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The insanity of mobile gaming price model acceptance

03-21-2014, 11:47 PM
#1
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 939
The insanity of mobile gaming price model acceptance

The more I read comments around here about new games, either coming soon or just released, the more perplexed I get. It seems no matter what, there is no such thing as a generally accepted price model.

$5 or more — "This is perposterous!"
$2 - $5 — "Might be worth it if it was $0.99. I'll wait for a sale."
$0.99 — "Not sure if this looks worth a buck. I'll wait for it to go free."
Free — "Anyone try this yet? Is it worth downloading? Waiting for impressions."

It's almost as if the price isn't actually the issue, but the effort. At this point I'm seriously wondering if devs started giving out $1 Appstore credits to people for downloading a free game, would people still debate whether it's worth it? I can just see it now: "I had to play this game for 10 minutes in one sitting in order to earn the $1 credit. That's not including the download time. Not really worth it unless you are into these kind of games." Or worse yet, "Anyone try this yet? Is it worth it?"

Welcome to the TA community, where $0.99 is too expensive and free is even worse! You show us a price model and we'll rip it to shreads in a heartbeat, provided that doing so is worth our time. Actually, we'll probably just ask someone else to look at the price model to find out if it's worth looking at.
03-22-2014, 12:06 AM
#2
Joined: Nov 2013
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Posts: 1,586
It's not the pricing if the game , it's the quality of the game itself. Do you wanna buy a 5 dollar ios game that's a match 3 ? There's definitely some free games out there that are really not worth and a waste if time. That's why so many people get mad when a game thy bought goes free. It's a total waste of money. There's also others things such as gameplay, graphics, usage space, and the device compatibility.

03-22-2014, 12:11 AM
#3
Oh, this irks me as well. I'm happy FTL is going to be $10. IOS games are sadly so underpriced and devalued. Really? A $1, $2, $3 for hours of gameplay, good visuals, etc. That's a disgraceful to developers. The perception of price on IOS is totally misconstrued compared to every other game store.

On PC, Breach & Clear is currently $10, full price is $15. That's reasonable; other PC tactical games like Door Kickers are around that price. On IOS? $4

Tiny Thief: $15 on PC for five to six hours of gameplay, cute graphics and nice animations. Maybe a tad expensive (I think $10 is better), but still a fair price for the game. $3 on the App Store

Now in regards to free games, the reason I know I might be hesitant to even download the game is because I don't even want to waste the space downloading and installing if it's a freemium, ad-ridden, paywall/timer-heavy mess.
03-22-2014, 06:31 AM
#4
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Madrid [Spain]
Posts: 200
As said, it's not about the prize but the value of the game itself.

Quote:
Currently: Playing
03-22-2014, 08:09 AM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by youtopia View Post
as said, it's not about the prize but the value of the game itself.
^ this
03-22-2014, 06:24 PM
#6
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,462
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wizard_Mike View Post
The more I read comments around here about new games, either coming soon or just released, the more perplexed I get. It seems no matter what, there is no such thing as a generally accepted price model.

$5 or more — "This is perposterous!"
$2 - $5 — "Might be worth it if it was $0.99. I'll wait for a sale."
$0.99 — "Not sure if this looks worth a buck. I'll wait for it to go free."
Free — "Anyone try this yet? Is it worth downloading? Waiting for impressions."

It's almost as if the price isn't actually the issue, but the effort. At this point I'm seriously wondering if devs started giving out $1 Appstore credits to people for downloading a free game, would people still debate whether it's worth it? I can just see it now: "I had to play this game for 10 minutes in one sitting in order to earn the $1 credit. That's not including the download time. Not really worth it unless you are into these kind of games." Or worse yet, "Anyone try this yet? Is it worth it?"

Welcome to the TA community, where $0.99 is too expensive and free is even worse! You show us a price model and we'll rip it to shreads in a heartbeat, provided that doing so is worth our time. Actually, we'll probably just ask someone else to look at the price model to find out if it's worth looking at.
I love this.
03-22-2014, 07:58 PM
#7
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 9,425
I think the big reason iOS gamers focus so much on price or hesitate even with freebies is because App Store is a sea of shovelware filth where taking a chance on a game is actually a gamble (there's a lot of good stuff but buyer beware). Other avenues like Steam have approval processes ensuring some quality.

Indie games and digital downloads on PC are usually cheap too; the only area of gaming clinging to higher prices are consoles and premium AAA studio titles at launch (and those quickly discount). Many times PC equivilants of iOS games go for around the same prices (i.e. Darkstone iOS IAP is $4.99 and PC edition is $5.99; similar with Super Hexagon, Braveland, etc) or get bundled for even cheaper (i.e. Hero Siege has been repeatedly bundled, at least 4 times to be had for under $1). For example, GOG has a $1.79 digital download sale right now and Steam keys often get tossed around dirt cheap (humblebundle, indiegala, etc, etc) if not on direct discount at Steam (often 75%+ off). Bronxsta points out some exceptions and that's a fair point for bug studio titles like Rovio but many iOS games have been typically cheaper indie games.

Last edited by undeadcow; 03-22-2014 at 08:08 PM.
03-23-2014, 07:06 AM
#8
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 141
My 2 cents

Well, there was a Gamasutra post where a dev stated 'I'm glad our game went free, at least it can't get any lower than that'.
Other devs commented like this: "Can't go lower? we pay players to play our game, and it works".

Other devs pointed out that, the only reason $1 is the cheapest games go is that apple didn't set a 2 cents price point.

I think part of the problem (should we call it that?) is that we're talking about digital entertainment, without much of a mechanism for regulating price.

There's a lot in "digital" ...
#1 a lot of people still don't get why they need to pay money for bytes.
#2 it's a lot harder for devs to decide what we should charge for a game. If I rented a booth in an amusement park I might charge you $1 per play but I have to pay for the rent, so although you play only 1 to 5 minutes I can't charge less than $1, and that is that.

Digital downloads are an uneasy concept. I do think boxed games made more sense price-wise although, it's a lot harder for indies to get into this.

Competition over price is probably hurting game quality already. Reminds me of a time people wanted to fly dirt cheap, finally they had to make a blacklist of plane companies that weren't safe to fly with.
And there's too much investment going into free games atm. Sooner or later this can be expected to backfire and it won't be pretty.

Creator of Antistar: Rising (3D adventure) and Darwin's nightmare (vertical shooter)
Working on: Game Degree Zero, Project Spectral and The Belated Antistar Sequel.
03-23-2014, 07:47 AM
#9
I've been in Steam forums, debating price and IOS and whatnot in regards to the Breach & Clear port (but I'm fed up now, it's a hopeless fight), and I think this quote from the FTL devs best sums up the perception of mobile pricing. At least in regards to prices on IOS/Android and other game stores
Quote:
"Presumably the higher price point will make players a little bit more discerning on whether or not FTL will be something that they're interested in,"

"Which is funny, because we're very expensive on iPad with the same price that's extremely cheap on PC. It could even be the same users that have the different perception of what is a $10 game, just based on the system."

Last edited by Bronxsta; 03-23-2014 at 07:50 AM.
03-23-2014, 08:28 AM
#10
I will pay almost any price if the quality of the game can justify the price.

iOS is just another gaming platform. Just cause you can play it on a tiny phone or a tablet does not bean charging a lot of money for a quality game is a crime. Developers making good games should be rewarded.

Of course there is a price limit to everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by undeadcow View Post
I think the big reason iOS gamers focus so much on price or hesitate even with freebies is because App Store is a sea of shovelware filth where taking a chance on a game is actually a gamble (there's a lot of good stuff but buyer beware). Other avenues like Steam have approval processes ensuring some quality.
Have you visited steam recently?

Steam does not do any quality control.. they are turning Steam into a open release platform.

Greenlight is going away.. Publishers can dump all their old buggy back catalog on steam.. they don΄t even have to work, does not really matter you can release it.


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Last edited by HansKaosu; 03-23-2014 at 08:30 AM.