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In-game purchasing systems better then 'pay for download' approach?

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#1   Members   -  Reputation: 113


Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:30 AM

Hi guys!

I was observing this place for a while and now I'd like to discuss something with you.


Looks like for a mobile game to have millions of downloads is not yet a commercial success. As discussed by the article (see the link below) in-game purchase systems often generate more revenue than one-off payments for downloading a game, and it’s a trend already. 


If you are using an in-game purchasing, then (assuming the game itself is free to download and play) you allow gamers to get involved right away. If gamers get familiar with the gameplay, fascinated by characters or attracted by any game element used in the game, their willingness to pay is probably increasing. In contrast to that – user’s willingness to pay for downloading a game might be lower, as they did not experience it yet and maybe do not even know what to expect from it.

Another good point is that in-game purchasing allows user to spend smaller amount of money comparing to payment for app download. It is easier to say bye to 10 cents than to 10 dollars even taking into account the value that you get in each case (i.e. some perks in one case and complete game in another). Moreover if a person makes at least one in-game payment, then it might be easier for them to make another one, especially if they really enjoyed their first purchase. 

At least such is my opinion smile.png and it would be really interesting to compare it to what industry professionals think.
Thanks a lot!


#2   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5647


Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:55 AM

Not sure what sort of discussion you are hoping for. This is a pretty well-covered topic. Of course, many people agree with you. That's why many games with microtransactions exist. And some people disagree with them being 'better' because they don't want to be hounded for cash during a game. It's obvious that there are pros and cons to both, surely.


This is also wrongly made out to look like a new invention, when in fact games have done it for decades. Doom, released in 1993, was 'free to play', but you had to pay to unlock the last two thirds of the game. There wasn't an in-app purchase (because that wasn't practical back then), but the principle of making it easy to play before you pay is neither new or unusual.


Some voices in favour of more free-to-play games:


https://plus.google.com/105363132599081141035/posts/Cyi2Am8gqGq ("Coercive Pay-2-Play techniques")


And some voices in favour of a traditional buy-once model:



#3   Members   -  Reputation: 113


Posted 03 July 2013 - 05:42 AM

Kylotan, thank you very much for your reply! Actualy this is already a disussion I was hoping for smile.png. I'm not a game-dev professional myself, but I'm interested in it and would like get a clear picture of what is realy going on. Without considering points of view of other competent people I will be just blinded by my own believes that do not necessarily reflect reality.



I was talking specifically about mobile games, and it seems to me that most people got used to approach of paying for the whole game at once, and now the focus is changing to in-game purchases (as discussed by the article at forbes.com mentioned above).


Probably I also had to be more specific when talking about pros/cons - I meant particularly the developer's (or publisher's, if applicable) point of view.


P.S. many thanks for links - I'm going to check them soon.

Edited by wingsword, 03 July 2013 - 05:46 AM.

#4   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5647


Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:36 AM

Mobile games aren't really a separate thing any more - several development platforms allow you to write the same program and target it at the web, at mobiles, at tablets, and consoles. So the developer has to consider the monetisation aspect across all the platforms they're aiming at - and the different opinions of the users of each platform.


From the mobile user's point of view, most people have been accustomed to getting games for free for a couple of years now, and upgrading to a premium version later. Sometimes you have to go back to the app store to buy a separate premium version, sometimes you can upgrade from within the app, and other times you get the full game but can buy perks with microtransactions.


As the opinions in the links explain, the situation regarding game design is quite simple. A lower barrier to entry means more people try your game, as you would expect, but you have made less money from them as a result. Still, you have access to that user at that point and so you find ways to 'upsell' to get some revenue from them. Some games lend themselves to upselling more than others. And some players don't want to play games where they are being asked for money to continue. So you weigh up the game design and the audience you're pitching at, and make a choice.

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