Former Blizzard Exec Proposes Radical Idea: Tipping Devs Post-Game Experience

In a recent discourse, Ybarra expressed his profound admiration for select video game experiences, emphasizing their exceptional quality and the desire to financially acknowledge their worth beyond the initial purchase price.

Reflecting on his gaming journey, Ybarra articulated, “When I beat a game, there are some that just leave me in awe of how amazing the experience was. I’ve often thought ‘I wish I could give these folks another $10 or $20 because it was worth more than my initial $70 and they didn’t try to nickel and dime me every second’.”

Acknowledging potential skepticism, Ybarra swiftly addressed concerns, noting, “most will dislike the idea,” while highlighting a distinction from traditional tipping scenarios. He asserted, “we are tired of tipping in everything else – but I view this different from a pressure to tip type scenario.”

Ybarra spotlighted renowned titles such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Baldur’s Gate 2, and Elden Ring as prime examples that prompted his contemplation of this novel tipping model.

While tipping mechanisms are prevalent among independent developers, they remain scarce within the realm of big-budget gaming. However, Ybarra’s proposition underscores a potential shift in consumer behavior towards recognizing exceptional gaming experiences.

In response to Ybarra’s musings, a user suggested an alternative method of appreciation, proposing the gifting of games on platforms like Steam as a means of doubling support for developers.

The gaming landscape has witnessed a notable increase in base game prices to $70, attributed to economic shifts and escalating development costs. This escalation has elicited frustration among players, exacerbated by the imposition of microtransactions atop the initial purchase fee.

In a bid to mitigate consumer discontent, some publishers have deferred microtransactions to post-release, though this strategy has not always been well-received. Recently, the introduction of the Tekken Fight Pass by Namco Bandai elicited significant backlash from the Tekken community.

Ybarra’s former employer, Blizzard, adopts a subscription-based model for its flagship title, World of Warcraft. Nonetheless, the company also regularly offers additional content for purchase, exemplified by skins in Overwatch 2 and card packs in Hearthstone.

Ybarra’s proposition and the ensuing discourse underscore evolving dynamics within the gaming industry, as developers and consumers navigate the delicate balance between value recognition and monetization strategies.