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Tokens & Gems F2P Monetization Tricks


Fr3dle

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Hello all,

 

I found this article on the free to play monetization tricks used in video games and thought it might be of interest to some of you:

 

UPDATE (can't post links so if you want to find the article just google "RaminShokrizade Monetization Tricks" and it's the top link:

 

And it does raise important questions on some businesses moral compass when they target under 25's with coercive monetization techniques. After reading the article I would suggest PTCG/PTCGO falls into the Soft and Hard Boosts variation, but by no means is this a totally bad thing.

 

What I do think is important though is when in game purchases are introduced these need to be made with real currency and not through Gems or Tokens. This is the only way the consumer can get a stronger grasp of the comparative real world value.

 

Even Microsoft has removed it's Xbox Points system ;)

 

Thoughts?

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First of all perhaps I should let you know that links are not allowed here, so you'd better find another way to present this subject because the mods will most likely remove the link!

 

Then, the thing with this game is that you can purchase the exact same things with the in-game currency and the real life currency. So it's not like there's any imbalance between rewards that can be obtained via real money and rewards obtained via Trainer Tokens. In both cases you get theme decks or boosters with random cards.

 

If they removed the option to obtain items with Trainer Tokens, then only people able to buy with real money would be able to play, whereas now everybody plays on equal grounds. If I have missed your point let me know.

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Can't post links? hmmmm that's annoying. I'll tweak the post.

 

 

To respond, unless I am being really stupid, currently there is no use for Tokens. There is also no way to purchase Booster packs exclusively for the PTCGO (except amazon and ebay second hand ones). You purchase the physical ones and get the codes for the corresponding booster pack to redeem online. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

 

However, I have heard that they are planning on introducing purely digital booster packs for online purchases. What I can see happening is that you use Tokens to purchase boosters but at a very high cost. Making it possible to grind free packs but ultimately very hard to build a strong deck in this way. The other option is to buy more Tokens with money making the packs instantly available.

 

This is the issue I was getting at. If you top up £10 in Tokens you very soon forget the value of the Tokens you are spending on ingame purchases. Which is bad, costly for the consumer and irresponsible of the company.

 

I have no problems with Token purchases for none game essential play or improvement.

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OK, I get it now. Yes, you are not able to purchase anything with the Tokens yet.We'll have to wait just a little longer until they apply this feature. Perhaps it will cost more tokens than real money to purchase boosters and decks once they become available for purchase using tokens, like you say.

 

However there has been no mention of trading money for tokens yet either. If they plan to do this, then it's exactly what you describe.

 

I disagree though with the argument that you can't build a strong deck with just the free stuff. Six booster packs per month (one every five days) and 600 trainer tokens per month (which will be exchangeable for two or three booster packs or one theme deck) is probably a lot more than any child would afford in real life at such a short time span. Add to that the 45 free boosters from the trainer challenge, the additional trainer tokens you get there and the six or nine free decks you get for joining the game, and that's probably a bigger collection of cards than any casual fan would ever purchase otherwise.

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Tokens are play rewards. I have heard of no plans to get that via money. Tokens can get things but they will not be tradable (assumption). GEMs can be gotten by money and can purchase things that can be traded. It will be difficult to evaluate GEMs until they are released but I believe GEMs will be of the most use to people that cannot access real card.

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I disagree though with the argument that you can't build a strong deck with just the free stuff. Six booster packs per month (one every five days) and 600 trainer tokens per month (which will be exchangeable for two or three booster packs or one theme deck) is probably a lot more than any child would afford in real life at such a short time span. Add to that the 45 free boosters from the trainer challenge, the additional trainer tokens you get there and the six or nine free decks you get for joining the game, and that's probably a bigger collection of cards than any casual fan would ever purchase otherwise.

 

I understand that it is possible to build a deck by just playing the game daily, finishing the trainer challenges and using the free theme cards. But that is one very very long grind.

 

For kids on Summer holidays this is a totally viable option, albeit a very slow one. However, there is no such thing as a free lunch. To build your desired deck will cost you money or you will be left bitter in PvP battles. There is no way you could try and build a "competitive" deck purely on the free hand outs.

 

All that said, it wasn't really the point of my OP. As TBURROWS9730 mentioned, it looks like GEMs will be bought with currency to then use for in game purchases. This is what I have an issue with.

 

I predict horror stories of kids spending a huge amount of money on e-packs, not drawing anything, every one blames the parents for not checking with him. In actual fact the business put these measure in place to confuse and draw as much money as possible from the kid through the techniques out lined in article I posted.

 

Obviously that's a really extreme example, but you get what I'm saying.

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Well the grind (trainer challenge) isn't long if you're playing in expert mode, it's a matter of days.

 

And I have built a fairly competitive deck. And I don't even have my trainer token purchases yet.

 

But none of this takes away from the issues you're trying to highlight.

 

I do have a question though. What do you mean to say here:

 

What I do think is important though is when in game purchases are introduced these need to be made with real currency and not through Gems or Tokens. This is the only way the consumer can get a stronger grasp of the comparative real world value.
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Well the grind (trainer challenge) isn't long if you're playing in expert mode, it's a matter of days.

 

And I have built a fairly competitive deck. And I don't even have my trainer token purchases yet.

 

But none of this takes away from the issues you're trying to highlight.

 

I do have a question though. What do you mean to say here:

i think he thinks that the real money should be implemented directly to buy stuff instead of purchasing Gems/Tokens for it

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Yeah, but what's the difference? The educational purpose of teaching kids how to handle purchases with real money? Because virtual money I suppose can be just as effective, not to mention I doubt any parent would let their child handle a purchase with money on its own anyway.

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Hey Chris. Here is a direct quote from the article I posted:

 

"This area of the brain typically completes its development at the age of 25. Thus consumers under the age of 25 will have increased vulnerability to fun pain and layering effects, with younger consumers increasingly vulnerable. While those older than 25 can fall for very well constructed coercive monetization models, especially if they are unfamiliar with them (first generation ******** gamers), the target audience for these products is those under the age of 25. For this reason these products are almost always presented with cartoonish graphics and child-like characters."

 

The difference is the layering effect, which is what I'm highlighting. It's some thing that I hope Nintendo (or who ever the biz team is for PTCGO) re-think their strategy for it. As it is immoral.

 

If you're interested, have a read of Ramin Shokrizade "Monetizing Children" paper.

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