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.