We recently implemented a change to the Evolve client which displays video ads to our users. Many of you aren’t too happy about this change and we want to give you an opportunity to discuss this change with us.

But first, I want to take a moment and try to explain the purpose of ads and our vision of the role ads will play in the future of Evolve.

Unsurprisingly, it all comes down to monetization. Evolve is a company and as such needs to make money to survive. Up till now Evolve has primarily subsisted on donations and investments from very generous benefactors. Suffice it to say that the donations, as much as we appreciate them, are not sufficient from month to month to pay for server costs, let alone employee salaries and other logistical costs. On the other hand investment funds have allowed Evolve to expand and take on more employees and begin to work on (pardon the pun) evolving into something bigger and better.

This bigger and better version of Evolve must have a sustainable monetization scheme if we are to survive. This requires some changes to Evolve and the way we operate. Furthermore, it’s important for us to show investors that we have a large and active pool of users. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish the goal of successfully monetizing an online service and while ads are a part of the equation they are not the only way, or even the primary way to accomplish that goal.

In our minds, the primary way to monetize Evolve is to make it into a service that you are actually happy to pay for. We want to make the value proposition so compelling that you happily pay us for our service because you find it as valuable as any of the other online services that you currently pay for. We want you to feel like you are receiving something valuable in exchange for your hard earned money. There are many ways, some new, some old, that we intend to accomplish this goal; the specifics of which, we intend to talk more about in the near future.

That being said, there will be those out there who cannot or will not pay for an online service or who simply want to evaluate said service before committing to it. For these people we will have a free version of evolve which is subsidized by ads.

I hope you all feel that this sounds reasonable. I hope that you can also see how sustaining a service that is both free and ad-free is not realistic. In fact the road of PC gaming is littered with the corpses of companies who have failed to successfully monetize their services and could only subsist on investment funds for so long. We’re not here to spark and burn out, we fully intend to do what it takes to burn brightly and last.

So here we are with a conundrum.

We have a certain amount of energy being spent to maintain the current Evolve client and services and a certain amount spent building out Evolve 2. We are really excited about the new client but it’s also time for us to show that Evolve can make money and it is a service that people love.

I hope we’ve made it abundantly clear already that donations to Evolve grant you Helix status and as a Helix subscriber you will not see ads in the current client. Upgrading to Helix will continue to be the best way to get an ad free experience.

Otherwise, we are interested in hearing your feedback on how we can accomplish the goals I explained above while preserving a reasonable user experience. We don’t want you to hate Evolve or feel like you have to uninstall because of how awful the ads are.

Rather, we want you to feel like you are supporting Evolve and happy to watch an ad because you are contributing to the continued success of a service that you use and appreciate.

Please join us in a constructive discussion on how we can achieve our goals without being too overbearing at the same time.

Thank you for your patience and support as we figure this out!

justinmchase