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  #11  
Old 10-31-2014, 07:38 PM
ichigo1978 ichigo1978 is offline
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Carlos,

How is monetization now ?
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  #12  
Old 11-01-2014, 11:25 AM
Pixelosis Pixelosis is offline
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Originally Posted by carlosww View Post
Hello, I am Carlos Carrasco, the developer of The Spatials, and half of Weird and Wry. My background is web and desktop software development and management and this is my first foray in mobile development in ten years (last one was with Nokia Series 40 and DoCoMo DoJa. Yeah I'm old...)

We released our iPad game this week in quiet way, hoping to gather some feedback and iterate it a bit more before trying to do a PR/advertising push. The TouchArcade community has been amazing to us and provided a lot of feedback! We now have a clear path of what content and mechanics improvements we want to add to the game. But at the same time we are struggling with monetization.

The first option we considered, and our favorite one, was to make the game free for the first 1/4 of the content and then offer a single, one-time IAP to unlock the rest of the game. Unfortunately my research indicated that gamers absolutely hate this system. Am I right on this point? Anybody knows of successful games doing this?

The second option was to do premium download with no IAP. Doing this has the disadvantage of 100x-1000x less downloads, so much less feedback and buzz is generated. We discarded this because we would have needed to start with a PR push and we aren't ready yet.

We finally decided to go for free + IAP. But we didn't do it properly. Right now our IAP offerings are more of a "donate" button as more than one gamer has discovered. My problem is that I loathe any talk of "whales", "psychology", "behavior influence". I am developing a video game, not a casino. I want to do a system where a user gives me a few bucks over the lifetime of my project because she likes it, not because I am exploiting some latent addictive impulses.

Downloads have been good, we got around 2.6K in five days, which for an iPad-only game with zero marketing and unknown developers is quite good I believe. But proceeds barely got past beer money, with an appalling ARPU of around 4 cents. Version 1.0.1, due in a few days, will add a banner, which we hope will motivate more people to get the coin doubler / ad remover IAP. And we are also going to tweak the game to make the currency more useful.

We will keep trying more ideas, and we are toying going premium when we do a big content update. But at the same time I see other devs going from premium to free, so what do I know. Anybody got more ideas on pivoting your monetization strategy?
I have some mixed thoughts about your decision.
Some people say that premium is out of reach for indies, and that's true; hence the need of established publishers, which I think you should try. Make your app paid and get support from a publisher's network.

Catering to a hardcore niche on a support which itself is hardly known to be tailored for hardcore gaming type experiences and in fact pretty much the epithome of casual strikes me as odd.
The core principle of freemium is that it can only work if your potential audience is very large already. 100Ks to a million.

Yet you aim for a fraction of a fraction, a target that is so restricted that you'd need immense efforts to turn potential and unreached players into customers of yours.
Then only a fraction of them would be recurring players.
And only a fraction of those recurring players would do IAP.
What does that make?
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2014, 11:26 AM
Pixelosis Pixelosis is offline
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Originally Posted by carlosww View Post
We finally decided to go for free + IAP. But we didn't do it properly. Right now our IAP offerings are more of a "donate" button as more than one gamer has discovered. My problem is that I loathe any talk of "whales", "psychology", "behavior influence". I am developing a video game, not a casino.
You will develop a cashino game.
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  #14  
Old 11-04-2014, 05:17 AM
carlosww carlosww is offline
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It has rained quite a bit since I started this thread

After two months or so it was clear we don't know / aren't able to do a "proper" consumable IAP balanced game and make a profit from it. So we decided to go full premium, not immediately on iPad, but first by doing the PC/Mac version we were planning anyway. The idea being that first we publish The Spatials v2 as a public alpha on PC/Mac, with the usual premium pricing for PC, develop it in the open to get an audience and motivate players, then once it's finished we publish it again on iPad. It's much more likely press and Apple will pay attention to us if we come back to the platform with an already popular game (or as popular as we can make it, of course).

The breakthrough that may make this possible at all was being greenlit last month. Publishing on Steam is just incredible for us. It's literally going from "this makes us some pocket money every month" to "we are incorporating and looking up international IP law". From a hobby to a (potential) business. We are planing the release for early 2015 because we want v2 to be more finished and polished (and avoid a SEA release like the ill fated Spacebase DF-9, a lot of potential customers tell us they won't buy EA ever again).

So The Spatials will be back on iPad after our Steam release, with new, vastly improved content and mechanics, a mid-premium price, and zero IAP or ads of any kind. The port needs near zero effort since we test everything on both PC and iPad, and have platform-only control perks for both since day 0. Only 512MB iPads are starting to be problematic, we will see how we handle it.

The iPad v1 version is still available and we also removed all IAP and ads, changed the balance, and made it Tier 1 priced, as a preview/test of things to come. Even with absolute zero promotion is making more than the original IAP version, although this could be some "halo effect" from the PC side.
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  #15  
Old 11-04-2014, 09:03 PM
ChickenFeetStudios ChickenFeetStudios is offline
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This was a really interesting thread for me. Thanks for sharing your story. My wife and I are in the same process for our game [url=http://www.appadvice.com/trailers/super-looper]Super Looper[/url]. Its obviously a much different game, but we also have never really understood what the best monetization choice would be.

For now, we have already implemented the standard in app purchases, but I don't think our game is really ideal for that model.

I've also thought about moving to the 1-29 free, pay for 30-59, 60-100 model (the game has 100 levels). For people who enjoy the game, perhaps they would be willing to pay for extra levels at those points.

Its hard to know what the best answer is.
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  #16  
Old 11-05-2014, 02:11 AM
Xammond Xammond is offline
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From various threads it is becoming clear that free is for publishers to promote games, and paid is what is left. This means that Joe Public (and Jill) is spoiled with free candy and wouldn't know a good meal deal if you throw it at them with a single 99 cent sticker. But still I don't see anything paid in grossing except for Minecraft. Though I just notice an unusual app in there for 200 which is a bit silly.
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2014, 06:59 AM
Destined Destined is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xammond View Post
From various threads it is becoming clear that free is for publishers to promote games, and paid is what is left. This means that Joe Public (and Jill) is spoiled with free candy and wouldn't know a good meal deal if you throw it at them with a single 99 cent sticker. But still I don't see anything paid in grossing except for Minecraft. Though I just notice an unusual app in there for 200 which is a bit silly.
The graphic designer I work with has an app in the store for about 50 bucks and it sells reasonably well because he a good market for it.
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