How Casual MMOGs Are Making Money

Lightspeed, a venture capital firm, checked out the average revenue per user for some casual, free to play MMOGs (Club Penguin, Habbo Hotel, Runescape, and Second Life), establishing that other that SL - which pulls in a little over $AU 9.58 a month in ARPU, thanks mostly to virtual land upkeep - these sorts of casual MMOGs pull in around $AU 1.33 ARPU per month. Which, until one considers the user bases of games like Club Penguin, seems like a damn hard way to make some money:

Second Life: $AU 9.90/mthly user/mth
Club Penguin: $AU 1.72/mthly user/mth
Habbo: $AU 1.380/mthly user/mth
Runescape: $AU 0.89/mthly user/mth

Having spoken to many other MMOGs and virtual worlds on a private basis, this estimate seems to be a good gauge for what a well performing MMOG can aspire to from a free to play business model.

Left out are a number of other popular MMOGs like MapleStory; I'd be curious to see firmer statistics for a wider spread of games, though the comments section does include some speculative numbers for a few other games.

Successful MMOGs can see $1-2 in monthly ARPU [Lightspeed via Worlds In Motion]


    As an avid Runescaper I have not thought twice about subscribing for $5 p/m for membership. There is always lots to do and so many skills to train. You might think mining for a month to get to lvl 99 is boring, but if you rotate different skills to train, as well as some questing and POH building, you won't every get bored.

    I used to be a F2P player for a few years and even that was excellent fun.

    If you look at the number of servers RS has, I think that the server upkeep and bandwidth would be quite a bit.

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