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Are paid games really doomed?

02-20-2015, 02:14 PM
#1
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 140
Are paid games really doomed?

The mobile landscape has changed rapidly in the last two years. The majority of apps are free now and most of the existing marketing strategies focus on paid user acquisition. Unfortunately, paid installs donít work for premium games. Why? Because the majority of paid games have a low user Life Time Value.

I wrote down 5 strategies which worked well for our games:

1. Increase the LTV
2. Approach Youtubers
3. Promote with Free App A Day
4. Cross-promote your games
5. Aim for being featured

You can read more about each strategy at the blog: http://bit.ly/1w4QxuM

And I would love to hear some more tips from other devs as we all need to help each other (to fight major publishers and freemium .

__________________
Petr from Flow Studio
02-21-2015, 01:47 AM
#2
Joined: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 168
Free sweets are bad, publishers are vampires.
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02-22-2015, 08:12 AM
#3
Joined: Nov 2014
Location: China / Canadian
Posts: 605
Send a message via Skype™ to 1stSPIN
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowStudioGames View Post
The mobile landscape has changed rapidly in the last two years. The majority of apps are free now and most of the existing marketing strategies focus on paid user acquisition. Unfortunately, paid installs donít work for premium games. Why? Because the majority of paid games have a low user Life Time Value.

I wrote down 5 strategies which worked well for our games:

1. Increase the LTV
2. Approach Youtubers
3. Promote with Free App A Day
4. Cross-promote your games
5. Aim for being featured

You can read more about each strategy at the blog: http://bit.ly/1w4QxuM

And I would love to hear some more tips from other devs as we all need to help each other (to fight major publishers and freemium .
I think the key point is that the market is changing and you have to be on your toe. It's time to think of new ways to increase your revenue over a short period of time just like the movie industry does.
02-23-2015, 07:31 AM
#4
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stSPIN View Post
I think the key point is that the market is changing and you have to be on your toe. It's time to think of new ways to increase your revenue over a short period of time just like the movie industry does.
I 100% agree with you! That's why the very first point in the blog post is about increasing life time value

__________________
Petr from Flow Studio
02-24-2015, 11:19 PM
#5
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 114
Paid is still viable

From my experience paid is still viable for Indie developers. Most of the advertising spend and big players are targeting the freemium model at the moment which leaves space for top quality games and apps in the paid category.

I think the key is to insure that you also have some way to monetise within the app, some inapps that enhance gameplay rather than limit it, so that if you do need to set the app free to promote downloads you can still draw some revenue.

Currently to stay in the charts under freemium you need tens of thousands of downloads a day, under the paid charts 50-100 downloads a day. That means that even a small boost in downloads will help you climb the charts and get noticed early on.

If you don't have a huge marketing budget but do have a top quality app then I'd suggest running it as a paid app.

With hundreds of new apps launching daily now, the market is crazy competitive. I read that the Clash of Clans guys spend upwards of 1 million a day on advertising. No way any indie teams can compete with that, with or without funding.

The Great White Ape
02-27-2015, 06:09 AM
#6
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 140
Hey Ben, thanks for your interesting point of view. I agree and want to add one more perspective: freemium and premium games address different players! I will explain this with a short story.

Octagon is a pretty successful game on iOS so it was a natural step to port it to Android. As I was afraid of piracy and general approach to paid games on Android, we made changes in the business model and offered the game for free with in-apps and ads. Unfortunately a free game attracted a completely different group of casual players who hated the difficulty and simplicity of the game. Ratings dropped down to 3.6 stars and we were frustrated that the game lost it's chance of being promoted by Google Play. After several experiments with freemium we pulled down this version and offered paid game. Downloads are rather low now but rating is back to 4.5, the same as on iOS and Mac. I hope we still can get some spot at Google Play because finally the game found it's audience. Just because the change from freemium to paid.

__________________
Petr from Flow Studio
03-13-2015, 03:57 AM
#7
Joined: Jul 2011
Location: singapore
Posts: 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowStudioGames View Post
I hope we still can get some spot at Google Play because finally the game found it's audience. Just because the change from freemium to paid.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I was going to release my paid iOS RPG game to google play as free to play and unlock full content with IAP. Now I am going to reconsider.

free with iap
Pros:
*reach more players
*harder to pirate(right now I have 50% piracy on iOS, read online its 90% for android)
cons:
*bad reviews (seen many user reviews unhappy with IAP to unlock full game)
*wrong audience as you mentioned
*might not reach many players as it is hard to climb up the rank.

I think octagon has the similar "fun mechanic" as cross road & flappy bird, difficult to master and high replay ability. Perhaps you can try free with video ads? Very popular now

NOB STUDIO
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http://www.nobstudio.com
iPhone iPad Flash Game Developer
03-23-2015, 03:18 AM
#8
Of course premium is not dead, just because one business model is growing doesn't mean the other are dying - or even decreasing. If you're aim is mass market and to make money then yeah right now freemium looks the best. But you can make a niche for yourself anywhere and be succesful on your own terms.
03-23-2015, 09:56 AM
#9
Joined: Sep 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 40
I think that, if you really believe in your game, you should at least give some academic thought to the idea of alternative business models if a premium model doesn't show returns. Not every game necessarily lends itself well to a free model, but the success of games like Crossy Road have shown that there are viable alternatives to the traditional F2P route (in this case, opt-in ads.)

Developer, SALTY CROC INTERACTIVE
03-31-2015, 12:41 PM
#10
Joined: Mar 2015
Location: Spain
Posts: 8
Big studios have to spend A LOT of money in order to monetise their f2p apps. If you are just an indie with few resources, I think you should go for paid apps or free with ads. It is way easier that way because you don't have to worry about your game's internal economy and you can focus on improving other aspects of your app and do some guerrilla marketing. :P