Kevin Kelly pointed a few days ago to this essay by Dan Cook, a designer of online Flash games, on how game designers can make money. As Kevin points out, there’s an awful lot of stuff in Dan’s essay that could be applied to other creative fields where a limited professional class is facing enormous new pressure from worthwhile free competitors.
Dan identifies four classes of gamers and potential revenue strategies that can be used with each. Those four classes could also describe news consumers; I’ve outlined a few possible streams for each. Can you think of more?
— People who don’t want to pay. Potential revenue source in gaming: Advertising. In news: Ditto.
— People who are interested in more of the same: Gaming: Selling additional levels or challenges. News: Generating extra pageviews by posting original documents and databases, encouraging good comments and content from users, and better repurposing of archives.
— People who are interested in status or identity improvements. Gaming: Selling items that let players customize the experience or express their identity. News: Selling subscription access to in-depth reporting on narrow issues; holding events to connect readers and sources; giving public rewards for good reader contributions.
— People who have limited time. Gaming: Cheat codes and other functions that allow players to skip ahead. News: iPhone and other mobile apps; email newsletters; summarizing and aggregation features; quick-read free dailies.