I’m a self-proclaimed “whale.” In the free-to-play gaming world, this means I spend lots of money buying what I want. Here are some insights on methods that have worked to upsell me and ways we can upsell players by leveraging emotions:
A flyer came in the mail today from my favorite store, “The Toy Shoppe.” They sell the luxury stuffed animals that I collect called Steiff. I only plan to buy one Steiff per year, and 6 months age there was a true winner – the Dorothy bear from the Wizard of Oz. Since I have particularly strong emotional connections to the Wizard of Oz, it was a no brainer. However, the flyer today advertised a brand new Wizard of Oz product – Toto and his little basket! To top it off, he’s scaled to work perfectly with the Dorothy Bear. There is no way I can’t buy Toto too – Dorothy is missing him dearly!
Steiff did a great job upselling Toto to me. If both Dorothy and Toto were offered at the same time, the price barrier would have been too high. In that case, I wouldn’t buy either cause I would feel too guilty to get one without the other. But since I’ve already sunk my money into Dorothy, and the price of Toto is less than half of her, I’m inclined to whip out my wallet and finish my Wizard of Oz collection! Since Toto is below my typical price-range, I’m still planning to buy another Steiff in 6 months – they really got me! Uh oh… what if they make the munchkins, the Wizard and the rest of the Wizard of Oz friends? This is going to break the bank!
Translating this to free-to-play games, I could see using a related strategy for a game like Dragonvale. Dragonvale already creates a strong emotional connection with the dragons making it easy to add features which effectively upsell to players. For example:
- Building off the emotional connection that Toto and Dorothy created for me – each Dragon would have a distinct baby-like mini-dragon companion. From time to time, the dragons would display thought-bubbles requesting the player to buy them their mini-dragon. The player can purchase the dragon outright with premium currency (just like regular dragons) or try breeding them using the exact same breeding mechanic for the regular dragons but in it’s own breeding cave. Personally, I know I’d have a hard time resisting the urge to get the mini-dragon companions for each of my regular dragons!
- Building off the concerns about the price barrier of buying both Dorothy and Toto at the same time – each dragon would have new accessory decorations which unlock unique animations. I’ve noticed players often aim to discover everything in games -there is a huge opportunity to extend the life of each dragon here. Knowing that a new animation and special accessory exists for a dragon would create a strong desire for the player to rectify the situation. An accessory could be a mud bath decoration which the Mud Dragon goes in to splash/dive around. Or it could be a a volcano decoration that the Volcano Dragon magically makes erupt. If you’re lucky enough to get the ultra-rare Rainbow Dragon, how could resist getting him the Puffy Cloud decoration where he can breath rainbows which he so dearly wants to do? This type of content would work out really well as rotatable limited time content!