach SGG
Successful companies In the digital age focus on usage (grow loyalty and advocacy Through brand love) VS purchasing (promoting products, deals and sales). ( https://hbr.org/2018/02/the-most-successful-brands-focus-on-users-not-buyers )
The biggest complaints from this forum address game in-balances caused by business strategy prioritizing PURCHASE over USAGE.
However smart CX design can improve loyalty and advocacy from minnows and dolphins to increase the player base.
Considering the studies about gaming, addictive behaivours and impulse control… this kind of business cannot ignore the ethical issues… in order to do so… the developer shifting from motivating whales to purchase and Developing better CX to grow their core following of “true fans” is a great business “North Star.”
P.s. I don’t work in gaming nor claim to be gaming expert or even a gamer… this is just interesting stuff to me.