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Rob Beeson, Blogger

February 25, 2015

6 Min Read

Looking at the console games market of the next five years, we expect developers and publishers will seek to maximize revenue by adding free-to-play revenue models to pay-to-play fanchises. Poor execution will likely alienate passionate fans, create negative word-of-mouth (undermining marketing and PR investments), and diminish a product’s potential player pool and revenue tail.


By creating games that are simultaneously free-to-play and pay-to-play, AAA console games could increase total revenue and total users without disappointing fans or critics. This combined model also allows for continuous revenue through the lifecycle of the product and it can be used for nearly any game with in-game earned currency or XP.


Using the Forza Motorsport franchise as an example, I am proposing changes based on successful revenue models found in other successful games.


Split Revenue Model: Forza X


To maximize revenue without alienating Forza fans, I propose a free-to-play version, a $60 retail version, and a $100 Special Edition.


  • Forza X: Free

    • Includes the cars and tracks available at launch

    • Currency is earned at 1/10 normal speed*

    • Currency is available for purchase with real money

    • Short-term earned currency boosters can be bought with real money

    • Has in-game advertising

    • DLC can be purchased a la carte with real money

  • Forza X

    • Includes the cars and tracks available at launch

    • Currency is earned at normal speed*

    • No currency or boosters are advertised in game

    • DLC can be purchased via season pass, monthly car packs, or a la carte with real money

  • Forza X: Special Edition

    • Includes all cars and tracks available at and after launch, i.e. a season pass

    • Currency is earned at normal speed*

    • No currency or boosters are advertised in game


Normal Speed*  Forza 4’s earning rate


Other Revenue/Retention Opportunities


Revenue Share for Paid Distribution of Contributions

Emulating the success of Valve’s revenue share model for user-created content, Forza could allow its creative players to sell content to the rest of the community. Forza’s in-game “livery” designer is already the best user-generated content tool on the market. By allowing players to sell their creations for in-game or real money (with Forza taking a cut) is a proven profitable strategy.



All players can use in-game or real money to buy loot chests that contain random rewards in-game. All of these rewards are purchasable outright, and loot that players don't want can be sold back for in-game currency. That way, players that know what they want won't be reliant on this system.


Social Rewards

By giving players an in-game bonus for recruiting players, the player pool could continue to grow.


Investment Rewards

Unique daily/weekly challenges with valuable rewards are a proven way to keep players coming back to a game. They can also introduce new types of gameplay to otherwise stagnant players.


Brand Loyalty Rewards

Similar to previous Forza titles, players will be able to earn rewards for racing with certain manufacturers’ cars or parts. Some manufacturers may be willing to spend their marketing budget on targeted incentives for in-game loyalty achievements. Further, free players could pay to boost these loyalty-earned rates.


AI Upgrades

Similar to early Forza games, players could pay an AI to race for them. Paying for better drivers increases their odds of winning. This would only apply to single-player and would negate any achievements or lap times earned with AI.



What do you think?


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