Micropayments on YoYo Games?

on October 30, 2009 - 6752 Views

At today’s Casual Games Forum in London YoYo Games Ltd CEO Sandy Duncan spoke of the merits of micropayments.

Micropayments (wiki article) are transactions with a unusually small monetary value often used to unlock extra features in games. In 2007 90% of Habbo Hotel’s $60M+ revenue came from the sale of virtual goods.

I didn’t buy a £295 ticket to attend the conference so didn’t see Sandy taking part in a debate on the best business models of casual gaming companies.  CasualGaming.biz however were present and to quote Will Freeman from the site:

If you look at it as something like gambling in reverse, where every now and then you have to put in a little money, it is very addictive,” added YoYo Games CEO and founder Sandy Duncan. “It plays on human behaviour, and in that context out of all the funding models microtransactions are perhaps the most pervasive and important.
– Will Freeman, CasualGaming.biz

For over a year now YoYo Games have expressed their desire to eventually sell some of the best of games from more than 40,000 that have uploaded to their website.

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24 Responses to Micropayments on YoYo Games?

  1. Dominoes says:

    Micropayment in Gaming lol its sounds interesting to me.Cause 1st hearing about this.Also new in internet may be for that’s why.

  2. […] about include GameJolt’s latest contest, the return of Prodigygm magazine as Tailware Times, Sandy’s recent appearance at the Casual Games Forum in London and the Halloween episode of Game Maker […]

  3. GMVision.tv » Blog Archive » GMLive: Discussion Topics (11-7) says:

    […] YoYo at Casual Games Forum […]

  4. Sam Whited says:

    By tax records I mean a W-9 form which many marketers require you to submit before they will issue payments over some base amount (so that they can use it when calculating their taxes to show what they paid to you). Not sure how this works outside of the U.S. though.

  5. Sam Whited says:

    Interesting, it might be 16 or 17 that you can get a bank account then, I don’t know. But either way the point still stands. YoYo, in the interest of legal security, would most likely only offer the service to users who are 18 or older and would (possibly) require you to file your tax records (since payment would be made to you).

  6. James Rhodes says:

    I don’t know how tax works in the UK or other countries, but in Australia you pay no tax until you earn over $6000. It’s therefore, highly unlikely that game sales through YYG will exceed this for an author, and therefore YYG would not need to know or have you file your tax records (on second thoughts, why would YYG need your tax records anyway? That’s private information. YYG just need to send you the money and then you work out the tax you pay based on that).

  7. Sam Whited says:

    Banks can’t offer minors bank accounts… you have to have a parent co-sign on the account with you.

  8. James Rhodes says:

    Not in Australia 🙂 I got my (latest) bank account without the need for a parent to sign for it.

  9. Sam Whited says:

    From the Australia PayPal TOS Section 1:
    “Without limiting the foregoing, our Service is not available to minors (under 18), or to persons who are suspended from our Service.”

    In the end it’s not about the TOS anyways; it’s about the law. If you’re a minor you don’t have any legal right to deal with money in most countries.

  10. James Rhodes says:

    I highly doubt the law prevents minors from accessing money, otherwise banks would not be able to offer them bank accounts, etc..

  11. Sam Whited says:

    From the PayPal TOS Section 2.1:
    “To be eligible for our Services, you must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the United States or one of the countries listed on the PayPal WorldWide page.”

  12. Sam Whited says:

    Oh it’s definitely a good thing 🙂

  13. That could be considered a good thing.

  14. James Rhodes says:

    Isn’t it wonderful that it only applies in the US then? Australia’s Terms of Service contain nothing of the kind 🙂

  15. James Rhodes says:

    Incorrect. I don’t see how or why there would be an age restriction. RoketGames is capable of sending payments via PayPal regardless of the seller or buyer’s age (and PayPal does not have an 18+ age restriction. I should know, I’m 17).

  16. Sam Whited says:

    You most likely wouldn’t be able to sell your games without having your taxes on file (and would probably need to be over 18).

  17. Brad says:

    I wish they would add some sort of moderation. I bet as soon as they release some sort of payment system, every time you turn around you will be needing to pay money for even the crappiest of games.

  18. James Rhodes says:

    @Brad: Not to mention that people who have never visited YYG before won’t understand the level of terrible games that are on the site. If they pay for what turns out to be a terrible game, then YYG is likely to receive bad reputation.

  19. Or perhaps using micropayments to purchase games. E.g. instead of selling games at (for example) $5 offering them at prices equivalent to to many at the Apple app store.

  20. @Brad
    Hmm, I just don’t know. It would have to be a truly great, and replayable offline game for me to even consider it.

  21. Brad says:

    @True Valhalla
    Micro transactions don’t have to be exclusively for online games. For example, people may want to pay a couple bucks to unlock new maps, puzzles, characters and other things within an offline game.

  22. Interesting concept, but don’t you usually only implement microtransactions in online games? And seeing as YoYo can’t handle the protection used on [secure] online games, I can’t see it going far. I can’t upload Realm One Online to YoYo, for example, but I’m sure microtransactions would work better in it than in something like Karoshi, simply due to it’s online nature.

  23. James Rhodes says:

    I have no idea how they expect to implement Micropayments securely into Game Maker (if at all planned).

  24. Bas Bloem says:

    I didn’t take a big look.
    But will this mean we can add virtual goods and like with 1 code(Or more, I don’t care)
    add something so people have to pay for, for example Guns, Extra clothes, etc?

    This will also mean we should be programming very carefully to avoid cheaters, and losing money.

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