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iPhone App from paid to free and ad-financed?

01-23-2011, 01:39 PM
#1
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Nürnberg, Germany
Posts: 22
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iPhone App from paid to free and ad-financed?

Hi,

I am looking for a clever idea.

Currently one of my games is a paid app. I think about releasing it as free and ad-financed game soon.

The problem is the following:

Currently many people have bought the game. When I drop the price to free and integrate advertisements people would complain about the advertisement-integration in a paid game. So it's definitely a no-go.

When I release the game as free game (as a second app) I still have the paid app in the AppStore. And people might continue buying the paid game because they expect more features than the free version. So I might get unsatisfied users here as well.

Do you have experience with something like that? Has someone done this before?

Best regards,
Andreas

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01-23-2011, 02:00 PM
#2
wrong

I think you have done it the wrong way round.

Looks like a lot of people do it like this.

Its free with ads and you pay to remove the ads.
OR its just paid for Iphone and for Android its freemium with ads and perhaps game in app payments.


I could be wrong

Last edited by Noodler; 01-23-2011 at 02:22 PM.

01-23-2011, 05:14 PM
#3
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: alea iacta est
Posts: 1,368
Release an update to your app that collects the UDID of anyone using your app and stores it on your server. Then make the app free in an update, add ads, and stop storing UDIDs. Then check the UDID of anyone playing the game with the server and if it's already saved there, don't show them ads.
01-23-2011, 05:42 PM
#4
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lincoln, UK
Posts: 344
Quote:
Originally Posted by K?! View Post
Release an update to your app that collects the UDID of anyone using your app and stores it on your server. Then make the app free in an update, add ads, and stop storing UDIDs. Then check the UDID of anyone playing the game with the server and if it's already saved there, don't show them ads.
A good idea, but a problem for existing customers who get a new device, those who do not connect to your server during the period between the 2 updates, etc. It will annoy some.

I would be reticent to give a full free version of a game when previous customers have paid, but if I did, I would do a separate app and make sure I highlight on the paid version that it offers advert free gaming, but no features over the free version. Make it first sentence so it appears on the truncated iTunes description.

The other option is to do a big enough update to be able to release as YourGame 2.
01-24-2011, 03:39 PM
#5
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Nürnberg, Germany
Posts: 22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonjump View Post
A good idea, but a problem for existing customers who get a new device, those who do not connect to your server during the period between the 2 updates, etc. It will annoy some.

I would be reticent to give a full free version of a game when previous customers have paid, but if I did, I would do a separate app and make sure I highlight on the paid version that it offers advert free gaming, but no features over the free version. Make it first sentence so it appears on the truncated iTunes description.

The other option is to do a big enough update to be able to release as YourGame 2.
The idea with collecting the UDIDs is fine. But I also see some problems here. Only the people who start the new version will be registered. When some people do not use it during this period and start it after the collecting-period their ad free-"buy" gets lost. Nice idea though!

Highlighting on the paid version in the first sentence of iTunes that it is the same version as the free one, but without ads sounds reasonable. Although I fear that there will also be people who won't read this and complain afterwards.

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01-24-2011, 03:51 PM
#6
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: alea iacta est
Posts: 1,368
Quote:
Originally Posted by adrasteaGames View Post
The idea with collecting the UDIDs is fine. But I also see some problems here. Only the people who start the new version will be registered. When some people do not use it during this period and start it after the collecting-period their ad free-"buy" gets lost. Nice idea though!

Highlighting on the paid version in the first sentence of iTunes that it is the same version as the free one, but without ads sounds reasonable. Although I fear that there will also be people who won't read this and complain afterwards.
In a perfect world, you would already be collecting UDIDs or would have months to change to free and ads. Having a free and paid version would work also. Can't blame the dev if the customer didn't read descriptions.
01-25-2011, 03:26 AM
#7
Collecting device IDs isn't sufficient. I was caught in this situation exactly with the Astro Ranch game. I bought it upon release, and they later changed pricing to free with an in-app purchase to make your game "premium." They collected device IDs to upgrade customers. Problem is, I didn't play the game much (I have a big backlog of games that I haven't played) and even if I did, I have a ton of devices (I'm a developer). Others were caught in this mess, too. I still have this problem with that game, and they recently asked me to send them more info to rectify the problem. We'll see how it goes.

So in my view, any solution that disenfranchises a paid customer is at best poor service, and at worst, potentially fraudulent. The customer paid for a known product, and it's not his/her fault that you decided to change business models.

What they should have done is changed the initial paid version to the premium version (add "Pro" or "Premium" to the name). Then offer a new game with the old name that is free with IAP. This way, there is no way a paid customer will get ripped off. Also, this allows customers to play the game on as many devices as Apple allows.

In short, the UDID solution sucks. Only use that if you want a bunch of pissed off customers.
01-26-2011, 07:20 AM
#8
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Elgin, Scotland
Posts: 11
What I suggest is either
Remove the paid app from the app store and release free one, people who paid for the original should still be able to download and play it.

Or

Add the free version and keep paid one up too, make it clear in your descriptions that one is ad-supported and one is ad-free. Words with Friends does this and as far as I know there hasn't been any problems with it.

I think it would probably be best doing the second one, so people who really hate/get annoyed by ad's have the option to upgrade. Also if you are moving to ad-supported for hope of more money, you might want to make the price point a bit higher if it is at bottom tiers as users can get all the features for free if they put up with ads.

Whisky Biscuit Independent Games Developer from Highlands of Scotland
Currently working on WarPath, a top down simultaneous-turn based game for the iPad.
Twitter: @whisky_biscuit
01-26-2011, 07:56 AM
#9
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,674
Well why not just make it a seperate product?

Lets think your app you want to change is Frogs Duel..

you keep the Game as, no changes whatsoever.

but you will work the changes you want to make to "Frogs Duel 2: Revenge of the Stork"

so Frog Duel stays paid.. for the same amount with the same content, people already paid for..

and you go with a seperate product, maybee change some content, add/remove some levels etc. and call it part 2 and be done with it..

a) all current customers can , install FD2 for free if they want
b) FD1 is still avaiable in the appstore for your customers to redownload if they ever need to
c) you just widened your portfolio of games with a new item (always good)
d) everyone is happy except panda! because he wanted to be free too..

01-26-2011, 08:13 AM
#10
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Nürnberg, Germany
Posts: 22
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Frogs Duel is the game I am thinking about, you are right.

For Panda! there is already a free version with 8 levels and a 40 levels full edition. And I have made much better experiences with this model, that's why I am thinking about it.

Developing FD2 would take as much time as it would take to develop a new game from the scratch. It's difficult to extend the current game (because there are no levels) and the concept of the game itself is good as it is.

Maybe I will do what WhiskyBiscuit suggests. That sounds like a good compromise.

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