from the damn dept
Aaron DeOliveira points us to another fascinating example, involving the free-to-play online video game, DarkOrbit. Within the game, there's a special item, known as the 10th drone -- or the Zeus Drone -- that is highly desirable. As you might imagine, to get the 10th drone, you first have to get all 9 previous drones... and some blueprints to make the 10th drone. Apparently, this is quite involved. BigPoint, the company behind DarkOrbit, also tried another tactic: the company has run an occasional promotion, where you can buy the 10th drone for 1,000 euros (~$1,330). Here's the amazing part: apparently two thousand people paid, bringing in about 2 million euros, or $2.7 million. For a single digital item. Update: Or.... not quite. A clarification makes it clear that it did not bring in that much. People did buy, but they had to buy with in-game currency. You can sometimes buy such currency... and sometimes it's discounted. If it wasn't discounted and you had none in the game... then the cost of the drone would have been 1000 euros. As that's not likely to be the case, while the game did still sell 2000 such drones, it was clearly for less money. However, it is still an example of where people can be willing to pay if done right... just not as amazing.
But the real key here is in what they did to make this possible. First, used "free" to get lots of people in the door, connect with them, and make them totally bought into the game, such that they'd be willing to spend. Then, build up the overall "value" of such an item, and then offer it in a way that people really wanted to buy even at what many of us might consider to be an insane price. However, it's a perfect example of how if you really connect with fans, and carefully figure out what it makes sense to charge for... you can do quite well.