Why make a free game?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by alza, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. alza

    alza Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2008
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    This might be an astoundingly obvious question to be asking but I'm going to do it anyway - what do devs who put their games on the appstore for free get out of it?
    I don't mean free initially, and then raise price, or lite editions, I mean the full game, for free, forever.
    Is there some way to make money with a free Iphone game?

    Sorry, this question has just been rolling around in my head for weeks :confused:
     
  2. Haephestos

    Haephestos Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2008
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  3. vandy1997

    vandy1997 Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2008
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    NJ
    1) An indie dev creates apps for free so that users learn of the dev and buy other apps;
    2) A dev created an app that he/she wanted to share freely with the community;
    3) A dev hopes to put ads in an app in the future;
    4) A dev wants to tie in a free app with a paid app.

    I assume that there are other reasons. :D
     
  4. alza

    alza Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Hmmm. I'm saddened that I was too cynical to even think of that reason
     
  5. Haephestos

    Haephestos Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2008
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    Lol. Its does raise some interesting points though.
     
  6. snow_mani

    snow_mani Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2008
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    Melbourne, Australia
    In addition to the above reasons, perhaps devs want to use it as a learning experience before they start on more ambitious apps. They would learn about the whole process from start to finish. They learn about the time involved, how to code for the platform, any tricks or potential problems, the app approval process with Apple, and they learn how to market an app. Also by providing a free app they are almost guaranteeing that people will use it and provide feedback (I have been providing constructive feedback on all the free apps I have picked up). It gives them a chance to iron out the kinks and learn about the whole process from development through to the end user.
     
  7. CloneWars

    CloneWars Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2008
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    Bank Robber
    Atlantic Ocean
    If you look at PapiJump, Pole, and River, all these games are free andnow the dev is making plus (+) versions of all of them. You make it free for publicity reasons and then make a better version and stick a price tag on it. I mean once the dev is done with PapiPole + and PapiRiver+ he'll make an absolute ton of money...
     
  8. Fazzy

    Fazzy Well-Known Member

    Another reason is that the dev is trying to build reputation for themselves. If they are unknown to the public, and they release a fun free game, They will be liked more. So when they release a bigger game with a bigger price tag, people will know the developer and buy it based on past experiences.
     
  9. Slappy

    Slappy New Member

    Sep 4, 2008
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    i think another good example is cube runner
     
  10. Galaxius

    Galaxius Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
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    I totally agree with this that Sunflat took advantage of taking free, polished games with a loyal fanbase and then making a 99 cent app (doesn't break the bank for anyone still) with even more features on such a simple idea. If you look at PapiJump+ it's number 92/100 on top paid and has a 4 and a half star rating. It was 5 for the longest time.
     
  11. alza

    alza Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Yeah, I guess that is smart. Well since I'm so charitable I'm going to get back to work on my free, simple, excellent app which I will then hope to suck you guys into upgrading ;)
     
  12. hkiphone

    hkiphone Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2008
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    Thats the spirit! FYI, I've bought quite afew games after having been impressed by the free Lite versions (Expando, MotionX Dice -> Poker, Lonely Planet Mandarin -> Japanese). And to be honest, there are some free apps out that are so good that even if they charge next round for added features, I would still buy it (SmartTime, Bloomberg, Jellycar) So I heartily endorse the use of a Lite version to rope in paying customers.

    On the other side of the fence, it also gives the developers some breathing space for any bugs or feature omissions that users deem to be critical. I've seen some "reviews" for paid apps that would really shred the developer's self-esteem, but when they see free, the reviews are more compassionate.
     
  13. kwigbo

    kwigbo Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2008
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    Flex/iPhone developer
    I made a free version because I got sick of trying to update a video demo of the game. Plus who know how many people were even looking at the video demo since they would have to remember/write down the url to even look at it.
     
  14. Cousin Dirk

    Cousin Dirk Member

    Sep 28, 2008
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    It could also, says the cynic in me, be insecurity on the behalf of the developer. If they don't personally feel confident enough in the game to even charge 99ยข/59p for it, they'll release it for free.
     

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