Pay Attention - Or Pay Cash
When I worked at Microsoft in the late 1990s, Alex St. John had a reputation as an infamous DirectX game development evangelist. That meant he had worked to convince developers to create games for Windows as a platform – but also that he had done some very clever items that skirted or sometimes broke the rules at Microsoft. 12 years later, meeting him at SXSW, I can tell Alex still looks for ways to get around “the rules.”
As the President and CTO of Hi5.com, a social and gaming network, he’s changing the billing and payment model for online games by changing pricing models and inventing new ones – so pay attention. Pricing models are hard, but St. John is maximizing revenue from each customer by gaining the value from that customer where he or she wants to pay. He looks for revenue via their wallet, their eyeballs or their social networks - by showing them relevant ads, having them pay for power ups, by bringing more people to his network, or by providing entertainment value to other users. In the process, he’s creating a different way of charging for online games.