Free or not to Free that is the question?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Arowx, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Arowx

    Arowx New Member

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    Hi I'm a startup Unity game developer and I'm planning on releasing games for ios/android/pc and mac.

    Should I release my games as Freemium, with Ads and in app purchases?

    There is a lot of hype about this but I guess the pros for Freemium are:

    Zero Fiction to Try the game.
    What's the point in pirating a free game.
    You get paid from the Ad provider or the player can turn off the ads with via iAP.
    Players can progress via play or pay at their own speed.

    Cons:

    Lost of content needed.
    What about Flow and an experience.
    Ad income could be a fraction of that from purchases.
    Added complexity at the back end integrating payment and ad systems.

    What's your take on this, is it a race to the bottom or a whole new ballpark?
     
  2. Pallav Nawani

    Indie Author

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    You have to decide the business model BEFORE you design the game. Reason being, freemium is a business model that cannot be retrofitted to just any game - you need to think about it beforehand.

    Also, why don't you go to gamedev.net and ask your questions there (too)?
     
  3. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    I just spent $25 on a free to play game, without in-game advertisement.

    The game didn't have 'lots' of content, but the content that it did have was dished out using the skinner box design [Video]

    Pick up and read this book: The Business of iPhone and iPad App Development. It addresses in-App purchasing with example code.
     
  4. arzi

    Metacritic 75+ Indie Author

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    I'm with Gabe Newell here, "premature monetization is the root of all evil." The most suitable way to monetize will become apparent when the game nears completion. I'd spend all effort on making the best possible game, not thinking about monetization.
     
  5. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    Freemium worked well for me. Don't bother with ads though, you'll earn only about 10% of what you make from purchases and risk losing customers to competition.
     
  6. lightassassin

    lightassassin New Member

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    Ugh. I replied in your other post!

    I agree that the gameplay design is important as I find some games don't lend themselves well to f2p and would be easier to market as a standalone.

    In regards to arzi's comment, this is a highly accurate stance also, if you got to the end of creating a f2p game and found it just didn't fit, you can always convert. Having a clear head pre-release to decide if you're going the right direction but at the same time having a clear goal in the first place helps greatly instead of trying to stick in features just to make it work for the business model.
     
  7. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    Gabe has enough money to play around with monetization models. Failure to plan = planning to fail.

    It reminds me of the motto of a certain company: We don't want to be #1, and we certainly don't want to be #3. That means they don't want to invest the R&D to be first, but instead keep a step or two behind the industry leader who is forging the path.

    I'd like to think that 'premature montetization' that Gabe is referring to is designing a game around bilking money out of players. First and foremost, games should create value.

    However, before you ever start production, you should understand the market and have a good idea where your money is going to be coming from.

    Edit:

    Microtransactions Video
     
    #7 jpoag, Sep 19, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  8. Borundin

    Borundin New Member

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    Excellent videos James, thanks :)
     
  9. Arowx

    Arowx New Member

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    My point is for an indie game developer just starting out is F2P a good option?
     
  10. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    Probably not if you're just starting out.

    Simply put, without the experience, your first games probably aren't going to be that great. F2P games aren't games that you make in 2 months, put online to sell and sit back and wait for the money to roll in (no game is really, but I digress). With F2P, you put out a game, record metrics and feedback and adjust the game to provide a better user experience. SCRUM is probably a good model to base the loop needed to sustain a F2P game.

    The question you should be asking yourself is: "Do I know enough about games and business to make money from giving my game away for free?"

    If you intend on making 6 games in the next year (or however many it is), then you're obviously planning on 'finishing' 6 games and not having 6 games in 'constant development'. Your first games will probably have a limited shelf life, but eventually you'll get to the same point as Grey Alien where your games sell longer than 6 months.

    So no. Don't make a F2P game until you understand what is involved in creating them. I linked to a really great book that you should buy if you want to develop iOS games and make money doing it. (F2P or otherwise)

    Also, there's nothing stopping you from putting in-App purchases in a paid game. Cartoon Wars 2 does it (iphone).
     
  11. TylerBetable

    TylerBetable New Member

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    Hey Arowx
    You want to go F2P, even when just starting out. There's two reasons for this:
    1) You need to have people playing your game to learn, and people are much more likely to try a free game from a new developer
    2) Successful F2P games monetize much better than paid games over the long term (Source)

    Hope this helps!
     
  12. Simon Tomlin

    Simon Tomlin New Member

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    I agree with TylerBetable.
    The problem is that unless your game looks very appealing then folks will not risk paying for something unknown.
    By having it as free to try at least you should be able to get some players and then feedback.
    Once you have something which is popular or at least the plan of something that will be popular then you can go down multiple routes. Pre release subscription to fund development, free minimum or one off purchase.
     
  13. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    I think a F2P games has surely more chances to make money than a standard pay-once, but you need also to account maintenance/time spent on it and also the competition which is getting quite fierce. All I can see today on adwords are ads for F2P games :eek:
     
  14. gamer247

    gamer247 New Member

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    If people like your game they will pay for it. You cant even imagine how many people with lods of $ in the world with no need to work.
     
  15. hippocoder

    Indie Author

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    Anecdote:

    1. I made my first ios game from start to finish + ship in less than 7 days.
    2. I figured out early on it wasn't making money, so switched to freemium and released an update.

    Why don't you do that instead of constantly making pictures, timers and asking questions on the forum? no offense, but you're on a fast-track to failure unless you shift mentally and get something done.

    Nothing matters except your opinion and your ability to learn. Once it's done there's a thousand options. Take each day as it comes, but above all finish.
     
  16. amaranth

    Original Member

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    Why not have a demo and full version? This seems to be taking traction...
     

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