How F2P ‘Founder’s Packs’ Offer Great Deals at Great Risk
Founder’s packs for Mechwarrior Online
Kickstarter-inspired founder’s packages are here to stay.
While Kickstarter itself has had varying degrees of success, founder’s packs have been universally profitable. Free-to-play games have realized the benefit of frontloading part of their income, and in the process have been raking in oodles and oodles of money. But what about a founder’s pack drives our urge to buy? Why are they so wildly successful? Why are they exploding across the free-to-play scene like an oil slick across the ocean surface?
A founder’s pack is a tiered, purchased reward akin to the reward tiers on Kickstarter. A player pays a chunk of money – usually in the $40-$100 range, although there are more expensive packs floating out there – to receive beta access (if the game isn’t in open beta), unique founder’s items, and a large chunk of in-game currency. Founders are usually identified in-game by badges of some sort, and the gear they receive is usually better than standard player gear in some aspect.
The explosion of founder’s packs can be traced back to Mechwarrior Online and the enormous success Piranha Games had with their founder’s program. Players were given three tiers to choose from: $30, $60, and $120. Every tier included premium time, an in-game badge, and microtransaction currency, but only the higher tiers included founder’s mechs. These special robots earn more in-game currency per match, giving the founders a nice edge for progression on those who didn’t shell out.
This model worked out so well for MWO that the developers held the founder’s sale open for much longer than they originally said they would. While MWO has since moved on from founder’s gear, other free-to-play MMOs – Firefall, Warframe, and Dirty Bomb, just to name a few – have taken to the unique selling model. We are in an age where founder’s packs are becoming the norm thanks to their unbounded success. But why do they succeed?