suatmmThere are many, many great game on the iOS platform, with more coming out every single day. It's an exciting place, and the sheer variety of game experiences to be had from both big and small developers is one of the things that attracts me to iOS as a gaming platform the most.

However, a looming concern with every new game is how you'll end up paying for it. The mobile gaming world moves faster than any platform ever has before, and is even influencing the landscape of console and PC games for the future. Right now free-to-play and "freemium" games are the ones garnering all the profits and the most users' time. Success is often driven by visibility and chart positions, so removing any sort of barrier of entry to someone downloading and trying your game is highly attractive.

Games aren't free-to-make, though, so you have to figure out how to monetize your free-to-play game. In fact there are a number of ways you can do this, all with different benefits and drawbacks.

The most traditional way in the App Store is to have both paid and free versions of your game. The lite version is limited or supported by ads, but you make your money by convincing people to buy the paid version with the free taste that you've given them. This isn't technically free-to-play as it's used today, but you're still giving people a free game to try in the hopes that they'll give you some money afterwards.

With the introduction of in-app purchasing to iOS a few years back, you can actually roll the lite/paid model into the same app. The free game people download is essentially the "lite" version, limited in some way, but then you can unlock a paid "full" version through IAP. I like this model as it reduces App Store clutter with many versions of the same game and avoids any potential problems with transferring progress or the like.

ShopΒ WagonPurchase-1

Then there is the traditional free-to-play model, where a game is entirely free and you can conceivably play through the entire thing without ever paying a cent, but there is some sort of in-game currency or timers which will artificially slow down or halt your progress. Bypassing these impediments is usually as easy as buying some packs of in-game currency through IAP of various sizes and prices.

That traditional free-to-play model is the one that's given the term "free-to-play" a bad name. Shouldn't that be a good thing, playing a game for free? Well, not when a game is purposely balanced to steer your towards buying the currency, or relies on psychological tricks not completely removed from gambling impulses that constantly tick away at you to spend some real-life dough on the virtual kind.

I'm bringing all of this up because a small discussion broke out in the forum thread for the just-released Trial by Survival [Free] regarding its novel pay system. It's free-to-play on the surface, with an in-game currency you can purchase more of if you want and some short cooldown timers in-between the various quests. Buying IAP currency isn't required in any way, and even when you're on a cooldown wait you can still play through an Arena mode where you can just earn more of that in-game currency anyway. It works out really nicely, and the game itself is quite an awesome experience for free.


The thing that makes this all unique is that they also offer a "Survival Pack" as a $3.99 IAP which for all intents and purposes transforms the game into a "premium" game. It removes the timer aspect completely and starts you off with some of the early items that you'd normally have to save up for or "grind" for to buy in the shop. Oftentimes, when a new free-to-play game hits, there are many comments wondering why the game doesn't just offer a paid unlock to remove all the free-to-play shenanigans. Well, here we have a company doing just that.

So this got me wondering, which pay model do you prefer if you had to choose? Of course, a one-time up-front price for a full game without any further ability to pay for IAP is the most ideal solution, but what are your thoughts on some of the other models, and which ones do you think are alright and which ones do you think are absolutely deplorable? We'd love to know, so sound off in the comments below.

  • Lyra

    Up front pay no IAP unless it's a full fledged expansion.

    • TheEvilRobot


    • GameIoft

      100 percent what i was thinking

      • Louis Ace

        Ironic that Gameloft agrees.

      • DannyTheElite

        Not the real gameloft.

      • Jake7905

        Thank you Captain Obvious, once again we'd be lost without you

      • loophole

        Lol no kidding...

      • iPodHacker1O1

        lol yeah of course you do. you make games that are freemium which are the worst type of games for people to get because I guarantee everybody is gonna spend at least $5 for IAP. So you people can shut up and return making your crappy ass freemium games

      • Terwilke

        I believe instead of freemium( Contra I'm looking at you) there Should be way more lite editions of games just to try before you buy

    • Birth1118


    • 61050

      i noticed your comment as of now has 130 likes (plus 1 for me now). the problem lies in that fact the the free to play model is making a killing for these developers, and since everyone in america knows that money is the only thing that matters, why turn down billions of dollars to please that small handful of us who care about a quality gaming experience more than a few bucks.

      most of the people playing ios games are of the type who think bugging their facebook friends for more lives in candy crush is all there is to video games. sad, but true.

      • Lyra

        Yeah. I know it's sad stuff even console and handheld games are starting to pick up microtransactions. Pay $1.00 get a costume or one new quest type thing. It's a rip off. But yeah game devs aren't charities. They are trying to make money, bottom line. Gaming is growing but in the casual market where they don't want to pay for quality and only in small amounts to enhance a free experience.

      • 61050

        progress, right? i suppose i should be thankful that my phone can do more than make calls anyway.

      • Terwilke

        Eventually people will stop paying for the garbage games that bug you constantly for cash or show ads all the time... I'm one of those people and I'm not alone... I recently heard that the new killer instinct game for the Xbone was going to be free to play with one character... This is from a company who has tons of money... What is happening to the gaming community? I hate candy crush and for the most part all games that require online connection because they will try to spam you with iap

      • Tyler Eaves

        I suspect they (the developers) are in the process of killing the goose that laid the golden egg, and that mobile gaming is on the edge of a sort of nuclear winter, much like Facebook gaming is currently doing.

      • Jake7905

        Yup, consumable IAP is cancer to quality gaming. I agree that making money is the bottom line in the gaming industry (aka capitalism), but when greed takes over quality takes a back seat. It's no longer about making money or creating a quality game, now it's purely about maximizing profits.

        The goal of any true freemium game is to milk the player for a continual flow of cash. Consumable IAP.

      • rewyan

        I am a big candy crusher. Level 267. I still haven't paid a dime.

      • Benegesserit

        So then shouldn't this website be focusing more on those crappy facebook type games for ios instead of titles that are more niche?

    • DJEmergency

      Agreed, but let me say something about why the freemium model has been being used a lot today.

      The App Store is flooded by $0.99 per game since it first launched on iOS. The developers didn't look at the iPhone as a console (as much as it can be a console in today standards of gaming.) and released these games that are like mini games. As the iPhone kept getting upgraded with new hardware the prices of the games didn't change much at all. When developers started releasing games at high prices people complained that it's too expensive. So now as it stands is that they were practically forced to go freemium to make up for all the money they spent on developing these games. Only few developers take the iPhone seriously (like Gameloft and Square Enix for example.) BUT still.. Most developers still treat it like a mobile phone, because of that $0.99 price they are stuck competing with. The thing is that it's not so much as the customers fault for this outcome, but if the developers took the iPhone as a console to release games on when they started developing for it, then they wouldn't have had this problem in the first place. Right now mobile games are out selling any other type of games out there and they screwed themselves for entering into the market of treating it like a phone. Now to solve this issue the developers need to just start raising prices in the App Store so they can make some good premium games. The phone is more than capable these days to run full fledged console games. It's not like they have to worry about data space like with the 3DS carts or whatever. That's how I see it and I hope others as well can understand where I'm coming from.

  • Kugiro

    I totally agree with Lyra.

  • FabioVaizard

    atm I play Clash of Clans and I hate In-App Purchase model. Buildings and Upgrades takes sometimes 14 days, "forcing" players to buy gems ...

    I prefer to pay even a $10 for a non Fremium App.

    • alex98909

      Forcing them? Don't think you are... ATM have a village th9 and an other th7 and even spent a dollar!

  • felipe

    Depends.. Temple run for example its a great free to play, and i like to buy some items to help me in the game and developers. Real racing 3 is awesome, but the store is too agressive - doesnt worth it! In the same time the game does not bother you to pay all the time.

    Gameloft is the best example to how implement premium in the wrong way.

    • moguitarboy


    • ptdshiznit818

      Totally agree with you. Real racing 3 (when you're actually playing it) is awesome! But it's also the biggest scam out there. Getting some ppl to believe that the timers are there to increase realism and give a "management" type feel... Really? It's sad that people actually fell for that.

  • EscortGamer

    Freemiums are the future of disasters. They do nothing but anything disappointing. Instead of paying for a game that is a buck or two but with no IAPs/IAPs that are very minor, you would get a free game that is like a demo of the full version of the game that can be bought individually with IAPs. A good example is Ridiculous Fishing. Such a big success and doesn't have IAPs. An example of the disastrous freemiums is Real Racing 3. Free doesn't equal 503 dollars worth of IAPs!

    • Jon Smith

      Real Racing 3 is the best worst game ever. By that I mean the production value was immense but the game was absolutely destroyed by greed. I paid full price for Real Racing one and two and was happy to do so, I have not and never will spend anything on RR3 or on Tapped Out or Clash of Clans which I also play. Thanks for the free games suckers, with a different pay model you could have had my money and my thanks instead...

  • Pray For Death

    Look at XCOM, King of Dragon Pass, Avadon. I want more games priced like that.

    • Louis Ace

      I agree

    • C. Stubb

      King of Dragon Pass: Best way to spend $10 on the app-store.

    • Jon Smith

      I agree as long as they also have the quality.

    • Dethedrus

      King of Dragon Pass and Avadon. Worth it when I bought 'em on my PC, worth it for iOS!

  • HungarianUrinalCakes

    IAP isn't inherently evil. Even in premium games. I have no qualm with IAP purchases in premium games (sans leader boards) to help move the game along such as buying in game currency. I for one will never buy them. Ever. But, some people may and that's their choice. The catch is that the game can't be designed to shoehorn people into making said in app purchases. If they're on the side, fine. That's not much different than the cheat codes of old except you have to pay for them.

    That being said I prefer the "freemium" with IAP to unlock full game for games I'm on the fence about. As long as they are up front about what is offered.

    • C. Stubb

      Good point, but isn't there a conflict of interest if the app that decides how much good you'll find in the next room also wants to make money off of you wanting -more- gold?

      In WH: Quest, for example, the devs offered the option of buying currency packs, but some random events in the game would instantly separate you from a large portion of your wealth. Same in NOVA 3 where you could buy extra ammo packs for a mission. The levels were designed so that, unless you were conservative to a fault, you would eventually run out of ammo. Then you would -have- to purchase some more for real cash, or fall back on your incredibly weak pistol, which nobody really wants to do.

      • dancj

        I didn't have any problem with NOVA 3. Yeah there were some levels where amp ran short, but that just added to the challenge. I certainly didn't ever feel they were pushing me towards IAP.

  • pixelpowa

    Hero Academy does free best, IMHO. I never, ever pay for consumables though.

    • Birth1118

      let's do battle


  • {SQUEEK}

    If freemium then at least have tapjoy or vids to watch for coins/berries/gems/etc

  • SumoSplash

    Is this a serious question?

  • C. Stubb

    My favorite pay model I've seen so far is the system employed by RM: Mercs. No cash up front, no required IAPs, and no pressure to purchase virtual currency. The game is also supported by adds that occasionally pop up at non intrusive times, mainly while waiting for your opponent to submit his move in asynchronous multiplayer. There are some timers, but they are only mere minutes to cool-down a "brigade" after a mission, and they don't keep increasing to days and weeks over time (*cough *cough clash of clans), they keep a painlessly low time. In fact, actions you take in the game build up "favour", which actually -reduces- the time needed for a cool-down. Special IAPs can remove adds and unlock exclusive "brigades", but you can unlock almost everything with earned in-game currency. It's also cool how they promote their other game (RM: SoE) by unlocking special brigades to those who have purchased and played it. Overall, a very non intrusive and non greedy way to design a FtP.

    • Reydn


  • BZoetic

    Up-front, ideally. I'll even take free with ads, if ad revenue can recoup development costs.

    If we have to deal with Freemium/IAP games, developers should most definitely have put forth a design wherein the player isn't required to pay to complete 100% of the game. That doesn't have to be contradictory; judicious use of cool-downs are a perfect example of what I'm getting at.

  • ineptidude

    I'm not too happy about how every game has to have upgrades or experience points just so they can be sold

  • Akiratech

    Thing is I hated free to play model coming from the console world. But as a dev now and having a game that was charging up front it didn't bought, but our free simpler game got hundreds of downloads in its first week. So we now because of being burnt have had to go free to play. The point is this is a forum where people who care about gaming come to talk about it but in the flipside I only see major companies and bigger indies getting the light here. So with everybody here to see biggest and best when smaller studios are out here as well, the free to play is a easier way to get a game into stingy hands. Sorry for the long post I just get pissed when people aren't willing to come off a dollar or two for a device that cost usually over 400-600 dollars.

    • WonderingIf

      Agreed. Thanks for the dev viewpoint. I do often see people complaining about games that cost $5.99 or up being too expensive. Or people who won't support the debs with a couple of dollars and scream that it should be free. These same people are going out and spending $60+ dollars on console games, and shelling out $8+ dollars to go see a 2 hour movie. It is perhaps a combination of some developers undercutting everyone constantly with "free for a limited time" offers to bump up their chart placing for downloads, and some iOS users who have gotten spoiled by this model. Add to that the *very* casual FB gamers and FarmVille type of gamers who are making greedy debs tons of money, and we have a huge problem. How to fix this, though?

    • pdSlooper

      I completely expect you to want and need money in exchange for your skilled labor. Though I have *preferred* pay models --methods that leave me with positive impressions of the devs-- I don't actually think badly of any developer unless they have a Candy Crush Saga style set up going on. And a very good (or very bad) game will change my impression thereafter, no matter the pay model.

      Basically, I respect devs' need and right to make money, but I draw the line at exploitative pay models/game design. I just don't download any game these days if the IAP lists consumables like currency, unless reviews specifically mention they're completely optional.

      Don't mind most of these folks going on about how they only ever buy "up front monies apps no IAP grarrarrarr". Most, when pressed, admit that they don't consider IAP-to-unlock/level packs/etc. "real" IAP, so they buy those. Besides that, we here on TA are a niche of the app store. A whiny, entitled niche...

  • Living Legend

    Some freenium games like trial by survival and ravenmark mercenaries i enjoy.

    But games like rr3 and several other games I hate due to their F2P model.

    Lite modes I like too.

    In all, premium is probably the safest way to go.

  • JohnnyJ301

    I want to pay a premium price for a premium game. I understand that developers are trying to make money and that's fine but 100 bucks for smurfberries c'mon. I could buy a ps3 and a few games for the price of 3 wagons of smurfberries. That is absolutely smurfrageous !!

  • At

    I don't mind having to wait or collect and save to continue through a game. Like many others agree, a great example of what not to do is Real Racing 3. Yes you can play and save up but the rewards for doing so are very low. (Money/gold for winning races) it gets to the point where you are forced to pay if you want to fully upgrade vehicles and turned me off the game quickly. Another game is crime inc, great game but unless you pay the rediculous amounts of Real money, you have no chance of competing.

    • shadax

      The worst part about this is that it works. People buy into the "just one more round" mentality and will pay to keep playing.

  • iOSPeace

    You Guys know that there's videos on how to get unlimited and such from jail breaking

    • Eseres

      You're saying that jailbreaking your device is a good thing, because you can get unlimited resources in some games with cheating?
      No wonder stuff like Square Enix did to Deus Ex: The Fallen happend then. A dev that release a game for free that earns money on IAP stuff would be PO'ed for stuff like that. Its kind of almost like stealing from those devs, you know that? Im NOT blaming you for stealing or that you jailbroke your device just to get free resources that the devs rely on to earn money. But it raises the question on why people jailbreak their device in the first place. A person could start to wonder if those people who claim that jailbreaking is for management purposes only, really is more because they want to open games for unlimited resources instead.
      If so, then i can see the reason behind jailbreaking a device IF you can get a game for free AND play it forever without spending so much as a cent.

      Im just saying...

  • SumoSplash

    "Oftentimes, when a new free-to-play game hits, there are many comments wondering why the game doesn't just offer a paid unlock to remove all the free-to-play shenanigans. Well, here we have a company doing just that."

    This, right here. I don't know how many posts I've made saying this, but it's been a lot. The 'middle ground' approach is to release the game for free and then have a one time IAP that transitions it to a Premium game. The second best approach to the one time IAP is to have IAP that gives you PERMANENT content in the form of expansions, like .99 cents for a new world, etc.

    For example, Monster Shooter 2 just came out. It will never get a cent from my pocket due to the insidious Freemium. If there was a way to make it Premium, the developer would have already had my money. On the other side of the coin, KungFuQuest released as free, has a .99 cent unlock for the whole game with no catches whatsoever. That developer now how my money.

    The last I checked, 2+2 is 4.

    • JohnnyJ301

      This is one awesome post, great idea. For developers who do choose the freemium route. EA should listen to this !

      • SumoSplash

        Yup. It is a model that appeals to everyone who wants Freemium (whoever that is) while also giving the people who want to OWN their game (no consumables, no adds, no solicitation, no paywalls, no timers, the ways games USED to be) the option to do so. It also enables the game to be played by the masses, since everyone will download a free game. If I were a developer, I'd want to cover ALL my bases and not exclude an entire group of people who do not like Freemium, which just so happens to be the entirety of TouchArcade.

    • ptdshiznit818

      This is my favorite post on this article. It's exactly what I wish could be. Unfortunately it's never going to become the new freemium norm. Companies would rather fool certain people into buying more and more IAP that could potentially add up to an infinite amount of money rather than a one time fee of, say, 99c, $5, or even $10 because there would be less people actually buying it for the premium price (we ARE a minority after all) and, with freemium, they have potential to make more than the premium price off of folks. Companies like EA don't actually care about what consumers want, they are just trying to figure out how they can milk the most amount of money off of its consumers. This mindset may not have created the freemium model, but it's definitely what molded freemium into what it is today.

  • LousyHero

    Honestly my favorite is the free "demo" pay to unlock premium. I think Wazhack has one of the best systems. You demo a character class for the first 300 ft of the dungeon, then if you like it you make a one time payment to unlock that class forever. Simple and elegant, you get to try the game and piracy isn't as much of a concern.

  • Brrobotix

    Ideally, I think everyone will agree that an up-front cost is best. I'd rather pay once and be done that be hit up for money every loading screen I hit (looking at you Dungeon Hunter...).

    Next best thing would be a free download of the full game, allowing you to play the tutorial of the game, maybe offering you some limited content, before asking you to buy the full version. This has been used successfully in Magic: DOTP 2013 and 2014, and allows the game to reach a wider audience then it would if it was a single up-front cost. However, since it is still a single main payment, the game's design does not have to be changed to shoehorn the freemium in. This payment method is underused in my opinion, and I think if more devs start using it it could have a very positive impact.

    Next would be a true freemium game, supported primarily with IAPs. The problem with this is that the gameplay has to be somehow designed in a way that the player feels the need to buy things in-game with real money to speed progression, avoid grinding, or even compete in later levels of a game. These are very hard to do, as they rely on a perfect balance of gameplay vs. pay barriers (not necessarily walls, as there might be ways around them, like excessive grinding). The problem that arises here is that the player becomes suspicious about any levels that seem to have difficulty spikes. What is normally just a tough boss immediately might seem like a paywall.

    The best way I see these freemium games working is by having a low entry price (between $3 and $1) and then balancing the IAP structure of the game so that it is more generous to the player, and you can complete the game without IAPs.

  • shadax

    No pay-to-win IAP. In fact, just expansions or giant team packs (a la Hero Academy).

    All games should have an ad supported "lite" version as a trial; it would obviously be limited to no more than ten minutes worth of gameplay. If your game hooks me in ten minutes, I'll pony up more than the $1.99 you would have priced it at.

  • joe8675309

    Premium price FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • McCREE

    Mikey Hooks: acceptable
    RR3: deplorable
    XCOM: perfect

  • iAmTheWalrus

    I prefer up front pay, I feel like IAP is ruining iOS games. However I also like the model mentioned in the article, the whole 'download a "lite" version of the game and if you like it, pay cash and unlock the entire game straight from the lite app' model.

    • WonderingIf

      Or parts of the game. Like lite version is free and short/limited. Level 2 purchase unlocks more but not all, but still expands the experience (maybe more abilities or more levels, etc.). Level 3 purchase is most expensive and unlocks everything. This way the gamer could choose his or her level of commitment/investment in a game. I know there have been times when I've thought, "I don't want all of these powers, and I don't care about the multiplayer; they should have offered an option that doesn't have these, but for less cost."

  • saltysick

    No IAP, up front cost model is by far the best.

  • Wizard_Mike

    I actually prefer freemium, just not endless freemium. A free game with a bunch of IAP features/unlocks is totally cool, imo. Whether it's unlocking the full game (like magic 2013/14) or just purchasing features a la cart as you go along. It's the endless consumable purchases that I feel have tarnished the industry.

    • pxlpshr

      Plants vs Zombies wouldn't take any more of my money. It had IAP to a point.

  • shaver

    The result of this thread was surprising.

    • ScaryFatKidGT

      Not really, idk anyone that likes waisting money, you can spend $50 on IAP shit and its just dumb when the game was $1, these purchased currency's are ruining cellphone gaming

  • ScotDamn

    I prefer what Trial by Survival did and here's why.
    TBS let's you experience exactly what you're getting into without spending a penny. This allows the user to decide if the game is for them and if they do like the game than they are free to unlock the premium game with a IAP. They took it a step further and allowed you to unlock only certain premium aspects of the game in smaller transaction such as Glitch the dog if you didn't wanna drop the whole $3.99.

    Anyone who says they'd rather pay upfront before trying must like throwing money down the drain. I for one have spent more than I care to say on wasted "premium" purchases. This is exactly what the Ouya is trying to do and it should keep developers honest knowing they have to impress.

    Another game that did something similar was Deep Dungeons of Doom in which they let you play a ton of the game with IAP unlocking a bunch more content.

    • Birth1118

      yeah up front payments are a bit gamble

      but trial and pay isn't gonna happen for every game, even when it's a total disappointment (DA2, Diablo3,etc)

  • knowsnothing

    I'd much rather pay a premium price for a full-fledged, immersive game with no IAP, than pay less for the same game with IAP. I have no problem with DLC, as long as original was worth it.

    I think the most disappointing was WH Quest. 30 yuan (I'm in china) and you had to pay another 30 for the full game (they said expansion, but original campaign quite short) AND IAP was quite aggressive. Lots of grinding was involved if you didn't want to pay extra. If I'm paying more than 18 yuan, I don't want any IAP.

    Kingdom Rush Frontiers seems to have struck the right balance. You pay a small amount upfront and get a full game. All IAP completely optional AND content additions are free.

    I just finished playing KOTOR (68 yuan), would love to play XCOM (not available in china), and am currently playing Deus Ex (45 yuan with virtual currency IAP). All great games that charge higher prices and are worth it.

    • Birth1118

      good to see a fellow chinese who makes purchases (instead of jail breaking)

      i'm using a hkd account to access the games not available in china. you might try it

  • DemoEvolved

    No lite versions its a waste of time.

    99 cents if tuned like joe danger which means very mild impulse to buy currency, but its there if you want gold joe right away. Otherwise no overt monetization, except monthly level packs for 99c however there level packs get rolled into the base game for free 1 month later when the new pack comes out so its just "getting it early for 99c"

    Otherwise, free with banner ads, coin grinding, and pay only non-functional decorations like bgm, and main menu banner placed offers to buy premium mode <$5 which removes ads halves grinding, and makes the game "fair" to play. Decorative only items still for sale. Thereafter 99c iap to buy level packs with clear description of pack content.

  • Bool Zero

    I won't dispute that strictly freemium has its place and I do prefer premium over IAP laden games, but it would be nice to not feel compelled to dispose a potentially good game because of the distaste of freemium trappings. As it stands a freemium game will always get the exposure because just downloading it gives it the bump on the charts and awareness despite how quickly it gets deleted. Part of there ability to garner the sales in the first place is the unrestrictive nature of its entry pricing (free!).

    What I don't understand is why don't more developers do this? Offer a game for free with IAP's and consumables but also offer the assumedly premium price IAP to remove the freemium elements from it! I don't believe this would be detrimental to a developers sales as they would be appeasing both camps; there are those that will not pay a premium price for a game but are happy to throw the equivalent at a freemium game and there are plenty of "core" gamers who don't want to be panhandled but are willing to pay a premium price for an otherwise great game they may find hampered by a freemium model! I refuse to believe that this middle road model hurts a developer because it means a high install rate and potential to garner both premium and freemium sales.

    Imagine Dungeon Hunters 4 or Real Racing 3 with the option to remove the freemium from it at a premium price (and when i say premium, I don't mean $4.99; let's assume $14.99 or $19.99)! There is a demographic willing to pay just for that privilege as they find the games competent but the freemium nature warding!

    It will be interesting to see what the top IAP will be in the coming weeks for Trial By Survival... I just hope that it does well and other developers take note! Perhaps its a naive notion, but I don't believe pricing models on the AppStore have to consist of polar opposites, black or white, premium or freemium and further, we can add more entries inbetween those gray lines, or that a game can't be both if consumers are given the option...

    • Brrobotix

      But the thing is, these games are money generators. Why do that when you can have a $100 IAP that offers some obscene amount of virtual currency. It's more than you would ever need, but the player doesn't know that. So there are some people rich and crazy enough to do that. And these are the people that make freemium such a huge success.

      • Bool Zero

        The reason is that they can capture money from both sides of the aisle. The statistics prove that the people spending $100 on IAP currency on that type of game are the same people that often won't often consider buying a premium priced game. By offering a model that can appease both aisle you can garner money from both demographics where you normally wouldn't. There are way too many folks that are adamant about not putting a dime into a freemium game (but are willing to play it until they hit that wall before deletion), and there are those that are willing to drop some money into one in moderation, to a point. The few unicorns that are spending that $100 on IAP on one game is not the gamer that is willing to buy a game because that person is the casual gamer, the one looking to play that one game ad nauseam and is often demographed as not playing many other games. Bear in mind it is not hundreds of thousands of people that are spending that $100 on that IAP currency as the typical user is spending maybe $5-$10 on average before reaching their break point. Folks willing to only spend the few dollars would still do so and not consider the "expensive" unlock option, nor would the $100 IAP guy because he would still buy the consumables regardless. It is a win win situation if a developer dared to actually take the risk by grabbing the gamer who would normally not spend a dime... And lets face it, not every person that downloads a developers freemium app is actually putting money toward it. A large portion of those downloaders have no intention of putting out money, much less putting out the unicorns type of money!

        Dungeon Hunter 4 is a perfect example: had it an option to play the game with no timers and remove/replace the gems converting the game to a in game gold currency model only, I and many others would have no problem paying a premium price for such an unlock. Conversely I refuse to be nickeled and dimed by an intentionally hindering panhandling model. I am more than willing to pay without feeling that restriction and wall met and the suggestion to pay to win.

    • rod-

      The reason that most companies don't offer full-version IAPs is that it puts a maximum spending cap on your game. Even the whales that would spend 500$ on never ending IAP currency are not so careless with their money to buy a 100$ IAP when the same(or better) effect can be had for 5$.

      It's (for certain ratios of whales:fish) better business to keep the whale on the hook and let the little fish swim free than to turn the whale into a little fish and catch them all.

      • Bool Zero

        Good analogy and even better point! I guess I am naive and wishful in my thinking that both can coexist... I know you are right, but I wish you were wrong!

  • SEVEN341

    I don't mind IAP's as long as the prices aren't inflated and they're something that's supplemental to the game and not absolutely necessary to have. I love eenies and punch quests approach to IAP's. both allow you to either purchase items for use in the game but also have an option to make a donation or "tip" the developers. The really awesome part is the gratitude they express for your support. Punchquest gives you bonus items while eenies gave me a nice thank you and a nice halo for my character to wear. IAP's can be a great help if its done right and done with respect to the consumer

    • Brrobotix

      Punchquest was great, but it'd dev didn't make a lot of money off it, since the pay scheme was too generous. I bought the $2 coin doubler, and I would've paid $5 easily for a coin quadrupler to pretty much eliminate the grind completely. I didn't buy any currency, because I hate paying real money for consumables.

  • Tycho2

    I like how in Gameloft's game: "Blitz Brigade" you can pay any amount to get VIP access, but that's really the only Gameloft game I spent money on. I would do that or buy full expansions. Otherwise IAP is a big no-no for me.

  • DemoEvolved

    Ps ascension has a good model as well where the main monetization is buying one time expansion decks that fill out the mechanics

  • raviadso

    Lemme pay for the game and make DLC purely cosmetic so people that want costumes or jut want to tip the producers can do that.

  • DemoEvolved

    What xcom fans need to realize is many people aren't even gonna look at the description for a game at that price point.

    A piecemeal way to buy the game would ultimately earn a lot more players by letting them see how good the game is and going deeper into it gradually via expansion buys

    • McCREE

      Then many people are going to miss out on the best iOS experience available in favor of derivative freemium trash. To each their own.

    • pdSlooper

      I agree with you, though I'll note that when I see a "premium" priced game, I check it out. They're usually very good.

  • Zeldaniac

    I prefer the Mikey Shorts pay model. πŸ˜€

  • Peachydharma

    I absolutely prefer to pay a premium price for a complete game. I do not really let price deter me too much, although I did wait for a sale on Xcom because it was going to happen eventually. The truth is ios gaming is a bargain compared to dedicated game machines.

    I refuse to participate in the fermium model. Too often the "game" is really about parting a player and their money as much as possible. The mechanics seem designed to produce frustration and induce a response to fork over to continue in ways that become genuinely offensive. EA is absolutely despicable in this regard. When the top grossing games are "free" it is an oxymoron. They are not free. If they were, they would not make the list of top grossing apps. It is a deceptive marketing practice, and blatant consumer manipulation.

    It is critical to cast our vote with our dollars. If freemium ceases to be profitable, then freemium will cease to be.

    • Birth1118

      nelson mandela of gaming

  • icoker

    no iap whatsoever. full expansion does not matter, its still iap.

    price range of 0.99-6.99 is the ideal.

  • Matthew Rossman

    If the focus is on the payment model then it's not a game I'm interested in because clearly the developer doesn't have their priorities straight.

  • timborama

    I personally don't buy ANY apps with IAP. I don't mind paying a premium up front for a fully functioning GOOD app.

    • pxlpshr

      You're missing out on a ton of great games. Limited you are.

  • Xissoric

    Either pay up front or unlock the full version from within the app.

  • Eseres

    The best thing is to just pay what ever the game costs ONCE. Thats what i prefer at least. I meen, i know that making a game isn't free, so im willing to pay for the games i want. Any game costs what it costs, and if i can't afford it, the too bad for me. Right? But! IF a dev chooses to release a game for free and have a IAP system, then i think it should be reasonable prices. Who want to pay huge money for a tiny, tiny amount of in game currancy? I had this game that charged 700 NOK (about 116 USD today,) for 700 gems. WHAT A RIP-OFF!!! That currancy pack costed more than some of todays most popular consol games. And how many times do you end up with buying such packs? For that amount of money you can't afford to delete the game later to get room for another game because you loose everything you bought, and you can't get the stuff back. That to me is a scam!

    Another thing. Some devs also makes a part of their game so difficult that you HAVE to spend money on IAP stuff, or else you won't get past a spesific point of the game. You usually get to a point like this in such a game relatively fast somewhere at the beginning of the game. At this point you'd praise the lord and who knows what that the game was free, so that you can delete it with a smile and no regrets. So, how much money did the devs make on that game? Thats time and energy wasted on a game that went town the crapper with no style what so ever.

    So, in the long run, the devs would benefit more on a great game with NO in-app purchases and rather charge the amount of money that their product is worth. In that way the devs will get paid a certain amount of money EVERY TIME someone downloads their product. And IF they should choose to release a add-on for the game later at some point, then they chould charge you for that add-on from inside the game. I choose to belive that if their game sits well for a customer, he/she won't mind paying extra for that add-on. Right?

    Making people pay over and over again for worthless crap just to keep playing a game is stupid. And on top of that, there are so many people who is against this IAP stuff, that the devs actually looses customers. How many times have you come across a great looking game that you really, really like, but you refuse to download it just because of this IAP stuff? I have been in that position several times. Its sad when this IAP stuff straight out kills a great game.

  • lux fox

    I don't mind IAP if it's done right. Outwitters did an amazing job. Basically, if it's not permanent it's crap. Anything you pay money for you should be able to have permanently. I hate the idea of buying coins and the like just to use them all up in a few minutes of gameplay.

  • pauldavidmerritt

    Other than Freemiums, I do not like buying games where the other episodes or campaigns are sold as IAP's. What you physically download when installing a game is the part you own permanently (on your computer), and can install for as long as your device lasts. The 'other' IAP parts of the game are basically 'in the cloud'--as long as you have download access. That won't last forever. Only a fool would think that.

    Have you ever thought about when the games you bought on Steam will not be available to you? You don't own these games. You are only licensed to have access to them as long as Steam has them available.

    • pdSlooper

      I've gotten 300+ hours out of Dungeons of Dredmor ($5), 200+ from Terraria ($5), and 140+ from Recettear ($15). If they disappear tomorrow, I will be sad...but I won't feel cheated. Truth be told, I'm not likely to want to dive back into those games again for years, if ever again.

  • saehild

    1. The only free to play game I find palpable is The Blockheads, only because I didn't need to pay the $3 for double time crafting, but I did anyways because I loved the game, and it was a one time cost.

    2. I find timer / currency IAP repulsive. 50 power crystals for 99 cents? Go to hell! Those games are deleted immediately. It's sad because I have found some truly amazing games that are utterly ruined by IAP. I would gladly of payed $5 or more for these if by doing so I obtained a fully unlocked, uninhibited game.

    3. My ideal price point is $1-$3. I will easily drop that much money on a gamble if the game is good. If the game is widely reviewed and has stellar ratings I'd pay even more. Games like "a Ride Into the Mountains" are perfect in every way: design, music, game length and price point all in a complete package with no loose ends.

    I don't care what anyone says, poorly implemented IAP is the cancer that kills mobile gaming.

  • pdSlooper

    If it's a developer I don't know or one with a spotty record:
    I prefer free "lite" downloads with full version/level packs unlock. No, that's not quite right. What I actually prefer is to snag the game when it's free and, if I like it, buy some IAP and leave a good review. But really, who here on TA is homest about IAP?

    If it's a developer I know AND trust:
    I prefer up front pay, but I'll also do IAP unlock in a pinch.

  • fprimero81

    Hey there! In my company we are starting as publishers. I'd love to know your opinion about this: we are about to release a terrific racing game called Rusher. It will be the first mobile racing game featuring open world, among other incredible stuff, such as complete car customization, cross platform multiplayer, and the possibility to go pink slips and bet your ride on a game. This will be a serious release, and we are intending to claim a place in the podium, next to Asphalt and Need For Speed Most Wanted.

    Thing is: since we don't want to play douchebags, we were thinking about going freemium plus an honest ownership model, in which you will basicaly pay to make the game go premium. No more grinding, cooldowns or whatever. How do you feel about it?
    You are the most entitled ones to help us go into the right direction.
    Thanks to all!!!

    • fprimero81

      Yes, you read right. Open world in a mobile racing game. What EA didn't had the guts to do with NFSMW.

    • thecool111

      Please make it $4.99, with no IAP, they ruin the fun factor In games. Sounds really neat though, I have been waiting for a free roam racing game for a while.

      • fprimero81

        Thanks for your feedback! We will ensure you guys have the chance of enjoying a premium experience.

    • JBRUU

      Release two versions: one with a premium $7 or $10 price tag and no dual currency/timers/F2P elements, the other full blown F2P however you like it. That way you satisfy the core gamers while still appealing to the cheapo masses of the AppStore. Dark Meadow did this, and IMO it's a great way to balance finances and customer satisfaction.

      Look forward to the game! Hope you get the physics right, that's by far the most important element of a good racer to me.

      • fprimero81

        Thanks for your feedback! Will try to put both those versions in a same app. Trust me, you will drool to the drifting of this cars πŸ˜‰

    • DannyTheElite

      Have you got an upcoming thread?

      • fprimero81

        Yes! Coming next week. You won't believe your eyes.

    • SumoSplash

      Let me ask you this... Would you rather have 2,3,4 or 5 dollars guaranteed from me, or would you rather I play your Freemium and never give you a cent? From my perspective, those are the only two options.

      Give your players the option to shed the Freemium nonsense from within the app by being able to upgrade to a Premium version.

      • fprimero81

        Thanks for your feedback! I'd rather sincerely give you a fantastic premium experience once you pay for it, and the opportunity to give the game a try for free.

    • Eseres

      If your game is good, i won't mind paying 10-20 USD for it, as long as you don't add a IAP solution in it. Make it a true premium experience as a great game should be. No waiting for stupid cooldown crap.

      • fprimero81

        Thanks for your feedback! Don't worry, we are also gamers. No freemium crap, just a free and a premium experience worth your time and money πŸ˜‰

    • Fade to Slack

      Putting your car up in a race? That sounds like a really good way to lose a player.

      I had a friend who lost a Black Lotus to me the only time we played for ante. I'd imagine our friendship and his days playing MtG would have been over had I actually held him to his bet.

      • fprimero81

        Haha yeah, we know it will crush some friendships... Either way, you won't be able to bet a car if it is your only one.

  • pxlpshr

    I'm going to address the elephant in the room and the real reason the majority if you are having an IAP bitch-fest. You can't pirate a free game. Back in the old days, people would jailbreak their phones and run to Cydia to play their pirated games.

    Free is the fastest way of getting your game in everyone's hands. IAP is the best way for the developer to "take my money". If I like your game I'll buy into your IAPs. Within reason - I'm not one of the 12 who purchased the "golden jay" from "Snoopify". I used to spend hundreds of dollars a month growing up in the 90s on games (well, my parents). Killer Instinct 2 for the N64 was an $80 game day of release.

    While I purchase $4, $10 or even $20 games on the iOS store - if that was the only choice, the majority of you'd turn to piracy. So, make it a level playing field.

    Everyone's whining about IAPs like you lack free will (we probably do). I'm still seeing people play Candy Crush like it's the second coming.

    • andrew9oh7

      Well said man

    • JohnnyJ301

      Talk about generalizing, the majority don't jailbreak. I see a lot of familiar names making comments on this page. These users are probably long time touch arcade members that buy games on a regular basis.
      The majority of long time users would rather pay for premium games, myself included. Not everyone that buys an iphone or iPod jailbreak. Over the last few years. I've spent a lot of cash on the app store and I will continue to buy games at a premium price.
      Let's not refer to some 14 year old jailbreaking his device and sharing his account with his high school buddies as the the " elephant in the room"
      People just don't like freemium, it cheapens the experience and usually turns into a grind fest.
      iOS and developers do need to come up with an anti jailbreak system so these pirates don't rip off the developer.

    • JohnnyJ301

      This is true generalizing at it's best. The majority of true mobile gamers don't jailbreak their device and would rather pay a premium price for a game.
      This survey shouldn't include " jailbreakers" who pirate the game. That needs to be stopped, some system on iOS created by Apple and the developers to prevent this.
      I know that the majority of mobile gamers are long time members of touch arcade and don't have a problem with paying a premium price, myself included.
      Most gamers don't want to play freemium games because of the endless grinding and paywalls.

      • JohnnyJ301

        I didn't mean to double post this. I thought the original post wasn't submitted

    • bilboad

      This post is mostly BS. While it may be true that charging for a game via IAP makes it harder to pirate, IAP per se isn't what people in this thread or complaining about mostly, which you'd see if you actually read some of the posts before posting your rant. If a company just wants to prevent pirating via jailbreak, they could just charge a one time IAP to unlock the full game, and most people posting on this thread have no problem with that, since it's basically equivalent to buying a premium game through the app store. What people have a problem with is the way the freemium pay model is often implemented, in games like Dungeon Hunter 4 for example, where there is no amount of money you can pay to permanently remove all the timers and intentional imbalances in the game. It's basically turning games back into coin-op arcade games, but in a sort of dishonest way by making it possible to play the games for free if you're willing to be annoyed the whole time, just so they can claim the game is free.

      • pxlpshr

        Yes I know Yiddish as I'm part of the tribe. To a hammer everything looks like a nail. Yada, yada. Piracy isn't for kids - how naive you truly are. The average gamer for iOS and Android is a freetard who simply won't pay for games. You will be sorely mistaken if you think people buy games. According to Leo Laporte only 10% of EA's Simpsons game users' purchased the IAPs. The rest play free.

        This is a niche forum that doesn't reflect the real world. Many adults pirate everything. It's not just for kids.

      • JohnnyJ301

        You know, you are right in regards to pirating. It is very abundant and not narrowed down to just 14 year olds as I put it earlier. Unfortunately because of this pirating, the freemium garbage comes out. The real solution is to prevent piracy on iOS, android. I don't know how they can come up with a solution but if they can find one, better games will reappear.

      • Erik Moller

        You can't get rid of piracy. The first known piracy was over 2000 years ago with bootlegged, hand-copied books. The only pirate-proof games I've seen are Blizzard's MMOs. You can play a hacked game on your own server, but you'll need legit serials and a legit account to play online with everyone else - unless it's a stolen serial from a gamer who's left the scene.

        Otherwise, make the game free and create IAPs. However, not all IAPs are created equal. The IAPs in Temple Run 2 and Plants vs Zombies were done right. The gameplay wasn't ruined if you didn't make those purchases. I guess you could add Fieldrunners to this mix too. But IAP consumables that make a game endless - like Candy Crush, are downright evil.

  • SandmanSandlin

    Free to play, not free to enjoy.

  • denisvjcr

    All games on my iPad are premium !

  • totsboy

    Paid. Don't like freemiuns and IAPs at all.

  • SandmanSandlin

    Wagon of Smurfberries for $99 or Call of duty BO 2 for $60? This decision has been bothering me all day.

    • andrew9oh7


  • Lostpop21

    Im okay with IAP if its additional content, not 4.99 for 5 gems...

  • flashbackflip

    Same as the first commentator

    Pay and play. Forever. No iaps

  • Jake7905

    If you could do away with consumable IAP, everything else would be OK with me. Apps that use consumable IAP are the main source of the problem, and a complete con job.

    Of course, paying one premium price with no IAP is the ideal format.

  • jaden fire

    I prefer a up front pay the price get everything needed included, I do like the ones were you try the lite then pay to unlock the full no hassle. I dislike freemium, I mean years ago on my 2g iPod I loved it, I just got a new iPad and saw a new EA game Sims Freeplay and though it would be neat... long story short EA ruined freemium for me I don't trust any now, most seem like money hungry developers... can't get far without paying or energy is put into the game and sometimes games use timers like Sims Freeplay did.... I prefer to pay for full game. it's sad that freemium ios games went downhill, there used to be awesome F2P ios games now your not going to find really any. Unless you pay premium like Junk Jack unlimited play time just have fun play for hours with few IAP wich are optional that is how you will get great games.

  • poorwealthyman

    Well lets look at it this way - of all 44 games on my iPad, not one of them is freemium. They are all paid for. Of course, I have had freemium on here, but their novelty is very brief compared to the prolonged experience you can have with paid for games.

  • manaman

    I prefer one flat price. Even when the price is more than 99Β’. Heck, especially so. If it's a quality game and not designed for monetization I'm willing to spend money up front.

  • Madison

    I prefer to pay more, like the old Asphalt games, and not have EVERY game have iApp these days. I'm prepared to pay for quality and a FINISHED product with the exception of expansion packs (I am for example a Taiko No Tatsujin player: the only iApp there is new song packs to play every few months: this is good! But when I see iApps of 90 dollars or more in some games to buy coins my stomach physically hurts. It needs to be realistic and a lot of developers are no longer realistic. At those iApp prices you're cheaper off buying a decent console with a few titles.)

  • Cabutops1

    Free to play (can have a pay shop but only if you can still do PRACTICLY all the content without it) or cheap games ($1-$3)

  • Chq

    I want to pay once, for full content, too. Further updates should be included in this price (e.g. Bad Piggies).

    Greets Chq

    • Eseres

      I agree. Future updates and fixes should be included in the costs of a game.
      But if its a expansion, then its okey to pay for it.

      Another thing ( a little off this topic,) is that if a dev release a game, they should be commited to continue to fix bugs a such untill they are all sorted out.
      A customer have the right to a fully functional product when they pay their hard earned cash for it.

  • jeffmd

    I prefer pay once and get all games, however im open to games that use an IAP unlock so one app can be the demo and full version. Also games that utilise an item unlock system with an alternative in game currency also works. Anything that imposes time limits and uses IAP to extend but not remove those time limits gets instantly deleted.

    My biggest issue is most IAPs are more expensive then they are worth, IMO if it cost more then $10 to totally unlock a game, you are doing it wrong.

  • Kloo13

    I hate freemium and free-to-play! And I hate Ad banners! I prefer to pay one time to get the entire game rather than spending time in a game, falsely free, that will seek to frustrated me to force me to pay

  • appsome

    As a developer who released my game few days ago, I was asked why my game isn't free and why dont't I "try to monetize in other ways". Only two ways that are acceptable to me are: a) fully paid up front b) lite version with one permanent IAP which unlocks full game (removes game slots limit in my case).
    One way that poped into my head was, unlocking one game slot if player would watch an ad, but this unlock wouldn't be permanent. What anyone thinks about that?

    • Eseres

      Watch one ad and get a slot open for a short time is okey. But you can still open that slot permanently if you buy it? Right?
      I think your game will do just fine as long as you don't put customers in that position that they'll be forced to spend money on IAP.
      At least, i will give your game try when you release it πŸ™‚

  • jamesmcadams82

    Up-front is ideal. Episodic payments are fine if you know what you're getting into from the start & when it will end (like Telltale's 5-part games).

  • Rubicon Development

    People are holding up $99 of smurfberries as an absudity. Fine. But isn't "I want a full game for $0.99" just as absurd?

    • REkzkaRZ

      Not if it's selling 2 million copies.

      • Rubicon Development

        True. Now if only they did we'd all be laughing...

    • Fade to Slack

      It's the whale packages that turn me off to F2P games.

      Real Racing 3 actually managed to hamstring their IAP by making the priciest cars locked. People have to play a VERY long time if they even want an opportunity to purchase the 400 and 800 Gold cars, now. The compulsion, in turn, is to buy Gold if you're falling short during the 20% Showcase Discount.

      I've 80 hours in game and am not even sniffing those cars, though. I'd probably need another 100 to get to that point.

    • JohnnyJ301

      Most true mobile gamers wouldn't expect a premium game for .99 cents but seeing some of these games with iAP's up to 200 dollars is insulting.

  • Chq

    I want to pay once for a game. Price can be high, when further upadates are coming or content is very much.

    In my opinion a game can also cost much, when the style is very special.

    Special design- special price. Why not? πŸ™‚

    Greetz Chq

  • lapin

    I prefer free games with no in app purchase. FREEEEEEEE

    • pdSlooper

      Honest, aren't we? ;P

  • Sabaki

    AAA type game like Plants vs Zombies 2, let me pay $10 to buy the game outright and all the content up front. Don't go stick plants and upgrades behind IAPs.

    99c games are those I'd consider buying with IAP content provided the gameplay isn't tweaked to manipulate you into making purchases.

  • dancj

    IMO - timers and currency that you really need to be able to progress at any decent rate I completely disapprove of. They wind up fleecing some unfortunate saps of huge amounts of money for basically nothing.

    In endless runner type games I don't have a big problem, but I can't imagine why anyone buys IAPs because they really don't change anything in those games.

    My preferred model is a lite version and a full version as a separate app. I'm just a little untrusting of IAPs for full app upgrades about whether I could lose them if I uninstall the gam at some point.

    And I'll own up. I'm one of those people who'll will rarely ever go above 69p for a game. I don't have a problem with games being more expensive, but I won't buy them. As long as I can keep getting more good games than I have time to play for 69p or free (not freemium) then I really don't see the point. .

  • Sven Van de Perre

    I understand completely why people here prefer the up-front pay/no IAP games. But as an indie developer that hasn't scored a big hit and can thrive on name alone, that the road to ruin.
    We tried it with 6th Planet, and sticked to our 99c price tag for over two years. You get good download numbers at launch and when the reviews hit, but then, you get swallowed by the next batch, and you'll never re-surface. And since you don't have IAP's, any free promotion is just giving your game away, and never getting anything in return. Because when you switch back from FREE to paid, the word of mouth that produced paid downloads is minimal.

    Therefore, the newest 6th Planet update, as well as our 2nd game Retrobot and the upcoming 6th Planet Ultimate Edition on iPad are all free to download, you can play a bit (well, half the game, in 6th Planet), and then you can buy an IAP to play the rest. At least, that gives us some tools to do good FREE promotions, get our games out there and earn some money on the people that really play it.

    To me, the FTP model works well in certain genres. Like puzzle games and racing games. Stuff that's fun to play even without spending money, and that's a good fit for cooldown times. In the end, how good the game is plays a major role in it too.

    • REkzkaRZ

      I do appreciate your commentary here, makes sense & sounds like it falls within the 5% non-Satanic IAP framework (ie not evil).
      I might've played '6th Planet', but it requires 262mb for a 'lunar-lander' -like gameplay. Would you consider making great games that are *MUCH smaller in size*? PLEASE? I'm always dealing with the most minute amounts of space left free on the device....

      • Sven Van de Perre

        Hm... well, we're in the niche of creating game & comic combo's. And going all out, and I mean REALLY all out, on the comic part too. There's 2 full comic books in 6th Planet, with a back-story that ties into the game (keep reading, you'll see). Unpacked on your device, the game is 477mb. But that is 477mb worth of cool content. Compressed to the max. If you haven't played the game already, and have an iPad, wait another week or 2. If you don't, give it a go. You just might like it. and if you don't, just delete it.

        Oh, our next game, soon to be announced, is 35mb to download, and 100mb unpacked on your device. But that is only possible for games with art assets that are re-used all the time. Not the piles upon piles of new stuff that is 6th Planet or Retrobot.

  • REkzkaRZ

    I prefer games that SUCK that are basically just a STORE and all the 'so-called' gameplay takes me to the store where I can only buy the good stuff with real money, but I can waste my time grinding levels that SUCK to earn fake in-game money to buy SUCKY stuff...


    95% of IAP is evil and cruel and satan-worshipping. 5% of it is ok (ie the 'free to play' game that has a $2 to fully unlock & get some little bonus thing -- but you can play almost as normal w/o paying).

    Also, F2P devs should always leave a cheap/easy way for fans to support, like a $1 IAP to pay to get rid of ad banners. Or similar, 'support the dev', $1 things.

  • wstutt

    Foursaken does it best.

    An inexpensive game with regular updates of a couple bucks... And then if you want to eliminate the grind, cough up a few more bucks for some premium currency which is in no way necessary and completely attainable via in-game play. They are my favorite developer by far, and have made $40 or $50 from me because of their low pressure IAP model.

  • Johnny101

    The best example of a great game ruined by Freemium, the Dark Meadow.

    Original premium version was truly amazing and when they went to Freemium, the game turned into a huge grind and ruined the integrity and feel of the game, in other words it turned into a POS.

  • AcidicUK

    If the game is free and can justify IAP in some way i don't really mind. Games such as Temple Run 2, Jetpack Joyride and Dead Ahead have all warranted this in my opinion. These are genuinely good games that deserve some money being put towards them, even if they are only "endless runners".

    But of course the ideal game is just one upfront payment and then no IAP.

  • pointaken47

    I'd rather a full game with probably a ad-supported (only) free version and an option to remove the ads or a ad-free version. Weirdly enough, I don't like paying for games over the net, but I don't mind paying for them over the counter.

  • PeyloW

    Up front payment is my first choice.
    I have problem paying for episodic content or major content additions.

    Games that nags and tries to get me to pay to get rid if annoyances gets uninstalled.

  • Gilgilad

    I like how RAVENMARK: Scourge of Estellion has two apps, one is the full $9.99 premium game (all 6 campaigns and zero iaps and any future campaigns are given free, I got campaigns 3-6 free). The other version of the app is an episodic version that is free to download and gives the first campaign free and then through iap you can unlock additional campaigns. The episodic version is awesome because you can test the game for free and then go and get the premium download if you want or just unlock the campaigns one at a time as you see fit. Btw, the game is amazing and very deep, worth way more than $9.99.

  • Mullet Guy

    I don't really mind, I do think that games with IAP should have an "unlock all" option (e.g. PvZ2 would benefit from this). There is something very wrong with a game if it costs $100 to buy premium currency though, the price for premium currency in some games is disgusting.

  • StraightlineBoy

    I'd also rather pay a decent price for a proper game - I would however like games to maybe have a 1 hour demo period if they're 20 bucks but I realise that's Apple's rules getting in the way.
    I'm not against all IAP, such as lots of extra levels for people who finished the main game, or unimportant stuff like costumes, but absolutely despise the games that use IAP where you basically buy your way up the leaderboards.

    I don't get all of the hate for Real Racing 3. I played for hours, never gave them a cent. Elements of the game were broken such as having to pass a dozen cars in a lap without using your car as a battering ram, but I've seen much worse IAP.

    • bilboad

      I agree with your first paragraph. With regard to RR3, I don't want to play for hours without giving them a cent, since I don't have any problem with paying them for a good game. What I want is to be able to keep racing repeatedly on the same track with the same car to learn the track, without having to worry about budgeting coins or switching cars while one is being "serviced". I'd like to be able to turn damage modeling on or off depending on my mood. I'd like to be able to restart a race if I got interrupted during the middle of it and not have the game still penalize me for whatever damage happened so far. I'd like to be able to start using a new car or upgrade immediately when I get it in the game, and not have to think about budgeting my coins or spending real money to do so. I could go on, but you get the idea. The game is just filled with little irritations, restrictions and missing features compared to other racing games, that only exist to support the pay model. I realize a lot of people, including you apparently, don't mind working around these restrictions, and that's fine. But if you're serious about wanting to understand what some people have against this pay model, hopefully my above description helps you understand.

      • StraightlineBoy

        All perfectly fair comment although I also would have preferred a premium version of RR3 with various niggles fixed but failing that it was possible to get enjoyment from the game as it is without handing over money to encourage them to continue this model. As I say I think I've seen much worse examples of IAP.
        The really stupid part of it all is that I don't see why a premium version couldn't exist as IAP for those who wanted it - pay 10/15 dollars, remove the waits, give us a time-trial mode and generally increase the in game prize money to make new car purchases easier.

  • bilboad

    I'm fine with any pay model where it's possible to pay a one time fee to get access to a version of the game with no intentional annoyances or imbalances built in. This includes premium games that you pay for up front, and games where you use an IAP to permanently unlock a full version or additional content. I'm also fine with consumable IAPs as long as they are truly optional in order to enjoy the game.

    What I'm not fine with is games that are designed with intentional annoyances built in, or intentionally designed to be imbalanced and require what most people would consider excessive grinding, and only provide IAPs which *temporarily* remove the annoyances or imbalance. I tried to be open minded about this type of pay model, but I've found the pay model of these games so irritating that I now just avoid them, even if it is a game I would otherwise have liked. Some examples for me of games I would have really enjoyed but for the pay model are Dungeon Hunter 4 and Real Racing 3. These are both good enough games that I would gladly have paid $10 or maybe even a little more for them without all the timers and intentional imbalances.

  • xXHardKoreXx

    I prefer the xcom, Phoenix wright model where you pay a premium price for a full fledged premium game. Nothing bothers me more than to pay a few bucks for a game only to be reminded every 2 seconds that I can buy gems or clams or whatever. Games like bike baron are over the top amazing where a dollar goes a LONG ways as well.

  • Cheuk Seto

    Full payment up front for a premium gaming experience. I wonder if free-to-play games like DeadTrigger have fared better if it was a premium game for like $4.99. The game looks good, and controls were decent enough. After playing a few stages, I realized I am already underpowered by the hordes of zombies rushing towards me. If I needed to move on, i had to purchase the weapons with real $$, as the money i pick up after each stage was disappointing at best.

    I have only played 2 games that I really didn't mind the IAP: Real Racing 3, and Puzzle and Dragons. For the first game, I never paid a penny as I felt the game was super fair with the in-game currency vs premium currency (actually, i picked up the game after the several updates to include the daily bonuses). Real Racing was also challenging enough to make you go back to the game again and again. Time sinks are not an issue after the latest updates as I didn't need repairs often or if I did, the longest I had to wait was about 2 hours for any repairs to be made. Puzzle and Dragons was similarly challenging with new things to collect and with frequent updating. The Japanese version I have been playing actually gives out free premium currency, almost daily, to reward the players' loyalty. The game does feature time sink by the way of stamina recovery, so you have can only play so many times in a given period. But as you get better and improve your rank, your stamina increases as well. The only time I actually paid was to use the premium currency to play a lottery for getting a rare monster - another rewarding system for the player.

    In summary, even though a premium game with an upfront payment is preferred, IAP's can work when they reward the gamers for shelling out money.

  • gandhimonty

    No IAP PLEASE....truly speaking i stop playing ios games just because this crappy reason...

    And i m sure i m not alone....

  • KevinS

    Free up front, no I.A.P except single purchase to unlock full game. Also, I'm fine with a "tip" or "donation" I.A.P to support the devs. πŸ™‚

    • Eseres

      Yeah! I second that! If a game is really good, i'd donate money to the dev through a donation system inside the game just to support the future developement of that game, or for that devs next upcoming game.

  • liteking

    Most people say they hate freemium (F2P) model. But it is their fault that force game developers to create freemium games, because they pay for F2P more

  • Goggles789

    I love premium games, and I don't mind freemium. The freemium titles that are littered with advertising and constantly are pushing you with pop ups to buy piss me off. It's like a pushy sales person.

  • Dai Lion

    If i dont play, i dont pay. Very rare that i pay without play for a while before. So, IAP is the best model for me.

  • Charger

    Freemium is the future of mobile gaming and you guys are acting as if big developers care what you think. Hehe!

  • BrannigansLaw

    Triple Town did it best.

    1. make a great waiting in line/bathroom game (great graphics, addictive endless puzzle)
    2. give the players just enough turns to get hooked and make them wait for more
    3. then give them the option for unlimited moves for a few bucks

    4. the player now has the option to own the whole game
    5. add new maps and dlc for .99 (chances are if you like the game enough to have bought unlimited moves then you'll easily fork over a dollar or two for new content (side note: they need a multiplayer mode)

    That's pretty much it. Keep it short and sweet, playable on the go put some love behind the visuals and sounds and make it addictive. Limit the players play time and if you did it right they won't think twice about dropping a few bucks for the whole game.

    IMO Candy Crush fails because it keeps asking for money. Think of how much more they could stand to make if they offered unlimited lives for a few bucks. More than 2/3 of my friends that play through Facebook (about 60) have stopped playing on the first level because they don't see an endgame. You'll never get to own the full game out right... it'll own you if you let it though. I own Triple Town, but even though I have Candy Crush I'll never be able to own it and that makes it seem like a waste of space on my device.

  • blakedaking

    One game that come to mind is outwitters. It is free to start but if you want to play more than 5 games at a time, you must make a purchase. I love the game so I bought the complete bundle and to support the developer.

    It is hard to go against freemium because it lets you try the game before making any purchases. Some developers do it right and some do it wrong (ie, $19.99) for a special car or something.

    I would rather just flat out buy a game. I don't want to buy in game cash.

  • Foursaken Media

    Both as a gamer AND a developer, we prefer most of our IAP to be extra content (more characters, more levels, etc)... permanent additions that really add something or change the way you play the game, but is still completely optional.

    We've actually found this to work out really well from both sides... we have a really good conversion rate because it seems like gamers "get" the 'buy additional content' concept without feeling ripped off, and we in turn get some nice additional revenue to cover our costs that we lose up front by selling a game for so cheap :p

    We do have currency IAP as well, but one thing we've done for most of our games to show players that our consumable IAPs are truly extra is to only have only one currency, instead of adding in a 2nd premium currency.

    Basically, from what we've seen at least, I think we're seeing gamers who are more willing to buy IAP when they feel like its fair and they're actually getting something good from it...

  • Hawaii Jeff

    I tried a couple F2P games a couple years ago, but all the alerts & ads on the load screens and menus that were constantly asking me to spend money & buy the daily "best value" offer really turned me off.

    Since then, I never even download F2P games. I just want to pay money upfront to actually buy the complete game and not be pestered while playing.

  • Mj1ggy

    When I first got an iPhone I pretty much refused to pay for games and would only download free games. Some of these were genuinely free, some of these were freemium with highly optional IAP (eg Tiny Tower and other NimbleBit games, where you can do everything without paying and IAP basically just speeds things up), and some had more aggressive IAP models with premium currencies. I rejected the last model immediately because the games just cease to be fun, even if they start out that way and still won't play them.

    After that I started paying attention to premium games and since I pretty much only buy games that are well reviewed, I've been pleased with this model; most games are worth the $1-3 entry fee. The model I most appreciate, though, is probably the one that is least profitable to developers: namely,free or very inexpensive games that offer useful, permanent upgrades (coin doublers) for another small investment, like Punch Quest or Quadropus Rampage. These games also allow you to pay for currency but its optional and merely cut down on grinding power ups. I am hopeful that we can find a balance with this model in the future. One thing I don't like about paying a higher cost upfront is I often download games and then neglect to play them for some time.

  • iqSoup


    So I'm an actual dev and I gotta say, if you're not a giant company or if you don't already have some major clout as an indie its very very VERY difficult to make ANY MONEY AT ALL with a paid app on the app store. I mean its really really hard to make more than 10 or 20 bucks--no joke. And that's for a game you worked on for months. As a dev I prefer no IAP myself. I don't want to spend my time trying to figure out the best way to railroad people into paying me at least something for my game. I'd much rather just focus on making an awesome game, sell it for 3-5 bucks (still incredibly cheap for what it is), and have people actually buy it. I can make a little money and do so without making a product that feels shady and gross. But that's just a fantasy--at least in the current market its almost impossible to make money as a premium game unless you're Infinity Blade or a Final Fantasy game.

    So, at least in the current market, most devs are forced to either leave the iOS market entirely or go free-to-play. That's just a fact no matter how much everyone here says they hate any IAP whatsoever. For all the talk here of how everyone prefers a premium game, in real life that's just not the case. Everyone here is either lying or in an extremely small minority. Even those of you who honestly really do regularly spend your money on premium games, my guess is you're not buying dozens of them a week. The high price means you're buying a lot less--maybe only a few a month. This means that only a limited few apps are going to float to the top--the rest will go completely unnoticed. On the other hand people can download endless free games without a care in the world. That means way more people are going to at least play your game for a second or two--and each extra person is a chance for you to sell some IAP and actually make some cash.

    I for one think IAP is just fine when its for permanent non-consumables. For example a coin doubler--most people seem to be ok with coin doublers as they forever make the game better. Its kind of like upgrading to a premium version and gives players a chance to kick the dev a dollar or two. Buying in-game currency is ok by me, but only when it pertains to cosmetic items or stuff that doesn't relate to actual game play. A different skin/costume for your character or unlocking a new background in Fruit Ninja.

    But the problem is, if its only cosmetic then its not as attractive as a purchase. Paying to win is just more enticing. I think it makes for a crappy game, one that kind of defeats its own point, but its just a more profitable way of doing things.

    The only one that has power to do anything to fix this is Apple. ANYTHING they did to support premium games on the App Store would be a huge step in the right direction. Maybe a special chart just for premium games--and to get on there you have to lock your price at its premium level for the next year or even the next 6 months. Maybe even a premium indie chart of some sort. Maybe having a better rating/review system (the current one is terrible) so random people can really know they are getting quality if they commit to paying $3 for a game. Maybe build in some kind of demo system into the store itself--like in XBLA where basically every game has a small demo associated with it. There's all kinds of stuff that could be done to help premium games and make sure IAP isn't the only game in town. BUT Apple has shown time and time again that they don't really care about games or gamers, they don't want to be a "gaming platform", they don't care about the premium market, and what really matters to them is be able to brag that they have a million apps on the app store--even if 99% of them are flashlight apps.

    • JohnnyJ301

      Great comment and thank you for the enlightenment. I didn't realize how tough it is for the indie developer to make money on the app market.
      Someone in these comments suggested that having an IAP to unlock the full game could be a great possibility to overcome piracy. This would obviously help both the developer make money and the consumer not having to put up with so many IAP's or ads.
      Personally I prefer paying a premium price for a good game. Hopefully something can be done for developers to make money without having to resort to endless IAP's.

      • iqSoup

        IAP unlocks might prevent some piracy, but usually someone just hacks your game and gets all the unlocks for free. For example, I love Jetpack Joyride--I find it really rewarding to earn enough coins to unlock something cool. But I have friends with hacked versions who can buy as many coin packs as they want for free. Kind of a bummer to a legit player like me, but more importantly HalfBrick doesn't see any money for all those fake coin pack purchases. So the piracy prevention is kind of minimal.

        The real way to stop privacy is stuff like requiring the user to check in online. This requires the player to always have an internet connection, but this is becoming less and less of an issue.

        Anyways, back to IAP. Like I said the ball's in Apple's court but I don't see anything happening anytime soon. Maybe iOS7 will change things up but not from what I've heard. Free to play models are really ruining the app the store. They are fine sometimes, but its sad that they are often the only way to make money--for the indies and triple A devs alike.

      • JohnnyJ301

        That's the unfortunate part, not everyone can check online. Especially if you're in a remote area. You may not have an internet connection.
        Steam on pc has a very good security system. Having to check in online is something that may be to controlling for users because I do enjoy playing offline. Playing single player campaigns for games.
        I don't know the technical side but if Apple and Developers could come up with a system to prevent piracy, it would be a win,win situation and therefore freemium could be greatly reduced as developers could put a price tag on their games and not get ripped off

        ...but as you say would Apple go to those lengths? that's the big question.

      • iqSoup

        Online check in is just one solution to privacy--there are others but its a good one, a simple one, and one that gamers should just get used to. Even for single player games--if you have some kind of internet signal everywhere you go then whats the problem with the game phoning home in one way or another. I don't think such a policy would really exclude that many people. And in a few short years that group is going to drop down to essentially zero--at least in the developed world.

        But we see what happened to the Xbone. I don't know who on earth would go buy an brand new $500 console and not have the internet yet but people we going nuts over that. For whatever reason Microsoft got hell for what Steam has been doing for years. If you ask me discs are an entirely obsolete medium and have been for years--the Xbone and the PS4 shouldn't even use discs whatsoever. Look at iOS--no discs or physical games whatsoever and its a super viable platform. No one complains about not having a physical medium for their iOS games. And it works well--you get a new phone, you log into your account and all your games are right there.

        Eventually all gaming will be done via the cloud so gamers need to get used to this stuff sooner or later! And its good for customers too--those who buy games without pirating them will no longer be suckers who are paying for something others get for free. Plus devs will see some at least some more money from games--that money can go into game quality, or at least will allow more devs to stay afloat.

      • iqSoup

        Oh one other idea I had! Maybe other people have thought of this but back in the old days Nintendo had its "seal of quality" for NES--a system plagued with tons of unofficial 3rd party titles. The idea was that consumers would see the "seal" and know that at least the game passed whatever basic requirements Nintendo had. Apple could do something similar for games.

        Lets say you have your game on the App Store and you feel like its really good. People like your game but its not picking up steam as quickly as you like. You could then submit it to Apple, they could play it and really gauge if its a quality game. The standards would be more stringent than the normal Apple approval process you currently go through. Maybe they could even charge $50 or $100 as a "submission fee" to cut down on crap. You'd have to be confident your game is going to pass or you wouldn't waste your money. Then it passes and its an "Official Premium App" or has some "Apple Seal of Approval" or whatever. There could be separate charts, promotions, and such for these kind of games. And customers could see the "seal of approval" and know they are going to get a game of at least some basic level of quality. Maybe these games would have some kind of pricing commitment--they can't just drop price all of a sudden if sales aren't as expected.

        Anyways, just an idea. Honestly, like I said Apple could really do anything and it would help but they just don't give a crap about gamers...for some reason.

    • Mj1ggy

      Thanks for the enlightening post!

  • polystethylene

    The reality is a lot of devs are getting to grips with how the model should best work and its really an art getting the whole thing working well. A lot of people making f2p are still effectively working from supposition with their finger in the air.

    But we shouldn't be scared of f2p. Done correctly it should map money in to enjoyment out fairly and in good proportion. I spent Β£13 in clash of clans and played it for 7 months. That is cheap.

    Anyone who claims I was exploited or paid too much because I wasn't able to buy the whole thing for Β£2.99 has no appreciation of the expense of making great games.

    It's a nascent business model, and it has the ability to provide the best for consumers and fair recompense for devs. It's just going through industry-wide growing pains whilst we work out how best to achieve the correct balance. I'm firmly believe it's not a flash in the pan.

  • Seniku Moonjewel

    I'd rather pay Β£2-Β£5-Β£10-Β£15 up front and get the full game with no iap's than get a free game that is created in such a way, not to get me fun but to bleed as much money out of me as possible.

    Good Example: Ultima, legendary series but the new freemium game is an absolute disgrace and craps on the name from a great height.

  • ioahaij

    As much as we hate it, freemium games are here to stay, regardless of how many hate post they get. All we have to do is that we continue to support those developers that push out awesome games. The whole mobile gaming market is evolving, be it classic games like KOTOR or new innovations like Tiny Wings. Isn't it a great time to be excited about what future games can bring us?

  • rewyan

    I actually like the freemuim model because they seem to have more depth and potential to expand. They usually don't end, or provide a sufficient amount of gameplay, and are constantly updated to keep players playing. Even if that means being urged to pay money, I don't mind. I just stay smart enough not to fall for their tricks.

    Yes, I'm aware that many freemuim games will eventually be shut down or abandoned, but I can usually get an idea of which those are. I choose the ones by developers that don't have a history of doing this, and games that seem to be an endless challenge.

    As long as people can control their wallets, I think freemuim games are great. And I'm not saying people shouldn't spend money on currency or power ups for these, but just to be smart.

  • King Random


  • Morley83

    Episodic works best for me, such as The Walking Dead and Ace Attorney. It has all the best of a premium title, but also means you don't pay full whack if you don't get too far into a game.

  • ScaryFatKidGT

    Yup up front, only games I have given money to are Towers and Trolls I bought the $2.99 double jem pack but the game was free so I paid $2.99 for it after deeming it worth it. And Battle Nations because I really like it but I still wish they wouldnt charger IAP for efficient resource storage units.

    Free to play ruins games by making them to hard to level so you either have to grind or pay, and 95% of them want WAY to much for IAP, its a iOS game, you should spend $50 bucks on it, instead go get a real console or steam game.

    People thing mobile gaming will kill consoles but I don't thing so, partly due to the UI of a controller but also due to F2P crap, sure COD wants 1/4th the price of the game for 4 extra maps and you can buy gun cammos and stuff but you still get a full game for your $50-60.

  • Hoby Van Hoose

    I prefer a free demo of some kind, then some kind of up front purchase, with the option of purchasing new areas, levels, or story arcs. I don't like when games let players buy their way to completion, buy decorations, or buy capabilities that are impossible to attain through normal gameplay.

  • quizoid

    My vote is for the lite and full versions rolled into one app.

    You get to try it for free, then you can pay to unlock more game.

    Buying in app currency is a big turn off for me.

  • tommet

    Is this a serious question? Ok...

    Premium. Freemium and the typical IAP have killed IOS gaming. On the plus side, they have saved me TONS of money personally, both in hardware and software. I used to purchase anything that looked interesting (I have thousands of apps) and ya know what? I never played most of it. Heck, I even underwent a couple of hardware upgrades to play "killer apps". Now I don't even bother to download the freemium crud developers push. And my hardware upgrades? I dumped my iPhone for a Galaxy Note II, and as per my iPad - well, let's just say it keeps slipping off into the distance. Not only is freemium losing the developers my money, it's also losing apple my money.

  • nadav bar kama

    1. making a game costs money.
    2. so many games, so you want to try, before you fly ...
    3. a s__t quality fast meal costs 7$.

    why does any one expect to play for free? why would any one want games to be truly free?

  • 2GMGRudy

    I personally like the 100% upfront cost. You have no hidden fess or traps down the road to worry about. That is the same route we took when we released Blaster X HD for iPad, 400+ levels with No Ads and No IAPs - the way games used to be made.

    Unfortunately, going the upfront route, hardly gains any exposure or traffic from reviewers or players, so that is why there are very few who do this.

  • zachattack165

    Free to play has ruined iOS gaming for me. I prefer premium games and only premium games.

  • bigrand1

    That's the one, up front pay, NO IAP.