We are happy to report today that we have seen close to a 350% increase in the amount of active users over the last month logging into the game world on a daily basis. We recognize that this is due to a variety of factors including the announcement of our Embers of War expansion, community polling for combat and other areas of the project that will have a direct impact on the game, and regular patching from our newly implemented "Team B" development team that focuses on smaller community priorities.
There is another important factor attributing to this increase in activity which is our free trial going on right now. This free trial has been extended multiple times thanks to those who have purchased Supporter Packs already, and today we are pleased to announce that it has been extended again until January 1st, 2019.
Path to a Freemium Release
The success of the current free trial sheds light on the importance of eliminating the financial barrier this game has and is why we are focusing on the topic of a Freemium release in today's update. There are a few things however we need to accomplish before we can pull the trigger on changing Rise of Agon's business model from being subscription based to a Freemium one.
The following covers key areas we need to address and how you can help us achieve a Freemium release in the near future.
Freemium Development Milestone
There are many different things being worked on right now between our two development teams, including the Territory Control 1.0 system, but we wish to shift some of our focus towards implementing a Freemium business model. We will be working on and finalizing the design of this model over the next few weeks, an endeavor that will not take away from developer resources, but plan to start developing it once we hit a financial milestone on our Supporter Packs.
The goal we are setting is a Supporter Pack milestone of $25,000. Through the help of many of you in our community we have already raised over $15,000 within the first few weeks of releasing the Supporter Packs. This leaves less than $10,000 to raise before we hit this next milestone. The additional revenue will help provide a financial cushion so we can continue working at full development capacity during the first few months of a Freemium release. We know that with all of your support out there we can achieve this goal which will also mark the halfway point towards the $50,000 goal for Embers of War.
Premium Accounts vs. Free Accounts
One of the challenges in implementing a Freemium model is to ensure that people are incentivized to acquire Premium Accounts. In order to help us focus on the game changes needed to accomplish this, we have opened up a thread on our forums entitled, "Premium Accounts vs Free Accounts". We ask for your help in providing suggestions on what you think would add value to a Premium Account and what limitations should be placed on Free Accounts. The goal is to have a system in place where anyone feels confident they can play the game for free without being at a "pay-to-win" disadvantage, yet are incentivized to get a Premium Account.
Subscriptions and Game Time Tokens will be converted to add Premium time instead of game time and will remain the same price as they are now.
Shifting Revenue to the Nithron Coin Shop
The other key area that needs to be addressed in order to make the switch to a Freemium model is to increase our sales in our Nithron Coin Shop to "cover the gap" of any lost subscription revenue. To that end we will be utilizing new tools that are in development to allow easier creation and implementation of weapon skins, along with the capability to create and implement armor skins. Moving forward we plan to have the ability to provide skins for mounts and other items in the game world, along with the addition of new cosmetic items such as house add-ons.
Once the new tools are in place we will be re-releasing the ACT (Agon's Community Talent) program to tap into the talent our community members have at creating new assets. This re-release will increase the compensation that players get for any item they create that is sold on the NCS, along with an easier process to acquire art assets and files to modify. More information will be provided when we officially relaunch the ACT program again.
Expected Timeline for a Freemium Release
If we are able to raise the additional $10,000 by the end of the year, we plan to shift development focus to finalizing the changes needed for a Freemium release. Our internal goal is to be able to flip the switch from a subscription model to a Freemium model sometime in January, 2019. For now we will work to finalize the design of the system and will start coding the changes when we hit the $25,000 milestone.
Thank you for reading today's update and we look forward to all of your feedback.
- The Team at Big Picture Games