Tack the phrase ‘free to play’ onto a big-budget game these days, and even the most open-minded gamer will break out in hives – a physical reaction to the stigma that comes from games forcing players to shell out cash just to gain access to the experience they should have gotten in the first place. Not only is it a huge turn-off for consumers, but new statistics suggest that few people are actually willing to spend in free to play titles. With this in mind, Sony Online Entertainment has revealed their monetization plan for the upcoming zombie MMO, H1Z1.
Discussing the pay model that the H1Z1 developer has settled on, President of Sony Online Entertainment John Smedley describes the feedback that the team has received from users on the game’s official Reddit as “a terrific source of ideas” that is “is helping [them] steer clear of the stuff [players] just don’t want to see.” Smedley explains that the following four things will be available to purchase for real, cold hard cash once the game launches: wearables (e.g clothing options for your avatar), emotes (it’s unclear if these will be for H1Z1’s in-game chat system, or premium dances and expressions), character slots, and keys with which to open loot crates.
According to Smedley the team feels that the option to purchase wearables is a “fair” means of generating revenue, but also promising that they “recognize how important finding wearables in the world is so you’ll be able to find and craft a lot of stuff.” So should players want to deck their character out in the neatest or most outlandish threads – something which proved popular in DayZ, which – then all of the options are there to do it for free.
With such an obvious dependence on in-game loot, Smedley also went on to explain the process a bit more:
“We’ve also come up with a pretty awesome idea to let players who kill other players loot stuff. So if a player has a black ski mask and gets killed by another player, that player can wear the ski mask for a few deaths (we have durability in the game. Station Cash wearables won’t degrade at all but when you loot something… it will degrade. Please note the original player always keeps their SC purchased wearables. This gives the great feeling of whacking some unsuspecting fool who decided to bring a knife to a gun fight.”
Details were scant on just what “Station Cash” is, but we can assume it is the name given to H1Z1’s premium, paid-for currency. What Station Cash will not be used for, Smedley reiterated, is H1Z1’s food, water, guns or ammo resources which are all set to be a huge component in the sandbox zombie game. Speaking candidly, Smedley explained that those mechanics are “kind of the whole game and it would suck in our opinion if we did that” – implying that the team truly has taken fans’ key concerns into consideration. On top of that, paid boosts for these resources won’t be available, making sure that everyone has the same chance at gathering basic and lethal amenities alike.
Another feature hinted at is the ability to to look inside those aforementioned loot crates before you hand over the cash for a key. While the crates are said to contain “random cool stuff from the store,” the team isn’t giving any further detail just yet, or explaining if the inclusion of weapons or ammo would contradict Smedley’s previous statements. However, the team maintains that final ideas are still in flux, with SOE set to reveal more information later this week, so prospective players can expect to have a clearer sense of H1Z1’s monetization plans soon.
H1Z1 will be available from Steam Early Access this Summer.
Source: H1Z1’s Official Reddit