Pay what you want?

It seems as if the gaming industry, and all media industries for that matter, are taking advantage of digital distribution to try out lots of new payment models for their content. Instead of just buying a game in a store, player can support developers through microtransactions and subscription fees. In the music industry, one of the more popular new payment methods is the “pay what you want” approach. It’s high time that gaming tried this approach.

While some of us are certainly freeloaders, recent successes on Kickstarter and the Humble Indie Bundles show that gamers can sometimes be very generous. The fifth Humble Indie Bundle, containing four indie titles (five if one pays above the median price) has made over 5.1 million dollars up to this point, all donated through a “pay what you want” model.

In addition, wildly successful Kickstarter projects such as Double Fine Adventure and Planetary Annihilation show time and time again that if us gamers want something, we vote with our wallets.

Especially in the PC gaming space, where piracy is reportedly rampant, a “pay what you want” model could be a great way to convince people to support a game legitimately. And, as shown by the aforementioned Kickstarter projects, allowing people to donate what they want could lead to profits beyond expectations. Developers should never underestimate passionate gamers, and a “pay what you want” model could be the way to harness that passion and turn it into profit.

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