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Try then Buy: Considered as F2P?

03-15-2016, 03:35 AM
#1
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 321
Try then Buy: Considered as F2P?

We all know, majority of the consumers doesn't care if a game is F2P or not, they play what they like, and they pay for what they get hooked on. Then there are most of us here, who bothered with visiting gaming news websites, dwelling in game forums, and us developers. Many would denounce F2P, as a matter of fact, I think many would look at a game and go "if it doesn't have a price tag, it's f2p".

Now then, how would you address those games that allows for free download, let you play a part of the game content then offer you IAP to unlock rest of the content? Is it not fair to declare such games as F2P? Aren't such model even more... "considerate" (I can't think of a better word) than a purely premium/paid game? It let's you try the game out, and then if you like it, you can pay one price to convert it into a premium experience.

TL;DR

Would you do "free to download, 1 IAP to unlock premium" or is it still better to stick to "Pay on Download" premium?

Assuming you are a little nobody and your game doesn't do any of the F2P mechanics.

Question background:
I am about to submit this to Apple, but I still can't decide on a model
03-19-2016, 05:37 AM
#2
You could have a lite app (free), and the full app (paid with no IAP). In that way it's made very clear what your model is and people are less suspicious.

03-19-2016, 05:48 AM
#3
Joined: Dec 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 466
I feel for you, as this question divides gamers across iOS. A hardcore element, especially Touch Arcade readers, will insist that pay-first premium apps are the only way to go, but I don't think anyone can argue with a "try before you buy" approach.

The Lite and Full Game model is probably the best compromise, as stated above, but I actually prefer the "pay to unlock full game" model - it works for Tiny Thief and less obviously with Tennis Champs Returns. I certainly wouldn't consider that F2P - it's a premium game that does users a service in letting them try before they decide to commit.

The downside is that you risk offending the idiots who expect everything for free. They might throw in the odd one-star review on the App Store for daring to charge for your hard work.

Ultimately though, if a game is good enough, it should find its audience, regardless of the pay model.
03-20-2016, 06:15 AM
#4
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 321
I would try the lite & paid model, but I remember Apple would reject such apps, with a reason something along the line that if both version are the same, we should implement instead the "try then buy" model making use of IAP. Of course, I had only last heard of such rejections years ago, not sure how it is now.
03-20-2016, 07:08 AM
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by unexpect3rd View Post
I would try the lite & paid model, but I remember Apple would reject such apps, with a reason something along the line that if both version are the same, we should implement instead the "try then buy" model making use of IAP. Of course, I had only last heard of such rejections years ago, not sure how it is now.
The reason most people don't do lite and paid versions anymore is that it splits your downloads (which screws you on the rankings) and the conversion rates are terrible. Pay to unlock is a better option in that regard. It also has a long tradition in PC gaming -- I remember downloading tons of shareware RPGs in the 90's.

From what I've heard, though, conversions rates from both the lite/paid and the pay-to-unlock models are pretty bad. I think the better system will allow you to earn revenue regardless of how players choose to engage with the game. For example, you can have "pay to remove ads," which brings you a bit of money even if players don't pay. You could also have people pay to revive until they unlock unlimited continues.

What I would do, however, is something I have yet to see in the App Store: put a timer system with premium currency and give people the option to pay to remove it. The mobile gaming world since pretty much cleanly split between people who want to pay-as-you-go and those who want to pay up front. A system that gives you both options would allow you to cover both bases and ideally keep everyone happy. See Dragon Land as a potential example: the game would be perfect for premium players if the developer gave you the option of removing the heart/timer system.

In any event, good luck!
03-20-2016, 07:45 AM
#6
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 321
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarezero View Post
The reason most people don't do lite and paid versions anymore is that it splits your downloads ...

...I think the better system will allow you to earn revenue regardless of how players choose to engage with the game....

What I would do, however, is something I have yet to see in the App Store: put a timer system with premium currency and give people the option to pay to remove it....

In any event, good luck!
Thanks for the suggestions! And yes, that point about split downloads, totally escaped my thoughts. I was too concerned about getting people to try the game out than for them to dismiss it on sight of a "free" price tag (I know some reviewers do that, free games from nobodies gets ignored or super low priority)
03-20-2016, 08:23 AM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by unexpect3rd View Post
Thanks for the suggestions! And yes, that point about split downloads, totally escaped my thoughts. I was too concerned about getting people to try the game out than for them to dismiss it on sight of a "free" price tag (I know some reviewers do that, free games from nobodies gets ignored or super low priority)
Yep, especially with folks who usually review other platforms.

Have you thought of releasing the game on Steam first, then mobile? That's what the Crashland folks are doing with their next game -- precisely for that reason.
03-22-2016, 05:50 AM
#8
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 321
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarezero View Post
Yep, especially with folks who usually review other platforms.

Have you thought of releasing the game on Steam first, then mobile? That's what the Crashland folks are doing with their next game -- precisely for that reason.
Might be a little tough. I'm using cocos2d-x framework. Not sure if it converts well for publishing to Steam. Might be time for me to once again dabble with Unity :/
03-28-2016, 11:31 AM
#9
Joined: May 2010
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 306
Just look at what everyone making the most money is doing, and that is what will make you the most money. Nearly all apps are F2P, nearly all of the top 10 grossing are F2P. The problem lies in that this is ONLY true if you have the right audience and market. For mass market games, F2P is the best. For niche games paid up front is probably better, also the older your audience is, the more paid up front is better. The more "gamer" your audience is, paid up front is probably better, depends on the genre still.

Developer of RTS Machines at War 3 for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows.
RTS Land Air Sea Warfare for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows.
04-20-2016, 07:34 AM
#10
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Singapore
Posts: 321
So I released my game "Unforgiving" using the try then buy method. I cant say if its a good or bad monetisation method, but given the deliberate high difficulty of my game, this is absolutely a BAD IDEA.

For those looking for such a game, they loved getting to try the game and are usually more than willing to pay to unlock the full game.

But making the download cost free, it attracts downloads by non-target audience (ie, players of casual games, who are used to freebies, who requires plenty of hand holding, who refuses to read, who dislike practicing for a game). And that attracted tonnes of bad energy, and by bad energy, I mean 1-2 stars ratings and bad reviews to which I cannot respond to. They complain about stuffs where there's an option for (on the title screen unhidden).