Who Exactly Is Driving Free-To-Play Gaming?
The answer is you. Assuming you are a typically hardcore young male gamer. You’ve surely heard the term ‘whale’ before in the context of casinos where a whale is a high-roller. Hotels go out of their way to please a whale to ensure that they lose a fair amount of money at the tables out on the casino floor. When it comes to free-to-play, a whale is the scourge of the sea.
Sure, the developer/publisher still wants their money and relies on it but these people are so named because they can be expected to continuously fuel the FTP model. A whale is that kid who is always on their dad’s iPad, or that girl who really really needs to get past those levels in Candy Crush. Your mom’s even a whale but for different reasons.
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Surprisingly though, the real whales propping up the FTP model is none of the above and actually come mostly from the so-called hardcore crowd of gamers. All those silly little mobile games that you thought were evil and abusing the FTP model? They’re not really contributing to the problem. EEDAR, in a survey of 3,000 active mobile and tablet gamers, said men accounted for two thirds of the top 5 percent of paying mobile gamers. In fact, women were less likely to pay money for mobile games, accounting for 65 percent of the non-paying segment.
Even more contrary to stereotype, EEDAR’s survey says free-to-play “whales” spent the majority of their gaming time on consoles. “It’s not surprising,” EEDAR’s Jesse Divinich said to GamesIndustry International. “Core gamers have been conditioned to spend money on traditional games and it is fair to assume this habit carries with them into other gaming verticals.” Divinich said gamers view spending $50 on a free-to-play game “as an investment, as most hobbyists do.”