If it weren't obvious by now, ngmoco has completely shifted gears from their former business model of offering "premium" priced games to free to play "freemium" games. Eliminate [Free] and Touch Pets Dogs [Free] were just the start of the pricing trend that will likely permeate the rest of the ngmoco game lineup for the foreseeable future.

A number of things can be attributed to this shift, in a Gamasutra interview with ngmoco VP Alan Yu, he cited 50% to 90% piracy rates, and discussed the increasing difficulty in selling iPhone games at a $9.99 price point as the market drives itself to rock-bottom 99¢ pricing. Free games can't be pirated, and the explosion of Facebook gaming, as well as the success of the various Epic Wars and other similar games on the App Store solidified the validity of the free to play model before Eliminate even launched.

The unfortunate side effect of all this is that Rolando 3 as it originally was envisioned is left as the odd man out, per an IGN interview with Neil Young, founder and CEO of ngmoco. Since ngmoco currently has no plans to release games that aren't free, the Rolando franchise has been sent back to the drawing board until they can figure out a sensible way to deliver a Rolando game as a free to play experience.

Even though there may not be a Rolando 3 anytime soon, I still recommend trying out the existing Rolando games on the App Store if you haven't already. The original Rolando [$2.99 / Free] as well as Rolando 2 [$4.99 / Free] are both absolutely fantastic games, making excellent use of both the touch and tilt controls of the iPhone.

  • http://musiquenontalent.blogspot.com robman84

    If that's what it takes to make sure developers get paid, then that's what will have to happen. These are not one-man bands doing this as a hobby or extra bit of cash, they are businesses who have to pay wages and bills etc.

    I'm surprised that DLC or in-app purchase stops pirates, to be honest. And if it does, why can the security measures not be done to normal games? Must be a technical reason I suppose.

    My only real concerns are over back-ups, restores and the use on multiple devices. At the moment I can buy an app, it gets backed up along with any saved data, and fully restored when I update my OS. Likewise I can have the same app on my iPod and iPhone (and according to Apple, the iPad) whilst paying only once, which is great! Can DLC still work in the same way?

    The ability of "freemium" apps to allow a free to try demo that then gets unlocked through in-app purchase seems to make perfect sense to me. I wonder if Apple makes the same slice from in-app purchases?

    • Eli Hodapp

      Yes, DLC can work the same way. Much like re-downloading an app from the App Store, if you bought a level pack or something similar, that purchase will be saved to your iTunes account and you can redownload it whenever you want. The main exception to this is "consumable" DLC like the Eliminate energy or TouchPets food. In this case, you make the purchase once, and it is then credited to your Plus+ account that is stored on ngmoco's servers and accessible from any device.

      • DeadCell

        I don't see how this works though. In order to stop some people from getting the game for free (pirates), they are making the game free for everyone? With this model, the pirates get the game for free as well, and they lose the revenue from the great number of people who would pay.

        Basically, there are 3 groups: Group A will either buy the app only, and no DLC or avoid the game entirely. Group B really loves the game/dev and will buy the app and the DLC. Group C will pirate the game, and may or may not buy the DLC if they can not pirate that content.

        With the freemium model:

        They are losing the income from the members of Group A who would have purchased the app. These people will now get the app for free, and no income will be earned from them.

        They are losing income from Group B, because despite the fact that they will buy DLC, they likely would have even if they bought the app, so you lose that income. Granted, you may have a chance of converting some Group A members to this group, but that still doesn't seem likely to even it out.

        They still receive little to nothing from Group C. The studies done on piracy show that most is done because the individual does not have the money to buy the product to begin with. With this model, you may be able to stop piracy, but for what reason? You still aren't going to make money off of this group.

        To me, the best strategy looks to be the current one. Launch the app with a premium price, and slowly lower it. Forget the pirates, because they are a lost cause anyway. Granted, I have never sold an app in the App Store, and have no sales data to back up any of this, so it is an outsider's view. From this perspective, however, this move doesn't make much sense to me.

    • rob

      Apple makes the same 30% slice for in app yet don't store it on their servers and for most the time if its lost its up to the company to implement a way to retrieve content, Multi devices are fine for ngmoco because they use plus+ but other things aren't

      • Adams Immersive

        Is it true that in-app DLC doesn’t come from iTunes servers? I hadn’t know that. If you’re right, that’s too bad, because it’s hard to count on a zillion developers maintaining their own separate DLC servers, whereas Apple’s bound to keep iTunes running.

        Are you sure?

      • Chaos215bar2

        It is and it isn't. In-app purchases through the App Store do go through Apple, and are preserved across devices and reinstalls. However, calling it "DLC" is generally completely wrong. When you make an in-app purchase, all it does is tell the App that you have purchased the content. In general, the App already contains the content and you're just activating it. If the App doesn't already have the content, it's up to the developer to figure out how to get it to you.

      • Adams Immersive

        Good to know. Thanks. So Apple DOES typically store the content on their server—it’s just that they serve it in advance to everyone who might buy it, rather just to purchasers. Interesting. (And certainly not cheap on Apple’s part.)

    • chris f

      what a bunch of bs. i hate the ngmoco people so more and more with each passing day. they must be losing money and they deserve to trying to force this ridiculous model that nobody really likes. there's got to be better ways to combat pirating, which im beginning to suspect is some a bs excuse anyway to push their pay to play bs. theyve totally killed at least two great games (eliminate and the dog one) already. at least rolando sucks to begin with. no big loss there. what a joke.

      • Adams Immersive

        I like the model just fine—in the end, with my gaming habits, I pay less!

      • GodSon

        @adam I agree totally. One main thing I like about this model other than you dont have to pay to play is that it also adds longevity to games. The more success the game brings, the more likely it will continue to be updated for the better of both ngmoco's pockets, as well as the gaming community.

        I personally would buy DLC (which I have) if I like the game and I see no problem with it because on there pay model, you know exactly what your going to get. I honestly dont see why people would have a problem with that other than maybe offering certain online games offline as well.

        I can't speak for other developers but I can say that ngmoco is really hand in hand with our community and actually listens, and even implements our feedback. Its damn there like we have a say so in the game(s) itself. I'm all for this, especially if it will keep pirates at bay.

        ngmoco makes some very impressive games and I have grown to become a fan of them...Yeah I said it! xD

      • chris f

        the model blows. this type of damage control defending of it just shows how the issue is being forced down our throats. the way i understand there are two scenarios, and both of them suck:
        1) you play for free and are crippled and/or limited in what you are able to do
        2) you pay to play ridiculous prices in order to play the game to its full potential
        both of these situations are a psychological mindfsuk, and either way youre on a countdown timer. what isnt shitty about that?

  • http://musiquenontalent.blogspot.com robman84

    If that's what it takes to make sure developers get paid, then that's what will have to happen. These are not one-man bands doing this as a hobby or extra bit of cash, they are businesses who have to pay wages and bills etc.

    I'm surprised that DLC or in-app purchase stops pirates, to be honest. And if it does, why can the security measures not be done to normal games? Must be a technical reason I suppose.

    My only real concerns are over back-ups, restores and the use on multiple devices. At the moment I can buy an app, it gets backed up along with any saved data, and fully restored when I update my OS. Likewise I can have the same app on my iPod and iPhone (and according to Apple, the iPad) whilst paying only once, which is great! Can DLC still work in the same way?

    The ability of "freemium" apps to allow a free to try demo that then gets unlocked through in-app purchase seems to make perfect sense to me. I wonder if Apple makes the same slice from in-app purchases?

    • Eli Hodapp

      Yes, DLC can work the same way. Much like re-downloading an app from the App Store, if you bought a level pack or something similar, that purchase will be saved to your iTunes account and you can redownload it whenever you want. The main exception to this is "consumable" DLC like the Eliminate energy or TouchPets food. In this case, you make the purchase once, and it is then credited to your Plus+ account that is stored on ngmoco's servers and accessible from any device.

      • DeadCell

        I don't see how this works though. In order to stop some people from getting the game for free (pirates), they are making the game free for everyone? With this model, the pirates get the game for free as well, and they lose the revenue from the great number of people who would pay.

        Basically, there are 3 groups: Group A will either buy the app only, and no DLC or avoid the game entirely. Group B really loves the game/dev and will buy the app and the DLC. Group C will pirate the game, and may or may not buy the DLC if they can not pirate that content.

        With the freemium model:

        They are losing the income from the members of Group A who would have purchased the app. These people will now get the app for free, and no income will be earned from them.

        They are losing income from Group B, because despite the fact that they will buy DLC, they likely would have even if they bought the app, so you lose that income. Granted, you may have a chance of converting some Group A members to this group, but that still doesn't seem likely to even it out.

        They still receive little to nothing from Group C. The studies done on piracy show that most is done because the individual does not have the money to buy the product to begin with. With this model, you may be able to stop piracy, but for what reason? You still aren't going to make money off of this group.

        To me, the best strategy looks to be the current one. Launch the app with a premium price, and slowly lower it. Forget the pirates, because they are a lost cause anyway. Granted, I have never sold an app in the App Store, and have no sales data to back up any of this, so it is an outsider's view. From this perspective, however, this move doesn't make much sense to me.

    • rob

      Apple makes the same 30% slice for in app yet don't store it on their servers and for most the time if its lost its up to the company to implement a way to retrieve content, Multi devices are fine for ngmoco because they use plus+ but other things aren't

      • Adams Immersive

        Is it true that in-app DLC doesn’t come from iTunes servers? I hadn’t know that. If you’re right, that’s too bad, because it’s hard to count on a zillion developers maintaining their own separate DLC servers, whereas Apple’s bound to keep iTunes running.

        Are you sure?

      • Chaos215bar2

        It is and it isn't. In-app purchases through the App Store do go through Apple, and are preserved across devices and reinstalls. However, calling it "DLC" is generally completely wrong. When you make an in-app purchase, all it does is tell the App that you have purchased the content. In general, the App already contains the content and you're just activating it. If the App doesn't already have the content, it's up to the developer to figure out how to get it to you.

      • Adams Immersive

        Good to know. Thanks. So Apple DOES typically store the content on their server—it’s just that they serve it in advance to everyone who might buy it, rather just to purchasers. Interesting. (And certainly not cheap on Apple’s part.)

    • chris f

      what a bunch of bs. i hate the ngmoco people so more and more with each passing day. they must be losing money and they deserve to trying to force this ridiculous model that nobody really likes. there's got to be better ways to combat pirating, which im beginning to suspect is some a bs excuse anyway to push their pay to play bs. theyve totally killed at least two great games (eliminate and the dog one) already. at least rolando sucks to begin with. no big loss there. what a joke.

      • Adams Immersive

        I like the model just fine—in the end, with my gaming habits, I pay less!

      • GodSon

        @adam I agree totally. One main thing I like about this model other than you dont have to pay to play is that it also adds longevity to games. The more success the game brings, the more likely it will continue to be updated for the better of both ngmoco's pockets, as well as the gaming community.

        I personally would buy DLC (which I have) if I like the game and I see no problem with it because on there pay model, you know exactly what your going to get. I honestly dont see why people would have a problem with that other than maybe offering certain online games offline as well.

        I can't speak for other developers but I can say that ngmoco is really hand in hand with our community and actually listens, and even implements our feedback. Its damn there like we have a say so in the game(s) itself. I'm all for this, especially if it will keep pirates at bay.

        ngmoco makes some very impressive games and I have grown to become a fan of them...Yeah I said it! xD

      • chris f

        the model blows. this type of damage control defending of it just shows how the issue is being forced down our throats. the way i understand there are two scenarios, and both of them suck:
        1) you play for free and are crippled and/or limited in what you are able to do
        2) you pay to play ridiculous prices in order to play the game to its full potential
        both of these situations are a psychological mindfsuk, and either way youre on a countdown timer. what isnt shitty about that?

  • ghOti

    I hope you "TOFTT" shitheads are happy now. This is the result of the "3 dollars for only 6 hours of gameplay? Hahaha, should be 400 for that price" way of thinking. The irony is incredible.

    • Adams Immersive

      NGmoco’s other games don’t require you to pay to keep playing. You can play hundreds of hours and never pay.

  • ghOti

    I hope you "TOFTT" shitheads are happy now. This is the result of the "3 dollars for only 6 hours of gameplay? Hahaha, should be 400 for that price" way of thinking. The irony is incredible.

    • Adams Immersive

      NGmoco’s other games don’t require you to pay to keep playing. You can play hundreds of hours and never pay.

  • http://klicktock.com Matt

    Soooo let me get this straight? Rolando - a hugely successful title - is potentially going to become some kind of pay-to-play for 10 minutes kind of title?
    Frankly it's a bit insulting.

    One off payments for expansions are the way to go. They should take a good look at the way Hook Champ did things. I have no problem paying a dollar for extra characters/hats even though it may do little to expand the gameplay. Why do I buy them? Coz I love the original game and I want to support the dev!

    But there is no way I'm ever paying for a game via the "scamville" model.

    • Eli Hodapp

      The beauty of it is, you don't have to. You can play all the ngmoco freemium games without paying a cent. Aside from the free energy packs and food you get from the various ngmoco promotions, I haven't bought anything for either Eliminate or TouchPets Dogs and I play them a ton. The reason this business model works so well is all the people who will NEVER pay for anything create a huge player base for the people who WILL pay for things (and sometimes pay for lots of things) to get totally engrossed in.

      In the end, it all averages out, even though they're giving away their games to most people.

      • oliath

        While you can play them they certainly aren't as enjoyable as they could have been.

        Sadly though as mentioned before... with piracy rates this high then of course the devs need to find a better business model.

        I personally hate the free games. I want to pay for them and have a complete product in my hands as opposed to pay for credits that once i have used them i have nothing to show for them.

        This news also comes on the same day i hear of Assassins Creed II PC's obsurd online only gameplay DRM. Its upsetting that pirates ruin the fun for people who are happy to pay for a good product.

        I am in love with the app store for the multiple opportunities it has created for new games to reach newer audiences and also some really innovative titles that i would have never considered buying on any other platform. The app store seemed to balance pricing very well and its sad that prices have to be driven down to succeed.

        Perhaps part of this is due to the mentality that the iphone is 'not a gaming device'. Of course this is nonsense. I spend more time gaming on my iphone than any other handheld i own yet i am more than happy to fork out much larger sums of money for a PSP game i will not even finish.

        Sad sad news. ngmoco was my favourite company a year ago and they have noe been forced to turn into my most hated.

  • http://klicktock.com Matt

    Soooo let me get this straight? Rolando - a hugely successful title - is potentially going to become some kind of pay-to-play for 10 minutes kind of title?
    Frankly it's a bit insulting.

    One off payments for expansions are the way to go. They should take a good look at the way Hook Champ did things. I have no problem paying a dollar for extra characters/hats even though it may do little to expand the gameplay. Why do I buy them? Coz I love the original game and I want to support the dev!

    But there is no way I'm ever paying for a game via the "scamville" model.

    • Eli Hodapp

      The beauty of it is, you don't have to. You can play all the ngmoco freemium games without paying a cent. Aside from the free energy packs and food you get from the various ngmoco promotions, I haven't bought anything for either Eliminate or TouchPets Dogs and I play them a ton. The reason this business model works so well is all the people who will NEVER pay for anything create a huge player base for the people who WILL pay for things (and sometimes pay for lots of things) to get totally engrossed in.

      In the end, it all averages out, even though they're giving away their games to most people.

      • oliath

        While you can play them they certainly aren't as enjoyable as they could have been.

        Sadly though as mentioned before... with piracy rates this high then of course the devs need to find a better business model.

        I personally hate the free games. I want to pay for them and have a complete product in my hands as opposed to pay for credits that once i have used them i have nothing to show for them.

        This news also comes on the same day i hear of Assassins Creed II PC's obsurd online only gameplay DRM. Its upsetting that pirates ruin the fun for people who are happy to pay for a good product.

        I am in love with the app store for the multiple opportunities it has created for new games to reach newer audiences and also some really innovative titles that i would have never considered buying on any other platform. The app store seemed to balance pricing very well and its sad that prices have to be driven down to succeed.

        Perhaps part of this is due to the mentality that the iphone is 'not a gaming device'. Of course this is nonsense. I spend more time gaming on my iphone than any other handheld i own yet i am more than happy to fork out much larger sums of money for a PSP game i will not even finish.

        Sad sad news. ngmoco was my favourite company a year ago and they have noe been forced to turn into my most hated.

  • Sambo110

    God damn pirates, Apple needs a way to find out if someone has pirated games and then do something about it, maybe lock their iPod or something. It might sound harsh, but piracy costs people jobs and causes things like this to happen. Pisses me off.

    • Dantv

      I agree, I am stick and fracking tired of pirates and all those lame a** hackers! Death to pirates and hackers!!

  • Sambo110

    God damn pirates, Apple needs a way to find out if someone has pirated games and then do something about it, maybe lock their iPod or something. It might sound harsh, but piracy costs people jobs and causes things like this to happen. Pisses me off.

    • Dantv

      I agree, I am stick and fracking tired of pirates and all those lame a** hackers! Death to pirates and hackers!!

  • Gabrien

    All I have to say is shame on the players who've made this "business model" for ngmoco successful. Your short-sightedness and utter lack of sense is epic. I wish I could say it surprises me.

    • ghOti

      Gun goes into mouth and then you pull the trigger. Seriously, don't procreate.

      • Greg K

        Wow. Agree or disagree, your comment is incredibly ignorant.

    • http://xenoms.com/ tsj5j

      Agreed.

      Unsurprisingly, there will be still those who'll fall for the freemium scam.
      No more Rolando? Good bye ngmoco, you just lost the last game I was hoping you would release under the paid model.

      • Adams Immersive

        How is it a scam? ngmoco hasn’t gotten any money from me through this model, yet I still enjoy their games.

        DLC can be abused, but personally I haven’t seen ngmoco do that. Anyway—if DLC isn’t worth it, you can always do the same thing you’ll do if an app isn’t worth the price: pass on it and buy something else instead.

  • Gabrien

    All I have to say is shame on the players who've made this "business model" for ngmoco successful. Your short-sightedness and utter lack of sense is epic. I wish I could say it surprises me.

    • ghOti

      Gun goes into mouth and then you pull the trigger. Seriously, don't procreate.

      • Greg K

        Wow. Agree or disagree, your comment is incredibly ignorant.

    • http://xenoms.com/ tsj5j

      Agreed.

      Unsurprisingly, there will be still those who'll fall for the freemium scam.
      No more Rolando? Good bye ngmoco, you just lost the last game I was hoping you would release under the paid model.

      • Adams Immersive

        How is it a scam? ngmoco hasn’t gotten any money from me through this model, yet I still enjoy their games.

        DLC can be abused, but personally I haven’t seen ngmoco do that. Anyway—if DLC isn’t worth it, you can always do the same thing you’ll do if an app isn’t worth the price: pass on it and buy something else instead.

  • Joshua

    I have a feeling this >50% piracy rate is because they aren't taking into account that each purchase can legally be installed on up to 5 different iphones. Is there some piracy, probably yeah, but I have a feeling its being blown way out of proportion.

    • Eli Hodapp

      iPhone apps can detect if they've been cracked very easily, most analytic packages that developers optionally bundle inside of their apps report whether or not the app has been cracked along with the other information it sends back. And sadly, astronomical piracy rates are widely reported amongst most iPhone developers. There's not much reason to think the quoted numbers are inflated at all.

      • http://xenoms.com/ tsj5j

        Most detections are based on whether the device is jailbroken or not.
        I believe they fail to take into account jailbreakers who PAY, eg. unlockers.

      • Eli Hodapp

        Wrong.

      • blackHorse

        Why to take that 0.1% into account? ;)

      • Marc

        Last I heard about 10-15% of the iphone market is jailbroken. Blaming piracy for low sales figures when 85% of the market is UNABLE to pirate your product seems like a lame copout to me. Find a way to sell the product to the millions of users that can't and won't pirate, profit and then try to minimize the effects of piracy through other means. Putting in a time delayed trap that prompts users for payment and adds annoying limitations when a cracked version is detected seems to be effective for other devs.

        But F*** this fremium bs. I won't be sucked into a game where it attempts to nickel and dime me out of "quarters" to fully enjoy the game.

      • Chaos215bar2

        I know this is repeated way too often, but what portion of those pirated copies would have actually been purchases if they couldn't pirate the game. I know people who pirate tons of games and often barely play them, just because it costs them nothing. Easily as few as 5% of the games they pirate would actually be purchases otherwise.

        Also, if these apps can detect that they're pirated so easily, why don't they just stop themselves from working when they're pirated. I very much doubt it's that simple, and suspect that these Apps can at most detect that they're running on a jailbroken phone. Anyway, I, for one, have a jailbroken phone and have not pirated a single App.

  • Joshua

    I have a feeling this >50% piracy rate is because they aren't taking into account that each purchase can legally be installed on up to 5 different iphones. Is there some piracy, probably yeah, but I have a feeling its being blown way out of proportion.

    • Eli Hodapp

      iPhone apps can detect if they've been cracked very easily, most analytic packages that developers optionally bundle inside of their apps report whether or not the app has been cracked along with the other information it sends back. And sadly, astronomical piracy rates are widely reported amongst most iPhone developers. There's not much reason to think the quoted numbers are inflated at all.

      • http://xenoms.com/ tsj5j

        Most detections are based on whether the device is jailbroken or not.
        I believe they fail to take into account jailbreakers who PAY, eg. unlockers.

      • Eli Hodapp

        Wrong.

      • blackHorse

        Why to take that 0.1% into account? ;)

      • Marc

        Last I heard about 10-15% of the iphone market is jailbroken. Blaming piracy for low sales figures when 85% of the market is UNABLE to pirate your product seems like a lame copout to me. Find a way to sell the product to the millions of users that can't and won't pirate, profit and then try to minimize the effects of piracy through other means. Putting in a time delayed trap that prompts users for payment and adds annoying limitations when a cracked version is detected seems to be effective for other devs.

        But F*** this fremium bs. I won't be sucked into a game where it attempts to nickel and dime me out of "quarters" to fully enjoy the game.

      • Chaos215bar2

        I know this is repeated way too often, but what portion of those pirated copies would have actually been purchases if they couldn't pirate the game. I know people who pirate tons of games and often barely play them, just because it costs them nothing. Easily as few as 5% of the games they pirate would actually be purchases otherwise.

        Also, if these apps can detect that they're pirated so easily, why don't they just stop themselves from working when they're pirated. I very much doubt it's that simple, and suspect that these Apps can at most detect that they're running on a jailbroken phone. Anyway, I, for one, have a jailbroken phone and have not pirated a single App.

  • Dran

    Well, as long as you arent "forced" to pay .99 for every hour of gameplay, I dont really see a problem, though I do prefer to pay 5 bucks upfront for a game and know I have all the time in the world to play it without the game being gimped in any way.

    I hope it works out for them, but the business is really gearing down to the .99 - 2.5$ business model, ngmoco do need to adapt, perhaps another solution would be shorter, "episodic" games for the aforementioned prices. Every game they release doesnt need to be a 10 hour epic.

  • Dran

    Well, as long as you arent "forced" to pay .99 for every hour of gameplay, I dont really see a problem, though I do prefer to pay 5 bucks upfront for a game and know I have all the time in the world to play it without the game being gimped in any way.

    I hope it works out for them, but the business is really gearing down to the .99 - 2.5$ business model, ngmoco do need to adapt, perhaps another solution would be shorter, "episodic" games for the aforementioned prices. Every game they release doesnt need to be a 10 hour epic.

  • blackHorse

    Oh yeah, my favourite word: FREE! ;) I hope all their games would become free really soon now...

  • blackHorse

    Oh yeah, my favourite word: FREE! ;) I hope all their games would become free really soon now...

  • pwetpwet

    Piracy is always bad, even more for such low-cost apps.
    BUT I also find Ngmoco's behavior quite insulting as I remember they once promised free DLCs for Rolando 2. Still any hope about this?

    • Rob

      Also been wondering about those secret levels that would lead us to rolando 3, dont care if it does or not no excuse.

  • pwetpwet

    Piracy is always bad, even more for such low-cost apps.
    BUT I also find Ngmoco's behavior quite insulting as I remember they once promised free DLCs for Rolando 2. Still any hope about this?

    • Rob

      Also been wondering about those secret levels that would lead us to rolando 3, dont care if it does or not no excuse.

  • Rosh

    So... they think that the best way to fight the piracy is to make life easy for them? O_o Fine by me :)

    • Caleb

      Well until devs can implement anti-piracy measures into their apps, this is their only way of dealing with this. Although it could take a lot longer for the app to come out just so they can put these measures in to make more money. It's sad that the world of iPhone gaming has come to this, but there are pirates for any popular consoles and handhelds so it's to be expected no matter what.

  • Rosh

    So... they think that the best way to fight the piracy is to make life easy for them? O_o Fine by me :)

    • Caleb

      Well until devs can implement anti-piracy measures into their apps, this is their only way of dealing with this. Although it could take a lot longer for the app to come out just so they can put these measures in to make more money. It's sad that the world of iPhone gaming has come to this, but there are pirates for any popular consoles and handhelds so it's to be expected no matter what.

  • http://www.uniquesite.co.uk Josh

    Why can't it be a free game with, for example, the first 10 levels. The remaining levels can be purchased in-app. This way, there is no "lite" version and it should combat piracy.

    People can begin the story, and if they like it, continue their game with an in-app purchase.

    Rolando is such a great game, I've bought the first two, and hope to be able to play more.

    • Adams Immersive

      That’s the model I like. Then the demo IS the full game—no second download and no loss of your progress/scores. If/when I release a game, I plan to make it free for a few levels, with one single DLC purchase that buys you the full game.

    • Chaos215bar2

      Indeed. This is the only king of DLC I've ever actually purchased, and I think it's an excellent way of releasing a game.

  • http://www.uniquesite.co.uk Josh

    Why can't it be a free game with, for example, the first 10 levels. The remaining levels can be purchased in-app. This way, there is no "lite" version and it should combat piracy.

    People can begin the story, and if they like it, continue their game with an in-app purchase.

    Rolando is such a great game, I've bought the first two, and hope to be able to play more.

    • Adams Immersive

      That’s the model I like. Then the demo IS the full game—no second download and no loss of your progress/scores. If/when I release a game, I plan to make it free for a few levels, with one single DLC purchase that buys you the full game.

    • Chaos215bar2

      Indeed. This is the only king of DLC I've ever actually purchased, and I think it's an excellent way of releasing a game.

  • Rob

    What I don't get is why if in app counters piracy why do they still sell apps that will offer the food, surely someone downloads the 1000 food or whatever it is cracks it and that means 1000 free food not paid. Why have app and in app purchase?

  • Rob

    What I don't get is why if in app counters piracy why do they still sell apps that will offer the food, surely someone downloads the 1000 food or whatever it is cracks it and that means 1000 free food not paid. Why have app and in app purchase?

  • darwiniandude

    I think they should, as Josh says, make the free version contain a few levels and you pay in app DLC for the rest of the levels. I don't want to pay for credit/food/rolando-mojo whatever crap. Prove me wrong guys. But I bought both the first two games on launch and was very happy with the price.

  • darwiniandude

    I think they should, as Josh says, make the free version contain a few levels and you pay in app DLC for the rest of the levels. I don't want to pay for credit/food/rolando-mojo whatever crap. Prove me wrong guys. But I bought both the first two games on launch and was very happy with the price.

  • Maeks

    I've wondered why they don't just have lite versions that you in-app to the full version, that's how I think DLC (at least DLC to battle pirates) should be done.

    I mean, after Ive played Eliminate and Touch Pets through, I've had fun with them, I'd be willing to pay a premium price for either of them (I'd pay $10 for the eliminate experience, though I'd admit that maybe not everyone would), but I still find this pay-to-play element of the games to be a pseudo rip-off. Pseudo because honestly, you CAN (like has been said) play them without having to pay a cent.

    But Eliminate especially, I'll play the 3 or so rounds you get before your energy runs out, and then kind of run into a stumbling block. I want to continue, but I don't want to waste energy...>Say, because I'll get a recharge in 20 minutes or something. Or more importantly, I HATE that whenever I DO recharge, I feel obligated to play those rounds, because if I don't, I will have wasted the energy (and money) as well.

    I have absolutely no problem with the idea of DLC, but I really think people are doing it wrong in the app store. ngmoco is a little better, because you can play the games without playing, but for the hardcore players out there (not me), it gets ridiculous.

    They really need to implement a price for a lifetime amount of energy (in the case of Eliminate that is), and I think that they'd have a great model.

  • Maeks

    I've wondered why they don't just have lite versions that you in-app to the full version, that's how I think DLC (at least DLC to battle pirates) should be done.

    I mean, after Ive played Eliminate and Touch Pets through, I've had fun with them, I'd be willing to pay a premium price for either of them (I'd pay $10 for the eliminate experience, though I'd admit that maybe not everyone would), but I still find this pay-to-play element of the games to be a pseudo rip-off. Pseudo because honestly, you CAN (like has been said) play them without having to pay a cent.

    But Eliminate especially, I'll play the 3 or so rounds you get before your energy runs out, and then kind of run into a stumbling block. I want to continue, but I don't want to waste energy...>Say, because I'll get a recharge in 20 minutes or something. Or more importantly, I HATE that whenever I DO recharge, I feel obligated to play those rounds, because if I don't, I will have wasted the energy (and money) as well.

    I have absolutely no problem with the idea of DLC, but I really think people are doing it wrong in the app store. ngmoco is a little better, because you can play the games without playing, but for the hardcore players out there (not me), it gets ridiculous.

    They really need to implement a price for a lifetime amount of energy (in the case of Eliminate that is), and I think that they'd have a great model.

  • Brooga

    There's a erroneous assumption that developers and creatives assume that is:

    1 pirated copy = 1 lost sale

    This isn't necessarily the case. There will be lots of people who will happily pirate away and, if you found a way to stop them pirating, would just not pay for it.

    Developers should work on creating great games, be happy when it sells well and work on the fact that there are a number of law-abiding folk happy to buy their games. Wringing your hands over potential lost sales that, in fact, never were or would be is pointless.

    • http://www.silentrocco.com SIlent Rocco

      +1
      The same as with the music and film industry.

    • fi2-shift

      +1
      I think that if apple implements a model where you can buy apps not depending in which country you are, I mean, I live in DR, Apple DOES NOT have an apple store/appstore/iTunes Store here, so that means I can't buy any app from the appstore, so I send money to my coussin in Boston and he buys my apps with his credit card... Tha't a freaking TEDIUS way of getting apps, and not everyone has a "coussin" in "USA" or any other appstore-enabled country.

      I know a big % of pirated apps come from places where you can't buy in the appstore if you don't have a USA credit card.

      I have a JB iTouch, and I constantly buy apps from cydia, why? because I CAN USE MY EFFIN card to buy anything i want, I don't need to send money to someone else or buy itunes gift cards on ebay, example I just bought the 'iBlueNova" (open bluetooth app to send/receive ANY file from ANY device) app @ Cydia, released on monday, cost me 6 bucks... w/e they need to do something about that.

      And sorry for my bad english, is not my primary languaje.. :/

    • Deewin

      I'm pretty sure most Developers know each pirated copy does not mean a lost sale. Many people who pirate could have been potential buyers though and that's why it hurts. Ngmoco only make iPhone/touch games and they can't afford to lose sales.

      • spiffyone

        Entirely correct.

        Yes, 1 pirated copy =/= 1 lost sale.

        However, 1 pirated copy does = 1 lost POTENTIAL sale. And the business of selling anything, as anyone with an iota of understanding can see, is turning POTENTIAL consumers into ACTUAL consumers. Piracy circumvents that usual process.

        To the idea that those that pirate would never have paid in the first place: Not truly accurate an assumption to make.

        See, the basic fact that they downloaded the movie, song, game, book, etc. means that they have an interest in it (if they didn't, they wouldn't bother downloading it). As they have an interest, they are a potential consumer, but their potential is never actualized in a legit fashion because of piracy.

        It's really not difficult to understand, and yet the same "point" is made by either pro-piracy advocates or those that just don't understand basic business.

  • Brooga

    There's a erroneous assumption that developers and creatives assume that is:

    1 pirated copy = 1 lost sale

    This isn't necessarily the case. There will be lots of people who will happily pirate away and, if you found a way to stop them pirating, would just not pay for it.

    Developers should work on creating great games, be happy when it sells well and work on the fact that there are a number of law-abiding folk happy to buy their games. Wringing your hands over potential lost sales that, in fact, never were or would be is pointless.

    • http://www.silentrocco.com SIlent Rocco

      +1
      The same as with the music and film industry.

    • fi2-shift

      +1
      I think that if apple implements a model where you can buy apps not depending in which country you are, I mean, I live in DR, Apple DOES NOT have an apple store/appstore/iTunes Store here, so that means I can't buy any app from the appstore, so I send money to my coussin in Boston and he buys my apps with his credit card... Tha't a freaking TEDIUS way of getting apps, and not everyone has a "coussin" in "USA" or any other appstore-enabled country.

      I know a big % of pirated apps come from places where you can't buy in the appstore if you don't have a USA credit card.

      I have a JB iTouch, and I constantly buy apps from cydia, why? because I CAN USE MY EFFIN card to buy anything i want, I don't need to send money to someone else or buy itunes gift cards on ebay, example I just bought the 'iBlueNova" (open bluetooth app to send/receive ANY file from ANY device) app @ Cydia, released on monday, cost me 6 bucks... w/e they need to do something about that.

      And sorry for my bad english, is not my primary languaje.. :/

    • Deewin

      I'm pretty sure most Developers know each pirated copy does not mean a lost sale. Many people who pirate could have been potential buyers though and that's why it hurts. Ngmoco only make iPhone/touch games and they can't afford to lose sales.

      • spiffyone

        Entirely correct.

        Yes, 1 pirated copy =/= 1 lost sale.

        However, 1 pirated copy does = 1 lost POTENTIAL sale. And the business of selling anything, as anyone with an iota of understanding can see, is turning POTENTIAL consumers into ACTUAL consumers. Piracy circumvents that usual process.

        To the idea that those that pirate would never have paid in the first place: Not truly accurate an assumption to make.

        See, the basic fact that they downloaded the movie, song, game, book, etc. means that they have an interest in it (if they didn't, they wouldn't bother downloading it). As they have an interest, they are a potential consumer, but their potential is never actualized in a legit fashion because of piracy.

        It's really not difficult to understand, and yet the same "point" is made by either pro-piracy advocates or those that just don't understand basic business.

  • o.o

    A tear came to my eye when I read this. I love Rolando. Why couldn't they do a thing like Rolando 2: Chapter One? That's freemium. Ngmoco keep going down and down in my opinion.

  • o.o

    A tear came to my eye when I read this. I love Rolando. Why couldn't they do a thing like Rolando 2: Chapter One? That's freemium. Ngmoco keep going down and down in my opinion.

  • David

    Piracy is a straw-man that developers are building to justify their move to the "nickel and dime you to death" model.

    Why release a game for $4.99 when they can bilk you for $30 to $40 in micro-payments?

    I have a large family. We are Apple fans. We have 3 iMacs, 2 Mac minis, an Apple TV, and 5 iPod touchs. I will still buy Macs but we are stepping off the iPhone OS train because of the in-game purchase rape model!

    • Eyemh8

      Let me know if you need to off load 4 iPod's I could use them

    • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

      I wrote a serious reply to this, but now I realize you must be kidding. lol. ;)

    • bobcat

      so sayeth the guy with over $10k in Apple hardware who doesn't want to pay a measly couple bucks for a good game.

      Fool.

  • David

    Piracy is a straw-man that developers are building to justify their move to the "nickel and dime you to death" model.

    Why release a game for $4.99 when they can bilk you for $30 to $40 in micro-payments?

    I have a large family. We are Apple fans. We have 3 iMacs, 2 Mac minis, an Apple TV, and 5 iPod touchs. I will still buy Macs but we are stepping off the iPhone OS train because of the in-game purchase rape model!

    • Eyemh8

      Let me know if you need to off load 4 iPod's I could use them

    • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

      I wrote a serious reply to this, but now I realize you must be kidding. lol. ;)

    • bobcat

      so sayeth the guy with over $10k in Apple hardware who doesn't want to pay a measly couple bucks for a good game.

      Fool.

  • http://www.twitter.com/wilcallaghan Will

    How about a free app with in game purchase (buy a level at a time) and a 'premium' version with all the levels for about £5?

    *speaking as someone who loved Eliminate for about five mins then gave up because I was sick of being stung

  • http://www.twitter.com/wilcallaghan Will

    How about a free app with in game purchase (buy a level at a time) and a 'premium' version with all the levels for about £5?

    *speaking as someone who loved Eliminate for about five mins then gave up because I was sick of being stung

  • http://www.thegamelessplayed.com Dominic White

    The solution with Rolando 3 seems obvious - just go the shareware route. Have the first episode of the game free, and make episodes 2-5 in-app purchases, maybe $1-2 each.

    • spiffyone

      Bingo.

      And I don't see why the publisher doesn't go this route and why more publishers on this platform don't either.

      Free "lite" version to try, not designated as "lite". Maybe have the 1st few levels or so. In app purchase for each additional level valued @ a buck, and/or "full level" pack purchase for $6-10 (again, in app purchase).

      That would alleviate piracy concerns quite nicely while giving us a "full" experience should we choose to pay in app.

      DLC would of course be part of that over time. But DLC alone, sans "full game experience" as an in app purchase option is, IMHO, not a fully thought out strategy. It works with something like Eliminate because that's like an FPS version of the MMORPGs out there, but it wouldn't work with a traditionally single player experience like puzzle/platformers and such.

  • http://www.thegamelessplayed.com Dominic White

    The solution with Rolando 3 seems obvious - just go the shareware route. Have the first episode of the game free, and make episodes 2-5 in-app purchases, maybe $1-2 each.

    • spiffyone

      Bingo.

      And I don't see why the publisher doesn't go this route and why more publishers on this platform don't either.

      Free "lite" version to try, not designated as "lite". Maybe have the 1st few levels or so. In app purchase for each additional level valued @ a buck, and/or "full level" pack purchase for $6-10 (again, in app purchase).

      That would alleviate piracy concerns quite nicely while giving us a "full" experience should we choose to pay in app.

      DLC would of course be part of that over time. But DLC alone, sans "full game experience" as an in app purchase option is, IMHO, not a fully thought out strategy. It works with something like Eliminate because that's like an FPS version of the MMORPGs out there, but it wouldn't work with a traditionally single player experience like puzzle/platformers and such.

  • Crambazzle

    If DLC really does stop piracy, then why not release a game free which is just the splash screen, and have an immediate $9.99 in-app purchase for the full game?

    It seems the obvious solution and I'm sure it has occurred to Ngmoco, but it looks like they are intent on following this so-called "freemium" model which, although profitable, alienates many consumers such as myself. It also seems a bit hypocritical considering the way they worked continually last year to paint themselves as the "good guys" among developers.

    While it is sad that pirates operate so widely on the app store, I don't think this is the real reason for Ngmoco going down this road because as I said there are simple ways to avoid piracy while maintaining a premium price range.

    This appears to be a PR stunt designed to:

    1. Distract people from the loss of Rolando 3 by creating a discussion about piracy

    2. Make people feel sorry for Ngmoco losing out to pirates and see them as the good guys again

    3. Be used as an excuse to continue selling these "freemium" games

  • Crambazzle

    If DLC really does stop piracy, then why not release a game free which is just the splash screen, and have an immediate $9.99 in-app purchase for the full game?

    It seems the obvious solution and I'm sure it has occurred to Ngmoco, but it looks like they are intent on following this so-called "freemium" model which, although profitable, alienates many consumers such as myself. It also seems a bit hypocritical considering the way they worked continually last year to paint themselves as the "good guys" among developers.

    While it is sad that pirates operate so widely on the app store, I don't think this is the real reason for Ngmoco going down this road because as I said there are simple ways to avoid piracy while maintaining a premium price range.

    This appears to be a PR stunt designed to:

    1. Distract people from the loss of Rolando 3 by creating a discussion about piracy

    2. Make people feel sorry for Ngmoco losing out to pirates and see them as the good guys again

    3. Be used as an excuse to continue selling these "freemium" games

  • Greg

    Personally, I gave up on ngmoco once touch pets came out. The idea that I have to pay to play for the time I want to is upsetting. It is a very greedy business model that lets you only get a small taste of a game and then you have to pay repeatedly to enjoy it further. I used to think this company had everything going for it. I used to support Plus+, but now I'm supporting Open Feint, because they aren't as greedy.

  • Greg

    Personally, I gave up on ngmoco once touch pets came out. The idea that I have to pay to play for the time I want to is upsetting. It is a very greedy business model that lets you only get a small taste of a game and then you have to pay repeatedly to enjoy it further. I used to think this company had everything going for it. I used to support Plus+, but now I'm supporting Open Feint, because they aren't as greedy.

  • Ginger Yellow

    Seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face. The first two Rolandos made loads of money despite the piracy. Why would that be different for the third one?

  • Ginger Yellow

    Seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face. The first two Rolandos made loads of money despite the piracy. Why would that be different for the third one?

  • ultimo

    Josh, Brooga, SilentRocco, David & Will...
    It is wht David stated... If they wanted to do it, they would haff!

    Its just as stupid as for the fear if Death, do not give birth to a child!
    Heights of Idiocracy & it shows how Biz & money minded "no good moco has become!"

    Your take Eli?

  • http://donothaveone...yet ultimo

    Josh, Brooga, SilentRocco, David & Will...
    It is wht David stated... If they wanted to do it, they would haff!

    Its just as stupid as for the fear if Death, do not give birth to a child!
    Heights of Idiocracy & it shows how Biz & money minded "no good moco has become!"

    Your take Eli?

  • Septimus

    I understand the reasoning, but hate "freemium".

    Lost a customer as I can't be assed with paid DLC in this model.

  • Septimus

    I understand the reasoning, but hate "freemium".

    Lost a customer as I can't be assed with paid DLC in this model.

  • dumas1000

    Bottom line, the AppStore consumers/customers, with their spoiled, self-entitled, unreasonable cheapness brought this model upon their selfs. This model and namco's model of selling a base demo with DLC are the new future of the AppStore. Piracy has something to do with it, but mostly it's people unwilling to accept reasonable, competitive pricing. With DS games costing 30, PSP games costing 40, and console games costing 60, a significant percentage of idevice owners hesitate to even pay 10. 1/3 the price of DS games, 1/4 the price of PSP games, and people still don't want to pay.

    This particular model is actually great for a casual fanbase, to be honest, and idevice owners have proven time and time again how casual and how fickle of a fanbase they are. The super casual fan, which there are many, don't have to pay anything to play these games.

    • Decoy Octopus

      Agreed

  • dumas1000

    Bottom line, the AppStore consumers/customers, with their spoiled, self-entitled, unreasonable cheapness brought this model upon their selfs. This model and namco's model of selling a base demo with DLC are the new future of the AppStore. Piracy has something to do with it, but mostly it's people unwilling to accept reasonable, competitive pricing. With DS games costing 30, PSP games costing 40, and console games costing 60, a significant percentage of idevice owners hesitate to even pay 10. 1/3 the price of DS games, 1/4 the price of PSP games, and people still don't want to pay.

    This particular model is actually great for a casual fanbase, to be honest, and idevice owners have proven time and time again how casual and how fickle of a fanbase they are. The super casual fan, which there are many, don't have to pay anything to play these games.

    • Decoy Octopus

      Agreed

  • http://www.nitako.com Noam

    From our recent experience with E-Punk (which BTW was cracked about 2 hours after the release!!!) the piracy rates are somewhere between 70% to 90%, depending on how hot your game is at the specific moment.
    These numbers change RADICALLY from country to country. US customers for example seem to have the lowest piracy rates, at least in our case...

    • Schnapple

      How do you figure?

      I mean, the only people who can play pirated apps are people who jailbreak their phones. That's a very tiny percentage of iPhone owners. Most iPhone owners are like my sister or my aunt and they won't ever jailbreak their phones.

  • http://www.nitako.com Noam

    From our recent experience with E-Punk (which BTW was cracked about 2 hours after the release!!!) the piracy rates are somewhere between 70% to 90%, depending on how hot your game is at the specific moment.
    These numbers change RADICALLY from country to country. US customers for example seem to have the lowest piracy rates, at least in our case...

    • Schnapple

      How do you figure?

      I mean, the only people who can play pirated apps are people who jailbreak their phones. That's a very tiny percentage of iPhone owners. Most iPhone owners are like my sister or my aunt and they won't ever jailbreak their phones.

  • Mandi

    I loved ngmoco games. I bought every one, full price the day they came out, because I knew I was getting something good with high production values.

    I hate hate HATE the "freemium" model. I burned out quick on Eliminate, and I dont care at all about Touch Pets. I was eagerly awaiting Rolando 3, but given this news, I'm done.

    Ngmoco is dead to me now.

  • Mandi

    I loved ngmoco games. I bought every one, full price the day they came out, because I knew I was getting something good with high production values.

    I hate hate HATE the "freemium" model. I burned out quick on Eliminate, and I dont care at all about Touch Pets. I was eagerly awaiting Rolando 3, but given this news, I'm done.

    Ngmoco is dead to me now.

  • shumby

    ;__;

    how sad...
    at least not ALL devs are going "freemium". in the coming months we'll see how NG's business model holds up, I suppose.

  • shumby

    ;__;

    how sad...
    at least not ALL devs are going "freemium". in the coming months we'll see how NG's business model holds up, I suppose.

  • st3ph3n

    I noticed yesterday how much junk ngmoco has in the app store. All these different versions of the same app that unlock something for your account. Apple need to clamp down on that as that's what the in-app purchasing is for.

  • st3ph3n

    I noticed yesterday how much junk ngmoco has in the app store. All these different versions of the same app that unlock something for your account. Apple need to clamp down on that as that's what the in-app purchasing is for.

  • LonelyDev

    I can verify 90%+ Piracy on two of my games (apple gives us NO tools NOR guidance to combat piracy). That is why I have a job and then this as a very time consuming hobby. It is amazing people can get tens of hours of play time for 99 cents. That is an _Amazing_ value compared to other forms of entertainment (even at 5 bucks a game it is still an amazing value). I just do not see this model succeeding long term as anything but a hobby. Of course Gameloft may make it as their foreign labor costs are orders of magnitude below western cost of living salaries. We all shall see because whatever we say does not really matter as the market will work itself out. Sadly this will be at the cost of good quality, long playing, and non-stick figure games.

  • LonelyDev

    I can verify 90%+ Piracy on two of my games (apple gives us NO tools NOR guidance to combat piracy). That is why I have a job and then this as a very time consuming hobby. It is amazing people can get tens of hours of play time for 99 cents. That is an _Amazing_ value compared to other forms of entertainment (even at 5 bucks a game it is still an amazing value). I just do not see this model succeeding long term as anything but a hobby. Of course Gameloft may make it as their foreign labor costs are orders of magnitude below western cost of living salaries. We all shall see because whatever we say does not really matter as the market will work itself out. Sadly this will be at the cost of good quality, long playing, and non-stick figure games.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    Well, as a developer that was going for the more traditional approach to sales, this is very discouraging. In-app purchasing feels like nickel-and-diming to me and I don't want to do it to my customers, but I'd sort of like to make a little money after a year and a half of work.

    Am I just throwing money away if I sell multiple smaller sets of stages for my game at low cost? Do I need to go DLC? Is it even a benefit if I don't host the assets myself? All the fun questions I get to answer as an independent developer.

    Anyway, it's just discouraging because I want to make games I'd like to play, and I've never enjoyed the dlc model or paying for small sets of stages at a time.

    • LonelyDev

      I agree and my DLC experiment was a bomb.
      I also hate having to try that on my users, it seems cheap.
      The math is the problem:
      If you want to release 2 good games a year at 6 months a pop you need to garner at least 50k in sales a piece. This covers _cost_ and your income barely if you are the ONLY dev.
      99 cents game you need:
      0.99 - ((Apple 30%) + (Government Tax 20-30%))= 0.45 Net a sale
      $50,0000 / 0.45 = 111,111 units sold per employee!
      (THATS A TON! More then console game sales.)

      At 4.99 you need to sell:
      4.99 - ((Apple 30%) + (Government Tax 20-30%))= 2.25 Net a sale
      $50,0000 / 2.25 = 22,222 units sold per employee!
      (THATS STILL A CRAZY SALES NUMBER! More then a lot of console game sales.)

      I am tying to find a way to bring larger games to the devices and be able to grow and really change the paradigm. It may come down to the small catapult / stick figure games being the only profitable model since they can be made in weeks. I will keep this side of the garage until things start to pan out ;). A bit disappointing I agree. As for now we can be very glad we are not ngmoco with our butts on the line trying to pay salaries in this market. I feel for them and their big risk.
      It would be helpful if we had real numbers on game sales / profit for all games. You know like the rest of the gaming industry. It would help me to decide the future track.

      Anyway not trying to depress you. Things could always be worse!

    • spiffyone

      Have you thought of DLC/in app purchase for the "full game"?

      Demo/lite version for free, with in app purchase for the full game. You don't have to break your game into individual stages for DLC if you don't want to go that route, I don't think. You can just have the full "pack" available as DLC.

      • DevBoy

        Yes BUT my game is 200 megs.. it is a valid point though.

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    Well, as a developer that was going for the more traditional approach to sales, this is very discouraging. In-app purchasing feels like nickel-and-diming to me and I don't want to do it to my customers, but I'd sort of like to make a little money after a year and a half of work.

    Am I just throwing money away if I sell multiple smaller sets of stages for my game at low cost? Do I need to go DLC? Is it even a benefit if I don't host the assets myself? All the fun questions I get to answer as an independent developer.

    Anyway, it's just discouraging because I want to make games I'd like to play, and I've never enjoyed the dlc model or paying for small sets of stages at a time.

    • LonelyDev

      I agree and my DLC experiment was a bomb.
      I also hate having to try that on my users, it seems cheap.
      The math is the problem:
      If you want to release 2 good games a year at 6 months a pop you need to garner at least 50k in sales a piece. This covers _cost_ and your income barely if you are the ONLY dev.
      99 cents game you need:
      0.99 - ((Apple 30%) + (Government Tax 20-30%))= 0.45 Net a sale
      $50,0000 / 0.45 = 111,111 units sold per employee!
      (THATS A TON! More then console game sales.)

      At 4.99 you need to sell:
      4.99 - ((Apple 30%) + (Government Tax 20-30%))= 2.25 Net a sale
      $50,0000 / 2.25 = 22,222 units sold per employee!
      (THATS STILL A CRAZY SALES NUMBER! More then a lot of console game sales.)

      I am tying to find a way to bring larger games to the devices and be able to grow and really change the paradigm. It may come down to the small catapult / stick figure games being the only profitable model since they can be made in weeks. I will keep this side of the garage until things start to pan out ;). A bit disappointing I agree. As for now we can be very glad we are not ngmoco with our butts on the line trying to pay salaries in this market. I feel for them and their big risk.
      It would be helpful if we had real numbers on game sales / profit for all games. You know like the rest of the gaming industry. It would help me to decide the future track.

      Anyway not trying to depress you. Things could always be worse!

    • spiffyone

      Have you thought of DLC/in app purchase for the "full game"?

      Demo/lite version for free, with in app purchase for the full game. You don't have to break your game into individual stages for DLC if you don't want to go that route, I don't think. You can just have the full "pack" available as DLC.

      • DevBoy

        Yes BUT my game is 200 megs.. it is a valid point though.

  • baddog

    Freemium is good.
    Eventually people will accept this just like TV/Cable.

  • baddog

    Freemium is good.
    Eventually people will accept this just like TV/Cable.

  • PahnCrd

    Well, I pay for my games since it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to do so. That, and I want to see more of the best games, so I support the devs.

  • PahnCrd

    Well, I pay for my games since it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to do so. That, and I want to see more of the best games, so I support the devs.

  • MidianGTX

    Freemium sucks. It's annoying having to make multiple purchases and now Ngmoco are saying we'll have to do it on every single one of their games? I guess the answer's simple, avoid them. Just let me buy a damn game and play it, it's a simple concept.

  • MidianGTX

    Freemium sucks. It's annoying having to make multiple purchases and now Ngmoco are saying we'll have to do it on every single one of their games? I guess the answer's simple, avoid them. Just let me buy a damn game and play it, it's a simple concept.

  • baddog

    I think people miss the point that you DON'T HAVE to pay.
    Or would you rather all the devs go the EA/Gameloft model. Charge you $10 for the game AND charge you $1 for additional content?

  • baddog

    I think people miss the point that you DON'T HAVE to pay.
    Or would you rather all the devs go the EA/Gameloft model. Charge you $10 for the game AND charge you $1 for additional content?

  • nizy

    Most of you guys didn't read the IGN interview obviously as Neil Young stated that the poor sales of Rolando 2 were a major factor in ngmoco adopting their freemium model. That is a lot more understandable from a business perspective: they released a product that didn't work, so they moved on to something else that works better.

    Also, to those suggesting that they adopt the free demo with DLC level packs for R3, think about what I just said. R2 didn't sell well enough and they released a freemium version of that late last year - why would R3 be any different?

  • nizy

    Most of you guys didn't read the IGN interview obviously as Neil Young stated that the poor sales of Rolando 2 were a major factor in ngmoco adopting their freemium model. That is a lot more understandable from a business perspective: they released a product that didn't work, so they moved on to something else that works better.

    Also, to those suggesting that they adopt the free demo with DLC level packs for R3, think about what I just said. R2 didn't sell well enough and they released a freemium version of that late last year - why would R3 be any different?

  • Diablohead

    why not make rolando 3 like rolando 2 episode 1? where you get the first episode for free and then DLC each chapter for 59p? shoving a well known iphone game into the back room is not nice.

    • spiffyone

      Exactly. The Rolando 2 Ep1 idea was good, and might've led to very good sales while also experiencing less piracy than the full "premium" Rolando 2 release. THAT'S how ngmoco should handle single player games from now on. Free version to try, in app purchase for the full game. It can either be broken down into level chunks at a buck, or a full game pack for $6-10.

  • Diablohead

    why not make rolando 3 like rolando 2 episode 1? where you get the first episode for free and then DLC each chapter for 59p? shoving a well known iphone game into the back room is not nice.

    • spiffyone

      Exactly. The Rolando 2 Ep1 idea was good, and might've led to very good sales while also experiencing less piracy than the full "premium" Rolando 2 release. THAT'S how ngmoco should handle single player games from now on. Free version to try, in app purchase for the full game. It can either be broken down into level chunks at a buck, or a full game pack for $6-10.

  • Mark

    "sent back to the drawing board until they can figure out a sensible way to deliver a Rolando game as a free to play experience." umm honestly WHAT is so hard to figure out??? Release is for 99cents or release it for free. Looks like programmers and piracy are going through what the music business did a few years back.. this is where we separate the men from the boys, the people that make music for money (or genuine desire to make music for the love of it regardless of the income) and make games for money (or genuine desire to program something regardless of income)

    People like ngmoco are too money focused, too business focused, they should loosen their ties a bit sit back and relax

    • http://www.thegamelessplayed.com Dominic White

      "People like ngmoco are too money focused, too business focused, they should loosen their ties a bit sit back and relax"

      You... you're joking, right? Please say you're joking. Ngmoco are a major developer/publisher - if they don't make money, they go out of business, and can't produce any games anymore. They're not just a bunch of guys sitting around doing this out of the kindness of their hearts.

      Seriously, this whole comments thread is stupid, but you've taken the biscuit, the cake, and the last straw all at once. Well done.

      • LonelyDev

        Wow... really?

        Each employee requires 100,000 sales for a 99 cent app a year (rock bottom)
        (Do not forget apples cut, the governments re distributive cut, and costs.)

        99 cent apps just do not work imo.

      • Mark

        I'm looking at this from the 'dude in bedroom coding late night after work' kind of perspective. Sort of like TRISM. you know, you create a game, it becomes a hit, you become a millionaire - and then with all that money come options and opportunities - such as investing it (and living off the interest) and shutting up about piracy.. honestly once you've made a significant amount of money why would it be so painful to release free games? Why does everything have to revolve around more and more and more and more.. money moeny money.. kind of like U2 complaining about loss of sales - it becomes insignificant after you're rich enough to not care!

  • Mark

    "sent back to the drawing board until they can figure out a sensible way to deliver a Rolando game as a free to play experience." umm honestly WHAT is so hard to figure out??? Release is for 99cents or release it for free. Looks like programmers and piracy are going through what the music business did a few years back.. this is where we separate the men from the boys, the people that make music for money (or genuine desire to make music for the love of it regardless of the income) and make games for money (or genuine desire to program something regardless of income)

    People like ngmoco are too money focused, too business focused, they should loosen their ties a bit sit back and relax

    • http://www.thegamelessplayed.com Dominic White

      "People like ngmoco are too money focused, too business focused, they should loosen their ties a bit sit back and relax"

      You... you're joking, right? Please say you're joking. Ngmoco are a major developer/publisher - if they don't make money, they go out of business, and can't produce any games anymore. They're not just a bunch of guys sitting around doing this out of the kindness of their hearts.

      Seriously, this whole comments thread is stupid, but you've taken the biscuit, the cake, and the last straw all at once. Well done.

      • LonelyDev

        Wow... really?

        Each employee requires 100,000 sales for a 99 cent app a year (rock bottom)
        (Do not forget apples cut, the governments re distributive cut, and costs.)

        99 cent apps just do not work imo.

      • Mark

        I'm looking at this from the 'dude in bedroom coding late night after work' kind of perspective. Sort of like TRISM. you know, you create a game, it becomes a hit, you become a millionaire - and then with all that money come options and opportunities - such as investing it (and living off the interest) and shutting up about piracy.. honestly once you've made a significant amount of money why would it be so painful to release free games? Why does everything have to revolve around more and more and more and more.. money moeny money.. kind of like U2 complaining about loss of sales - it becomes insignificant after you're rich enough to not care!

  • Joseph

    I really don't like freemium games. I usually just play them for a few days, then quickly lose interest. The thing is, freemium games don't really have an exact goal, and always limits your gameplay unless you "buy more" of whatever.
    I save up for premium games, and I enjoy them more. Take GTA Chinatown Wars for example; I bought that in a heartbeat. Did the same with Rolando 2.

  • Joseph

    I really don't like freemium games. I usually just play them for a few days, then quickly lose interest. The thing is, freemium games don't really have an exact goal, and always limits your gameplay unless you "buy more" of whatever.
    I save up for premium games, and I enjoy them more. Take GTA Chinatown Wars for example; I bought that in a heartbeat. Did the same with Rolando 2.

  • Maphia

    If DLC really stops pirates, why don't they just release a free package and then use a one-time in-app purchase for the full game? Sort of like "unlocking" it...

  • Maphia

    If DLC really stops pirates, why don't they just release a free package and then use a one-time in-app purchase for the full game? Sort of like "unlocking" it...

  • Brooga

    The thing that annoys me is that (as others have pointed out) they could easily offer free versions and then use in app purchases to add content or levels.

    At the moment it's akin to buying a DVD box set and getting 3 hours to watch it, then having to buy more 'hours' to watch the whole series or to rewatch it. Instead you just want to buy each episode and have them forever.

  • Brooga

    The thing that annoys me is that (as others have pointed out) they could easily offer free versions and then use in app purchases to add content or levels.

    At the moment it's akin to buying a DVD box set and getting 3 hours to watch it, then having to buy more 'hours' to watch the whole series or to rewatch it. Instead you just want to buy each episode and have them forever.

  • Phillip

    I don't see the point. What is so difficult to let players buy a game with their email address and unique iPhone ID. So the game is tied to the phone and you ever change your iPhone you'd have to contact customer support. That way you could fight piracy without stupid pay-to-play games and without stopping the production of Rolando 3.

  • Phillip

    I don't see the point. What is so difficult to let players buy a game with their email address and unique iPhone ID. So the game is tied to the phone and you ever change your iPhone you'd have to contact customer support. That way you could fight piracy without stupid pay-to-play games and without stopping the production of Rolando 3.

  • chris

    i will never support ngmoco. nor will i play one of there so called free games.
    its all i can do to protest my dislike for what they do.
    ill let you guys support them if you want.. its great to be free.
    chris.

  • chris

    i will never support ngmoco. nor will i play one of there so called free games.
    its all i can do to protest my dislike for what they do.
    ill let you guys support them if you want.. its great to be free.
    chris.

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