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Freemium gaining ground on the App Store

12-19-2010, 11:12 AM
#1
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 428
Freemium gaining ground on the App Store

This is how the top grossing games list looks like on US iTunes:

1. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
2. Angry Birds (0.99 USD)
3. Infinity Blade (5.99 USD)
4. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (EA sale price: 0.99 USD - 3 In App Purchases)
5. NOVA 2 (6.99 USD)
6. Tetris (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
7. Angry Birds Seasons (0.99 USD)
8. Tap Zoo: Christmas (Freemium - 10 or more In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 0.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)
9. Smurfs' Village (Freemium - 9 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 4.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)

10. Real Racing 2 (9.99 USD)

11. Zombie Farm (Freemium - 10 or more In App Purchases)
12. Madden NFL 11 (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
13. Cut the Rope (0.99 USD)
14. Original Gangstaz (Freemium - 10 or more In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 1.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)
15. Doodle Jump Christmas Special (0.99 USD)
16. NBA Elite 11 (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
17. Plants vs Zombies (2.99 USD)
18. Scrabble (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
19. Texas Poker (Freemium - 10 or more In App Purchases)
20. Tap Zoo (Freemium - 10 or more In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 0.99 USD, the most expensive is 19.99 USD)


21. Aralon (6.99 USD)
22. The Sims 3 (EA sale price: 0.99 USD - 10 or more In App Purchases)
23. Call of Duty Zombies (4.99 USD)
24. Kingdoms at War (Freemium - 10 or more In App Purchases)
25. World War (Freemium - 5 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 4.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)

26. Fruit Ninja (0.99 USD)
27. Bloons TD 4 (2.99 USD)
28. Original Gangstaz Rock (Freemium - 10 or more In App Purchases)
29. iMobsters (Freemium - 5 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 4.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)

30. Fifa 11 (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)

31. Monopoly (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
32. Trade Nations (Freemium - 8 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 0.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)
33. Haypi Kingdom (Freemium - 6 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 0.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)
34. Restaurant Story (Freemium - 5 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 4.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)

35. Words With Friends (2.99 USD)
36. We Rule Quests (Freemium - 10 or more In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 0.99 USD, the most expensive is 39.99 USD)
37. The Sims 3 Ambitions (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
38. The Game Of Life (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
39. Bejeweled 2 + Blitz (0.99 USD - 4 In App Purchases)
40. Live Poker by Zynga (Freemium - 5 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 4.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)

41. Dungeon Hunter 2 (6.99 USD)
42. Pictureka! (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
43. Farmville by Zynga (Freemium - 9 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 4.99 USD, the most expensive is 49.99 USD)
44. Risk (0.99 USD)
45. Doodle Jump (0.99 USD)
46. Tiger Woods PGA Tour (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
47. Bakery Story (Freemium - 5 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 4.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)
48. Need for Speed Undercover (EA sale price: 0.99 USD)
49. Treasure Story (Freemium - 5 In App Purchases - Cheapest IAP is 4.99 USD, the most expensive is 99.99 USD)
50. High Caliber Hunting (EA sale price: 0.99 USD - 2 In App Purchases)


1st place goes to 99 cent games. They are dominating the list barely: 23 out of 50 are 0.99 USD. (The big EA sale has probably messed up these numbers somewhat)

2nd place goes to freemium. Out of the 50 games there's 18 freemium games. (I've marked them with bold)

3rd place goes to games that are more than 0.99 USD, there's 9 of those.


22 games out of 50 have some kind of In App Purchases.

Freemium can turn out to be very expensive if you end up buying the ingame currency. For example let's take a closer look at the freemium title called World War:



The 99 dollar IAP is number two according to iTunes, only the 99 cent content pack is above it. 99 USD is more than you can spend on a full blown PS3 or Xbox 360 game... unless you're buying something like Guitar Hero with the guitars or Rock Band :P


I personally would like to see more games like Aralon, Infinity Blade or Real Racing 2. I don't really play freemium games because it feels like I'm being fed some designer drug instead of window to another world. Speaking of which Another World was a cool game

KingHunt - The Next Generation Slicing Game Lead designer
Bike Baron artist & co-creator
Minigore artist & co-creator
Ice Rage artist & co-creator
Death Rally game designer
12-19-2010, 11:35 AM
#2
Before everyone starts thinking of jumping into the freemium space, the guys at the top of the list spend a lot of money advertising as well. You have to have some money to really push yourself up the list and then keep it there; it's not cheap. I don't want to start a flame war by posting estimates, but it's usually out of the range of a typical indie dev.

With that said, you can make a living doing Freemium/IAP even if you don't show up on the list. Noel has posted about this as well as hosted a session at 360 iDev. Brian Robbins also had a session with some numbers at the last 360 iDev.

12-20-2010, 01:36 AM
#3
Cool thanks for the link MrBlue, I'll check it out. You are right about how much companies like ngmoco pour into advertising and marketing. It'll be interesting to see if any of us indies can manage to make it in this market.

We're stoked to be entering the free to play market as well with our first game, though our marketing budget is many times smaller than what ngmoco puts out. Trying to avoid the whole "designer drug" feel and go a different route.
12-20-2010, 07:32 AM
#4
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Germany & Tokyo
Posts: 1,101
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimoVihola View Post

The 99 dollar IAP is number two according to iTunes, only the 99 cent content pack is above it. 99 USD is more than you can spend on a full blown PS3 or Xbox 360 game... unless you're buying something like Guitar Hero with the guitars or Rock Band :P


I personally would like to see more games like Aralon, Infinity Blade or Real Racing 2. I don't really play freemium games because it feels like I'm being fed some designer drug instead of window to another world. Speaking of which Another World was a cool game
WOOT! I am totally impressed by your list! Which I take as a warning list.

Just let me add some note of mine:

I really despise games with the F-word. It breaths wrongness for nearly everything it represents from a consumer point and I also feel destroys a lot of the trust relationship between consumer and company.

Esp. when games are just about shoving it into your face that they are ONLY about making money.
Well on the other side most if you fall for that you donīt deserve any better. And parents leaving their children with an iPod and an open online account donīt deserve better either, essentially. But I still care since the iTunes store is still not perfect and has still a lot of room for improvements.

Most of the DLC /IAP problem is when you uninstall a game and the developer withdraws that game from the appstore. You cannot restore a DLC dependent game since you cannot redownload the content anymore.

This is totally diametrical to the notion of BUYING, even if itīs only a license to use. If you have a licensed copy you can still run older games whose publisher doesnīt exist anymore.
But with Subscriptions and DLC otherwise and in the AppStore, the game usage licensing model shifts from unlimited after buying to limited rental.

And I donīt like that at all.

I also donīt have problems with game subscriptions, like World of Warcraft etc. Itīs ok to pay for dedicated server time, if itīs worth to you. As long as you are aware that the purchase you made is dependent on the existence of specific service (e.g. Blizzard, Steam, etc.)
Maybe, with big and healthy standing companies like Steam or Blizzard it is less likely that these services suddenly stop. But it is far more likely that small independent companies drop out of business.

And personally I really would pay higher prices if the developer chose not to use DLC. People complaining about $2 is too expensive for a game. That simply cannot be. What in the real world can you get for $2? Not very much.

As a result we need a lot more awareness for the consequences of DLC and IAP on BOTH, the developer side and the consumer side, to understand what we are doing and where this is heading to.

TouchArcade Patreon - GameCenter: dyscoder -

Last edited by dyscode; 12-20-2010 at 07:44 AM.
12-20-2010, 12:49 PM
#5
Quote:
Most of the DLC /IAP problem is when you uninstall a game and the developer withdraws that game from the appstore. You cannot restore a DLC dependent game since you cannot redownload the content anymore.
You are right about that, it's a big issue. What happens if you drop $99 on that big bucket o' gold and your iphone crashes? Kind of a big deal!

We are going to be exploring this issue very soon. I'd imagine it's as simple as storing all user data in a database on a server so that when they log in from any device they can access their stash of goods. However, we haven't reached that point in the development yet, so I can't say for sure.

It could work though right? Servers are cheap enough these days... $50 a month gets you a pretty well outfitted VPS, the cost shouldn't be an issue at all.
12-20-2010, 09:02 PM
#6
What are the three iap for need for speed hp?
12-20-2010, 09:13 PM
#7
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 428
Stirolak26, Hot Pursuit IAP's are:

1. $3,000,000 Bounty Boost (costs 2.99 USD)
2. $1,500,000 Bounty Boost (costs 1.99 USD)
3. $500,000 Bounty Boost (costs 0.99 USD)

I have no idea what they do, I've only tried the game briefly.

KingHunt - The Next Generation Slicing Game Lead designer
Bike Baron artist & co-creator
Minigore artist & co-creator
Ice Rage artist & co-creator
Death Rally game designer
12-21-2010, 12:28 AM
#8
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Germany & Tokyo
Posts: 1,101
Quote:
Originally Posted by BravadoWaffle View Post
You are right about that, it's a big issue. What happens if you drop $99 on that big bucket o' gold and your iphone crashes? Kind of a big deal!

We are going to be exploring this issue very soon. I'd imagine it's as simple as storing all user data in a database on a server so that when they log in from any device they can access their stash of goods. However, we haven't reached that point in the development yet, so I can't say for sure.

It could work though right? Servers are cheap enough these days... $50 a month gets you a pretty well outfitted VPS, the cost shouldn't be an issue at all.
For me itīs really less about the money I spent. Itīabout being able to play the game like 3 years from know. I play games that are 20 old because I love them not because they were expensive or not back then.

Or taking you first sentence as a metaphor, yes itīs the drop of poison that spoils the well.

TouchArcade Patreon - GameCenter: dyscoder -

Last edited by dyscode; 12-21-2010 at 02:00 AM.
12-21-2010, 12:45 AM
#9
Very interesting

Thanks for breaking up the list like this. We plan to release our next game with ads and possibly the ability to buy in-game currency as well. I know a lot of people on the forums hate freemium style games but there is obviously a large group of people who enjoy them, and don't mind the in-app purchases.

Personally, I think that as long as it isn't destructive to the gameplay it's fine, not everyone has as much time to devote to grinding for gold and would rather just spend an extra dollar or two.

With that said, I can't believe that $99 in-app purchase. That seems crazy to me.
12-21-2010, 02:07 AM
#10
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Germany & Tokyo
Posts: 1,101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Pollet View Post
Personally, I think that as long as it isn't destructive to the gameplay it's fine, not everyone has as much time to devote to grinding for gold and would rather just spend an extra dollar or two.

With that said, I can't believe that $99 in-app purchase. That seems crazy to me.
Yes, itīs a BIG difference if IAP makes the game just easier, like coins yu can always grind for, otherwise, or if it RELIES on IAP to complete the game or significantly chances the experience.

And $99 of IAP with now real value in return, like with Realworld Navigational Maps for GPS/Traffic Computers etc. these morals are highly questionable.

TouchArcade Patreon - GameCenter: dyscoder -