Now that we’re a couple months into Season 4, we want to take some time to address some common questions and concerns regarding Skins and the various methods to obtain them!
As a free to play game, SMITE depends on skin sales to survive. Unlike other games that sell content (expansion packs) or in-game power, SMITE’s operating budget for developing new gods, new maps, fixing bugs, etc, is exclusively paid for by optional cosmetic content.
Content that is available for direct purchase is risky for us because we have to invest significant time and money into each piece of content without the security of a consistent return. To minimize this risk, we’ve developed a few strategies – like Chests, events, Adventures, etc. – where we can guarantee our return, allowing us to put more time and energy into that type of content.
Direct Purchase Skins are cosmetics that are available to players at a single price, giving them the ability to customize their favorite God and making them stand out during gameplay. The obvious advantage of obtaining a Skin this way is there is no ambiguity on when or how the Skin is obtained. For the first few years of SMITE’s lifetime, this was a very profitable avenue for monetizing SMITE. However, as the game matured and we created more and more Gods that have been introduced into the game (87 at the time of this writing) a smaller and smaller percentage of the total player population actually purchase an individual Skin. This makes the revenue go down per Skin, even though in many cases, the costs associated with producing higher quality Skins has gone up! As Direct Purchases have become a less viable model, we have begun looking at different ways to entice players to purchase the Skins.
Long running Events have become one of our core way to provide content directly while still providing us a strong return on investment without placing everything in Chests. From Events like Celestial Voyage to the Odyssey, players have the ability to buy Skins directly for months at a time if they truly want the content. Players who want it later on will still have opportunities, but more sparingly. Adventures has been another method of distributing Skins with Bundles that are available for a long period of time through multiple different means. Since our first Odyssey, this method has been and continues to be incredibly effective and allows for SMITE to continue to grow through the years.
For players that don’t want to participate in limited time Exclusives, we started to produce Tier 2 quality Skins. We have recently started to increase the quality of these Skins and many players have embraced them as a way to differentiate themselves beyond the standard Tier 1 Recolors that are also available. We have in our production plans to outfit every God in our game with a Tier 2 that is directly obtainable.
All this being said, we are still going to have Tier 3 and Tier 4 skins for Gods in SMITE. The timing and release of these are not formulaic and thus will be fit into our production schedule where it makes sense.
This Season, we’re planning on running multiple events throughout the year. Events typically offer a unique way to unlock content. Players are able to capitalize on free or bonus content tied to the event and these events often offer a large quantity of items for a discounted price (compared to buying individually). Events usually have a limited time that they’re available, which helps us minimize our risk and allows us to create riskier content – like a skin for an “unpopular” God or a unique theme.
In previous years, we used to release Limited Skins during events, but we’ve been moving towards Exclusive Skins in events (excluding rewards or collection bonuses) to allow players who may have missed the event an opportunity to unlock the content through a Chest.
The most recent event, the Celestial Voyage, allowed players to choose which content they unlocked by directly purchasing Exclusive Skins. Most events also contain rewards, like the Collection Bonus Star Scribe Thoth in Celestial Voyage, or the Woodland Rogue The Morrigan Skin from The Path of the Phantom Queen event.
We also occasionally run events that reward free content just by playing SMITE. For instance, last Labor Day weekend, we ran the Camp Lazy Day event where players had to complete Quests to unlock Hoot’n Holler Bacchus, an Exclusive Skin, for free.
The 2017 Season Ticket features a few ways to unlock content. First, you can earn Fantasy Points by playing SMITE and unlock rewards, including Tier 3 and 4 Skins, for free! The Split Pass can also be purchased for each SPL Split which immediately unlocks a Limited Skin and more!
Players are able to unlock content for free through this and it provides some sort of progression for Level 30 players. Internally, we’re able to retain more players and see higher engagement in the game and our Pro League.
With the introduction of Adventures to SMITE, we’re introducing a brand new way to unlock Skins. Purchasing each Adventure Bundle will unlock an Exclusive Skin and rewards, but also unlock a Gold Key. The Gold Key unlocks a Limited Skin (of your choice) from the Adventures Vault, which will be updated with a new Skin with each Adventure. These Bundles and the Adventures Vault are available for the entire year.
Players are able to purchase a large amount of content through the Adventure Bundles for a low price (compared to individually purchasing the items) and they get a choice on their Vault Skin. It’s another way for us to diversify the ways content is offered and we’re able to do some riskier/more unique branding for content around the Adventures.
Regardless of your play style, there will always be ways to obtain new content! The Egyptian Event, for example, gives free Chest Rolls and you don’t even have to purchase a Skin. Additionally, we give away free Gems quite often! You can tune into Twitch (either HiReztv or SMITE Streamers), play during free Gem weekends, and boot up SMITE daily to get those Login Rewards.
In Season 4, a lot of our focus has been finding new and interesting ways to deliver unique content to the players who love SMITE and we’re excited to reveal what the year has in store!