17 April 2011

Monetizing Griefing - the Next Stage in Social Gaming - by Robert Boyd

      Posted 04/15/11 12:05:00 pm  

Free to play games have made a fortune by selling features and advantages to their player base. Where can they go from here? Selling features to people who are not in their player base.

Let's say you're annoyed at one of your friends because they won't shut up about Farmville. What can you do? Nothing except blocking their messages and maybe kicking their dog a few times.

Now picture a world where Zynga sells digital toxic goo! You log onto Zynga's digital store, purchase a couple barrels of the stuff for a few bucks and pour it on your annoying friend's farm. Satisfaction gained and Zynga has made money off of someone who doesn't even play their games.

But the chain of monetization doesn't end there! For a few more dollars than the cost of the toxic goo, your friend can rent a cleanup crew to fix up the mess you've created. Of course, after this is done, you get a message informing you and a link to purchase even more toxic goo for retaliation.

And let's not stop there! After this cycle has occurred a few times, we'll send you a message about our new game, FactoryVille! By managing your factory wisely, you can create a neverending stream of toxic goo to pour on the farms of friends and foes alike! Of course, to have the best factory, you'll want to purchase a few of our virtual goods...

Although we've only mentioned toxic goo, this method could be expanded to cover all sorts of griefing. Plant snatchers to steal crops and add them to your own farm. Salt to taint the ground. Dangerous pesticides. Mutant hordes of locusts.

And of course, the mother of all griefing, the tactical nuclear strike which wipes someone's farm and account clean off the map. Of course, to go along with this, players will be able to purchase SDI systems to protect themselves as a preemptive measure.

It's time to take the next step. It's time to monetize everyone. The future awaits.

Altug Isigan
15 Apr 2011 at 10:05 am PST

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