How much gameplay should consumers get for a buck?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by robotmechanic, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. robotmechanic

    robotmechanic Active Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Character Rigger
    Tokyo, Japan
    So for the past few months I have been hammering out gameplay and buidling assets for my game but as I start to dive in to level design etc, the fundamental question is how much gameplay should consumers get for 99 cents or even $1.99?

    I don't want my players to feel cheated and although I want to create as much content as possible, I also want to keep it polished and fresh without having to overextend my models/texture assets.

    I know there are no hard and fast rules but would about one to two hours of gameplay be fair? I could create an endless type level or even randomly generated levels but i feel it actually might take away from the type of game I am working on.

    Ideally, a quality game could be short and still have the player feel like they weren't "ripped off" but there are some out there that want more. :rolleyes:
  2. As a user I'm happy if I get an hour per dollar from iPhone and iPad games, especially if they are fun hours.

    More than that is a good bonus.
  3. headcaseGames

    headcaseGames Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    Mobile Game Developer
    Hollywood, CA
    it is really hard to say, and it depends a lot on what you expect to get out of all of this.

    If you want to satisfy EVERYONE, make a game with a lot of depth, plus a casual factor, and make it look really good. This will cost you a lot of time and probably some decent coin as well, but if you can fathom that, then it starts to give you a good reputation (although no one might notice as you are a no-name, and there's so much else out there - and you might never even make any money out of it).

    Otherwise, you have to compromise. Make something that looks good, but also is pick-up-and-play fun. Look at the most popular games on the appstore for examples of this. Flight Control, Doodle Jump, Cut the Rope. None of them are extensively "packed" with content, and their mechanics are fairly simple (to different degrees), but there is obviously enough there to satisfy both casual and more "serious" gamers.

    Even so, those are unique cases - but a small developer could still turn out a puzzle-type game with nice visuals and a few different play modes/depth of mechanic.

    Golden rule of mobile gaming, for most folks it is probably best to turn a blind eye to what is big on TouchArcade and make something more casually appealing, anyway.

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  4. Sinecure Industries

    Sinecure Industries Well-Known Member

    People want as much as they can get for as little as possible. So, they want a game with a 40 hour story for free.

    @Shen - that's a great attitude. I'm like that too.
  5. dyscode

    dyscode Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Writer/ Music Producer
    Germany & Tokyo
    Like "today I die again" for iTouch this is maybe just 15minute of gameplay but they are emotionally intense.

    If you go to an awesome movie you pay something like $15 to $20?
    and that is 2hours of fun? maybe it makes you think or impressed otherwise or leads to have a lot of discussion with your friends.

    And $60 for a console game with 6 hours of fun?

    If the medium presentation has qualities like `impact` or `immersiveness` time is not the most important thing.

    but personally I would feel ripped if a $1 game could not deliver 1hour of fun - with few exceptions.
  6. Eli

    Eli ᕕ┌◕ᗜ◕┐ᕗ
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold

    You forgot online multiplayer complete with extensive coop mode, achievements, and next-generation Retina Display graphics.
  7. Our game released with about 2 minutes of unique gameplay. It is meant to be replayable but still short. We're still not hearing the end of it more than a year later and three new sets of levels.

    I'm perfectly happy to spend a dollar on games like canabalt or robot unicorn as well (though I think they're 1.99, too much for me:)). I mostly play these games while I'm waiting for transit or in transit or in the bathroom. So, short is better for me.

    So I suppose my answer is, depends on the game and target audience. Regular adult or regular kid. A kid is going to want 40 hours.
  8. HMAudio

    HMAudio Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2010
    Audio Designer
    You're right when you say you should leave them wanting more, but in a good way. If it's an episodic game, paying a buck a chapter is a great way to end up with a quality game without a huge initial buy-in.
  9. robotmechanic

    robotmechanic Active Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Character Rigger
    Tokyo, Japan
    Thanks for you input guys. :)

    Some of the games out there really set the bar high so even pricing a game at 99 cents makes me feel like I have to constantly add more content. I'll focus more on quality then. I just don't have the resources to do everything and I have to keep telling myself that.

    One thing I have learned is to reward the player after every level. I have a feeling I can make a player do anything if I do that (e.g. world of warcraft quests)
  10. rmlinden

    rmlinden Active Member

    Nov 10, 2010
    You state that the other games set the bar high, that is true. But you might want to think about the fact that at some point people will have finished playing that game. They then might be looking for other games.

    None the less, at a 99c price alot of the buys are impulse, just to kill some time.

    Just put in enough content as that is right for the game. No need in pushing and pushing etc while what you have might already be enough.
  11. I'm not sure "how much content?" is the right question. I think it's just fun factor. If the core mechanic is fun, I think folks are satisfied.

    A lot of folks lamented Pizza Boy's length, but I think Acne was spot-on in fun and scope for a $1-$2 game. I'm actually looking at PB quite a bit as I work on my current puzzle-platformer.

    With that said, who knows? I though I nailed the fun / scope in Pinball Hockey but it has been off to a slow start!
  12. Bmamba

    Bmamba Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Game dev
    Usually I game idevice game for 30 minutes,
    but some like carcasonne or cod zombie for instance i ve played for hours.

    if the app is 1$ I don t expect much.
    what can you buy for 1$ that will entertain you for that long?!
  13. Krehol Games

    Krehol Games Well-Known Member


    Look dont try to please anyone with dollar apps. Trust me there are many whiners and complainers. Do the best you can do and thats all you can do. Dont limit your product by price and dont be afraid to charge over 99 cents .

    Now to the Mods and Administrators
    If a developer does make a game on the level of console quality it must be covered. More and more hardcore gamers are comming to this site and they dont care about price :) . We got to start making solid games. I made a addictive 99 cent game , but since there are so many , the game gets lost in the crowd . Its better to make solid games at least snes level or PS 1 level .
    Iam have been working on a more solid title , which I refuse to charge 99 cents. With the help of the Mods and Administrators here we can take gaming to a better level . We as developers will need your help as far as exposure.
    Thank you for reading.

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