Moral qualms about monetization

I initially started my RPG as a passion project driven solely by a desire to create a game that I know I’d like to play, and can only hope others will as well. It has gotten more attention than I thought it would, without even promoting it much, and as I spend more and more time and resources on this project, I’m beginning to consider something I never would’ve seen myself implementing before: Monetization.

Not to sound like I think I’m some big-shot or anything, but I believe in my project; I think it has the potential to gain a consistent playerbase if I invest in ads and sponsors, and if that happens, monetization could prove fruitful. The issue is I feel like I’m sacrificing the heart of my game here. I always disliked how blatantly money-grubbing and passionless some games can be, looking at you, obby-tycoon-simulator, microtransactions and gachas and whatnot are the bane of my existence. That isn’t to say I fault developers for making a living off of doing what they love, quite the opposite as I’m considering the same thing now, but I just feel scummy implementing something I know I’d be irritated by as a player.

On one hand, I would like to be rewarded financially for my hard work, but on the other, I don’t want my passion project to get lost in the sauce. I’m not looking to make a living off of this, but to someday be eligible for devex would be nice.

What non-intrusive, soft monetization methods might you suggest? As mentioned before, my project is a very heavily social-based roleplay game, but any and all suggestions are appreciated, applicable or not, it may give me other ideas. And also, are you easily annoyed by monetization? What do you advise against, what monetization techniques cause you to instantly click off of a game?

I am also curious as to your opinions on the ethics of monetizing games with such a prominent demographic of children, which is another reason I have been so hesitant to monetize my games, but that may be a better-suited topic for Development Discussion. In general, I’m not sure if this thread is better suited for here or Development Discussion, so do feel free to let me know if I’m barking up the wrong tree.

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The ethical line for monetization

  • The perks from spending Robux shouldn’t ruin the gameplay for others.
  • The perks shouldn’t be only attainable via purchasing the gamepass unless it’s cosmetic.
  • The player shouldn’t feel obligated to purchase it to progress in the game.
  • The Gamepass shouldn’t be advertised from 90% of the screen looking at you, obby-tycoon-simulator,.

From experience, I would say a gamepass should have a price from around 100 to 500 Robux as this, if your game is targeted towards children, tends to the most they’ll have. Now whilst an overpowered gamepass may ruin the gameplay it’s always useful to have something ridiculous expensive (2,500+) to attract whales .

obviously, ethical standards change depending on how successful your game is but always try to at least keep them.

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I would totally recommend putting this in #development-discussion btw!

I disagree with @FlipGalaxy above on some points:

:white_check_mark:

:x:

:white_check_mark:

:white_check_mark:

Let’s go back to this:

Why would selling perks that are only attainable via gamepass (except cosmetic) be unethical? If you can

without it, there should be no problem with selling perks in the game, for example coins.

also might wanna be careful posting that link in a public category, links directly to swears


A non-intrusive ad method I suggest is a shop. Mix gamepasses in with the stuff that can be purchased with in-game currency and there, now you have gamepass exposure.

One price range that sounds good is :robux:25-500

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This is entirely dependent on the game type. She mentioned it was an RPG, you’re really missing out on big bucks if you’re not adding a way to speed up your progression. Want some gold? Grind for it, or pay for it. Keep in mind, you’re making a free game, so shouldn’t you be compensated financially for your work?

On the flip slide, there’s the idea that you suggested, which is what dungeon quest has gone with. They essentially make it so that everything you pay for is cosmetic, or on occasion might give you an XP boost.

I agree that you shouldn’t purposely make the grind so bad to the point where it’s practically locked behind a paywall (I have standards, okay!), but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make a desire to purchase an item. Having cosmetics that look awesome would create a desire to spend money. Alternatively, you could make it so that people who want to progress quickly could pay to do that.

It all boils down to how you want to run your business, because at the end of the day, the way you run your business reflects you and your aspirations.

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Thank you guys for your thoughts and input, I enjoyed reading through your discussion and suggestions. I’m considering ideas for gamepasses, likely to be primarily cosmetic since my game has an emphasis on character customization. I think that’s ultimately gonna be the balance of maintaining the heart of my project while still profiting: non-intrusive special features over microtransactions.

I’m particularly thinking about special races as a purchasable feature, like dragons or fae that are supposed to be rare in my soft-fantasy lore, that way paying players are rewarded with something extra special, rather than taking away from other players’ experience.

Ideas are still very much welcome, though. I’ll be reposting this to Development Discussion as well since I’m really curious about developers’ personal opinions on this topic.

Why would selling perks that are only attainable via gamepass (except cosmetic) be unethical? If you can

I feel you contradict yourself, saying you support:

The perks from spending Robux shouldn’t ruin the gameplay for others.

but disagree that:

The perks shouldn’t be only attainable via purchasing the gamepass unless it’s cosmetic.

Let’s take for example a situation.

Amber and James are playing the RPG, Amber is quite “Robux-Wealthy” and ruins the gameplay for others by crushing the PDE (Player Driven Economy) by buying let’s say 1000 Gold Ducats. Now James, on the other hand, isn’t “Robux-Wealthy” and due to Amber oversaturating the market, the price of goods skyrocket. Sure you can combat this via shops and other methods but nonetheless, the issue remains. In the situation, Amber has made the game un-enjoyable for James who now has to work much harder for the same item.

If the game didn’t have this way for “Robux-Wealthy” people to do this it would make the game less profitable but more enjoyable and if a game is enjoyable people will play it and spend time on it, which now with premium payouts can make it profitable.

Now to further my point, if all the gamepasses you sell are all cosmetic e.g Pets/Dragons/Skins Etc. You limit the chance of mass inflation and you can still generate a sizeable profit.

(The link was there because many people don’t know the term whale)

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I’m going to quote what I wrote for the previous reply.

Amber and James are playing the RPG, Amber is quite “Robux-Wealthy” and ruins the gameplay for others by crushing the PDE (Player Driven Economy) by buying let’s say 1000 Gold Ducats. Now James, on the other hand, isn’t “Robux-Wealthy” and due to Amber oversaturating the market, the price of goods skyrocket. Sure you can combat this via shops and other methods but nonetheless, the issue remains. In the situation, Amber has made the game un-enjoyable for James who now has to work much harder for the same item.

If the game didn’t have this way for “Robux-Wealthy” people to do this it would make the game less profitable but more enjoyable and if a game is enjoyable people will play it and spend time on it, which now with premium payouts can make it profitable.

The TLDR is that if you let people buy the currency mass inflation and other economic issues with a PDE will occur.

Not a single game comes to mind where a currency in-game experienced inflation. “Oversaturating the market” just doesn’t apply here.

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You can monetize of course! Just never lose sight of the goal to make a good game. Once it’s a very good game, you can focus on monetization to earn robux off your hard work. It’s better to deal with monetization after everything is done. It helps you know how a certain gamepass would fit in the game and you can know how it will fit much better after you’ve done the game. Some monetization techniques that instantly make me click off a game are like in pet simulator where its annoying that RUNNING is locked behind a paywall. I suggest coin boosters in your game such as “2x” coins. Make sure your game has a lot of replayability value and make coins be used as an essential currency. This way you can give multiple ways to get coins. Grind a ton, or grind half as much with this gamepass. Another cool gamepass idea I would suggest is some special sword enchantments. Make some cool sword enchantments for aesthetic that are available for maybe 50 robux. It’s a very nice cosmetic in my opinion. Also you can create a cycle of items available in the shop. For 1 hour certain robux cosmetics will be available and then it will change. This keeps players playing the game and waiting for a while to see what new items will be available in the shop. Another gamepass that I feel wouldn’t affect the gameplay and wouldn’t feel intrusive would be 1.5x xp if your game has levels or make 1.25x xp as a group feature or something to give players incentive to join a group you own if you want. Overall just maintain a balance of focusing more on the game and then after that take priority on the gamepasses.

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Just because you can’t think of an example doesn’t mean it doesn’t applies. I’ll recommend you watch:

MMO Economies
How to Manage Inflation in Virtual Economies

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I understand the principles behind it. It doesn’t apply to Roblox though. This absolutely does apply to other online games; believe me, I’ve seen it happen. It just doesn’t happen in Roblox.

We may not have seen it happen yet, but if an RPG becomes a MMO, well then it’s real concern and it’s something OP should consider. By doing nothing now you run the risk of ruining it later on if the game becomes large.

Situtation
OP makes a 100 Gold Ducats Gamepass
150 people buy it and become the 1%
OP’s game makes the front page and now has a very large playerbase
OP is forced to remove the gamepass in an effort to curb the hyperinflation but is unable to remove the 100 Gold Ducats that the people have bought which causes:
OP’s PDE Collapses as the top 1% control most of the wealth just by virtue of economics.

If OP doesn’t sell the 100 Gold Ducats gamepass not only do you limit the chance of hyperinflation but also allow someone new to not need to buy the 100 Gold Ducats Gamepass to even have a chance.

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Not to butt into your debate, but it’s quite uplifting that your argument hinges on a hypothetical that my game becomes groundbreakingly successful enough to be considered an MMO. T’is very motivating. :derp:

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I think you could add a shop in which anything can be bought with in-game currency (what they earn by playing), but if people want upgrades faster, they can also pay Robux to get in-game currency. That way, everything can be earned by just playing, but if people want it faster, they can buy it.

Nothing wrong with wanting to change from a passion-project to a for-profit game. At the end of the day, that’s why we all make the content we do.

Before you figure out what you should sell for Robux you should ask yourself: “what age group am I targeting here?” A younger audience may be inclined to purchase cosmetic items whereas older audiences may prefer more objective orientated boosts and benefits. Considering you described your game as a social roleplay I would recommend starting off with cosmetic items for sure. Armor, helmets, etc.

In terms of currency, you want to make sure all your players feel welcome and feel like they can progress relatively easily. If you make progression/leveling/rewards hard, people will not be motivated to play your game and therefore you lose a large chunk of your revenue. As for gameplay boosters, try experimenting with hourly/daily/weekly/monthly benefits such as speed boosts, exp boosts, and so forth. If you’re willing to gamble, you can start off some of these perks at a discount and see how they do.

Roblox also provides additional resources you can refer to in terms of monetization:

Edit: After playing what I assume is the game in question for roughly 20 minutes (didn’t get noticed q_q), this game has a lot of potential. Some of my suggestions may not work for you due to the fact that I was expecting a more systematic roleplaying experience, but the map is beautifully designed.

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