The Lesson Of Monument Valley
J Thoendell stashed this in Apps
I’m fascinated by the reviews left by Monument Valley players in the wake of the decision by the game’s developer (ustwo) to price a recent content update at not-free. Ustwo had released the original game at $4 featuring 10 levels. The game was a labor of love and earned many just awards. It also went to sell in excess of 1.4 million copies – a feat that exemplifies how arty mobile gaming can work very well. This latest pack brings 8 new levels to the game and costs a pretty trivial $2. And yet in its wake came a surge of 1-star reviews. But why?
The thing is it’s not the actual amount that matters. It’s whether you understand what you are selling, or rather what your players think they’re buying. As a game developer or publisher you might see your work as a product, something bought and sold. Therefore it seems fair that you charge in a semi-commoditized fashion. I gave you 10 levels for X, I want to sell you 8 levels for X/2. Good deal!
But players often see their purchase more in the light of a commuter ticket or a pass to a buffet. They judge less on volume of content and more on quality of experience. And having paid for the ticket to go visit your world they feel it’s fair that they can continue to go there.