Paid with IAP, a bad idea?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by Ologon, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Ologon

    Ologon Active Member

    May 25, 2012
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    Hi everyone,

    I'm going to release my first game on the app store soon, but I need suggestions on whether I should include IAPs or not.
    Since my game doesn't fit for the freemium model, my idea was to build a paid app with IAPs and a demo-like lite version.
    The IAPs are like a cheat mode which would allow the player to beat the game quicker, useful for less skilled players, but patient players with moderated skills would not need them at all.

    However I'm afraid that seeing IAPs in a paid app would annoy potential customers. Is it better not to include them at all?
     
  2. Fleabag323

    Fleabag323 Well-Known Member

    Dec 19, 2008
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    I'd say it's fine as long as the IAPs don't affect the leaderboard, or if they do, then change it so you can only go on the leaderboard if you don't use what the IAP gives.
     
  3. Ologon

    Ologon Active Member

    May 25, 2012
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    Hi! thank you for you suggestion.

    No, they don't affect the leaderboard in any way, nor the achievements. They just facilitate the completition of the game
     
  4. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    You will hear a lot from the vocal minority about this, but I would suggest ignoring them.

    Our game is $2.99 with some iap expansions, and despite the usual bellyaching from kids, we're converting iap sales at over 20%. That is a good coversion even in a free game.

    The key is to get the valuation right and make sure the iap's are actually optional imo.
     
  5. timedblades

    timedblades Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2012
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    Yeah. Making it optional is the true use of iAP. Some devs think they can get away with making the game so difficult that you can't even pass it without the iAP, which is forcing you to buy something. Make it attractive, make it optional, and you have a good iAP formula
     
  6. Blackharon

    Blackharon Well-Known Member

    Mar 15, 2010
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    Game Designer for Ludia
    Canada
    Understatement of the year award goes to...
     
  7. fitani

    fitani Member

    Aug 11, 2012
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    It would be quite annoying if only IAP could help me to get through the game.
    While, in your case, I think it is good to provide IAPs. As you said, it is useful for some less skilled players, as well as less patient players.
     
  8. Santillo

    Santillo Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2011
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    I am totally agree with you. No developer should forcing the user to use iAP for the completion of the game. Game design should be moderate.
     
  9. PodCubed

    PodCubed Active Member

    Apr 2, 2012
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    Australia
    ^

    Yeah, going to agree. I think nothing is wrong with IAP, as long as it doesn't 'force' the IAP onto them.
     
  10. DemonJim

    DemonJim Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2010
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    App Developer
    UK
    #10 DemonJim, Aug 26, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

    I am calling this post, "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly":

    The Bad: One aspect of IAP I personally don't like is when you can buy extra lives / continues to get a higher score - it basically ruins the game because it means the high score tables are entirely about who is willing to spend the most money to get to the top not who is the best at the game.

    The Good: I think the standard freemium model of IAP is great though - free to play with limited one-off IAPs to unlock the full game and/or extra content. I'll be doing that next - it's far tidier and easier to manage than having a separate Lite version.

    The Ugly: I just think IAP is really easily abused when it is used for consumable items, as in you can keep buying the same IAP again and again and you need to do it to play the game properly. Don't buy it and all those little characters you've been nurturing will all DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH. When abused it gives IAP a bad image, particularly when the game is aimed at children (that is definitely not acceptable IMO)
     
  11. DemonJim

    DemonJim Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2010
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    App Developer
    UK
    As for the original post (sorry, I missed the actual point you were asking!) I think it is OK as long as the extras are just that, extras, and not things you actually need to play and enjoy the game properly. It's a real grey area though isn't it as it's all about fair balance. And you will never be able to please all of the people all of the time with this method. I know I'm always suspicious when I see paid games with lots of IAP on the iTunes page.

    I'd say you will be far better off going for freemium, not just because then you cannot upset anyone who thinks there isn't enough there without buying IAP, but it opens it up to a much wider audience. And getting eyes to see your game is the hardest part of game dev in my experience.
     
  12. Thomas Lund

    Thomas Lund Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2008
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    IT consultant and game developer
    Sweden
    The problem with paid IAP for e.g. campaigns and similar is one that hit us hard with Tactical Soldier when released.

    Some notes:

    - IAP doesnt have promo codes. So you cannot give journalists a preview/review for free

    - IAP extra campaigns is generally so not-sexy that no one bothered to write about it vs. having put it out as a version 2/sequel

    With that said, we also convert 20%+ in our end, which is really good.
     
  13. Jason Stark

    Jason Stark Active Member

    Jun 5, 2012
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    Games Developer
    Noosa, Australia
    This is an interesting article regarding IAP http://www.treysmithblog.com/the-fall-of-angry-birds/

    I was intrigued by his assertion that IAP has to be exciting and "fun". I'd always considered up-front content unlocking to be more "honest" and respectful to the player but but according to the article flat costs to unlock demos and remove ads convert pretty badly.

    Although surprising to me, it does make sense. We're games makers and it's our job to engage people emotionally, even when it comes to monetisation strategies.

    Good luck with your app! :)
     
  14. TapitZac

    TapitZac Member

    Aug 30, 2012
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    Publisher Development
    Irvine, CA
    Ha, that's a brilliant deduction! "our job is to engage people emotionally, even when it comes to monetisation strategies"...in fact, emotions are sometimes the biggest guiding factors to consumer purchasing... purchasing/downloading games on "fun" or "epic"...ness? seems to be what drives that market... so IAPs that make the game "more fun or more epic" or more anything would be enticing to the people who got the game on the very same basis... if that makes sense?

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes:)
     
  15. SiXX

    SiXX Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2011
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    Game Developer
    Bangkok
    I think IAP in Paid app is fine as long as it fits into one of these criteria:
    1. It give new contents. Like the DLC for PC games.
    2. If it is in-game currency, the lack-of-there-is won't hinder player's progress.
    Simply put - Player can finish the game without buying IAP if they play well enough.

    Both of our games Tiny Defense and Chubby Jump were made with these criteria in mind and our players love it the way it is.
     
  16. jonbro

    jonbro Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2010
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    right hand at luckyframe
    We are struggling with this question on our current thing. There are a few points where we can stick in obvious IAP, and some less clear ones that we are not sure about.

    So it is a autorunner, like jetpack joyride, but you can edit levels, like forever drive (also it is a drum machine)...

    The points that we are thinking about putting in additional purchase would be:

    1. more content packs. We are aiming for 4-6 at launch, but more in updates. We are thinking you get 3 with the .99 cent app, and then can buy currency to purchase more.
    2. save slots. Since you can make your own levels, and upload them to share them with the world, we can sell sharing / editing slots. You can also remix other peoples levels. We could sell the slots.

    One thing that sketch nation studio does is reward people for getting plays on the level that they upload, and allow them to get in game currency for that. They also charge the users for downloading more user levels though, and we are not sure we want to do that. It is a possibility for us though.

    Another possibility is putting in random drops that the players can use for unlocking content. Not sure we want to do that either.

    None of these things actually effect your ability to get higher scores. Forever drive does an interesting thing with unlocking content through gameplay grind, and then you can purchase packs to speed up that grind. I don't know that we will have any content like that though (we haven't figured out how to put hats on our main character).

    If there are other interesting things around monetizing user generated levels, I am interested to see / hear about them.
     
  17. Ologon

    Ologon Active Member

    May 25, 2012
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    Thanks a lot for all your great suggestions! I think this is a very interesting discussion.

    Following your suggestions, I've decided to include IAP purchases, and made it totally optional. I think this is by far the best solution for a paid app, and I'll let you know how it goes! It would be really annoying for me (as a player and not developer) if IAPs were kind of required to get everything a game has to offer.

    Of course, I also think one should not rely on IAP as main source of income for paid apps, that's something which is a better fit for freemium games.
     
  18. frankywhite

    frankywhite Member

    Sep 8, 2012
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    London
    A good iap develiped for freemium games should be possible in paid apps also?
    A good iap is part of the game but if its not necessary for winning it could be included in an paid app. Then after a while you can release the game as a freemium with only iap.
    This should ten help sales?
    Or is it just to greedy?
     
  19. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    1,538
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Delete the word greedy from your lexicon.

    I've seen developers being accuse of greed because they charge $1.99 for a game. Just stop and think about that. And then put all those people in your mental spam filter.

    You have to make a profit and most users won't begrudge it you, so you can keep on updating the game or making others they like instead of going to work at burger king.
     
  20. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
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    Berlin, Germany
    +1

    a small minority of vocal teenagers are just that.. vocal.

    if anyone care to take a look at the top grossing charts people would notice that people do not mind iap.. not at all.. they love them.. and they want to have babies with them.

    this community is more or less the opposite of the average ios customer.. most here would be considered a "core" user

    so if you have a paid game where it makes sense for you the developer to implement additional iap of what sort ever.. then go for it..

    and don't forget the mental spam filter is an $5,99 forum iap, but it helps keeping you sane :)
     

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