We have had 80,000 textures uploaded (you pay to upload a texture). We have a microcurrency of Toricredits. We added subscriptions. Then we added mobile subscriptions, st at $10, which you can stack. You can [gift and exchange] shared toricredits, and we take a slice of each transaction too.
We've been going since 2006; every month we have a continuous stream of revenue. We ported the game to Wiiware; but we already had 40,000 active users on PC. We're now doing dual development; our latest release (the 50th) added ingame subscription "instaboosters". Our revenue = $10-20,000 US a month from microtransactions.
Q: Characters have 40 slots for stuff to buy: how much does it cost to gear out a character in the most expensive way?
A: "1000s of dollars".
Q: ...and people have done this?
[laughter & applause]
Eets: Having Eets as a 20 dollar download flunked. xbla/steam worked really well. The game's been out for 3 years, and we made more on steam in the last year than the others combined. Also did N+. We wanted to do microtransactions with Nexon. They publish Sugar Rush for us; it was supposed to be a 500K game and 9m development; it ballooned to twice that in every respect. Week away from shipping the publisher shut down. We kept IP & tech, which I recommend you have in your contracts.
Three Rings: It cost us $750K to build puzzlepirates. We have 10,000 subs paying $7pcm. Usually it's a 16-18 months subscription span, so you get about 125 bux per subscriber.
4 years ago we rolled out microtransactions: optimising them is key. We get the same average revenue from microtransactions but the curve is different; more people will give you no money, some will give small, up it goes...then last minute up into crazyland. The top of the curve is extreme: there is a very small number of people on PP who spend a very, very large amount of money. I love those guys.
Microtransactions only work in games where people really CARE about what they're investing in. Bang Howdy was modelled on Kart Rider. Shipped 2007; it has not been very successful for us. Kart Rider also not so successful in US market. Lobby/shortgame: ("advanced casual") it's not clear these are yet successful?
Klei: Combat Arms is a Nexon game, and it just hit 2m users in the US.
Three Rings: Oh okay. Well - I'm just saying be cautious. MMOs clearly get people to care, and that's what you're looking for. Our 3rd game is experimental; customer service is a key part of online games, by the way. We hired form our playerbase for Puzzle Pirates, and they work from home. Always buy off the shelf billing systems and providers, ditto sysadmin and hosting. Keep it all lean. So, Whirled: for data, see my slides from yesterday's talk.
So taking some figures, if you spend $500K developing a game, and it nets 10,000 players paying $5 a month, you have $50,000 a month revenue; it'll take you 10 months to make your original stake. Course that doesn't include paying your staff for your ten months, or your other maintenance costs, and that depends on how lean your team is. Double your time for a quick estimate, so 20 months before you break even. After that, you're in profit, in theory. So many variables, though :-)