Gaming, News, and Micropayments

Recently, the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Europe section published a piece entitled “Online Gamers Want… Higher Price Points?” (by Neil Mcintosh) on the topic of preferred payment structure for online gamers and implications for micropayments.  In the piece, social game maker Sebastien de Halleaux stated that social gamers are asking for higher price points and less transactions.

This is not surprising consudering that the gamers de Halleaux is likely referring to are loyal consumers of the games that they are being asked to make multiple tranactions for.  For that user behavior subscriptions or lump sums are more in-line with how they consume.
Consider, however, the casual player who may not play the game with as much involvement as these gamers.  Micropayments are more in-line with their consumption.  Multiple revenue structures are needed to accomodate the various patterns of consumption.  Otherwise, content providers are creating consumer surplus – leaving money on the table.

The same is true for news content.  As Pew Research Center studies have pointed out, we consume news from a variety of sources.  A consumer may read the Wall Street Journal religiously and, therefore, a subscription model makes sense. If that same consumer is referred to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that is particularly relevant that day, it is more reasonable to ask that reader to pay per item for that one time transaction than to pay a subscription when he/she will likely not read the AJC enough to justify it.

The moral of the story is that content providers must present multiple payment options for multiple types of consumers.  Mr. de Halleaux is likely spot on for the consumer type he refers to, but that does not mean micropayments are not user-friendly.

– Jameson Hayes, Lede LLC


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