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- Creators: Kashiwagi, Dean
- Creators: Gohil, Abhishek Bhagirathsinh
- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
The current model of revenue generation for some free to play video games is preventing the companies controlling them from growing, but with a few changes in approach these issues could be alleviated. A new style of video games, called a MOBA (Massive Online Battle Arena) has emerged in the past few years bringing with it a new style of generating wealth. Contrary to past gaming models, where users must either purchase the game outright, view advertisements, or purchase items to gain a competitive advantage, MOBAs require no payment of any kind. These are free to play computer games that provides users with all the tools necessary to compete with anyone free of charge; no advantages can be purchased in this game. This leaves the only way for users to provide money to the company through optional purchases of purely aesthetic items, only to be purchased if the buyer wishes to see their character in a different set of attire. The genre’s best in show—called League of Legends, or LOL—has spearheaded this method of revenue-generation. Fortunately for LOL, its level of popularity has reached levels never seen in video games: the world championships had more viewers than game 7 of the NBA Finals (Dorsey). The player base alone is enough to keep the company afloat currently, but the fact that they only convert 3.75% of the players into revenue is alarming. Each player brings the company an average of $1.32, or 30% of what some other free to play games earn per user (Comparing MMO). It is this low per player income that has caused Riot Games, the developer of LOL, to state that their e-sports division is not currently profitable. To resolve this issue, LOL must take on a more aggressive marketing plan. Advertisements for the NBA Finals cost $460,000 for 30 seconds, and LOL should aim for ads in this range (Lombardo). With an average of 3 million people logged on at any time, 90% of the players being male and 85% being between the ages of 16 and 30, advertising via this game would appeal to many companies, making a deal easy to strike (LOL infographic 2012). The idea also appeals to players: 81% of players surveyed said that an advertisement on the client that allows for the option to place an order would improve or not impact their experience. Moving forward with this, the gaming client would be updated to contain both an option to order pizza and an advertisement for Mountain Dew. This type of advertising was determined based on community responses through a sequence of survey questions. These small adjustments to the game would allow LOL to generate enough income for Riot Games to expand into other areas of the e-sports industry.
While not officially recognized as an addictive activity by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, video game addiction has well-documented resources pointing to its effects on physiological and mental health for both addict and those close to the addict. With the rise of eSports, treating video game addiction has become trickier as a passionate and growing fan base begins to act as a culture not unlike traditional sporting. These concerns call for a better understanding of what constitutes a harmful addiction to video games as its heavy practice becomes more financially viable and accepted into mainstream culture.