A dev just made “not a crook” his sales pitch

You probably didn’t hear of “Clicker heroes 2”. Me neither, until I’ve read about their “no P2W” manifesto in an article in ordinary, non-gaming Hungarian news site. Marketing well done, I guess.

What do they say about this incremental, idle game? They write that they feel ashamed that they made thousands of dollars from whales, who are practically addicts with Clicker Heroes 1. They also shun the industry for shifting the blame to the addicts. Well, it’s more shocking moral position than the fact that someone spends thousands of dollars on a browser idle game.

They also list game design reasons, that they can’t nerf features that paying players spend on, despite it would be good idea, because they don’t want “backlash” (read: refunds) from that player. They also don’t want to bother much with cheaters (it’s a single player game) so upfront costs is better than constantly fighting those who cheat themselves premium currency.

Now, I don’t believe their morality for a second. You don’t run a P2W browser game for years and then find Jesus – just to continue running a P2W browser game “we’re not going to change how we monetize Clicker Heroes 1. It would destroy our studio if we did.” They merely realized that gamers are fed up with P2W cashgrab and – just as I predicted – they made it their selling point that they don’t add P2W and offering refunds. This makes them unique. This makes them internet famous. Hell, I haven’t read about WoW classic in real World news sites, this is one of the handful game I’ve learned about it. Probably hundreds of thousands of Hungarians learned of that game from that article. Sure it won’t all convert to sales, but who doesn’t want such coverage? They couldn’t get it with gaming features, they got it by a moral statement.

My prediction: they’ll be filthy rich, despite having some refunds from disappointed customers, and clearly lower “$ per paying customer” than P2W games. And obviously, no free players. But so many ordinary buyers for $30 that they can retire after this game. Maybe others will follow after seeing these guys turning Scrooge McDuck.

Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

11 thoughts on “A dev just made “not a crook” his sales pitch”

  1. This is wrong on so many levels.

    A running joke at Mythic was that we could make the “Big Button” game… that literally had nothing but one big button… that you pushed, and you got rewarded. And it would sell. Thank Sa (The god of magick) we had the moral fortitude to not actually do that.

    This is LITERALLY the “Big Button” game but with better graphics and sound.

    Dear god, at some point, you can buy “Click Storm” for 250 gold, that does 10 clicks for every click you actually do. At this point? If you’re actually playing this game? You should be re-evaluating your life choices.

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  2. @Smokeman: the game itself is irrelevant. The post is about the marketing strategy. That they are positioning themselves as honest developers who don’t do P2W, don’t false advertise and offer refunds to unsatisfied customers.

    Also, just because you don’t like the genre, it’s no less valid than other non-games where player just presses any key and monster dies. It’s probably more honest itself than most games where retards are made believe that their skill advances them while they would advance anyway as long as they log in.

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  3. Idle games remove skill requirement to advance in games. Without a skill, ther cant be a competiotion and thats main reason why there is not a single succesful multiplayer idle game. But most of the multiplayer games slowly adapt key concepts of the idle games to make you feel that you progress.

    1. To advance you need time. Longer you play, more items/champions/features you unlock and you get more powerful. Paying money can shorten the time significally.

    2. Presige mechanism aka reset to get benefits. There is a cap what you can get per a play session. Longer the session, less rewards you get when session ends. Economical way is to reset and play again. Basicly, matchmaking is prestige mechanism, every game advances you in ranks, while in same time resets your progress.

    3. What you do in game is trivial, you get some kind of progress just by being in game. You are a faster if you focus on game, but in principle, you get some kind of variables(exp, gold, honor) to show that you progress no matter if you are afk or not.

    4. There is no way to lose all progress. There can be temporary setbacks when you get killed or lose a match, but even on worst case, you still have most of what you have progressed so far. Only way to completely reset, is to make a new player.

    5. Incremental progress. Tiered content, its very hard or completely impossible to progress on content whats above your tier but its more or less trivial to accomplish stuff below your tier. Higher the tier, more time you need to progress on it.

    6.Playing idle. Player dont need to play non-stop to stay on top of the curve. You can just wait and get passively more powerful. Playing actively gets fastest way the resources from the game, playing passively usually is the most economical way to get same resources from the game.

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  4. @Smokeman: the game itself is irrelevant. The post is about the marketing strategy.

    Oh, I got that, I just couldn’t wrap my brain around “Clickers Heroes 1” actually having P2W and there being “whales” in what is as much a game as opening and closing Word over and over. So I watched a video walkthrough of the “game.”

    Now, if they would repent and make their new game an actual game with no P2W, I might believe them. I’m a little cynical that they’ve actually seen any light, but rather feel this is a more profitable strategy.

    Now I’m just waiting for Hulu to add a “minutes watched” score and P2W strategies to increase the minutes watched.

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  5. To clarify: By “More profitable strategy” I don’t mean the strategy of not including the P2W. I mean the strategy of prostrating themselves, virtue signaling style to pimp out the original game. I don’t thing they’ll sell any of the new ones at 30 bucks per, but they’ll get more free players in “Clicker Heroes 1” to convert to playing customers.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave out Clicker 2 to paying players of Clicker 1, though, just to say it was a success and how virtuous they are.

    It’s actually a pretty good strategy. It’s just morally repugnant in that it literally preys on people with Autism.

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  6. I understand that it’s hard not to be cynical in this situation when you are reading their statement, but at the same time you can find positive and negative sides to every coin. You can make some pretty convincing arguments in an article that Hitler did a lot of good things for Germany, if you choose to ignore all the death and horror his doctrine has caused.

    Tbh this industry is such a mess and is such a disgusting swamp that it’s just refreshing to see guys who are at least acknowledging the problem ( can you imagine blizzard releasing a statement like that? ) It’s pretty much the reason why I haven’t played any MMO since i quit EVE and it’s also why I will not play any other MMO for the foreseeable future – there’s nothing on the market except for bad games and good cash grabs, neither of which interest me in the slightest.

    Playsaurus is a small studio, the reason they’re working on a p2w browser/mobile game is because that’s the only type of product they can realistically develop and release on their own. I’d be shocked if they had more than 2-3 full time employees. You can’t honestly expect them to develop a complex MMO.

    And yeah, they obviously thought this decision through. Clicker heroes is not going anywhere, it’s still going to be an idle P2W game that is going to have it’s core audience. What’s the point of releasing a sequel that would be in direct competition with it? It’s not like they can afford to make a giant technological leap. Makes more sense to appeal to a different crowd and try and build something for P2W haters, while being able to implement their bold game design decisions in the process. And if they grab some good PR while they’re at it and make a bunch of sales… Hey, what the fuck? It’s capitalism.

    So yeah, i think you’re wrong on giving them this much shit. Unfortunately, morality has a different meaning in business and it’s usually counter-productive to have a conscience. Which makes receiving this tiny little morsel of it in this press release a refreshing change from the usual “don’t ask don’t tell” bullshit that you get from the official statements from the game dev camps.

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  7. I know the post is not about the game, but…
    So I like “playing” idle games, usually running a few concurrently. And this game looks really good (including the no p2w feature), I would happily buy it… if it would be $10 and would also be playable on mobile. But a desktop only idle game for $30? Sounds horrible.

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  8. “They couldn’t get it with gaming features, they got it by a moral statement.”

    Basically the Dove marketing strategy (hey Real Womyn buy our soap because we are so different, despite being owned by Unilever who also make Axe products).

    Like

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