Micropayments on YoYo Games?

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. 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,

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.

What do you think?

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  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. 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).

  6. 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.

  7. @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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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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