This may be the understatement of the century, but the App Store is a weird place. By removing practically all barriers between game developers and their customers, a couple of strange things happened. First of all, developers trying to drum up some visibility among their many, many, MANY peers would frequently drop prices, creating the whole "race to the bottom" mentality in mobile gaming. Secondly, the entirely digital marketplace meant that releasing updates for a game was easy, and games would often evolve and improve over the course of its lifetime. These two major factors have led to a market where customers expect extremely cheap prices for games, but they also expect that those games will continue receiving new content for months and even years after it's been purchased.

It's plain to see that this is an unrealistic and unsustainable set of circumstances, and it's no surprise to me that free to play has become the go-to pay model for the majority of mobile games. Free to play satisfies both needs: Games are cheap (free!) and consumable IAP means a more consistent revenue stream making frequent updates possible. Developer Raresloth realizes this too, and so for their upcoming sequel Furdemption 2 they're heavily considering going the free to play route. First though they want to run that by their community of fans both in our forums and in a thread on Reddit to get some feedback on the course they're taking.

In Raresloth's own words, "We love Furdemption and see a lot of potential for long lasting improvements in Furdemption 2. The possible level designs are already limitless… The game already has a lot of mechanical depth and we have plenty of ideas for new themes and items. It’s clear to us that without some kind of sustainable income from repeat purchases, we will not be able to continue updating the game." Furdemption was already a robust game, but this past August a huge update was released adding 40 new levels. This update was released for free, which is appreciated, but it's tough to get any sort of return on investment for that new content for a game that's probably already past its most prolific selling point.

Raresloth states that while the Furdemption App Store page has been viewed more than 1.3 million times, only 1.4% of those visitors have actually bought the game. Now, due to the scale of the App Store that's actually a good amount of sales, especially with only a two person development team. But take away Apple's cut, the expenses of maintaining the game and adding new content, and the just plain expensive cost of living nowadays, and it's still really tough to make that work as a full time endeavor. Especially if you're one of the thousands and thousands of developers who don't even sniff the level of success that Furdemption has seen.

So what do you guys think? Do you like Raresloth's outline for a free to play model? Would you rather them go the way of the original game with an upfront, one-time cost but with the possiblity that there may never be new levels added or Raresloth just plain doesn't make it and won't be able to continue making games? Do you just wish they'd release Furdemption 2 completely for free with no IAP and lifelong content updates? If you're in that last camp, I invite you to rejoin the rest of us in reality. Whatever the case, head into our forums or the Reddit thread and drop Raresloth some feedback. The original Furdemption is a classic in my eyes, and I hope for nothing more than the same level of quality and enjoyment from the sequel, no matter what the payment model ends up being.

  • xelasnewo

    Why not free and $5 to unlock full game?

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Because conversion rates on full unlocks are typically almost negligible, and paid games and free to play games are balanced entirely differently. So it's not as simple as just "removing the f2p" with an unlock, you essentially have to create two separate games. Also all the stuff Eli outlines here: https://www.reddit.com/r/iosgaming/comments/3yoqy0/could_we_drop_the_bullshit_energy_timers_from/cygagqu

      • xelasnewo

        Ah, I see

    • noteatino

      That will be fine, but don't know how well this model works (maybe talk to Nitrome?)

      Or how about offering an IAP for an advantage (such as Does not commute with the checkpoints)?

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        There have been examples of it working, for sure, but those examples are far and away the exception and not the rule. It's sort of like suggesting someone "just make Minecraft."

      • mr_bez

        Or "Just make Crossy Road, JEEZ!" 😉

      • nitromejon

        We put the ability to pay and get rid of ads in a one off purchase mainly to Stop a handful of people whining and because we really would rather stop making games than aggressively ram timers and consumable IAP down peoples throats and this is a fair way of giving people an alternative. You could in NO WAY make a living off the people who pay this one off fee, it's a laughably small figure. Even the people who love our games rarely actually pay for the full unlock. It's there solely as a nicety.

      • H4nd0fg0d

        Then I'm guessing the whole question asked was rhetorical. You obviously know exactly what you're going to do and how to do it. So in turn, the question of 'what should we do' is laughable. Best of luck to you in your venture to make games for nongamers.

      • nitromejon

        I personally don't believe that FTP gamers should be labelled as non gamers. There are a ton of awesome free games on the stores and we make games that we enjoy playing. We could be making a LOT more money by using harsh FTP tactics, but we choose not to as it's something we dislike ourselves as gamers. But the fact still remains that in such a tough industry there is sadly no place for the Mr nice guy indie spirit (ie a console length game for £2 with no strings attached). Gamers demand a free game with no IAP, tons of depth, unlimited replayability and endless free updates. It's a little unrealistic as a dev to achieve this. Make a game and then work for free forever. But most people just don't get it because it doesn't effect them and they don't really care about the people who make the games.

        We would LOVE to make a living out of making premium games only. The demand just isn't there, as the average Joe would rather collect hats and watch ads.

        The only way its ever going to change is if people suddenly have a change of heart and put a few quid on the table for a well made premium game and then another few for a huge well made update.

      • H4nd0fg0d

        Agreed, if I were in your position I would care about nothing more than putting games out that employ the most effective and aggressive revenue generating tactics. After all, it's about money and nothing more at day's end.

      • nitromejon

        I can't tell if you are being sarcastic with your response being written and all. But I do not get what you are saying. I've just said that I DONT agree with heavy handed money generating tactics. And that I actively try to make games that we agree with morally. Did you even read it (I know its a long post), or are you just blowing off steam and ranting?

      • raresloth

        Thank you, Jon. Well said!

    • DemoEvolved

      5$ is way too high

  • dancj

    I will play the game regardless, but if they want my money then it would have to either premium or a set fee for a set number of levels. I would certainly never consider paying for any kind of in-game currency.

    I'd be a bit worried if it's F2P though. I have a hard time seeing it fit this game.

  • Tyler

    I was actually interested in buying and trying Furdemption 1 after reading this article, but I just looked at the app activity, and Furdemption was literally just changed to its highest price EVER today in timing with the article, up from $1.99. Shady. Seriously.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      How is that shady? This game would easily be $20 or $30 bucks on Vita or 3DS. It's one of the best games on iOS. Five dollars? A steal.

      • Andrew Fretz

        $3 is a bridge too far!!! *tips fedora* Good Day Sir!

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        *sips latte*
        *mutters under breath*
        "Greedy dev."

      • Schpank

        Call me old school, but I'd rather pay $20 for a quality game I really want to play than have hobbled garbage nickel and dime me to death.

      • delirium38

        At least in the Dutch PS Store you won't find any game like this game in the 20-30 euro range.
        Actually there are only 64 games in the store that have that price tag.
        Situation might be different in the States or for the 3DS, but betting some cool indie games for the Vita will set you back 5-10 euros (Fez, Rogue Legacy, Broken Age, etc.).

      • DemoEvolved

        You could try to sell a solid gold crown on the App Store and no one would pay more than a dollar

    • curtneedsaride

      Or just smart business.

    • dancj

      Not shady really, but I do have a mental block against buying games that have gone up in price.

  • Jetjet

    I paid full price the first game and didn't regret it.
    So I prefer pay the second game too !

  • Schpank

    Insane game glut makes the "how can we provide endless updates?" argument fall flat IMO. Gamers are rapacious, fickle, and have short attention spans. Apple can blame themselves for getting everyone strung-out with their 99¢ crack store. There's only so many play-hours in a life, and WAY too many games available now and in the future, to care. I, and many other gamers would rather pay up front for a satisfying, finite experience and move on to what's next.

    • nitromejon

      MOST players would rather get a game for free and watch a timer to get some more hats. Im not one of them gamers. But most people simply wont play anything that isn't free. It's very sad but true. I don't know who's to blame as consumers are selfish and are obv just going to go for the free option if its there.

      • H4nd0fg0d

        Sad story. But then again I guess this is why I don't eat what most ppl eat or wear the clothes most ppl wear. Garbage for commoners and I totally understand.

  • H4nd0fg0d

    Premium only for me. I usually download a freemium game and delete it within hours. Nearly all games on my devices are premium. Freemium for all the non-gamer gamers.

  • alduinslayer

    I think it should be another paid game" I honestly think it cost five dollars at first.

  • DemoEvolved

    Propose: 99 cents, as long as monument valley (which is not crazy long), no updates, and then release a sequel every 6 months.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Just make Monument Valley.

      • HelperMonkey

        Jeez!

    • dancj

      Monument Valley is crazy short. Very few games can be that short and still provide a satisfying experience.

      • DemoEvolved

        Point being a game can be short for a dollar and still be a good deal.

  • HelperMonkey

    I always feel more invested (literally, I guess) in games I pay for.
    I'm much more likely to ignore or discard a free game I've downloaded and tried than a game I've purchased. And I'm definitely more likely to buy more in such a case, as in level packs, etc. But there are many who will never pay up front to try a game. Free to play clearly makes money (IF a game catches on), but I personally never pay for expendable currencies or timers and the like.
    Blah blah.. I'm so helpful...

    Premium level packs for a cheap premium game? Yes. Good. You get my money.

    Freemium? I play but never pay.

    (And Furdemption is easily worth five bucks, btw. If anyone is hesitating.)

  • DOOM

    Personally I'll never install a Freemium title. I prefer premium titles, as few and far between as they may be. Give me a quality game at a quality price i.e. XCOM Enemy Within and I'll gladly pay the price of admission. Give me a freemium title that could potentially include multiple forms of currencies and/or timers in order to advance or hinder the app's gameplay and I'll pass. With that being said, no sale.

    • alduinslayer

      Actually, their first game was a 100% free game. They could make it work with just level packs, honestly.

  • Repulsa

    I just don't like or play free to play games so it makes me sad I'll miss out on this one

  • Roleki

    I'm a sucker for "add-ons", "expansions", "extra levels", and so on, especially if they can be "restored". The worst are "consumable" IAPs - second only to "pay to win". In my opinion though, the best games are those designed to maximise enjoyable gameplay, not those designed to maximise their revenue stream. I also believe many devs overprice and make less than they would have if they'd gone with a lower price. It's better to have the same money from more customers than a few high-price customers - you get a customer base that way, (ask Google). One thing I am willing to pay for though, is an update for an older game that has become "unplayable" on later iOS iterations, e.g. Mirror's Edge. I've rambled on and am probably off topic, but wanted to give my 2c worth!

    • Tallgeese

      I refuse to pay for that 2c because I know a small fraction of it goes straight to Apple! 2c, please!

  • Tallgeese

    Does pay to remove ads not work well? I mean assuming you can limit ads to just picture ads, which maybe can't be done anymore... Also I prefer to see ads for people in Japan, because they look a lot cooler than ours... Also you should try a globe spanning meta game to drum up buzz and promote ground-swell. For the band!? for the band?! FOR THE BAND!?

    • Writersareliars

      Nice one, Stephen.

  • Shkrbby

    No please no.

    • Stormourner of the Nature

      yes please yes ;D

  • Tonk Montana

    I would prefer a paid game. I understand the issues around F2P and balancing and I just enjoy games better that aren't balanced with micro-transactions in mind. A good example lately is Loot&Legends. I want to play the snot out of that game but it is clear that you only get the best rewards when you are in the Loot Club...which is gated by a premium currency or by earning rarely in Arena for free....every 2 hours X 5-10...

    I definitely don't support virtual, disposable currency at all. In CCG games at least, if you don't get what you want in the RNG mess, the cards can usually be used to upgrade the ones you have or toward ones you want.

    I would prefer to see a paid game with paid content updates. Yes, I know what happened with Monument Valley but hey, can't we hope that the App Store is maturing and can support this pay model with changing expectations? Make sure it is explicitly explained in App description or other method (in-app) that future content updates will be paid ($0.99) and other functional updates are free. Why not? I believe.

  • Adsinjapan

    I think almost anybody would be happy with a quality $3-$4 game that has guaranteed, sizable paid 'expansion packs' of $1-$2 a piece, with a pay scale based around the size of content.
    I think it's in the wording. Gamers expect free updates because it denotes fixes to the product. Expansion packs implies content that adds proportionately more play. It's why I hate the term DLC. It's just 'content', rather than something largely game expanding.

    Naysayers...I get it. But if people aren't putting forward ideas, then we're stuck with the same crap.

  • denisvjcr

    Nooooo

    • Stormourner of the Nature

      yyyyyyyyyes

  • raresloth

    Hey everyone, thank you for all of your comments and feedback.... We are grateful! Austin and I had some good discussions and we will NOT be doing a lives system... Experimentation is definitely a part of the core experience that we want to maintain. We'll keep you posted with further updates in our thread. Thanks again!

    Cheers,
    Brian

    • Tallgeese

      Thank youz for asking! Good luck with whatever you guys choose!

    • alduinslayer

      Okay, good, because I have not even beat the original since I suck.

  • stubbieoz

    Why do you want a free game to keep adding levels all the time? Haven't we all got enough unfinished free games already? Just give me a game that I can play for a total of about 6 hours, charge me $5 and be done with it. I already have over 400 unfinished free to play games in my library.

  • Gurney Halleck

    I am not unsympathetic to the plight of developers trying to make fun and immersive games that are also paradoxically successful and lucrative.. Without delving too far into the moral and ethical implications of differing pricing models I would like to make my suggestion. First off, I may be a rarity in the AppStore in general, but here at Touch Arcade I feel like I am in good company as a gamer who almost exclusively buys Premium titles and has only ever. purchased IAP for permanent content (i.e. new skins, level packs, or additional chapters...) That said, I will be most inclined to spend money for a quality premium release of Furdemption 2. Perhaps a pricing model like Wayward Souls with a reasonable entry price and increasing overall price as new content and value is added? (I really liked this model and have recommended that game to many friends even after many price increases due to the amazing gameplay experience.) Or perhaps if you were to declare up front that new level content will be added as optional IAP to expand the gameplay (though the inherent problems with IAP content being lost once a game is pulled makes me prefer the first increasing price option.)

    Whatever your choice, I thoroughly enjoyed Furdemption and wish you success with its sequel! Here's hoping it will be a model I can feel safe throwing my money at!

    One aside comment in response to the back and forth about the reason so many go to F2P pay models.. There is tremendous risk either way. It seems like on one hand games using F2P models are consistently in the top earner slots; however, for every successful F2P release, there is a dearth of DOA F2P efforts. Making the transition from paid to F2P has in most cases I have seen, been a disastrous decision that did not make more money as was hoped and also damaged reputation for the developers. There are a few notable exceptions, but I am squarely in the "hoping for another quality Premium Furdemption title" camp.

    Best Luck RareSloth! May you find a creative and winning model that gamers feel happy to play!

  • Saberkin

    I don't care for Furdemption, but I really appreciate when devs ask these sorts of questions to the community. These guys have done a really good job with that.

  • stann1q

    I prefer pay option, they can always add levels as in app like Badland did.

  • bestkevin

    Sure free, since Canadian and few other countries AppStore prices are up.