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    Marvel’s new card game is scrapping its unpopular monetization scheme



    Marvel Snap (opens in new tab) studio Second Dinner says it will refund all gold spent by players during the game’s contentious Nexus Events, and will also give the Jane Foster base card to all players, regardless of whether or not they participated in Nexus Events.  The announcement comes a week after the removal of Nexus Events, which were heavily criticized by players for over-aggressive monetization and misrepresenting the likelihood of higher tier rewards dropping. The game is currently in closed beta on Android devices, but will be coming to PC down the line.  

    Second Dinner, co-founded in 2018 by former Hearthstone game director Ben Brode, introduced Nexus Events to the new Marvel CCG in July, and they did not go over well with players. The problem, as we explained here (opens in new tab), is that the best rewards, including that Jane Foster card, had a very low drop rate, meaning players could end up spending hundreds of dollars to acquire them, while the common rewards weren’t cards at all—just in-game currency and resources that can be used to upgrade your existing cards. 

    It didn’t help that the marketing materials promoting the events did, if we’re being charitable, a poor job of describing the actual rewards.

    “My biggest gripe is that a ‘nexus event’ is not an event at all,” redditor EmeraldWeapon56 (opens in new tab) wrote. “You don’t participate in this event, just dump your wallet into it.”

    The situation seemed especially egregious in light of Second Dinner’s promise earlier this year that players “can get every card in the game over time, without paying anything (opens in new tab).” Obviously games need to make money, but if you promise that everyone can get every card, and then two months later restrict a powerful card to people who are willing to pay for it, you probably shouldn’t be surprised when your players get mad.

    After admitting a couple weeks ago that the studio “missed the mark” with Nexus events, Second Dinner is now ditching them completely.

    “With Marvel Snap’s next patch, any gold you’ve spent on Nexus Events will be returned,” the studio tweeted. “Additionally, we will grant the Jane Foster base card to ALL players regardless of [whether] you participated in Nexus Events. For new accounts created after this patch, Jane Foster can be unlocked in Pool 3.

    “Thank you for your feedback and sticking with us as we continue to improve the game. We have big dreams for the future of Marvel Snap—we want to build a game that’s here to stay and players love! To do that, we’re exploring fair and fun ways to add new cards to the game. As we test new monetization features, we’ll strive to provide value and create a player-friendly experience. We don’t have all the details quite yet, but we’ll be hard at work until we do.”

    It’s undoubtedly tough to find a monetization formula that keeps everyone happy, especially when you’ve all but promised that having to pay for anything will be entirely optional. It makes me think of Unity CEO John Riccitiello, who said in July that developers who don’t seriously consider their payment models early in the development process risk tanking what might otherwise be a successful game. 

    He also said developers who fail to do so are “fucking idiots (opens in new tab)” which of course overshadowed everything else and led to multiple apologies (opens in new tab), but I think the underlying point was correct: If you want to make money you’d better think about how you’re going to do it, because consumer hostility toward heavy-handed monetization means no free passes anymore.

    The next Marvel Snap patch is expected to roll out later today. The game is currently in closed beta testing on Android and iOS mobile devices, but is not yet available in the North America—you can sign up to be notified when it is at marvelsnap.com (opens in new tab). It’s also coming to PC, but a launch date for that hasn’t yet been announced.





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