Fortnite: Pollsters and academics examine purchases, pay-to-win, and motivation vs. addiction

    
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Remember the old adage that less than 10% of a free-to-play playerbase pay for the other 90%? A poll conducted by LendEDU and Pollfish attempts to cast some shadow on that assumption. The groups say they surveyed 1000 hardcore Fortnite players and determined that almost 70% of them had spent money on the game – an average of $84 apiece for those who did, the majority of that on outfits and characters. More than a third of them had apparently never spent money on a game before.

However, it seems to have been a self-reported survey of highly invested people who identified Fortnite as their primary game, so it’s not really a fully random cross-section of all Fortnite players; one might assume that the type of people who consider themselves Fortnite fanatics and would answer a survey like this would be exactly the type to pay into the game and thereby skew the results.

That in mind, there are still some interesting bits in the infographic. Apparently, a solid 20% of people who bought Fortnite stuff assumed it gave them some sort of pay-to-win advantage (it does not in Fortnite). Whether that’s because we’re all inured to P2W or the urban legends of Reddit persist, I’m not sure. Additionally, a quarter of the players surveyed say they pay for Twitch to watch Fortnite and other games.

In other Fortnite news, The Conversation blog has a piece out describing Fortnite against the backdrop of the WHO’s ongoing stigmatization of “gaming addiction.” Author Andrew James Reid argues that players aren’t addicted to Fortnite; they are “fully invested and motivated to beat (or at least engage with) their opponents.” Reid invokes Jane McGonigal to assert that “games like Fortnite provide gratification in a way, as McGonigal wrote, ‘that the real world is currently unable to satisfy.'”

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Robert Mann

Average $84. How much of that was people who spent $5-10? How many spent several hundred or more? Etc.

This is missing some incredibly key pieces of information with regard to us and that adage…

And that’s before worrying about the non-spenders, non-responders, etc.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Have game-passes replaced lock boxes?

Jilano
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Jilano

“Oh, you didn’t get the memo? We were a bit unsure at first, but when we saw that players were spending more money than ever, we thought: “Hey, why not?”

Same goes with what used to be called paid reviews but are now made by “influencers” because it sounds better and less “scammy”.

Thankfully, not all studios (e.g. CD Project, etc.) go into that direction and still do great games!

Vexia
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Vexia

Regarding motivation vs. addiction… Am I missing or misunderstanding some aspect of it? Is the problem that apparent non-gamers are concerned that more people are simply playing video games? Whenever the WHO made this classification, I wasn’t considering that angle at all. I was thinking more about the very small fraction of people who are genuinely gaming too much, depriving themselves of basic human needs like food. But if this is the angle that “gaming addiction” takes on, it just sounds like what the industry has spent copious amounts of research and marketing trying to accomplish: games are fun and give us a dose of happy brain chemicals.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

The WHO gaming addiction classification is very silly, and is at one point so vague as to be virtually useless.

Gaming disorder is defined in the draft 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

http://www.who.int/features/qa/gaming-disorder/en/

So 3 key ‘categories’ here:
* Impaired control over gaming
* Increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extend that gaming takes precedence over other interests and activities
* Continuation or escalation of gaming despite occurrence of negative consequences

* Impaired control over gaming is vaguely defined, not can’t / shouldn’t be treated the same as substance abuse. The same statement could be made of any media consumption — how many times have you gotten ‘lost’ in a movie, or ‘lost’ in book and completely lost track of time? How many people turn on the damn television and watch it, despite not wanting to actually see anything that’s on there?
* Increasing priority over other activities – sounds like they basically mean “if you prefer to game instead of doing other things, you might be addicted!”

I think only the last point has any real credence – gaming to the point of negative consequences elsewhere in your life. But I don’t think that’s enough to qualify as a discrete addiction. To me it sounds like there are other pre-existing issues that are being expressed as excessive gaming. I think gaming addiction (as it were) is actually a symptom of a legitimate mental disorder, and not the cause of a mental disorder.

As you might have noticed, this WHO shit pisses me off.

Xijit
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Xijit

That 10% / 90% is a contrived situation that was intentionally concocted to justify embracing the gambling mentality.

For every 1 player willing to pay $1,000 on your cash shop; you can find at least 100 willing to spend $100.

And for every 1 player willing to spend $100; you will find 1,000,000 willing to spend $10.

P2W companies are intentionally excluding rational spenders in order to court high rollers: every MMO that has shut down because they couldn’t find enough whales, could have been saved by cutting their prices down by 1/10th of what they were trying to gouge for.

Xijit
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Xijit

And I have spent about $40 on Fortnight.

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thirtymil

Anecdotally, my daughter reports that there is only one boy in her class at school who hasn’t spent money on Fortnite, and he repeatedly gets criticised for playing in the default skin/costume. I asked her how he felt about this and she says he doesn’t care. I’ve never even met the guy and I like him already.

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Arktouros

Apparently, a solid 20% of people who bought Fortnite stuff assumed it gave them some sort of pay-to-win advantage (it does not in Fortnite). Whether that’s because we’re all inured to P2W or the urban legends of Reddit persist, I’m not sure.

It’s because of the same thing I harp on people every time P2W comes up. People don’t use the term right anymore.

It pretty much has come to mean anytime someone dislikes that they spent money or feel compelled to spend money on a game. It doesn’t matter if it’s actually pay for power or it’s 100% cosmetic. If they want something but they didn’t want to pay for it (IE: Had to pay money for an outfit or some convenience service etc) they call it P2W.

It’s overused and meaningless now.

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Jeffery Witman

People who primarily play a game are its core players, though. You don’t try to include people who played the free 2 weeks as regular WoW players, and your shouldn’t count the people who download a game and play it for less than as month before dropping it (which is super common for f2p games of all genres).

I generally don’t spend a lot on games, but whatever my primary game is at any given time, you can be sure that I’ve spent some money on it in some way or another simply because it’s my primary game and I find value in what’s being sold (whether cash shop or sub).

kjempff
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kjempff

Take note of the wording “invested” ..”motivated” and tell me from whom you heard that before. I will give you a hint, it is one of these two, a game company trying to justify lockboxes or the pope.

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rafael12104

Err… I got nothing.

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Armsbend

“Academics”
No.