World of Goo "Pay What You Want" Sale a "Huge Success"

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World of Goo "Pay What You Want" Sale a "Huge Success"

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2D Boy's "World of Goo First Birthday" experiment - allowing gamers to pick up the acclaimed indie title for as little as a penny - is being hailed by the game's creators as ridiculously successful.

Last week, 2D Boy announced that it was pulling a Radiohead and giving away the critically acclaimed World of Goo for whatever gamers felt like paying. As it turns out, the sale has done pretty well for the indie twosome, and the numbers are actually really interesting, as we see on the official 2D Boy site.

All in all, approximately 57,000 people bought the game last week, and a graph of how many people paid how much money can be found here. Unsurprisingly, the most popular price was the cheapest: Almost 17,000 people picked up World of Goo for $0.01. The second most popular price range was between $1.00 and $1.99, with further spikes at $5.00-$6 and $10.00-$11, and little bumps at $15-$16 and the game's current retail cost of $20-$21.

Ignoring that most people opted to pick up the game as cheaply as possibly, it's hard to see this as anything but a success. In the span of a week 33,741 people acquired the game for at least $1.00, and many paid more than that (7347 people buying the game at $5 equals a not-too-shabby $36,735, for example). So at the end of the week, there is a lot more money in the pockets of the 2D Boy duo than there was at the beginning - pretty good for a game that's been out for a year, huh?

Also interesting was the impact that the sale seemed to have on other channels that didn't have the "pay what you want" deal going on: Steam sales of the game rose 40%, and while weekly fluctuations on Steam are certainly not unheard of, an increase of that magnitude (coming on the heels of a 25% increase the week before) is rather rare. Meanwhile, WiiWare sales of World of Goo jumped 9% - not quite as big, but not insignificant, either.

There's a lot of interesting data over on the 2D Boy site, including results from a survey about why people chose the price they did (the most common answer? "That's all I can afford right now") but the data all points down to this: By letting consumers pay whatever they want, 2D Boy made a ton of money off of a year-old game in the span of a week. Oh, and the sale was so successful that they're extending it a few more days - if you still haven't picked up World of Goo, you have until October 25 (Sunday) to pick it up for as cheap as a penny. What's stopping you, man?

(Via RPS)

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Yeah, uh, I "bought" the game feeling generous putting down the remainder of my paypal account of $4.78 and it was never emailed to me. I'm not pissed or anything, it is only $4.78, but I'm still disappointed.

Great game. Worth almost whatever they want, so the game getting sold for so little is really unbelievable.

I paid a penny, simply because as a penniless student I can't really afford more. It's a great game and I would pay the full price if I could afford it, but sadly I can't. And yes, I know that seems pretty heartless, but 2DBoy did a great game and I reckon they should definitely carry on the good work, I'll be sure to look into any future projects they have going as and when they arise :D

Hrm, I actually really enjoy this model because it seems like people are more willing to pay something than nothing. 17,000 payed $0.01, but 40,000 paid something more. Personally, I would totally sell a game I made with the pay what you want model (because it would, in fact, be a 2d graphics game using sprites and such, not some 3d high investment franchise game. I'm actually working with SDL, OpenGL and other open source game development libraries to see what I can do with those technologies, although this has been put on halt so I can hopefully finish an animation for the video contest!) It seems like a good way for even unknown publishers to get their label off the ground and get some dough in the front door.

CantFaketheFunk:
Steam sales rose 40%, and while weekly fluctuations on Steam are certainly not unheard of, an increase of that magnitude (coming on the heels of a 25% increase the week before) is rather rare.

Steam was also having a half off sale (52.8% to be exact) of all "Half-life" related games the same weekend.

I'm surprised the Escapist never said anything about it. (Not that valve needs support like an indie developer does...but still, half-off is a big deal...and it was to celebrate Gordon Freeman being voted "greatest game hero of all time.")

CantFaketheFunk:
What's stopping you, man?

Sadly, lack of a credit card/paypal. Anyone feels like giving me 1-online-cent? :D

But in all seriousness, I think companies could really profit from taking a lesson here, specially on their older games, some of them classics. I imagine most companies don't have the balls to put their new shinny tittles up like this (which is understandable really), but imagine if Blizzard pulled one of this with the Diablo or Starcraft collection? Or Raven with the Jedi Knight series? ID with the Doom series? Etc.

Sales are good people. Good games at cheap prices sell faster than fire spreads through rocket fuel, generating more income than less sales with higher prices. If you still doubt this, I have only one thing to say: Steam Weekend Sales.

It's nice to see that people payed up to $50.00 for this. Even if it was just 4 people.

CantFaketheFunk:
What's stopping you, man?

Waiting on the iPhone version. I already own this game! ;)

That's just such a good idea!

Trivun:
I paid a penny, simply because as a penniless student I can't really afford more. It's a great game and I would pay the full price if I could afford it, but sadly I can't. And yes, I know that seems pretty heartless, but 2DBoy did a great game and I reckon they should definitely carry on the good work, I'll be sure to look into any future projects they have going as and when they arise :D

I don't want to beat up on you, but I don't really buy your excuse as a "penniless" student. Sure, it's okay to pay less, but shouldn't you really be basing the amount you pay against what you'd pay for other forms of entertainment, and compare it to the number of hours you'd get out of Goo? You could even divide that result and still get a lot more than a penny.

For example, figure you get six hours of fun out of Goo. Figure that's six movie rentals; at $3/rental (and splitting the cost between 3 friends), that comes out to $9/4 = $2.25. Even if you want a 90% discount, that's still $0.25. Paying a penny is saying that WoG is worth less to you than a gumball. That's not payment - that's an insult, even for a "penniless" student. If you're so broke that you can't even afford to pay $1 for a good game, why are you wasting your time posting about 15 times/day (4500 posts over 10 months) on The Escapist - get some employment.

hansari:

CantFaketheFunk:
Steam sales rose 40%, and while weekly fluctuations on Steam are certainly not unheard of, an increase of that magnitude (coming on the heels of a 25% increase the week before) is rather rare.

Steam was also having a half off sale (52.8% to be exact) of all "Half-life" related games the same weekend.

I'm surprised the Escapist never said anything about it. (Not that valve needs support like an indie developer does...but still, half-off is a big deal...and it was to celebrate Gordon Freeman being voted "greatest game hero of all time.")

It was also Thq week, so they had a bunch of those games on sale all week.

I'm not really suprised that this worked. If they had of done the "Free T-Shirt" model it would have had around the same success (what is it with people and free t-shirts).

But still some of the prices payed do prove that these boys have the merit enough to set it up and walk away with a tidy wad of cash bulging out their back pocket.

A huge success indeed. From the figures given, I can calculate that the totals sales sum up to at least one hundred thousand US dollars. I'd say that pretty good for a game that was released a year ago.

Syphonz:
Yeah, uh, I "bought" the game feeling generous putting down the remainder of my paypal account of $4.78 and it was never emailed to me. I'm not pissed or anything, it is only $4.78, but I'm still disappointed.

You know, you could propably just send them an email explaining the situation and you could propably still get the game. Especially if you dig up the transaction ID of the payment.

CantFaketheFunk:
2D Boy's "World of Goo First Birthday" experiment - allowing gamers to pick up the acclaimed indie title for as little as a penny - is being hailed by the game's creators as ridiculously successful.

HAHAHA
I WAS RIGHT !

A year ago I remember saying game makers should be given what we think they deserve, a bit like street performers.
People answered me this was stupid and could never work.
If only the rest of the game industry could do the same...

Now nobody remember it and this post will probably be thorougly ignored, but it still feel good.

BigBoote66:

Trivun:
I paid a penny, simply because as a penniless student I can't really afford more. It's a great game and I would pay the full price if I could afford it, but sadly I can't. And yes, I know that seems pretty heartless, but 2DBoy did a great game and I reckon they should definitely carry on the good work, I'll be sure to look into any future projects they have going as and when they arise :D

I don't want to beat up on you, but I don't really buy your excuse as a "penniless" student. Sure, it's okay to pay less, but shouldn't you really be basing the amount you pay against what you'd pay for other forms of entertainment, and compare it to the number of hours you'd get out of Goo? You could even divide that result and still get a lot more than a penny.

For example, figure you get six hours of fun out of Goo. Figure that's six movie rentals; at $3/rental (and splitting the cost between 3 friends), that comes out to $9/4 = $2.25. Even if you want a 90% discount, that's still $0.25. Paying a penny is saying that WoG is worth less to you than a gumball. That's not payment - that's an insult, even for a "penniless" student. If you're so broke that you can't even afford to pay $1 for a good game, why are you wasting your time posting about 15 times/day (4500 posts over 10 months) on The Escapist - get some employment.

I agree totally with you, and normally you'd have a really good point. However, as it happens I've had to totally stop paying for any entertainment, I paid my TV License at the start of the year and that's been it. I haven't bought any CDs, DVDs, games, books, anything like that, in months, and the main reason is that a lot of people in the UK, students, haven't yet recieved their student loans. Which means I'm stuck with my savings. All because some idiots in the government can't tell when people have written their date of birth on a form, despite it being right there in front of them on the form. And that isn't an exagerration either, that's me being completely serious.

As for the employment thing, I'm looking for work and I only go on the Escapist in my spare time. Anyway, a lot of my posting is done in the evening and after university when I've finished work (I've not long got back from lectures now, to tell the truth, and posting earlier was done at campus when I was on a lunch break). But otherwise, I can see your point and I do agree. I simply paid a penny because it was easier to just do that rather than go through a load of maths trying to work out what I could afford against what I thought the game was worth.

Trivun:
I simply paid a penny because it was easier to just do that rather than go through a load of maths trying to work out what I could afford against what I thought the game was worth.

Like I said, I didn't want to beat you up - who am I to know what you're really capable of paying. I don't know if you have Top Ramen ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_noodles ) in the UK - according to wikipedia, "Pot Noodle" is something similar - but when I was a student, it was not uncommon for this to be the source of a majority of your daily caloric intake. Actually, I still have Top Ramen for lunch every couple of weeks, even though I can afford to eat whatever I want. Anyway, one lunch of Top Ramen instead of whatever else you were contemplating is enough to cover the cost of $2. Maybe I'm just an old fart; I find it hard to understand a lifestyle where someone doesn't even have a dollar to pay for days of entertainment, but still has free time to surf the net & play computer games. Back in MY day, if you were in such dire straits, you'd be busting your hump just to make sure you could make rent and keep the Ramen cabinet stocked up, with little time for anything else.

Wow... now that's some shrewd marketing right there. Nicely done, 2D Boy.

DJPirtu:
A huge success indeed. From the figures given, I can calculate that the totals sales sum up to at least one hundred thousand US dollars. I'd say that pretty good for a game that was released a year ago.

Sadly, going by paypal's transactions fees (2.9% + 0.30 for payments under $3k), that means at least $20,000 went to paypal out of that. There would have been the hosting fees as well, at 67MB per file, over 6TB of data was downloaded. It would have been a nice bonus for all involved, without a doubt, but it's not really a home run for the model.

It's a nice bonus on an older game for an indie, but I wonder how it compares to, say, $5 sales on previously hit titles (like Assassin's Creed being $5 on Steam at the moment). And how much the indie factor played to it, World of Goo was a hit game and we all have a little sympathy for the little guy. If EA did this a whole lot more people would pay a cent out of spite.

Also, for those talking about Steam, World of Goo sales on Steam increased by 40%, not Steam sales in general. The other sales might have pulled more people to Steam though, along with word of mouth about World of Goo thanks to their 1 cent sale. But that comes down to what it was a 40% increase over, it was a year old indie game, I doubt sales would have been particularly high anyway (all comes down to whether they went from 10 to 14 or 1000 to 1400).

Wow, what a strange and interesting experiment. I must certainly applaud 2D Boy for using their unique position in such a way.

I already bought the game from Steam a while ago. Had quite a few hours of fun in there. Anyway, if i didn't own it already i would pay 5€ for it gladly.

RomanLegacy:
It was also Thq week, so they had a bunch of those games on sale all week.

Yes, but none of those sales were ridiculous enough to offer a 50%+ price cut. And considering it was a significant price cut for the praised half-life franchise, all the more reason to report on it.

incal11:
Now nobody remember it and this post will probably be thorougly ignored, but it still feel good.

Paying a penny is down right tragic though...if there is a "pay what you want model", there should be a reasonable minimum value...

I ate world of goo up when I heard about it over the summer. Absolutely one of the best puzzle games I have played in a very very long time, and its replay value is phenomenal. Was very much worth the money and I was sad to hear that it was so heavily pirated because the devs for it deserve the money for their hard work and I want to see more from them.

incal11:

CantFaketheFunk:
2D Boy's "World of Goo First Birthday" experiment - allowing gamers to pick up the acclaimed indie title for as little as a penny - is being hailed by the game's creators as ridiculously successful.

HAHAHA
I WAS RIGHT !

A year ago I remember saying game makers should be given what we think they deserve, a bit like street performers.
People answered me this was stupid and could never work.
If only the rest of the game industry could do the same...

Now nobody remember it and this post will probably be thorougly ignored, but it still feel good.

I hate to blow the wind out of your sale but your 'great insight' is over two thousand years old.

Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.
Publilius Syrus
(~100 BC)

But don't feel too bad. People tend to rediscover things all the time. Like how the Greek's and Roman's knew the world was round but the Catholics were convinced it was flat. Stuff like that. Ignorance is bliss and all that :).

~

On topic however this is a fantastic little experiment because it sells the game to thousands of folks who would have otherwise likely never bought it. Which used to be the goal in marketing. Now it is just blaming your customers when your overpriced overbloated merchandise doesn't sell. (Not to say that of WoG, since I loved it, just in general).

I find this to be an interesting business move that if nothing else drives up mention of a game that hasn't been on the radar a whole lot. Buzz is worth a lot more than initial money because it has promises of attracting further money. Also, the more people play a game, the higher demand is and can possibly attract or sway a publisher to request and commission a sequel.

Had I not already bought the game for, whateverhowmany Wii-points it cost at release, I would have probably taken advantage of a minimalist approach and paid a penny for it. That being said however, I hold zero regrets about buying the game at full price because I found to to be absolutely enjoyable to play. The music in particular was a high point.

I'm one of those who bought it for $5.00 to support them. Haven't played it yet.

As far as a rise in STEAM sales, no accounting for taste I suppose, BUT consider also that there are a few games out there right now like "Risen" that are more or less unobtainable except by Digital Download. Now I don't like the fact that STEAM seems to censor their version by reports I've heard (and it's the version I got), but I can see why word of mouth might be causing that game to see more DLs... not sure if that's one of the games being DLed heavily from them right now or not though.

Aye, I also paid $5.00 ($5.35 CAD) for the game just today. I totally forgot about this thing. I've always wanted to try the game but I don't have all the money/time in the world. I've heard plenty of good things about it though.

This is a pretty awesome model (at least for me, since I'm kind of cautious with money) and a great way to encourage some fans. Lots of thanks go to 2DBoy for trying this out.

I'm glad it was successful for them though. I was surprised a couple (4) people paid $50.00 USD though!

From a business perspective, they should have set a higher minimum value. Maybe $2.00 or something - people would still be willing to pay that much and they'd certainly earn a lot more than 17000 pennies.

I played the demo and didn't think it was all that great. Well made and certainly original enough, but for some reason it fails to hold my attention for more than 15 minutes at a time.

I could name several free Flash games I've enjoyed more.

Not to say World of Goo is a bad game, just that I didn't feel bad giving them 40 cents for the full version.

hansari:
Paying a penny is down right tragic though...if there is a "pay what you want model", there should be a reasonable minimum value...

Then it wouldn't be "pay what you want" would it?

People who pay the minimum are people who wouldn't buy the game anyway so they aren't exactly losing money off them.

too bad the 1 cent sales actualy cost them since it costs 30 cents for each paypal transaction but its still heartnening to know they made some nice scratch from it

I payed 10 bucks for it. I'm not rich but they deserve it.

I donated 13.00$ for the right cause.

1)13 is my lucky number.
2)Need to support that 2DBOY for all the cheap fucking bastards that gave 0.01$.

Worgen:
too bad the 1 cent sales actualy cost them since it costs 30 cents for each paypal transaction but its still heartnening to know they made some nice scratch from it

3)Because of this.

theultimateend:

incal11:

CantFaketheFunk:
2D Boy's "World of Goo First Birthday" experiment - allowing gamers to pick up the acclaimed indie title for as little as a penny - is being hailed by the game's creators as ridiculously successful.

HAHAHA
I WAS RIGHT !

A year ago I remember saying game makers should be given what we think they deserve, a bit like street performers.
People answered me this was stupid and could never work.
If only the rest of the game industry could do the same...

Now nobody remember it and this post will probably be thorougly ignored, but it still feel good.

I hate to blow the wind out of your sale but your 'great insight' is over two thousand years old.

Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.
Publilius Syrus
(~100 BC)

Um, that wasn't the insight. The insight was that indie games should take a street performer approach to business.

But don't feel too bad. People tend to rediscover things all the time. Like how the Greek's and Roman's knew the world was round but the Catholics were convinced it was flat. Stuff like that. Ignorance is bliss and all that :).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

Oh, and speaking of religion and science, now all the anti-piracy fanatics know how Creationists feel.

robrob:
It's a nice bonus on an older game for an indie, but I wonder how it compares to, say, $5 sales on previously hit titles (like Assassin's Creed being $5 on Steam at the moment). And how much the indie factor played to it, World of Goo was a hit game and we all have a little sympathy for the little guy. If EA did this a whole lot more people would pay a cent out of spite.

This is a good point, but I don't think it invalidates the model. I'm certain you are right that, if EA did it, many people would pay 1 cent out of spite, but those are the same people who would refuse to buy the games and either pirate them or not play them at all. They also have many fans who happily pay $60 every year for the same sports game. And there are probably some less opinionated people in between who wouldn't pay $60 for some sports game, but would pick it up for $10 in a bargain bin. A pay-what-you-want model can still accommodate all of these markets.

The real trick is getting the value out of each market. People are cheap -- if you say they can pay a penny instead of $60, most will. Some will pay reasonable amounts out of ethical concern, but there's less of that for a gigantic corporation like EA than there is for an indie like 2D Boy.

Classically, this is handled using market segmentation. Rather than charge a flat rate and just get paid by who is willing to pay, you charge different amounts for different categories. Take Microsoft Office: the enterprise version is over $400/seat, but small businesses can get it for $100, home users can get it for $20-40, and many students get it for free (as a way of getting students hooked on using it so the enterprise guys buy the $400 version). Sure, the different versions have different features, but the differences are minimal -- it's just an excuse to segment the market. It means they still get big money from corporations who can afford it, while still getting some money out of the long tail of students and others who use it at home, which in turn drives the enterprise market.

Game companies could do the same thing. They could have the special edition for $60 that comes with developer interviews and such and market it at the XBOX and PS3, a PC version for $20 that can be modded, and a browser-based Flash version for $5 that plays anywhere but is less complicated. In fact, that's almost exactly what EA did with Spore and it has worked out well for them so far.

Still, you are right: how do you stop everybody from paying the minimum? Hopefully enough people would have the concern and decency to pay reasonable amounts for good games -- enough that the rest of the lazy bastards can get away with paying next to nothing. Maybe our current generation is too cynical to want to support any company, or maybe humankind is too greedy by nature. But if this experiment shows anything, it's that it can be done and it can work. Now it's just a matter of finding out how to make it work for more companies.

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