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Lite/free versions simplified. 101

02-01-2010, 11:23 PM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Lite/free versions simplified. 101

Simple things are beautiful. Simplicity is an art form hard to achieve. The answer to the benefits of a Lite version of an app are in plain view.

The simple math

customer being able to try before buying = customers willing to buy with out trying.

or

customer buying app because they liked the lite version = customer not buying because they didn't like the Lite version.

Just to nail this theory home if you took all the free/Lite apps up on i tunes right now and averaged out all their ratings .....


The simple math would equal an average rating of 3 exactly (educated guess)

Now is a Lite version worth having?

Again a very simple answer.

Good unique apps benefit the most from Lite versions.

Please have a go at ripping this simplicity apart!
02-01-2010, 11:30 PM
#2
Some lites, I'm guessing screw the dev. Others makes sales. From my personal experiences:

Charmed: screwed. I enjoy the light and been playing a lot. But don't need full version, as the light is perfect for small bursts of play. If the app was .99 I might buy, but at $3 I'm plenty happy playing the lite.

Blades of Fury: made a sale. After I couldn't play the demo anymore(it stops working after excessive play), I just bought the full version.

I think the second example works very works well. Showed me how great the games was, got me hooked, then left me with the option of buy or have nothing.

02-02-2010, 12:56 AM
#3
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 977
Send a message via MSN to MindJuice Send a message via Skype™ to MindJuice
Quote:
Originally Posted by MexicanJesus View Post
Some lites, I'm guessing screw the dev. Others makes sales. From my personal experiences:

Charmed: screwed. I enjoy the light and been playing a lot. But don't need full version, as the light is perfect for small bursts of play. If the app was .99 I might buy, but at $3 I'm plenty happy playing the lite.
Glad you like it! Charmed was actually $0.99 for most of December. Guess you missed it.

BTW, the full version actually has quite a bit more going for it than the lite version:
  • 35 unique game boards
  • 32 OpenFeint achievements
  • OpenFeint leaderboards
  • 3 Game Modes
  • Preview the level layouts
  • Start a new game from any previously unlocked level
02-02-2010, 01:35 AM
#4
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 977
Send a message via MSN to MindJuice Send a message via Skype™ to MindJuice
Actually it is pretty interesting that you think I've given away too much.

I've received emails from people telling me the opposite. One guy went as far as telling me not to be such a "cheap dick" for only giving 3 levels, because it made the game useless in his view.
02-02-2010, 01:47 AM
#5
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
I have had lite versions with restricted game play - Billionaire Lite

I have lite versions with the complete game it them - GumDropsLite and Upsi Looper Lite. Changing these from a restrictive lite version to the full game with an up-sell screen after game over hasn't changed the sales of the full version.

My thinking was that they are fun and engaging games, but no one normally gives them a chance. So I let people play the full game, and if they like it enough to chip in a buck to get rid of the nag screen, great!

I also have a game with no lite version at all - Upsi Runner

All the full games seem to sell about the same (around 0 - 2 copies a day).

GumDrops is the best seller, sometimes selling 5 or 6 copies in a single day.

I've got 2 full games that are free - A Snake and Upsi Slider.

They have no advertising or restrictions, but hopefully people springboard from them to my other games.

It is hard to tell if that is working, since A Snake came out just before Christmas, so all my numbers were increased by the Christmas influx of new devices + customers.

Upsi Runner is on the top 100 kids and family lists for a bunch of small countries.

A Snake is on a bunch of top 100 lists for kids and family as well. #90 free family game in the USA.

Here are the download numbers from yesterday :
  • A Snake - 1076
  • Billionaire - 1
  • Billionaire Lite - 16
  • GumDrops - 1
  • GumDrops Lite - 86
  • Upsi Looper - 0
  • Upsi Looper Lite - 12
  • Upsi Slider - 19
  • Upsi Runner - 2

Make of that what you will.
02-02-2010, 09:22 AM
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post
I have had lite versions with restricted game play - Billionaire Lite

I have lite versions with the complete game it them - GumDropsLite and Upsi Looper Lite. Changing these from a restrictive lite version to the full game with an up-sell screen after game over hasn't changed the sales of the full version.

My thinking was that they are fun and engaging games, but no one normally gives them a chance. So I let people play the full game, and if they like it enough to chip in a buck to get rid of the nag screen, great!

I also have a game with no lite version at all - Upsi Runner

All the full games seem to sell about the same (around 0 - 2 copies a day).

GumDrops is the best seller, sometimes selling 5 or 6 copies in a single day.

I've got 2 full games that are free - A Snake and Upsi Slider.

They have no advertising or restrictions, but hopefully people springboard from them to my other games.

It is hard to tell if that is working, since A Snake came out just before Christmas, so all my numbers were increased by the Christmas influx of new devices + customers.

Upsi Runner is on the top 100 kids and family lists for a bunch of small countries.

A Snake is on a bunch of top 100 lists for kids and family as well. #90 free family game in the USA.

Here are the download numbers from yesterday :
  • A Snake - 1076
  • Billionaire - 1
  • Billionaire Lite - 16
  • GumDrops - 1
  • GumDrops Lite - 86
  • Upsi Looper - 0
  • Upsi Looper Lite - 12
  • Upsi Slider - 19
  • Upsi Runner - 2

Make of that what you will.
A Snake is yours? WOW. Great game! I play it only for the OF achievements (already got them all)! I think including OF was a great idea, because some people like me would not have even looked at it otherwise.

I make games at PixelCUBE Studios! Follow me @naveen_pcs
02-02-2010, 08:00 PM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post
I

Here are the download numbers from yesterday :
  • A Snake - 1076
  • Billionaire - 1
  • Billionaire Lite - 16
  • GumDrops - 1
  • GumDrops Lite - 86
  • Upsi Looper - 0
  • Upsi Looper Lite - 12
  • Upsi Slider - 19
  • Upsi Runner - 2

Make of that what you will.
If you have a free version, the ideal is to get at least a 10% conversion Free-->Full.

While Billionaire is close, GumDrops is a huge miss. There may not be enough data for Billionaire, so you may actually be hitting 10%.

With GumDrops, you really need to assess what is going wrong there. Maybe the Lite version offers too much and not enough incentive to upgrade?

If your conversion factors hold true, then you can easily assess how many Free Version downloads you will need to achieve X-Number sales. For GumDrops, you would need almost 1000 Lite Version downloads to get 10 sales.

In comparison, 1000 downloads of Billionaire Lite *should* convert to about 63 sales. If you can get your Lite downloads up, your sales should follow accordingly. This isn't absolute, though.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
02-02-2010, 08:33 PM
#8
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
Quote:
Originally Posted by MindJuice View Post
One guy went as far as telling me not to be such a "cheap dick" for only giving 3 levels, because it made the game useless in his view.
He was calling you cheap and asking you to put more features into the FREE DEMO?? Hahaha.
02-03-2010, 02:09 AM
#9
Hey guys,

Some really helpful info in this thread -- just wondering if I could get your veteran opinions on a few things. I'm still quite new to iPhone development -- first app approved a month ago or so. It's a $0.99, side-scrolling platformer game.

Obviously, the hardest part for me now is just spreading word. Since I'm a brand-new developer, I'm basically starting from scratch in the App Store trying to build a name for myself. I've been considering releasing a lite version for my game, Diaballic, and have thus far hesitated due to some mixed stories I've heard about impacts on sales.

If you were in my position, would you recommend releasing a lite version?

If so, what limitations do you guys normally use to differentiate versions? For Diaballic, I've planned on having one difficulty (easy; three other difficulties in full version), a few banners to buy the full version, and maybe some ads. I'm a bit wary of Apple's rule against "disabled functionality," so I'm afraid to do anything too drastic... Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help!

Tom
02-03-2010, 03:40 AM
#10
In my opinion a lite version of a crappy game (no offend to anyone!) hurts the sales of the full version...simply because anybody can see how "crappy" the game is...for free.
But - a lite version of a good and polished game will bring additional sales. If you dont give away to much. So ask yourself: are you proud of your game and do you like to play it by yourself? Than go on with a lite version. Simply as that.