This blog is written by WizardCrab, who leads our business team. As a lifelong gamer, he has formed exceedingly crabby opinions on what good monetization looks like. Along with announcing our business model, he’s also sharing the philosophy behind the decisions on how we approach monetization for Palia.
We’ve loved sharing more and more details with you about Palia over the last few months. However, we’ve been waiting until Alpha to reveal the answer to the most asked question: “__What is Palia’s business model?__” Well, today, we’re announcing that Palia will be free.
This post will explain what being a free game means to us and why we believe it’s right for Palia.
Singularity 6’s vision is to create alternate worlds that deepen players’ lives to bring people closer together. To achieve this, Palia has to be available and accessible to everyone, which means: no subscription and no upfront purchase to play. We believe this decision helps break down as many barriers as possible for people to be able to play Palia together.
With Palia, we’ll only be monetizing cosmetic content. At first, this will focus on character clothing and costumes, but we’ll evaluate more spaces as time goes on. There’s nothing revolutionary here; clothing and costumes have long been a staple of successful, player-friendly, free-to-play (F2P) monetization systems. We think it will be a good fit for Palia as well.
But specifics are important, so let’s explore how we’re approaching the space. We believe that above all else, good F2P monetization is all about respect.
We will not monetize any core gameplay in Palia. You won’t be able to pay to level up your skills faster, get that rare achievement more easily, or become best friends with Einar earlier. If you visit someone’s awesomely decorated house, you’ll know they earned each piece of furniture and put in the time to make it shine. We believe this is critical for you to feel great about the time you spend in Palia.
There’s a corollary of this that we want to be upfront about: if you can’t buy the things you earn, it also means you won’t be able to earn the things you can buy. Ultimately, we believe that by separating these systems, we can ensure that we’re always designing what’s best for gameplay while selling products that are worth purchasing for what they are. We believe this is the right balance to make the best game experience we can.
We don’t want to monetize through tricks. Our products should be able to stand on their own as valuable purchases. In general, our store will have items that are directly purchasable and available all the time. There may be exceptions to this, but there will be specific reasons why in each case.
The key takeaway is that you won’t be forced to buy loot boxes, or be overly pressured by the fear of missing out (FOMO) to get that one item you wanted before it leaves a continuously rotating store. We think that by providing a shopping experience with high agency and low pressure, we’ll hold ourselves to a higher standard of products and you’ll leave the shop feeling great about your decision to spend (or not spend!).
We’re committing to being upfront with you about our decisions in this space, even if it’s not exactly what you want to hear. We might have to raise prices or change some things—it can be due to tech, cost, or even satisfaction issues! And sometimes it’ll be because things aren’t as profitable as they need to be for sustainable development. But we’ll always be honest when making these changes, even if it might be unpopular.
Academy, Rogue, and Aristocrat by Sasha Frantseva. Concept art might differ from the final in-game product.
Some devs don’t like to talk about this, but it’s essential to understand that creating and maintaining Palia is a costly endeavor. Our team also needs to grow significantly to fully realize all of your expectations for Palia. And we’re committed to treating our team well, with competitive salaries and benefits, regular hours, and building Palia sustainably.
All this is to say that we’re not going to pretend like financial support from players isn’t important; it definitely is, and there can be no Palia without it. We believe that if we make the best game we can, along with presenting a transparent and truly optional monetization system—then we will find players who are happy to spend, allowing us to continue to reinvest back into Palia for years to come.
Hopefully, this gives some idea of Palia’s business model and how we’re approaching the topic in general. With the ice broken, we can be a little more forthcoming with our thoughts, and we welcome you to keep asking questions and keep the dialogue going!
Almost forgot. We can’t resist a onesie. Concept art might differ from the final in-game product.
We’ll also be planning a Q&A with our teams about this topic in the near future, and answering more monetization questions on our regular Ask the Devs. We hope that you’ll be there when we do, so please join us in Discord or follow us on Twitter!