Tonight I have random thoughts on strategy I want to explore. For a MMORPG company/publisher, all strategy boils down (or should boil down) to two options:
- Retain current players
- Acquire new players
The choice seems simple, but so many companies make the wrong choice. I feel like I’m constantly playing games where the wrong strategy is being used, and its usually a failure to retain current players. In fact, the only games I see succeeding at retaining current players are older games with teams who realize they have a dedicated following and its time to start supporting them.
I’m amused by how some companies later go about acquiring new players. Most of the time this is why you see a transition to F2P: Cheap access to volume. The irony at work here is that a transition to F2P focuses entirely on acquisition of customers and essentially burns the current players, and as a result the scales are tipped and you’re back to square one.
Focus on both strategies right away, and don’t neglect one. That’s where MMOs are a monstrous undertaking, as many other businesses tend to choose one of the two strategies at a time — a luxury MMO companies can not afford.