With the 12/12 release of Deadpool, Playdom has once again used their variable pricing model. This has resurrected long-dead discussion, debate, and consternation associated with this practice. This blog is intended to address and channel some of that discussion.
What is variable pricing?
Varible pricing is when one in-game benefit (character/weapon/item/function) costs one price for one player and a different price for another player. The release of Deadpool is the current example: purchasing him can cost 90 CP, 112 CP, or 130 CP. for different players.
When did this practice start?
Playdom used variable pricing for everything at the very beginning of the game's release back in February. All the characters that now cost 90 CP (Hulk, Captain America, Wolverine, etc) were priced at 60, 90, or 130 CP. Prices of silver-cost items, leveling up, and early gold-cost limited edition items (specifically Heavy Ion Beam and Coulson's Revenge) also varied.
Why do they do this?
Market research is, to my knowledge, the exclusive reason for variable pricing. Playdom, as a business, wants to know how to maximize their income from the sale of their in-game assets. Lower price points result in more sales but less CP per sale; higher price points result in fewer sales, but more CP per sale. Playdom is testing to find the price point that results in the best sales.
What determines my price point?
Variable pricing is completely random. It is not based on your play habits, purchasing habits, PvP tournament performance, level, or any other distinguishable metric. There is no pattern, please don't pretend there is one.
Will my price change?
Your price could change. Clearly, Hulk no longer costs 60 or 130 CP, so at one point in time his cost adjusted, up or down, for the players who were not at the 90 CP price. The cost will not change by logging out and then back in. The price could go up or down at any time with no prior notice. Based on past history, eventually the price for a variably-priced asset will settle at a single point, and similar assets in the future will likely cost the same (for example, Omni Fury was 48 gold at its original release; that was a test to see if a gold-cost item would be more profitable at a lower price point. When it was re-released months later, Omni-Fury cost 64 gold, so Playdom felt that 64, and not 48, was the best price for gold items).
If there are any questions, clarifications, or corrections needed to add to this, please comment below.