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Old 07-13-2010, 12:54 PM
invulse invulse is offline
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Default Free w/ in-app purchase or Lite & Full version?

I am on the fence with this one right now. My original plan was to offer my game as free with a couple of levels then unlock the full game with an in-app purchase for $.99.

However, when researching apps similar to mine that are free with in-app purchases I noticed they received tons of 1 star reviews from people who felt they were 'ripped off' cause the game had in-app purchases.

I also noticed that one of the games which has openfeint enabled for a free game with IAP had over 40,000 players for the free level, yet only had 100 players for the first of the paid levels. I know this could be a testament to how people liked the game, but it worries me that a game could have a conversion rate of 1 purchase per 400 installs.

So now I am considering the Lite & Full versions of my game with a call to action in the lite version for purchasing the full game, but I am really on the fence about it.

If anyone would like to share their experiences with either of these methods, or their opinions on the matter I would appreciate it.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 07-13-2010, 01:00 PM
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Eli Eli is offline
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I really like free games that give you a tutorial and a few levels then offer to unlock the rest of it via IAP. I hate dealing with two different versions of game, especially if I lose progress made in the free version by switching to the paid version. Pester @OwenGoss on Twitter about how good/bad Landformer is doing because I really like how that game is monetized.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:41 PM
Marc Vaughan Marc Vaughan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodapp View Post
I really like free games that give you a tutorial and a few levels then offer to unlock the rest of it via IAP. I hate dealing with two different versions of game, especially if I lose progress made in the free version by switching to the paid version. Pester @OwenGoss on Twitter about how good/bad Landformer is doing because I really like how that game is monetized.
I haven't played around with in-app purchasing yet - but its fairly easy for a developer to 'export' save games etc. from a 'Lite' application to a full one and I think anyone making an application with the lite -> full app system should support that functionality as a matter of course.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:50 PM
heffdog116 heffdog116 is offline
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Not a dev, but I appreciate the Free + IAP method. It makes it easier and less cluttered. I dont understand why this method is the cause for low ratings (probably same reason why most lites have bad ratings). Maybe from your point of view, lite + full is the way to go, but from a consumer stand point, i like free + IAP.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:00 PM
invulse invulse is offline
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My question is geared more towards if developers are seeing better conversion rates with free + iap vs lite/full. As a consumer I would prefer the free+iap just because it makes things less cluttered however as a dev. if I see low conversion rates with this method I probably wouldnt go with it.

I also definitely get that free apps get lower ratings because any person can just download and hate it, but the free with IAP seemed to be getting an unusual amount of low ratings for great games (like Landformer) just because people wanted the entire game to be free.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:26 PM
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Stroffolino Stroffolino is offline
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From a consumer perspective, free with IAP is extremely convenient. I don't think anyone would question that.

But some pros/cons for developers to consider:

1. Apple gives visibility to pay and free apps in separate top lists. By releasing free with IAP, your game will only be visible in the "free" lists. But there are plenty of paying customers that don't bother browsing through the free lists very deeply, because it's harder to find quality apps there. If you have both a pay and free version of the app, you increase the chances that a user will stumble across it. You can even stagger the pay and lite releases to get a "2nd chance" burst of visibility.

2. when pay game goes free, they get huge spikes of visibility. A good example is TA's frontpage coverage of the 0.99 cent Super KO Boxing 2 going free. The full game had already been quietly given away through the lite version for some time, but most people hadn't noticed. By leading with a free game, you're ruling FAAD style tactics out.

3. Free apps get impulse downloads from people that would have otherwise never bothered checked out out your app. This cuts both ways. User rating for the free apps tends to be a star lower for free apps. This affects user perception of quality and is compounded by search results being skewed by Apple to favor more expensive apps.

I'd love if the AppStore were structured to reward developers that produce apps with IAP, or universal apps, for that matter. Right now, it isn't on either count.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodapp View Post
I really like free games that give you a tutorial and a few levels then offer to unlock the rest of it via IAP. I hate dealing with two different versions of game, especially if I lose progress made in the free version by switching to the paid version. Pester @OwenGoss on Twitter about how good/bad Landformer is doing because I really like how that game is monetized.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:46 PM
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Foursaken_Media Foursaken_Media is offline
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First of all it depends on what type of game you have. Is it a pure casual experience or more of a "gamer" game?

From a business standpoint though, I would recommend 2 versions. As Stroffolino said, you basically have 2 chances to get noticed since you'll be on 2 different charts, and a chance to basically get twice the exposure (especially considering the free and paid market are like 2 different entities, and you just won't know how your game will respond in either of them, including which one it could do well in).

Also don't forget with a paid version you can have sales and price drops, which are then published on 100's of websites for lots of exposure. In our experience, dropping the price for a sale every once in a while has proven to be HUGELY profitable, getting sales spikes of up to 10x our pre sale revenue.

In the end, having 2 versions out there just gives you flexibility. You can take down the lite, you can have paid version sales and price drops, etc...

Another alternative you could do is have a free + DLC version, AND a premium, paid only version, usually packaged with a few bonus things that you can't get in the DLC version. That way you kind of have the best of both worlds. The downside with this is it can be confusing to some people.
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:15 PM
invulse invulse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foursaken_Media View Post
First of all it depends on what type of game you have. Is it a pure casual experience or more of a "gamer" game?

From a business standpoint though, I would recommend 2 versions. As Stroffolino said, you basically have 2 chances to get noticed since you'll be on 2 different charts, and a chance to basically get twice the exposure (especially considering the free and paid market are like 2 different entities, and you just won't know how your game will respond in either of them, including which one it could do well in).

Also don't forget with a paid version you can have sales and price drops, which are then published on 100's of websites for lots of exposure. In our experience, dropping the price for a sale every once in a while has proven to be HUGELY profitable, getting sales spikes of up to 10x our pre sale revenue.

In the end, having 2 versions out there just gives you flexibility. You can take down the lite, you can have paid version sales and price drops, etc...

Another alternative you could do is have a free + DLC version, AND a premium, paid only version, usually packaged with a few bonus things that you can't get in the DLC version. That way you kind of have the best of both worlds. The downside with this is it can be confusing to some people.
This is the direction I have started leaning. I saw your post before about how FAAD spiked your downloads really high then your purchases continued at about 9x what they were previously. So the benefits from lite/full versions really seem to outweight the free+IAP.
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2010, 04:52 PM
slimothy slimothy is offline
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Well, if you go with IN-APP Purchase, I don't think the hackers will be able to steal the game, if that's what you're worried about. I personally hate In app purchases, but I hate it if the app is a huge file, it takes too long to download a free one, then the full one which will take even longer. Personally, if I were you, just go with In App Purchase.
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2010, 05:07 PM
Venan Venan is offline
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One note about the free app ratings - that will probably change a lot now that Rate On Delete is no longer presented.

That being said though, I think Lite+Full will work out best in the long run. I can't say I've seen any poster children for In-App purchase yet other than the Freemium games, so unless this is just a hobby, I'd pick the one with the better track record.
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