Interview with our Monetization Director, Isabelle Mocquard
04/08/2016 10:00 AM
To get a behind-the-scenes look at the monetisation involved in R6 Siege, we asked a few questions to R6 Monetization Director Isabelle Mocquard.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Why did you choose to work in monetization?
My name is Isabelle Mocquard and I used to work at the Paris Studio before joining Rainbow Six Siege. I’m the Monetization Director for the game. I’ve always been attracted to game economics. When I play games, I’m all about optimizing systems to maximize my game experience. One of my favorite games is World of Warcraft. I spent more than 10 000 hours playing it and one of my favourite things to do is to farm the auction house. Understanding interactions and what creates value in a system is something I’m passionate about and that applies to many aspects of my life. For instance, I’m also the co-owner of a butcher shop in Montreal. I designed our most popular item, the “Starter pack,” which includes a range of all our sausage flavors.
Can you explain a bit what you do?
I’m in charge of anything related to monetization and economics on Rainbow Six Siege, and a lot of it is linked to our post-launch plan. Rainbow Six Siege, I feel, is one of Ubisoft’s most ambitious games in terms of direction and growth. The game includes maps, new features and Operators as well as customization items, with most of the content being available for free or unlockable via playtime. I helped shape and bring this plan to life. And now that the game is live, I help supporting it every day. My mission is to understand the players’ needs and offer diverse options that are adapted to our community. The goal is to enhance the game experience by allowing players to bring forth a bit of their personality, hence making the game unique to each and every one. If I had to describe what I do on a day-to-day basis, I’d say that I spend most of my time testing the game and analysing data to help define the new content and features based on what our players need and want to see in the game. For example, I would define what weapon skin to produce on a specific weapon used by an Operator based on data gathered from different sources. Thermite being a highly picked Operator, I would give preference to his 556xi gun when thinking of new content to produce. Sometimes, I can also create something new entirely that I want to try, such as the Starter Edition, for example.
Can you tell us more about your work on the Starter Edition?
The Starter Edition is something we wanted to try, because it would reach a lot of players due to its lower entry point. Just to explain a little, the Starter Edition is the full R6 game for $15, but is limited to 4 operators and has a different progression system to unlock the rest of them. I mainly worked on designing the Edition and its economic/progression system. This Edition allowed us to observe differences in terms of desired items and bundles. For example, in the Starter Edition the unlocking was mainly of Operators (gameplay first!), whereas in the Regular Edition, the most unlocked items were cosmetic since Operators are easier to unlock. Also, we noticed players using the Starter Edition players needed a dedicated shop with smaller bundles that is more about gameplay elements. At the moment, the Starter Edition is over, but we are still analyzing the players’ choices to better carter to their needs in the future.
What values do you find important for your specific role?
It was a long process to determine how all of this should work! We tested back and forth different models that would respect the players’ experience and get it right. That’s how we created the three golden rules that represent the strong foundations of Rainbow Six Siege:
1. ONE COMMUNITY We made the commitment not to sell maps or modes to make sure that we wouldn’t fracture the community. In other words, all the post-launch maps and modes are free for everyone.
NO GAMEPLAY PAYWALL For an online competitive multiplayer game, it’s imperative we don’t introduce any paywall on gameplay content. We decided to create an economy that would allow players to access all the content with playtime, including the Operators and weapons. Fairness was always the order of the day.
3. TRANSPARENCY While R6 siege includes microtransactions, we were very open with our community as to why. Since microtransactions help to support the post-launch phase of our game’s development, we found it necessary to communicate our reasons for this choice even before the game came out. We openly share information with our community to build a solid and trustworthy relationship with our players.
How do microtransactions work?
In R6 Siege, we have created an economy based on two currencies: “Renown” and “R6 Credits”. Players can earn Renown for just about everything they do in Rainbow Six Siege, like losing a match or completing daily challenges. They can also use Renown to unlock all gameplay content and customization items for free. The R6 Credits are an optional currency that players can purchase from first party platforms to accelerate the unlocking of skins or Operators, for example. You can also use R6 Credits to gain “Renown boosters,” which serves to generate Renown faster while playing.
What was your biggest challenge?
My challenge is to reach the sweet spot where the company and players fulfil each other’s needs organically. And I have to say, it is a thrilling day-to-day challenge! Every month, we have millions of players logging in. We are still learning what players do and what they have to say, what they like and dislike. Because we have a lot to learn about our players, we will make a lot of mistakes while getting some things right. That’s why we refer back to the three golden rules when conceptualizing new content. We know we can trust those to maintain a healthy relationship with our community.
Lastly, what was your most memorable moment?
There are instances every day. I’d say every time I see an in-game transaction, I feel a little spark, because it means that our players love the game. Otherwise they wouldn’t purchase anything. It also means that players are supporting the Dev team, who push through challenges to keep creating fresh content and improve the players’ experience! Since microtransactions in R6 Siege are optional, they mean a lot. But if I had to pick a single moment while on the project, I would say it’s when we launched the Pro League weapon skins for which a portion of the revenues were redistributed to our professional teams. Video games are my passion—both building and playing them. To see so many devoted players supporting the initiative, and watching our game becoming a true profession was like a dream come true to me.