If you’re the kind of person whose feathers get ruffled whenever free to play is mentioned, you should make sure you’re sitting down before reading the rest of this post. We liked Glu’s Gun Bros [Free] quite a bit when it was first released. As mentioned in our review, it really does provide a cool twist on the dual stick shooter formula via the bro system which allows you to play in a asynchronous co-op mode where you can bro up and bring a friend’s bro into your game to help you slay waves of monsters. A recent update even added realtime online multiplayer via 3G and WiFi.
The rub of Gun Bros is an extensive upgrade system to keep you coming back on a daily basis shooting up bad guys to progressively unlock bigger and badder gear upgrades. Of course, like all free to play games you can sidestep this time sink by purchasing the premium currency “war bucks" with real-world dollars. Alternatively, you can do things like watch advertisements, sign up for Netflix, or even online dating sites to earn “free" war bucks.
What are you working towards with all of these war bucks? Well, the mack daddy of all premium unlockable guns is The Kraken which promises to instantly vaporize all nearby enemies. The Kraken sells for the modest sum of 3499 war bucks, and assuming you’re buying them in the largest 710 war buck pack for $99, that’s just under $500 real world dollars for a gun in a video game. Crazier yet is that The Kraken used to only cost 1400 war bucks, the price was raised.
Surely no one is biting at this though, right? Well, videos on YouTube show otherwise:
Now, I realize that the entire idea around the business of free to play games involves essentially having no top-end for how much a player can spend on the game. In fact, Flurry Analytics even mentions these so called “whales" in their recent analysis piece where they found that 30% of the total revenue from the “over $20" bucket of their report comes from people actually spending more than $50 in free to play transactions.
The whole thing seems pretty wild to me– But hey, in the interest of doing business I suppose if you’ve got players that are dedicated enough to your game to spend the equivalent of $500 for a single unlock, why wouldn’t you give them the ability to do so?