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Thread: Freemium & Micro-transactions - Opinions?

  1. #1

    Question Freemium & Micro-transactions - Opinions?

    I seemed to notice that most of the talk here is about games that are either sold (on the mobile market or elsewhere) or monetized through ad networks.

    There's also something I've heard mentioned called sponsorship, someone clue me in to what that entails please?

    What is the general opinion here about "free-to-play, buy extra stuff with cash" games that are based on small subscription fees or micro-transactions?

    The game I am developing, and pretty much every developer I've ever talked to in my genre (persistant browser-based simulation pet games) uses that model. It seems pretty solid to me - assuming your game supports that kind of monetization style.

    Thoughts?
    Creator of relationship-based online Realistic Horse Simulation Game, Liberty.
    Currently in development, the game allows you to own and bond with horses.

    Liberty Horse Game || Twitter Tracker

  2. #2

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    AFAIK, sponsorship is mainly a flash game thing, with flash game portals paying money to have exclusive access to your game for a limited period before you put it on all the other portals.

    On mobile you get a different sort of sponsorship model, where big companies create games to promote their products, but that's really a different kettle of fish, AFAIK the way it usually goes is that an advertising agency will have a concept and they'll hire a games development company to create it (rather like the traditional publisher-developer relationship).

    I'm not an expert though, so I'm happy to be corrected.

    As for free-to-play, when users are manipulated and exploited then it can be pretty evil, but regardless of whether you're doing nicely or evilly, it seems to make very good business sense these days.

  3. #3




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    Take a look at FGL.com if you are interested in sponsorship.

    My daughter loves horses - we were joking around here a few years ago that I should write a game called World of Horsecraft... anyhow, looking forward to seeing how your game plays. I can imagine 11 year old girls all over the place going nuts for it.

  4. #4

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    Ohh, that makes sense about sponsorship. Thanks for clarifying, both of you! It wouldn't apply to my game (no flash elements!) but cool to know anyways.

    There's an evil way to do free-to-play? Like... with a hidden timer or something? Or when the game is skewed such that only paying members can actually win/get anywhere in the game?

    I'll agree, it is definitely a tight line to walk. In my genre, its considered bad practice and severely looked down upon to skew the balance of the game towards paying members. What's typically done is that core gameplay is not touched, but rather paid items/features are extra "pretty" bonus things. Which leads to a lot of happy members and a lot of starving game owners, unfortunately... Hence why that balance is tricky.
    Creator of relationship-based online Realistic Horse Simulation Game, Liberty.
    Currently in development, the game allows you to own and bond with horses.

    Liberty Horse Game || Twitter Tracker

  5. #5




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    I'd wall off features of the game and make those only available to paying members. Most little girls will be able to get $1.99 to $2.99 out of their dads (that would be me...) on a monthly basis to play their favorite horse game. That works out to about 1%, if that, of owning a real horse.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bausman480 View Post
    There's an evil way to do free-to-play? Like... with a hidden timer or something? Or when the game is skewed such that only paying members can actually win/get anywhere in the game?
    I guess an evil way to do free to play for your game would be if your horses had limited life spans which can be extended only with real money.

    BTW - You should check Natural Motion's "My Horse" if you haven't already. Their game has regularly been knocking around near the top of the IOS top grossing list.

  7. #7

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    A variation to consider: many successful games use some kind of in-game currency which can be earned by playing AND through In-App-Purchase. Interesting: some of them are paid(!) apps and nonetheless players seem to accept it - if you do it right. A good example for this is Star Wars Falcon Gunner for i-devices.

  8. #8

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    I haven't seen that game, actually, thanks Columbo. Just checked it out on youtube - looks very solid. Its pretty much a 3D version of a lot of the games that exist already in my genre - but the 3D does add some interesting limitations and differences to gameplay... It looks like a well-designed game from here. It is missing a huge draw of the horse sims that I'm familiar with though - and that's the social aspect and self-improvement aspect. A lot of people have learned art and web design and gotten careers (myself included) through their involvement with sims, and all the 3D adaptations of the pet sim genre are missing all of those pieces. Not that that makes them bad games or lesser games, of course.

    JoKa - yeah, the standard (aka what I'm used to) is a double in-game currency model - one currency you can earn and spend in the game, and the other can only be bought with real money and spent on real-money perks. The two can be freely interchanged though, with the current market determining the prices. This allows people who dont have access to cash purchase the real money currency off of players who do have the cash - but the only way this currency is introduced into the game is by someone paying for it in the first place. It's been working quite well.
    Creator of relationship-based online Realistic Horse Simulation Game, Liberty.
    Currently in development, the game allows you to own and bond with horses.

    Liberty Horse Game || Twitter Tracker

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