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Experimenting With Subscription Billing

When the bulk of recent monetization conversation in the online gaming industry revolves around the relevance of the free-to-play and microtransaction options, it’s somewhat eye-opening to see a company look to add subscription billing to their highly popular F2P offerings. Zynga announced a beta subscription plan to its popular Farmville game.

Assuming interest is high, the idea is to roll out a $10/month subscription billing plan which enables players to turn their Farmville coins into cash. As always, the devil is in the details which have yet to be fully released. Interest, based on the Farmville Freak poll, is still tepid.

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Independent of whether your business is the gaming or media or even SaaS market, there are a number of critical areas that affect the success of any subscription billing plan.

  • Clearly explain to potential customers the ongoing value of the subscription. This should be done not just at sign-up but throughout the course of that subscriber’s life with you. Constantly reinforce the new content, new functionality and new capabilities that will make an impact on that subscriber.
  • Understand the usage patterns of your customer so you can understand whether that usage maps to the purported value of your subscription offer. This also helps with retention efforts down the road.
  • Don’t hesitate to experiment with different pricing and packaging options that are based on an honest evaluation of your existing subscribers as well as your target audience.

These along with many other considerations are some of the factors that drive the long-term success of any subscription service.

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