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Free Realms: Guesstimating monthly revenue using the 89/10/1 Rule

Brooke Pilley

In case you haven't heard, Free Realms just broke the 3M user mark and is averaging 500,000 new users per week. With SOE's aggressive Saturday morning cartoon advertising strategy targeting kids, it may actually continue to grow at this pace. Any subscription MMO would be happy as a pig in slop at these numbers because of the guaranteed revenue stream, but what about a F2P/RMT MMO?

We recently discovered an interesting tool to guesstimate F2P/RMT MMO earnings called the "89/10/1 Rule." This rule says that 89% of your players won't spend anything, 10% will spend the bare minimum, and the remaining 1% will spend extravagantly.

After chatting with Massively staff who play FR, we came up with some numbers to play around with. The bare minimum in FR is $5 per month for a basic subscription. We also think the average heavy spender could easily drop $30 in a month. Let's apply the rule, shall we?

  • 2,670,000 spend nothing ($0 total)
  • 300,000 spend $5/month ($1,500,000 total)
  • 30,000 spend $30/month ($900,000 total)
The grand total using the "89/10/1 Rule" is $2.4M revenue per month. That fancy, made-up number isn't too shabby at all. A subscription MMO charging $15/month would need 160,000 subscribers to pull in the same amount. Now, if only we could get some confirmation (nudge nudge, wink wink)...

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