What People Will Really Pay for a Game When They Can Pay What They Want

Cards Against Humanity's holiday sales test

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Ever wish you could buy 1,000 liters of boar sperm? How about a condom for every resident of El Paso, Texas? If so, you might want to create the next popular card game. Each of those purchases would set you back $70,000—which is the approximate net profit that the makers of Cards Against Humanity recorded from "pay-what-you-want" sales of a special holiday pack this month. The lovably depraved party-game hit of 2012, a sort of adults-only version of Apples to Apples, has put out a visual report of the sales experiment, showing how they could use the revenue to buy one private island, 5.8 million live crickets or the aforementioned 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of boar sperm. Instead, the company donated all $70,066 to the Wikimedia Foundation, with the memo line of the check saying "For telling us how much boar sperm costs." The report includes all sorts of other interesting data, especially about how much people were willing to pay when the price was left to them. The expansion set had no firm price, so customers opted to pay an average of $3.89—with the suggested $5 payment being the single most popular price point. (Almost 20 percent of people chose to pay nothing at all.) My favorite piece is a state-by-state breakdown of the average amount paid, which showed my home state of Alabama ($3.31) underspent only by the cheapskates in Delaware, who dropped an average of $3.15. Come on, Delaware, swine semen doesn't buy itself.

@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."