World Of Goo Tries A Donation Model, Publishes Results

from the people-don't-pay-based-on-value dept

We've mentioned the video game World of Goo a couple times in the past. First, when its creators got upset about silly regional restrictions that were put on the sale of the game, and later when they noted that releasing a game without DRM showed no change in the piracy rate. Yes, the game was widely shared, but at no different a rate than when they'd offered games with DRM. Recently, they decided to try a name your own price experiment to see what would happen. While I'm still not enamored by such pure "give it away and pray" type models, we do keep hearing success stories of people who have used them, combined with a strong and loyal fanbase.

Now they've released some preliminary data, showing that they got about 57,000 new sales, with an average price of about $2 (so, over $100,000 sales in a week -- though, that's the gross number, the net is less, due to Paypal transaction fees). They also added a survey, and found a key point:
Few people chose their price based on the perceived value of the game. How much the person feels they can afford seems to play a much larger role in the decision than how much the game is worth.
This is another good point that highlights the separation between price and value -- which too many falsely assume are the same thing. There were also a significant number of people who said they paid because they liked the "pay what you want model, and wanted to support it." So they were paying to support the model, rather than the game itself, which is interesting. I wonder if that component would fade over time as these sorts of models become more popular.

Either way, another case study in business model experimentation.

Filed Under: pay what you want, world of goo


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:15am

    I just bought the game after reading this article. I paid 1.00. I took the survey and left the following comment:

    "i read the results of the experiment and thought that 1 - 2 bucks was the perceived value of the software. So I chose the low end of that price point. I could have done .01¢ but I think that those who paid .01¢ are being overly cheap and dishonest in that they would have done .00¢ if the could have because they were just looking for free software or to take advantage of the model and that just isn't fair at all. Realistically though looking at your data about sales with this model, i think you could make a huge amount of money with a price point of $7.00 but without knowing your development and overhead costs I can't say if that would cover your investment and allow for profit. If i were in charge of deciding what price to put this game on the market for and I based it on the results of this model, I would probably start with $10 and adjust up or down based on feedback, sales and demand. I have seen the box version in the store for $20 and I was intrigued but since I don't feel this game is a big budget type game (i.e. Halo, Prototype, Doom 3, COD 4 etc...) which usually start at $20 and up, I don't think many people will pay that much for a game that most likely is the type that is played as a time killer, just for fun, or goof off at work."

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