★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Freemium Done Right vs. Freemium Done Wrong

06-22-2013, 01:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 799
Originally Posted by Rubicon View Post
I guess I just don't see a problem with this.
My issue with this is that you you're paying just to get a bit further and you dot know how much it's going to cost next time. I have no problem whatsoever with games like Magic 2013 which let you play a certain amount and then pay to unlock the rest - or with games like Rhe Walking Dead where you pay for each chapter, because they're honest. The ones that claim to be free, but really cost anywhere between 10 and 500 - and you don't know till you play it - are the problem.
06-22-2013, 05:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Isle of Wight, UK
Posts: 1,502
Originally Posted by dancj View Post
The ones that claim to be free, but really cost anywhere between 10 and 500 - and you don't know till you play it - are the problem.
I would glady pay 10 to continue a game I'm really enjoying. 100, maybe but I would want serious play time out of that to even consider it. Like a months worth of that game only.

My current spend on magic online is somewhere around $10-15,000 over the last ten years or so. Although I've had to curtail that a lot since moving over to mobile and having to give my work away instead of sell it for a reasonable sum.

Different strokes for different folks. Gaming (esp magic online) is my hobby, so I'm happy to pump a lot of disposable income into it when I have some.

Last edited by Rubicon; 06-22-2013 at 05:46 PM.
06-22-2013, 10:22 PM
What seems to not be mentioned...

This is a great post, and I'm glad I get to read it and take part in it.

So what I see here is alot of people describing what makes a good freemium game and what doesnt, what makes good IAP and what doesnt. Including lists of games that are good at it. What I havent heard is how many of you people have spent money on those IAPS on the good freemium games? There is a fine line between "good freemium" and "free". Im a big believer in developers just charging for their apps, and having cosmetic or tedium reducing IAPs in them. Jetpack Joyride is my favorite example of having great IAPs, with the coin doubler. You didnt need it, but it sure helped you out a lot if you got it!

If a game is a great freemim game but you never buy any of the IAP then the developer suffers and is more likely to make a not-so-great freemium game. Dont get me wrong there are obvious ways around the disgusting greed that so many developers deep throat "I'm looking at you GLU" but in this era when the freemium has taken over the game marketplace its harder and harder to make a case against it.

Sell me your game, or have a demo with no saving as mentioned before, or have donate buttons on your game that give the player cool cosmetic things, or a hundred other non-greedy things can be done.
06-24-2013, 09:53 AM
Originally Posted by Machiknight View Post
or a hundred other non-greedy things can be done.

This is the key of course. I believe in the end we can all tell the difference between a greedy company and a non greedy one. I believe glu makes great games, but I will never buy what they have to offer because of WHY they offer it.

Eternal Warriors 2 is an amazing game and I wouldn't of mind paying a certain amount of money to finish this experience. But the issue is I fear even after I spend money, the experience might not be what I want it to be still, it may be more of empty IAP required experiences.

Games like magic do better with this model because of its game design which allows what I may label as "content components". Purchases that can give a full experience of what is expected. This leaves players feeling that the value in purchasing IAP is par. Correct me if I am wrong of course.

Going back to Eternal Warriors 2, IAP would not have made my experience better, or continued it. It seems like I can just purchase items that have a higher level, and a different art asset. Big Deal. Its a Con. And it does the same the standard items. I believe most people can clearly see that a designer just balanced the numbers to get you N% through the game for free, and offer you IAP to finish a game that gives you no hope of fully satisfying your expectations for the experience or offers something worthy to pay for than what you already experienced.

So I guess from a business perspective, you can't have people play games for free that took a lot of company money to create. This of course is a valid concern. After all people need to maintain their businesses to offer more great products.

I believe Angry Birds has an excellent business model. To begin with I remember just paying .99 cents for the game. Its low price, but I paid for it knowing that I can experience it from start to finish. And it was so. So I was willing and even compelled to give them some more of my money in their future products.

I think the problem is in the thinking process which dictates the values and goals of the products.

Designing a game to get you N% for free and pay to give the same experience may get some revenue. It may get a lot of revenue. But I can say that a beggar on the street can come across nice revenue as well.

This boils down to what we value as humanity. How many cultures have accepted behaviours of beggars and thieves? While I am being very bold with my statements, I am sure there are many who feel the same as well.

I am not trying to bash the design model of goin N% for free and paying to go further. Its just that the way its mostly used today reeks.

What attracted me and many gamers are amazing experiences we have all had with certain games we hold dear to ourselves. These games do not even have to be "perfect" or completely "polished". We just have to appreciate and enjoy the experience given.

And one way to show our appreciation is to show support with our money.

There are hundreds of non-greedy things that can be done. People will pay money if they believe it to be of value.
07-06-2013, 08:48 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 135
This is a great thread - stumbled onto it by accident. I agree with most posts, and will share my opinion as well:

- timers
- ridiculous grinding
- ridiculous double currency

- optional IAP for game currency (implies that game can be completed without crazy grinding). I know this isn't F2P, but IB1 & 2 are good examples
- doublers (implies that not too many doublers are required to speed grinding up)

- pay to save (been discussed)
- unlock additional content that adds value (also discussed above, my favorite example, though this is also not F2P: the campaigns added to Ravenmark: SoE). I think it's fine to charge for different skins and such - whoever wants their character in purple instead of red can fork it over. As I mentioned though, with SoE I knew I was buying a solid game from the reviews. The devs created more content and initially charged for it. I felt justified in purchasing because I had experiences quality already, and gotten my $$'s worth.
- donate button (I think many gamers can appreciate quality and will support - yes, there will be many who don't)

My "Best" category is what I believe most closely resembles the old demo structure already discussed. You can get a good taste of the game before you decide to pay.

At the same time, though, I can understand what the devs are going through. Glancing at the top 100 grossing games makes me want to lose my lunch. For good devs to make lots of "easier" $$ they'd have to betray their inner drive to make something great and slap some poor excuse for a game (Zynga-type farmers & what-not) together and almost, sort-of (if you can't tell I'm using this term loosely) "rob" those casual gamer demographics that get easily caught up in collecting Smurfbeeries, or whatever. So for the dev it's: make boatloads with crap vs make quality and hope your marketing/game experience/word-of-mouth can help you make a bit of a profit.

I just want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all the devs that add value to our lives with great games, despite the fact they could be raking it in with some candy-coated money-eater.

Last edited by Reydn; 07-06-2013 at 09:01 AM.
07-07-2013, 01:22 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Read through this thread and just signed up to the forum. Hey everyone.

Grinding is not inherently bad. If you look back a few years ago, console players were complaining about games starting to get too hand-holdy and easy. Gone was the challenge of some seemingly impossible SNES level, and the joyous pride of finally beating the game. Those accomplishments were memories that you would talk about for the rest of your life. A virtual hero's journey.

Does anyone else recognize a game like Temple Run as being the a subtle evolution of coin-op? You play through vying to beat your last run, and upon death you can insert another coin to continue. Of course, the coin concept here has been extrapolated to provide value in a variety of additional ways beyond just extending your life. Furthering the evolution if you do choose death, no coin is required to play again.

Candy Crush is another interesting grind fest. The flack that it gets is very warranted, but this is mostly due to the IAPs and rumor of increased difficulty on players that do make a purchase. Many, many people play this game (on Facebook especially) without spending a dime. They'll all tell you that it becomes a frustrating game of chance at higher levels, but that does not stop it from being a fun waste of time.

Imagine if CC was monetized in a less underhanded way. I LOVE the fact that it just keeps getting harder and harder as you go past 100+ levels. More games should follow this ramping of difficulty. Even if it all comes down to luck/chance, beating the game still feels like more of an achievement than most "achievements" games dole out today.

Great forum and great discussion all...