Thoughts on Free-To-Play Model

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by BravadoWaffle, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. 99c_gamer

    99c_gamer Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2009
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    Yeah that's a good point about pricing. People should still pay $1 for a quality game regardless of if it's a low development budget.


    I'm greatly turned off by F2P. I just saw the Smurf game on the front page but how much does it cost? $1? 30$? F2P basically means the price is hidden and you dont know how much it costs to play the game.
     
  2. Eli

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

    Free to play means free to play. The IAP in Smurfs is entirely optional. I really don't understand why everyone thinks otherwise.
     
  3. And I don't see the problem with that. If it's anything like Farmville, which I imagine it is, a lot of that stuff is just so you can own something cool other people don't because you purchased it. Giving people the option to buy content ingame is fine by me. I'm just dubious when a game is weighted in such a way it forces people to pay to get even a halfway decent experience.
     
  4. BravadoWaffle

    BravadoWaffle Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2010
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    Game Designer
    Your point is very valid and supports the entire other end of the argument very well. Of course, you also bring up a fundamental issue with capitalism in general...

    As everybody is saying, free to play isn't for every game, nor should it be. For games that want and need a large community of players to keep the game interesting, and ones that can build the game around micro transactions and virtual currency in a balanced and fair way, then it's a good model I think. However for casual games you play for a few minutes on the toilet at work, charging for those is more than fair.

    Like you said, if we want to stand out, we need to make great games, polish them tell they are gleaming, and raise the bar with every app we put out.
     
  5. DylanNagel

    DylanNagel Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2009
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    Freelance game producer at Wild Card
    The Hague, The Netherlands
    Everyone who takes the freemium road, please make sure you do understand the difference between ARPU and ARPPU. The first is the average revenue per user, that is, all of your users. The second is the average revenue per paying user, so those that spend any money on your game at all.

    Many Facebook games have millions of active users every month, but only a fraction of those (for example, 3%), actually pay money. For iPhone games the percentage might be higher, but it completely depends on the type of game, and the type of content you're offering.

    Looking at Facebook and Flashgames, there is a wide range of expansions, upgrades, virtual items and consumables that you could consider. As with other markets, from a business point of view, the trick is to have something for everyone, including a totally free version. From a business point of view, tracking sales of your IAP is essential. Therefore, get your metrics in place before anything else. Otherwise your're in the dark as to how your DLC is doing.

    While it's very important to listen to players here on the forums too, usually those with a strong opinion will voice it. It seems many if not most Touch Arcade members don't like freemium. With metrics in place you can find out about your actual sales, as actions speak louder than words.

    When switching to F2P and IAP, be prepared to treat your game as a service, not a product.
     
  6. dyscode

    dyscode Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2010
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    Writer/ Music Producer
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    #26 dyscode, Oct 30, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
    This discussion is really a lot more constructive that I thought it will be.

    If all developers recognized this responsibility as you described, I had no problem with Freemium / IAP.
    And as said, it´s also part of the consumers fault for not paying reasonable prices for Apps (or developers charging them).

    Maybe we need a ´association against IAP/FTP Abuse`. :rolleyes:
     
  7. 99c_gamer

    99c_gamer Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2009
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    do F2P games get ranked in the free games category?
     
  8. BravadoWaffle

    BravadoWaffle Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2010
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    @DylanNagel Good point. Do you have any suggestions for ways of tracking your metrics and your IAPs?

    @99c_gamer- yes they do, We Rule Quests would qualify very distinctly as F2P. Not sure about the others.
     
  9. DylanNagel

    DylanNagel Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2009
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    Freelance game producer at Wild Card
    The Hague, The Netherlands
    @BravadoWaffle - At my company, Paladin Studios, we are actually building our own metrics system. However, there are also popular plug-and-play services available such as Flurry, and up to a point Kontagent (Facebook) and Urban Airship (push notifications / IAP).

    All systems rely on tracking and tagging device id's and transactions. Besides IAPs you might also want to monitor other events, such as average session length, difficulty in certain areas of your game, performance, errors etc.

    To address any privacy questions up front: as long as those types of data cannot be traced back to individuals, it should be fine. So as a dev you're not looking at the behaviour of player X, but rather, all players, or all players on iPhone 3Gs, or all players in the US. When using the UDID as primary key for sorting, it is recommended to hash (encode) it before storage.
     

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