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What type of updates for a new iOS game?

05-19-2011, 08:43 PM
#1
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 37
What type of updates for a new iOS game?

I'm currently working on an iPhone/iPad game (universal app), which I will be discussing at length in a week or so - once I can make a decent trailer. In brief, the game is a 3rd person 3D action/Metroid style game featuring destructible environments with both flying and ground based combat and exploration.

I plan on investing the time necessary for the game to grow and continually improve after release using the familiar app updates. The question I'm considering is the nature of these updates.

I'm considering splitting the game into "chapters" - basically self-contained, full game-size missions. The idea is that the game would be released with the first chapter, and future chapters would then be released at semi-regular intervals as App updates. Each chapter would need to feel complete and satisfying, but you would play the same character throughout (a transforming mech with flight and humanoid forms). And of course you'd keep all the upgrades, weapons and items you find along the way.

Would this type of setup be something you guys would be comfortable with? Or would you prefer more "traditional" updated content and leave new "chapters" for future sequels (depending on sales of course), such as bonus levels, new enemies and so forth.

Or maybe it would be better to have traditional updates but release additional chapters as $0.99 in-app purchases (or whatever is appropriate), in order to keep the sales active enough to finish a decent number of chapters.

Anyway, any comments are welcome. Let me know what you think, even if it's just to tell me that its a stupid idea.
05-19-2011, 11:45 PM
#2
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Mesropia
Posts: 19
I like your idea for making it multiple chapters with updates of new chapters, and keeping the same character.

I think the app should be free though (Gets more people to start playing it initially). The extra chapters should be paid though, like $1-$3 depending on the size. That allows you to earn money yet still keep it free for everyone to try out.

Since the V1.0 will be free though, you might want to add in some "Super Weapons" for your mech. They would be in-app purchase (probably $1 each). There could be about 3-5 of them (Any more and players will get mad). That will allow you to earn money even on the first version.

05-20-2011, 01:18 AM
#3
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 37
Thanks for the response, Avantir. I'm not sure I want to make the base game free, but I'll consider what you've said. Even if it is paid, though, it will be pretty cheap - either $0.99 or $1.99 I think - which isn't bad for a universal app with custom engine (you'll see why when I announce the game properly). Anyway, I appreciate the suggestions. I can't wait until I can show the game itself.
05-20-2011, 07:05 AM
#4
Joined: May 2011
Location: Germany
Posts: 83
Regular content updates aren't all that common (unless they are IAPs), so if you went that route, it would certainly be appreciated by the player base and, if the game is also good, causes word to spread much faster. I kind of liked SE's idea for CS Omega to announce a release schedule for additional, free content. If you were confident enough to be able to meet the schedule (i.e. new content every two months), that would also be a plus and lead to increased sales. It's a dangerous commitment, though.

That's from a player's perspective. Now, from a business perspective, you'd probably make more money with a more traditional approach: releasing a relatively fully featured game and then, half a year or a year later, a sequel.
05-20-2011, 10:42 AM
#5
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 251
Hey voxelate!

We are actually going to be doing something similar with our game Curse of Kullvaria (link in signature). We will be charging the initial purchase fee, but all future updates will be free.

Me and my partner have thought a lot about in app purchases and we both agree that the best kind are the ones that don't inhibit the player from experiencing the full game. IE. If you use some kind of monetary system then allow the player to buy more money for their character/campaign/etc, but never limit the player from getting this through actual game play / hard work.

Then it becomes a choice of spending $2.00 on $50,000.00 in game dollars or spend 2 hours grinding mobs (or what have you).

We both really dislike the whole, pay a buck for this exclusive weapon that can't be obtained any other way.

There is also the audience that simply can't afford all the in app purchases. For example, my younger brother uses is iOS device connected to his parents credit card. The obvious point here is he can't simply buy these extra items willy nilly, it's not his money, so then he, as a player, feels left out from all your game has to offer. What incentive does he have to keep playing? No matter how many hours he puts in to your product he still will never have that sweet 'penguin blow torch' or the epic 'cranial cracker', etc.

A perfect example of the wrong way to approach in app purchases in my opinion is the route Minigore has decided to take. It becomes disheartening after every update reading about sweet new features that are inaccessible to a lot of people.

*shrug*


-Michael Jarvis, co-developer of:
Quest for Kullvaria
MooView Games - Facebook - Dev Blog - Twitter - Touch Arcade - YouTube - Email
05-20-2011, 12:40 PM
#6
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 37
Thanks for the responses, I appreciate the different perspectives.

It's good to know that there are others who think similarly to the way I do. The idea of committing to the regular updates and making it a feature is what I'm thinking, one of the features that hopefully increases interest and sales.

At the same time I have to be practical, so I should only commit to a certain number of updates and the promise of more if sales are strong. That way if, after months of updates, sales are low then I can move on without breaking my word. This would also insure that I spend a certain amount of time supporting the game, regardless of initial sales, so early adopters and fans get their money's worth and what they are promised. This way even if sales for this game aren't great (hopefully they will be! - just trying to be realistic), people will more likely have positive impressions about future games (i.e. building a good reputation).

So I'd probably make a visible update schedule, which could be adjusted based on delays or issues. Then if sales are strong, I would just keep adding to that schedule for as long as makes sense.

Last edited by voxelate; 05-20-2011 at 12:44 PM.
05-20-2011, 01:46 PM
#7
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxelate View Post
Thanks for the responses, I appreciate the different perspectives.

It's good to know that there are others who think similarly to the way I do. The idea of committing to the regular updates and making it a feature is what I'm thinking, one of the features that hopefully increases interest and sales.

At the same time I have to be practical, so I should only commit to a certain number of updates and the promise of more if sales are strong. That way if, after months of updates, sales are low then I can move on without breaking my word. This would also insure that I spend a certain amount of time supporting the game, regardless of initial sales, so early adopters and fans get their money's worth and what they are promised. This way even if sales for this game aren't great (hopefully they will be! - just trying to be realistic), people will more likely have positive impressions about future games (i.e. building a good reputation).

So I'd probably make a visible update schedule, which could be adjusted based on delays or issues. Then if sales are strong, I would just keep adding to that schedule for as long as makes sense.
That is exactly our plan... Great minds

-Michael Jarvis, co-developer of:
Quest for Kullvaria
MooView Games - Facebook - Dev Blog - Twitter - Touch Arcade - YouTube - Email