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Drawbacks to releasing both free and paid versions of your game?

07-28-2014, 10:16 AM
#1
Joined: May 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 222
Drawbacks to releasing both free and paid versions of your game?

People are often torn between going paid or going free/freemium.

Some apps on the appstore have both a free version, and a paid version with either all the content available or no ads.

This seemingly covers both bases, but what are the downsides? Why isn't everyone doing it?

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07-28-2014, 05:00 PM
#2
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,004
I do that, but I think generally conversions rates are low. I have been basically doing "no ads" with no additional content which is a mistake.

I have always thought if i ever got a popular app the paid version extra content could simply be one version ahead of the free (so having the paid gets you content earlier).

Please follow me on twitter @JamesDestined I post lots of development from both my game creation and professional development.
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07-28-2014, 05:15 PM
#3
Joined: May 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 222
So you're saying that the paid version typically doesn't sell much to make it worth it?

It's amazing how much the App Store has changed. I still have the mentality that "69p-2 is nothing, I'm happy to take a chance on this app" but that seems to be very out of fashion these days. I really don't think freemium is a very healthy model but I suppose we have to play the game, so to speak, and get that money.

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07-28-2014, 05:39 PM
#4
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Auckland
Posts: 115
I do think it depends on the type of game that you make. There is still a bracket that want to buy paid games, and if your game fits into this space then it does better if it is paid.
Have a read of this: http://toucharcade.com/2014/07/25/bi...-as-paid-game/

But your game has to be good. I think the real issue is people make very bad games, and then are wondering why people won't pay a dollar to get them. Its not that people are unwilling to part with a dollar, it is just that there is now so so much choice for that dollar, why would they pick a bad looking, low reviewed game?
07-28-2014, 05:49 PM
#5
Joined: May 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyJoe View Post
I do think it depends on the type of game that you make. There is still a bracket that want to buy paid games, and if your game fits into this space then it does better if it is paid.
Have a read of this: http://toucharcade.com/2014/07/25/bi...-as-paid-game/

But your game has to be good. I think the real issue is people make very bad games, and then are wondering why people won't pay a dollar to get them. Its not that people are unwilling to part with a dollar, it is just that there is now so so much choice for that dollar, why would they pick a bad looking, low reviewed game?
That's actually a very uplifting article! Thanks!

Another downside is I suppose it splits your download stats, giving each app a lower place in the rankings.

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Last edited by Yixian; 07-28-2014 at 05:56 PM.
07-28-2014, 10:46 PM
#6
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yixian View Post
So you're saying that the paid version typically doesn't sell much to make it worth it?

It's amazing how much the App Store has changed. I still have the mentality that "69p-2 is nothing, I'm happy to take a chance on this app" but that seems to be very out of fashion these days. I really don't think freemium is a very healthy model but I suppose we have to play the game, so to speak, and get that money.
I think it is worth it from my point of view but only about 1% of my downloads are sales. I like it cause if anyone complains about the ads I just say there is an ad free version.

I just use that model cause as a consumer I think it gives the most choice.

Please follow me on twitter @JamesDestined I post lots of development from both my game creation and professional development.
Time to measure - Brain challenge https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time...820864672?mt=8
The light box, can you solve it (free) (on google play too)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-...6300?ls=1&mt=8
07-30-2014, 08:22 AM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yixian View Post
People are often torn between going paid or going free/freemium.

Some apps on the appstore have both a free version, and a paid version with either all the content available or no ads.

This seemingly covers both bases, but what are the downsides? Why isn't everyone doing it?
I think going the Freemium version is best i.e., App is free with Ads. If the user doesn't like Ads then give him a option to pay to remove Ads.

My reasoning is:
You need downloads to rank well on the keywords on the App store
If you make the App paid you get 10% of the downloads as compared to a Free App
If you get that much less downloads, then your keywords dont rank well
Leading to even lesser downloads
So make it Free, consider this as your marketing budget i.e., the money you would have spent to promote your App by Ads, paid reviews etc
Free gets you more downloads
You get some revenue flowing from Ads
People who hate Ads will pay to remove them
People who cant pay - Tough luck, there are no free lunches in this world
You need to get paid for your effort, we all have bills to pay

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07-30-2014, 09:26 AM
#8
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 99
I did an experiment by myself quite some time ago.

Free version with limited features (and ads) plus full paid version (no IAP) with all features and no ads.

Conversion rate was about 1%. I got quite some odd reviews for the free version so I removed it later from the market. Surprisingly that didn't affect the sales for the full version at all! So in my case it didn't change anything. I had the same number of sales, no matter if I have a free version or not.

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07-30-2014, 10:11 AM
#9
Joined: May 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaron View Post
I did an experiment by myself quite some time ago.

Free version with limited features (and ads) plus full paid version (no IAP) with all features and no ads.

Conversion rate was about 1%. I got quite some odd reviews for the free version so I removed it later from the market. Surprisingly that didn't affect the sales for the full version at all! So in my case it didn't change anything. I had the same number of sales, no matter if I have a free version or not.
I've had some messages from other developed saying the same! It might be a case of one of those strategies that sounds like it would work but in practice it doesn't much difference.

Playing: We Rule, Plants vs. Zombies, AquaForest, Broken Sword
Plus+: Ciaran88

MacMystic - Forecasts, predictions and suggestions for Apple Inc
08-01-2014, 07:21 AM
#10
Hello people!

From my own experience, Free + Ads doesn't worth even if you get Featured by Apple. You need tons of downloads and ads impressions to make decent revenue. In my case, after some maths, I ended up with a $0.01 per download, i.e, I only got 1 cent per user. Suppose you get 100k downloads, then you make $1000. The question is: is that the value of your game? Is that the value of your hard effort? One cent per user? I personally think it's ridiculous and unfair.

So, right now, I prefer to get much less downloads, but paid. Those paid downloads usually come from people that value your game, so you get better reviews and ratings, if any.

Of course, you can support your paid version with a limited free version (with less content, less levels, etc.). But I think there are two problems with that: you are "competing" against your paid version and if you show too much on your free version, you lost user interest on your paid version. That depends on the type of game and duration. Anyway, if you release a free version, don't forget to display ads. At least you'll see some cents.

Freemium model gets you more downloads, but the conversion rate (people that spend money on your game, or people that remove ads) is quite low. I have no personal numbers but I think I read 2% somewhere (it depends on the case). Another problem of Freemium is that you must design your game towards freemium model, i.e, transform your game into a virtual store. As indie developer, I think this is a shame. You don't become indie to develop what it's trending (ex: platform games with a store to buy weapons and characters). You become indie to make original and unique games, something different, a whole. Not all type of games can be monetized this way. In most cases it seems forced and absurd.

My two cents. Well, my 1 cent.