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Problem with weekend deals etc

10-27-2009, 08:29 AM
#1
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 46
Problem with weekend deals etc

Hi,

I am currently developing a game and have been doing a lot of research regarding methods that people use to get their games noticed etc.
I have picked up some very useful information here and would like to thank the developers who share their experiences for people like me.
I am looking forward to sharing my own experiences in the near future.

One thing I found strange though was the amount of "free for this weekend only" type offers. Now I understand that this can help get new players for your game but seems to show a disregard for those customers who actually did pay for the application. Also it lays the foundation in the appstore to wait and see if it becomes free at some point in the future so why purchase now.

Is there a way to perhaps not allow updates for the free weekend downloads so that they can benefit from the fun of the game but if in the future they want the benefits that paying players have, e.g. new updates for the game, that they need to purchase at that point.

Although I am lucky enough to be able to spend around 50 per month on apps myself I must say that if I see a "free for this weekend" offer, I download it on the off chance I might enjoy it but can see no real benefit to the developer.

Am I missing something?

Thank you

Mike R

Last edited by Mykyl66; 10-27-2009 at 08:33 AM.
10-27-2009, 08:53 AM
#2
Free for a day/weekend has *WAY* more negatives than positives...

Negatives:
1) It trains people to wait for price drops rather than buying when something appeals to them. This hurts not just you, but the entire app store market.
2) It reduces your potential sales pool for that game dramatically. While free, anyone with the slightest interest in that game will download it. A number of these people would have been your PAYING customers at some point (maybe they just needed to get a new iTunes card, or were waiting for a sale- see point #1).
3) It hurts your paid ranking. If you're in any top 100 category or subcategory it'd be crazy to do this, as each time you swap between free and paid it resets your app/game rank. You will have to fight very hard just to make an appearance in the paid charts again, no continuing where you left off like the old wild-west days of the app store.
4) If your price drop was more than 99 cents (meaning you went from 2-3 bucks or more to free) expect some backlash, and even refund requests to Apple, which cost you more money than you made on the original paid sale!
5) ????
6) No profit!

Positives:
1) None. Well, no actually there's one shaky positive I can think of... If you have multiple games out there and only make one or a few of them free for a day people *just might* buy a few of your paid apps based on how much they liked your free-for-a-day game. But that is really reaching...


To answer your question, there is no way to cut off updates to people who downloaded it for free. The app/game is treated equally across all purchasers, no matter what they paid for it, meaning they will all have access to updates.

--- ChronoSoft ---
Support your roguelikes! Play Rogue Touch today!
Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach --- Work in progress! Follow us on Twitter!

10-27-2009, 09:25 AM
#3
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 46
Yup. That is my point realy. I also see no positives regarding giving it away free unless its always free.

Thanks

Mike
10-27-2009, 09:35 AM
#4
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 232
Agreed, these giveaways ultimately hurt the market as a whole and will train customers to expect to eventually be able to get games for free.

I hate disappointing sales figures too, but giving a game away just to grab a tiny bit of attention for a weekend seems like a lame way to try to fix it.
10-27-2009, 09:44 AM
#5
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
If a game already has no visibility, you have little to lose in terms of rankings. Word of mouth can't work without eyeballs.
10-27-2009, 09:52 AM
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
If a game already has no visibility, you have little to lose in terms of rankings. Word of mouth can't work without eyeballs.
This is an interesting argument that does have merit. If you have been in the app store for a month with less than 100 sales, or maybe your game is nearing it's "end of life" and daily sales have dropped to 0-1 per day it might be worth a shot.

The downer is that even in this situation, every developer doing this brings down the perceived value of games in the app store. Which goes back to my negative #1, and eventually hurts everyone!

--- ChronoSoft ---
Support your roguelikes! Play Rogue Touch today!
Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach --- Work in progress! Follow us on Twitter!
10-27-2009, 10:03 AM
#7
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 8
Many of the games in the top 10 or 20 never went free and they seem to be doing fine.....they may of given out promo codes...but trying to find a way to charge someone after they thought they got the game for free as it is advertised is LAME....its like calling it a Lite verison but only for a 20 day trial...

Positives to Free DL even if it's only for a day: "More"People will download it and play it. "More"People will write reviews."More"People will spread the word if liked.

I read reviews always whether it is on here or on the app store about games before I purchase them. And i write them after I play a free game...thats the least someone should do i after they DL a free game.

Thats just my opinion i'm no developer just a gamer.
10-27-2009, 10:11 AM
#8
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 46
but trying to find a way to charge someone after they thought they got the game for free as it is advertised is LAME....its like calling it a Lite verison but only for a 20 day trial...

I think you are not understanding me. I am just querying what other people do as I could not find a real reason to give away, even for a day, an application for most of the above reasons. However your point about reviews is a good one.

Also in reply to the point regarding getting eyeballs onto the game baring in mind I have no experience yet of the app store other than as a gamer, does that not really imply that the marketing of the game needs tightening up instead.

My first game (I really should say OUR game as I have a partner in this) will be a test of theory and an example to us of potential pitfalls that can crop up. Hopefully we can use the data to learn from and improve constantly in the future.

Thanks again.

Mike
10-27-2009, 10:17 AM
#9
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
going free is great for when your game didn't get reviewed by toucharcade, didn't light up the forums with 500 post threads, and is getting 1-3 downloads a week.

You realize the game is a total commercial failure, and decide you would at least like people (besides the pirates) to play the game.

Putting a game like this to free a few weekends in a row will get you at least 10 000 downloads.

This seems to apply to about 95% of games on the market now.
10-27-2009, 10:39 AM
#10
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
Also, if you are getting ready to release your first game, I would highly encourage you to look at including pinchMedia tracking, or tracking of your own to allow you to get an idea of:

* the number of people using your game
* how long each session lasts
* which game modes are most used
* average session time

This stuff can be very eye opening, and gives you a lot of information to move forward with updates or your next game