Mahoney said that he thinks Western companies are focusing too hard on turning free-to-play games into pay-to-play, counter to Asian F2P producers, and it’s turning off gamers.
“Some of the western companies, especially in the casual space, made the mistake of thinking that free-to-play was an ersatz pay-to-play,” Mahoney said. “If you play a game that won’t let you continue unless you pay, it’s not free. We learned the lesson very early on and we stopped making that mistake right away.”
Mahoney believes that offering high-quality gaming experiences will lead gamers to spend money on F2P games, but badgering them for upgrades and level-ups is counterproductive.
“If a waiter in a restaurant keeps asking you if you’d like to order more food every two minutes, the restaurant might make some extra cash that night, but you’d likely never come back.”
Roughly 90 percent of Nexon’s player base never paid for any of the company’s games, but the 10 percent who spent an average of $22 created a company revenue of $1.2 billion.
That’s not to say the 90 percent of non-payers are a waste.
“They are all playing in a synchronous, immersive world. You have thousands of people playing at the same time. If people are not there or they are not engaged, then they are not going to keep coming back. So we have to focus on the 90 percent of people, even though they are not spending money.”