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How much gameplay should consumers get for a buck?

11-11-2010, 01:27 AM
#1
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 27
How much gameplay should consumers get for a buck?

So for the past few months I have been hammering out gameplay and buidling assets for my game but as I start to dive in to level design etc, the fundamental question is how much gameplay should consumers get for 99 cents or even $1.99?

I don't want my players to feel cheated and although I want to create as much content as possible, I also want to keep it polished and fresh without having to overextend my models/texture assets.

I know there are no hard and fast rules but would about one to two hours of gameplay be fair? I could create an endless type level or even randomly generated levels but i feel it actually might take away from the type of game I am working on.

Ideally, a quality game could be short and still have the player feel like they weren't "ripped off" but there are some out there that want more.
11-11-2010, 04:26 AM
#2
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 515
As a user I'm happy if I get an hour per dollar from iPhone and iPad games, especially if they are fun hours.

More than that is a good bonus.

11-11-2010, 08:36 AM
#3
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
it is really hard to say, and it depends a lot on what you expect to get out of all of this.

If you want to satisfy EVERYONE, make a game with a lot of depth, plus a casual factor, and make it look really good. This will cost you a lot of time and probably some decent coin as well, but if you can fathom that, then it starts to give you a good reputation (although no one might notice as you are a no-name, and there's so much else out there - and you might never even make any money out of it).

Otherwise, you have to compromise. Make something that looks good, but also is pick-up-and-play fun. Look at the most popular games on the appstore for examples of this. Flight Control, Doodle Jump, Cut the Rope. None of them are extensively "packed" with content, and their mechanics are fairly simple (to different degrees), but there is obviously enough there to satisfy both casual and more "serious" gamers.

Even so, those are unique cases - but a small developer could still turn out a puzzle-type game with nice visuals and a few different play modes/depth of mechanic.

Golden rule of mobile gaming, for most folks it is probably best to turn a blind eye to what is big on TouchArcade and make something more casually appealing, anyway.

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11-11-2010, 09:00 AM
#4
People want as much as they can get for as little as possible. So, they want a game with a 40 hour story for free.

@Shen - that's a great attitude. I'm like that too.
11-11-2010, 09:30 AM
#5
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Germany & Tokyo
Posts: 1,101
depends...
Like "today I die again" for iTouch this is maybe just 15minute of gameplay but they are emotionally intense.

If you go to an awesome movie you pay something like $15 to $20?
and that is 2hours of fun? maybe it makes you think or impressed otherwise or leads to have a lot of discussion with your friends.

And $60 for a console game with 6 hours of fun?

If the medium presentation has qualities like `impact` or `immersiveness` time is not the most important thing.

but personally I would feel ripped if a $1 game could not deliver 1hour of fun - with few exceptions.

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11-11-2010, 10:10 AM
#6
Joined: Feb 1983
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,268,691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure Industries View Post
People want as much as they can get for as little as possible. So, they want a game with a 40 hour story for free.

@Shen - that's a great attitude. I'm like that too.
You forgot online multiplayer complete with extensive coop mode, achievements, and next-generation Retina Display graphics.
11-11-2010, 06:56 PM
#7
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC!
Posts: 15
Our game released with about 2 minutes of unique gameplay. It is meant to be replayable but still short. We're still not hearing the end of it more than a year later and three new sets of levels.

I'm perfectly happy to spend a dollar on games like canabalt or robot unicorn as well (though I think they're 1.99, too much for me). I mostly play these games while I'm waiting for transit or in transit or in the bathroom. So, short is better for me.

So I suppose my answer is, depends on the game and target audience. Regular adult or regular kid. A kid is going to want 40 hours.

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11-11-2010, 07:00 PM
#8
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 76
You're right when you say you should leave them wanting more, but in a good way. If it's an episodic game, paying a buck a chapter is a great way to end up with a quality game without a huge initial buy-in.

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11-17-2010, 07:42 AM
#9
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 27
Thanks for you input guys.

Some of the games out there really set the bar high so even pricing a game at 99 cents makes me feel like I have to constantly add more content. I'll focus more on quality then. I just don't have the resources to do everything and I have to keep telling myself that.

One thing I have learned is to reward the player after every level. I have a feeling I can make a player do anything if I do that (e.g. world of warcraft quests)
11-17-2010, 12:45 PM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by robotmechanic View Post
Thanks for you input guys.

Some of the games out there really set the bar high so even pricing a game at 99 cents makes me feel like I have to constantly add more content. I'll focus more on quality then. I just don't have the resources to do everything and I have to keep telling myself that.

One thing I have learned is to reward the player after every level. I have a feeling I can make a player do anything if I do that (e.g. world of warcraft quests)
You state that the other games set the bar high, that is true. But you might want to think about the fact that at some point people will have finished playing that game. They then might be looking for other games.

None the less, at a 99c price alot of the buys are impulse, just to kill some time.

Just put in enough content as that is right for the game. No need in pushing and pushing etc while what you have might already be enough.