Is the Ashes of Creation referral program brilliant marketing, or a scam?
Ashes of Creation is an upcoming, subscription based, High Fantasy MMO from Intrepid Studios. It has gotten a lot of interest for a few things if their kick starter is any indication. They were over a million dollars and over 5,000 backers within the first of their 30-day campaign on Kickstarter. Not too bad at all.
Firstly is the idea of players changing the world, From their website (accessed May 4th, 2017)
“Our world structure is dynamic and built to react to the actions of our players. Cities will rise and fall, their populations based on the history of the world as the players create it. Quests will unlock as these populations gather, their needs grow, and secrets are unlocked.”
This is very similar to what the canceled Everquest Next was proposing. Sounds fun and I admit that alone had me Kickstarter it.
The other thing gathering much interest in Ashes of Creation is their referral program. The basics of the program are, friend or view or whatever signs up for an account with your referral code, and 15% any money they spend on the game goes to you either with in-game currency or cash. Their example throws around some big numbers. (That example seems to be gone now, taken down between May 3rd and 4th). The example cited a YouTube person sharing a link and getting about 4000 people to sign up will get about 9000 dollars a month as long as all 4000 people stay subscribed (subs cost $15 a month).
You do not even have to have an active account or keep playing the game to collect these funds.
Some people have started calling this a pyramid scheme, but it is not really accurate. The game is rewarding people for sharing and getting a subscriber. Granted this model will mean that people will be pushing hard and we will see 100s of lightly clothed women streaming the
game trying to get people to play with “them”, but I would not call it a scam. It is more of an affiliate program. You do not have to pay anything extra to have referrers, and you can play the game normally or not play at all. Currently, the referral once linked to an account is for the life of the account, so if your referrer quits and comes back later with the same account, you will still get the 15%.
Overall, it is a strange idea, but Intrepid seems to think this will allow for better advertising for Ashes of Creation than the money spent on more traditional means. My only fear is if the 15% because a burden and they remove a thing that was around for a year or two, or worse, end up closing because that extra 15% revenue was too much. MMOs are expensive to run. Another consideration is that they are going subscription based and once they launch unless the game is HUGELY popular, the clock starts on when it goes free to play.
Image Credits: https://www.ashesofcreation.com