The new revenue model of online games

Rovio, the makers of the Angry Birds series recently presented me with an offer I couldn’t refuse. Their new game ‘Stella Pop’ is a mixture between Angry Birds and Puzzle Bobble. I was addicted to the later in my days as a dope smoking punk. Every day in the coffeeshop playing Puzzle Bubble with a spliff between my teeth was a good day.

I was a little suspicious that I could download it for free, because free doesn’t exist for a listed company like Rovio. For Angry Birds and the likes, I always had to pay about 0,99 eurocents, and than I could play it unlimited. So free didn’t feel quite right.

Stella Pop

I started playing and it was a great addictive experience. After three levels off shooting bubbles however, I was informed that I was out of bubbles and had to buy gold to get more. The pricelist looked as follows:
– 10 gold pieces €0,99
– 50 gold pieces €2,99
– 105 gold pieces €6,99
– 250 gold pieces €13,99
– 650 gold pieces €34,99 (best value)

Are you for real, Rovio? How long will I last with 35 euro’s worth of gold? And what if I want to continue playing after that, do I have to spend another 35 bucks? Technically I could spend 700 bucks on playing this single game if only I would play it endlessly. That is 10 times more expensive that the most expensive game I can get at

You see, I don’t like this kind of revenue model. I want to spend money only once and then play the game to death. In my coffeeshop days, I would keep throwing in coins also, but that was also rent for the use of the arcade hardware. In the digital age we now live, that is no longer necessary because everybody can afford the hardware themselves. So all the game producers have to provide is the pixels, and let’s be frank Rovio, the marginal costs for a million additional bubbles are about 0000000,1 cent, so you really can’t justify these kind of prices. I understand you need to make a living, but then charge us more for the initial purchase, let’s say €4,99, and then I am one customer who’s willing to buy.

With the current offer I am not. I then rather play the original version online FOR FREE. No strings attached.

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