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"In-App Panhandling is a Pain in the Tits"

12-27-2011, 11:51 AM
#1
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Alexandria, VA (USA)
Posts: 1,873
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"In-App Panhandling is a Pain in the Tits"

I see Jeff Minter of Llamasoft just made a blog post about in-app purchases a few hours after angry-tweeting on the same.

I thought I'd throw it out there:

http://s349909351.websitehome.co.uk/blog/?p=173

Cheers.





bp

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12-27-2011, 11:56 AM
#2
Abusers gonna abuse. I'm sure there's none of those shady types of IAP abusing devs on these particular forums...

The psychology of it is easy to see: you buy a game and then find out that you are still locked out of some of the features by another IAP. It's a jerk move that would make anybody angry. Better not to include those additional features in the first place rather than provoke a negative reaction in your app.

12-27-2011, 12:06 PM
#3
Thanks for sharing, this sorta helped me decide what to do for my next release.

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12-27-2011, 03:56 PM
#4
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
well i don't see anything wrong in the example mr.minter is raging about..

actualy kinds hard to discuss about a product if you don't know what it is.. but apparently you get 4 game modes for 1$..

the question here should be if the content offered for a dollar is (good) enough
or not and not the optional expansion of the product via iap..

the point is that the appstore is geared towards tier1 games and endless sales of big publishers portfolios teach that very good to customers..

so i can't see the logic behind attracting customers with a lower entry level pricepoint to get them started, probably hooked to the game and then offer them more for more money..

offering a game at tier 3 (which is fu ck ing 3$) completely kills impulse buys
when the big studios offer their highly polished, big branded games for the same or less..

so what todo here if a developer actually sees value in his work..

"i won't sell it for 1$ its worth more, but selling it for more will be difficult, so what should i do"

splitting up into a more "episodic" level pack / feature pack whatever is an completely valid option..

apparently some old grey devs who still try to sell you their boring digital acid trip as a game disagrees without even asking "why".. just ranting about something without questioning the reason behind it is just a lazy rant imho.. nothing more..

dev either adapt to the market or they vanish.. ranting won't change the market.. pointing fingers at other developers who try to cope and adjust to the way things work on the appstore is actually quite sad..

and i actually laughed at the smartbomb example.. really? consumable iaps.. thats like putting in more quarters into an arcade to continue your game.. !!! thats like cheating.. such crappy generalizations are just stupid.

one of my favorite TD games has such an consumable weapon, i never used and never missed using.. but still people would generalize and say its bad bad bad what they did fu ck ing greedy devs..

but fact is you have to differentiate if such iap are really optional or not..
can you play and enjoy the game without them, then thats fine in my book..
does it make things easier for others? yes, ok thats fine in my book too..

some people add 10-20$ to their console game purchase by bying the official walkthroughs.. so what.. ? if thats how they want to play it let them..
if people want to pay for an smartbomb to help them cheat away some enemies, let them..

as long as an iap does not force itself upon an customer to enjoy the product i don't see anything wrong with them..
12-27-2011, 04:22 PM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.Ugly View Post
well i don't see anything wrong in the example mr.minter is raging about..

actualy kinds hard to discuss about a product if you don't know what it is.. but apparently you get 4 game modes for 1$..

the question here should be if the content offered for a dollar is (good) enough
or not and not the optional expansion of the product via iap..

the point is that the appstore is geared towards tier1 games and endless sales of big publishers portfolios teach that very good to customers..

so i can't see the logic behind attracting customers with a lower entry level pricepoint to get them started, probably hooked to the game and then offer them more for more money..

offering a game at tier 3 (which is fu ck ing 3$) completely kills impulse buys
when the big studios offer their highly polished, big branded games for the same or less..

so what todo here if a developer actually sees value in his work..

"i won't sell it for 1$ its worth more, but selling it for more will be difficult, so what should i do"

splitting up into a more "episodic" level pack / feature pack whatever is an completely valid option..

apparently some old grey devs who still try to sell you their boring digital acid trip as a game disagrees without even asking "why".. just ranting about something without questioning the reason behind it is just a lazy rant imho.. nothing more..

dev either adapt to the market or they vanish.. ranting won't change the market.. pointing fingers at other developers who try to cope and adjust to the way things work on the appstore is actually quite sad..

and i actually laughed at the smartbomb example.. really? consumable iaps.. thats like putting in more quarters into an arcade to continue your game.. !!! thats like cheating.. such crappy generalizations are just stupid.

one of my favorite TD games has such an consumable weapon, i never used and never missed using.. but still people would generalize and say its bad bad bad what they did fu ck ing greedy devs..

but fact is you have to differentiate if such iap are really optional or not..
can you play and enjoy the game without them, then thats fine in my book..
does it make things easier for others? yes, ok thats fine in my book too..

some people add 10-20$ to their console game purchase by bying the official walkthroughs.. so what.. ? if thats how they want to play it let them..
if people want to pay for an smartbomb to help them cheat away some enemies, let them..

as long as an iap does not force itself upon an customer to enjoy the product i don't see anything wrong with them..
I think it's all in how they present the IAPs. I don't think anybody would complain about Jetpack Joyride's IAPs, they aren't forced or really necessary to the enjoyment of the game. You pay for the game in the first place but don't feel cheated when you find out there's more that can be purchased. They presented them very well.

Other games may not balance it so well, and present their Additional IAPs (AIAPs??) in a way that makes you feel cheated and it provokes a negative reaction.

It reminds me of what you mentioned once when it came to those prompts to get somebody to review you. You want to present those in such a way that somebody doesn't have to press "no I don't want to review you." By keeping it purely positive it makes people feel happy to review you and they feel like it was their idea instead of you pestering them to do it.

I'm continually surprised by how much psychology goes into successful game design!
12-28-2011, 08:30 AM
#6
Joined: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 741
I'm kind of against the idea of full blown fremium games where there is a polished free taster game followed by an easy introduction to the very reasonably priced base of an ever steepening price ramp. Seems a little like giving out free samples of heroin or crack...

But surely the kind of IAP Jeff is talking about is the acceptable face isn't it?

You buy a game for 99c that should probably be selling for $2.99 and if you play it for more than an hour before having to pay another 99c that's cool isn't it?

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12-28-2011, 09:19 AM
#7
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
I suppose it depends on whether or not you feel as though you're actually playing a game with optional extras or simply playing what should have been a free demo/lite version. Those of us who have been with the App Store a bit longer have grown accustomed to trying out lites before we spend our cash, but if we suddeny find ourselves paying 99c just to check whether or not we like the trial, it's gonna leave a sour taste.

It's a thin line though, and I can see how easy it'd be for a developer to overstep it without even realising they've done so.

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12-28-2011, 09:39 AM
#8
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,240
I'm pretty sure the game he's talking about is the new game by the Enviro-Bear dev, if anyone wanted to know.
12-28-2011, 03:19 PM
#9
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Portland, OR, Cascadia
Posts: 332
Oh I dunno, it's hard to fault the developer. I'm often wondering how I can get more money per customer, quite frankly. It's not meant to screw folks over or anything like that. It's just hard to earn enough when you're pulling in 70 cents per copy sold. So it's either low price + IAP (ie freemium at one extreme) or it's a high initial price (at the other extreme).

Sometimes I wonder if highly successful indies appreciate how hard it is to compete as a newcomer today. I mean, 20k customers/year is sufficient money for an indie if you're earning $10/copy. But that's only $14k/year (post royalties) if you're selling at $0.99 in the App Store.
12-28-2011, 03:46 PM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenoclone View Post
Oh I dunno, it's hard to fault the developer. I'm often wondering how I can get more money per customer, quite frankly. It's not meant to screw folks over or anything like that. It's just hard to earn enough when you're pulling in 70 cents per copy sold. So it's either low price + IAP (ie freemium at one extreme) or it's a high initial price (at the other extreme).

Sometimes I wonder if highly successful indies appreciate how hard it is to compete as a newcomer today. I mean, 20k customers/year is sufficient money for an indie if you're earning $10/copy. But that's only $14k/year (post royalties) if you're selling at $0.99 in the App Store.
There's no denying it's a brutal industry out there... we are just about 10 days away from launching our first game that has been over a year and a half in the making. We are releasing it free with IAP to unlock.

At times, it almost feels like you need to have an entire business plan for each app you make now as opposed to just making a pretty polished game. That's what it feels like the app store is turning into thanks to the big Freemium players out there.

I dunno though, maybe the pendulum is slowly turning against F2P/Freemium games.