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

Noteworthy article regarding Free-to-Play

04-16-2013, 05:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,033
Originally Posted by Ravenblack View Post
Music is freely available ... it's called radio, you don't get to plan the playlist and it has ads.
But games aren't music. You listen to music. You play games.
04-16-2013, 05:33 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,768
Originally Posted by One Side Software View Post
Now, does Jeff go back and take another look at Pro Beach Volleyball? No, he doesn't. He's momentarily soured on gaming and he only had about 20 minutes to play anyway, so he moves on. Pro Beach Volleyball's sales opportunity is gone and its developers get nothing. Volleyball Heroes doesn't make a sale this time, but maybe it got an ad or two in and at least got a small bump in its search ranking thanks to Jeff's download.
I'm not sure if Jeff has the same mentality as me, but if Pro Beach Volleyball had a lite version I would have downloaded that at the same time as the freemium game, at least giving it a chance.

゙(゚、 。 7 ノ
 l、゙ ~ヽ
 じしf_, )ノ

04-16-2013, 08:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Maine!
Posts: 4,166
@ Gabrien - Thanks for posting the great article!

@ Nobunaga & MidianGTX - Thanks for doing the honors and saving me some typing. Well said to both of you, and long live facts and reading comprehension!


I give up.
04-17-2013, 01:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 42
Originally Posted by Ravenblack View Post
There ought to be an expectation for "Premium" games to be pushed passed the quality of free so much that it should be made much more desirable to pay for it.
The issue is that there is no way to communicate the superior quality of premium games to the average app store user. As I said in my post, the screenshots, icons, descriptions etc. of freemium games can look just as good as premium games. If freemium games used their "pay" screens as screenshots on the app stores that would be one thing, but of course no freemium game does this.

Originally Posted by Ravenblack View Post
Even if you can eliminate the freemium from the market, do you think you can get a bigger piece of the pie? Or would you simply cause those who would never turn to gaming to never game at all and thus never have the chance to reach them at all?
Absolutely, but I think that is self-evident. Of course not all of the freemium players would magically become premium players if you took away freemium, but certainly some would (and vice-versa). Right now 49 of the top 50 grossing iOS games are freemium; it is highly unlikely that at least some of that revenue doesn't come at the expense of premium games.

Originally Posted by Ravenblack View Post
I don't know if I'm asking the right question, just that imho it's a bit too late to get rid of this "free" culture (this freemium thing started way before the appstore's popularity), so no realistically you can't beat them. Not all devs have made the choice to join them though.
Sure, but their lives are much tougher is my point.
04-17-2013, 02:14 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: NY, NY
Posts: 956
If freemium becomes more common, I think developers will figure out classier ways to implement it. I could buy all the stuff I want in Subway Surfers, for example, but after that I probably wouldn't play the game as much as I do. The biggest IAP disasters, I think, are games in consolish genres that make too much content rely on actual payment. I don't think those will actually become more common because they are basically getting an audience that dislikes the IAP rather than the people who are getting social games and expecting IAP.
04-17-2013, 10:55 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by Nobunaga View Post
Wow. This is one of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever heard.
First, lots of people play these games. You're right. Most for free. The minority are the people that spend money on them. That minority spends a lot.

Second, your attempt to compare iOS games to console games is nonsense. The average budget for a game on the AppStore is a fraction of their console counterparts in all aspects. Production cost, marketing and distribution. Do you see advertising campaigns for even the largest iOS releases? Have you gone to a store to buy a physical copy of a game for your iPhone? No? And let's not even begin to compare them to arcades. I own the "cabinet" and the real estate I'm playing in.

"At the end of the day $.99 doesn't put food on the table of these devs" it put a lot of food on Rovio's table. The R.O.I. On the infinity blade series is greater than that of any other Chair/Epic game. Many games have been massive hits and made a great deal of money for the developers. Some fail. That's kind of how business works.

And to your most retarded and offensive point. Most of the most vocal people on this site, that dislike the current implementation of IAP, are the same that are active in the threads for the most expensive "premium" games on the AppStore (I.E. not broke kids). I make enough to sink hundreds of dollars a week into garbage like clash of clans, if I wanted to. I'd prefer to play a game because I enjoy it. For me that means not having to be berated to give up money to continue in a game. I don't remember Castlevania or Seiken Densetsu or ANY of my favourite games ever having that be a part of the experience. And, I never will. No IAP pushing crap, will ever be in my top 50 favourite games.
You completely missed my point. If you pay $100 for a game you really enjoy and play months on end then isn't that money well spent.

Doesn't matter if it's on console or iOS, you can't put a price on your time. At least with freemium you as the user get to decide how much a game is worth to you.

Also please don't hide behind console games costing more to make the big ones make insane profit. COD games cost $200 million to develop, advertise, produce, etc, but they all gross well over $1 billion each. They aren't making those games out of the goodness of their hearts.

Your point about premium big hits on ios doesn't really stand up either. Just looking at appshopper at the highest grossing games at the moment only 1 premium game is in the top 10, minecraft. And only 2 more in the top 50, bloons 5 and scramble with friends. The newest, bloons came out like 5 months ago. Nothing newer than 5 months is in the top 50 highest grossing games at the moment.

Also if I look at the list by peak, of all the premium games that have ever got no.1 spot, 4 are made by rovio, and the other is minecraft.

So please tell me where are all these big new premium hits? Ancient history that's where. The AppStore has gone freemium and if your not using it then your losing on income.

You talk about your favourite games but honestly no one cares. Games are a business. Companies have to make money to continue making new games. That's how it works. Now its fine if a developer wants to make the best game ever and make it premium. but If it's a commercial fail then they shouldn't cry and blame freemium. Business first is the rule, everything else is second. That's what it takes to succeed. I know its sad, but It's how the WHOLE WORLD operates why should games be any different?
04-17-2013, 11:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by MidianGTX View Post
I'd like to address the part Nobunaga left out.

That comment smells of young kid (typing that felt a little weird) not being able to understand the difference between positive and negative change. Clash of Clans is hugely popular among people with either no money or too much money and plenty of time to waste. The article acknowledges that. It then goes on to point out the masses of flaws in a well thought-out, reasonable and educated manner. It summarizes his direct experience with the game and to further strengthen his case, even points out the small areas where it shows potential. Most of the negatives come not from opinion or his preference of genre, but from factual truths about how the game is constructed to maximise profits while simultaneously stretching thin it's gameplay to ridiculous (and ideally for the devs, never-ending) lengths.

We all have our guilty pleasures and this is yours. You just happen to like a somewhat crappy game. It's not the end of the world.
Ok I'll take the bait.

The guy who wrote the article obviously didn't know what he's talking about. I'll talk a few sections on to demonstrate.

"I've spent four weeks playing Clash of Clans, but over that time I've spent only a few hours at most actually playing the game."

So in four weeks only a few hours actually playing. Any clasher knows in the first four weeks is the most active time you'll have in the game. There's tons to do. The wait times are short and your playing other newbies so you don't need to train lots of troops for battles to win them. Thus you can train up armies quick and have tons of battles.

"I don't see a lot of honesty in the kind of model that Clash of Clans and dozens of other build-a-village themed games use. I just can't see them as games, and this bothers me. A lot. I hate people who say "It's not a real game" because that's such a close-minded avenue of thought. Yet I look at these products and I don't see games. I see payment machines, made to look like entertainment."

Isn't that what arcade machines where back in the day. Payment machines. Here take my quarter so I can get 30 seconds to get destroyed by an overly unfair AI. Those games where designed to take your money just like people claim freemium does. But you never hear people bitch about PAC man and his bunch of quarter thriving friends. Infact they are heroes and icons in the gaming world now.

"The gameplay in Clash of Clans is tissue thin. You mine gold and elixir, and use these twin currencies to build and upgrade other structures. The kinds of things you can build, and the number, is determined by the level of your Town Hall. Upgrade this, at enormous cost, and more options become available. It's a multiplayer game, so you're also building defences and raising armies to go and attack others.

Except there's no point to any of it. You can build walls around your buildings and carefully place the handful of cannons and mortars you're allowed, but a player with a large enough army will overwhelm you through sheer force of numbers. You, of course, win your bouts in the same way. Just train as many troops as you're allowed, fling them at your randomly assigned foe and victory comes through volume rather than skill.

The surface mechanics might be similar to strategy games we recognise, or even identical in some cases, but the systems underneath are created from the ground up for diametrically opposed functions. You don't have to get better at a free-to-play game in order to do well."

This section here proves to me he didn't get very far at all. It's like playing the tutorial of a game and saying it's too easy and it's pointless.

In clash of clans, base design is really important. No other city builder places such importants on the layout of your village/town/city as clash of clans does. People have made program's so people can design base layouts. A great base layout will win you battles, Increase your trophies and protect your resources.

People here like tower defence right well it's like that. You gotta do it smart you can't just put things anywhere like its not important.

Swarming bases in clash doesn't work once you get past the noobie stages of the game, it's all about army composition and picking the right bases to attack and attacking at the right points.

I don't think the guy knew about distracting mortars and clan castle troops while you rob a base. Or a giant healer combo to smash through defences, or lightening spell attack on air defences so you can unleash your airborne troops in safety.

The game gets really deep ona tactical level later on and makes it fun. Which is one the things which sets its apart from other city builders aside from being a cross with tower offence and defence.

The further you get into the game the more it evolves and becomes more challenging as your defensive and offensive strategies need to change so you can succeed. And yes you don't need ton improve to move the game forward but you go do much faster if you do improve.

People here may think clash of clans is crappy, but I think it's really fun and so do millions of others. And more games like are the future so be prepared.

Last edited by demarchy; 04-17-2013 at 11:56 PM.
04-18-2013, 12:13 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: NY, NY
Posts: 956
I think CoC was just used simply because of its success. I've seen a lot of very opposite views of payment structure in one game or another as well, so I don't think the subjective quality of that game is all that relevant.

As to something or other being the future, I just don't think the freemium model works for most genres that aren't predominantly confined to smartphones. That is to say that going freemium won't help developers of games that aren't the kind of stuff you only see on iOS or some browser template. It's a false assumption to apply the premise behind one kind of successful game to another that attracts a completely different audience.
04-18-2013, 11:50 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,768
Originally Posted by demarchy View Post
Ok I'll take the bait.
I'll just say for the record, I also had CoC installed for a few weeks at the behest of a friend of mine, and felt like I barely got any time playing with it. You say the beginning is the busiest time, but I was hit with wait timers quite literally within minutes. Unless you want to blow through your consumables, I don't think you can even get a straight 30-minute run at it from the time you start playing.

The thing is, this guy isn't alone in his concerns, far from it. He isn't moaning because he's a grumpy old fool, he's concerned about how free-to-play is affecting the industry as a whole, as are many people. Whether you like the game or not, the plain fact is it's been built with a far stronger focus on taking your money than on enjoyment, which is absolutely the wrong way to go about creating any game. Developer greed (and I don't mean all of you, Rubicon, if you're watching) is leaking into titles that just don't suit the free-to-play formula at all, and we appear to be heading into rather a depressing era for gaming. Alright, so you like CoC, but surely you must admit that not all games could work in the same way? Would you enjoy GTA if it used the same formula? Gears of War? Half-Life? We can only hope we never have to find out, which is really the essence of what the article is about. If CoC had been built as a premium RTS something like Command & Conquer, it could have been fantastic, but it wasn't. Let's give other games the chance to be fantastic instead of holding them back by forcing their gameplay to work around a strict payment scheme.

Free-to-play has its place, but it needs to know where that place is and stay there.