Game of War: Fire Age is one of the top “pay to win” games on the market today. Not so sure about that statement? Well let’s take a look at the game and dive a bit deeper to see why the game is, in fact, “pay to win”.
Game of War: Fire Age is a free-to-play game that offers in-app purchases. These purchases allow players to pay for in-game extras such as additional resources, special items, “speed-ups”, and numerous other goodies that players find valuable to advancement in the game. These in-app purchases typically range anywhere from a few dollars up to $100.00 per purchase.
But how much money could the creators of Game of War: Fire Age really be making off of these in-app purchases?
Machine Zone, the maker of Game of War: Fire Age, was a little known game developer prior to the release of the game. Earlier this year, articles in both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg gave the company a valuation of somewhere in the $3 billion to $6 billion range. This was after the company spent $40 million on an ad campaign with Kate Upton during the Super Bowl.
The majority of the game’s revenue comes from big spenders that are often referred to as “whales” by people within the industry. A mobile advertising company called Swrve reported that only 1.5% of “freemium” players typically make purchases within a game. Approximately 50% of the total revenues came from just the top 10% of players. If you break that down further, it means that 0.15% of total players accounted for half of the money brought in by the freemium model.
I can personally attest to this type of spending. When I was active in the game, I belonged to a mid-tier alliance on my server. Our leader spent approximately $500 each Friday when he bought five of the $99.99 packages (pay day Friday!). Even with this level of spending he was, at best, an annoyance for the members of the top-tier alliances.
Although I can’t personally vouch for knowing anyone else that spent more than that, it was widely rumored that the top player on our server was spending about $10,000 per month to maintain that spot. I was told this information by several players in his alliance. My personal observations and calculations of what I guessed he was spending seemed to match up with that amount. However, in my experience with games many players typically downplay how much they spend on games. So I always assume it to be higher than what I am told.
The game plays heavily on addiction from what I’ve seen. It’s a solid game that is extremely fun to play. They lure you in with small purchases of $5 to $20 that really accelerate things in the game for you. These purchases eventually go up to $50 and finally $100. Once at that level, the major purchases never really go down, so you’re kind of stuck purchasing at that amount from then on.
But by that point, you’ve already spent a decent amount of money on the game and invested a good amount of time. So why not keep going?
Machine Zone and Game of War: Fire Age aren’t the first, and won’t be the last, to use this model. I cast no judgement on them or their product, as they are a game company that is in the business of creating a good game that they can make money off of. They have accomplished that.
The money commitment and time commitment required to be top tier in Game of War: Fire Age cannot be afforded by many in the world. If you are one of the few that has both the time and the money to do so, I would argue that your time and money would be better spent elsewhere. But if the game is your thing, then who am I to argue that you should give up spending massive amounts of time and money on something you love.
In conclusion, I still think Game of War: Fire Age is a great game. I had a lot of fun playing it when I was active in the game. I personally spent around $300 on it during the time that I played. However, I am not the type of person that plays a game to be a bottom feeder. I always desire to be competitive in everything that I play.
Unfortunately, with Game of War: Fire Age being competitive is based off of the amount of money you can spend, not the skill you have. If it were possible to spend a reasonable amount of money and be competitive, I would still be playing the game. But $1,000’s per month is not a reasonable amount to me to be spending on a mobile game (or any other game for that matter).
If you are one of the many “normal” people in the world that do not have an abundance of time or money, I would suggest spending what you do have elsewhere. The only things you will find in Game of War: Fire Age are mediocrity and frustration. There are many other games out there that will provide you with a richer gaming experience at a much smaller cost of your time and money.