Clicker Heroes, the wildly successful game in which players build up a fantasy unit to become a virtual god of death, went from being a free-to-play game with microtransactions to one with a flat $30 price tag in Clicker Heroes 2. In a letter to their fanbase, the developers explain that the move was sparked by concerns over the wild expenditures a certain population of their players would spend on the game.
CEO Thomas Wolfley notes that “Clicker Heroes” was designed in such a way that players do not need to purchase anything from the in-game shop to progress. Despite this fact, there were many players who were consistently spending thousands of dollars on the free-to-play game. Wolfley notes, “I can only hope that these people could afford it, and that they were doing this to support us, and not to feed addiction. But I strongly suspect that this is not the case.”
Massive spending by so-called “whales” addicted to the games they play is becoming a disturbing trend in recent years due to the increasing number of games moving into a microtransaction-based revenue model. Just look at the story of the Final Fantasy Brave Exvius player who made headlines for nearly losing his family due to extreme spending and it becomes obvious how this revenue model takes advantage of people prone to addiction.
Much respect for Wolfley for not only recognizing the pitfalls of microtransactions, but actually taking a financial gamble with making Clicker Heroes 2 a game with a flat price. Ultimately, it seems like the gamble has paid off as the game is currently topping the Steam charts. Given its success, it will be interesting to see if other developers follow suit and reevaluate the monetization method of the games they’re working on.