Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Samurai & Dragons - Simple Name, Simple Pricing
It's come out today that the previously announced "Samurai & Dragons", presumably named for having both Samurai -and- Dragons in it, is going to have a very, very simple pricing scheme: Free. As in, the game itself, the game Samurai & Dragons is going to be a free game that you download and play. For free. Of course, it can't be that simple, so, much like these Free-to-Play MMOs out there, Sega is banking on making the bulk of their money on the game through micro-transactions. The items that are being sold through said transactions aren't really apparent at the moment, but figuring that the majority of them are going to be purely (or mostly) cosmetic is a fairly safe bet. On top of that, I imagine perhaps extra character slots, stat boosts, basically anything that you -could- want but isn't -vital-.
However, that's not the only interesting bit about it as Samurai & Dragons is also going to be sold....in a manner of speaking. How do you sell a free game, you might ask? Well, it's less that you're selling the game, but rather a stick with the game on it and voucher codes for a bunch of micro-transaction items. Included in the retail version of S&D will be "four 100 CP tickets, four CP discount tickets, four commander tickets, four extra tickets, and four friend tickets". If we do a little rough math, four times five is twenty, we could safely estimate the game will be $30-40 so that's $1.50-$2.00 per item, though that'd be more of an average and it's assuming the items are not discounted for being bundled together. Generally, micro-transation things tend to range from fifty cents to about five dollars if I'm not mistaken, so that would pretty much fall in range and I'm sure there are several configurations that the above items could be priced at to fit in the normal $30-40 price range for a Vita game.
If we go on the knowledge that CP is the in-game currency for S&D (which it is), then the starter tickets in the retail bundle really start you up pretty well. 400 CP will likely help a lot depending on how much CP you get from raiding dungeons. (The Siliconera article linked above suggests that the game is city-building and dungeon raiding so they likely support one another. CP is likely used to buy buildings, upgrade things, etc.) On top of that, the CP discount tickets sound to me like something you can use to apply a flat discount to the purchase of something that requires CP, so four of them means four separate occasions to use those 400 CP if it lasts that long. The last three items, Commander, Extra and Friend tickets, I'm not even about to try and guess at, except for the "Friend" tickets might buy you a partner character that serves some sort of auxiliary purpose. Other games do this by giving you Pet characters, though whether this would be for S&D or if you'd get more 'sidekick' types is up for debate until something more concrete comes through.
For me, I was getting the game as soon as I heard "Sega" and "Vita" in the same sentence. That "Samurai" and "Dragons" were also in the same sentence was just icing on the cake of awesome. Seriously, "Sega announces 'Samurai & Dragons' for the Playstation Vita" is just an amazing sentence and is full of everything I want except something to do with Skies of Arcadia or Valkyria Chronicles. Though perhaps one of those things might come if we all support Sega in their crazy ventures on the Vita. Who knows, we might even get Black Panther! And hey, Samurai & Dragons might even be good so there's that too. For the price of "Free", I'm suggesting that anyone with a Vita is likely to give it a shot, which is exactly what Sega wants. Because for all those people who download the game, a good percentage of them might very well pump some money into it for some of those micro-transaction tickets. Consider my interest rising for this game.