Future Pastimes LLC on Friday revealed an innovative way it hopes to drive membership for its online game
Cosmic Encounter Online: They’re giving cash back to their paying members who get others to sign up and play the game.
The company said that it has dedicated 10 percent of the revenue paid by members of its game to be paid back to those same members. What’s more, so-called “bonus players” get free time and cash discounts.
Cosmic Encounter Online is the long-awaited online computer version of the classic board and card game that’s been around since the ’70s. The game requires Mac OS X or Windows and works online through your Web browser (it uses Flash technology). Cosmic Encounter Online uses a subscription-based model including “micro memberships” that let players play by the day or week.
The original game has been cited as an inspiration for the modern card game “Magic: The Gathering” by its designer, Richard Garfield. In it, you adopt the role of an alien race with a special power. Your goal is to establish a colony on four planets as you challenge other players. The online version features a ladder ranking system and other functions.
Cosmic Encounter Online designer Peter Olotka suggested that the bonus program allows players to be involved with the growth of the game. “Paying players is good business. It’s a great way for players to earn cash to pay for their memberships,” he added.
The system is automated and it works by having players click on a Bonus button that appears in the game’s lobby. Quarterly, the developers pays out members who have earned bonus cash through their PayPal accounts. Future Pastimes admits that the bonus cash program doesn’t reward “a lot of money,” but said that it can be used to defray the cost of membership.