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Old 07-07-2013, 11:54 AM
raekess raekess is offline
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Default Lite or Demo version - is it worth it?

Hey all,

Squink Games is about ready to release our first game - Gummies Playground. It's a kids educational app for ages 2-5. We've got our website up and running, press kits, etc., and are about to start our marketing campaign.

We're currently debating whether to offer a lite/demo version of the app - something that will limit play and direct parents to the full version. I wanted to get everyone's opinion.
  • Does having a free version detract from sales for the full version?
  • What's the conversion rate from free - full?
  • Are the download numbers worth it?
  • Comments on free versions can be pretty ruthless - how does the rating of a free game affect a full game?
  • If we do a free version, should it be released before, concurrently, or after the full version?
  • Should we send reviewers links to the free game on the app store in spite of the limited play or use promo codes to the full game?

Thanks all.
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2013, 03:50 PM
Appvism Appvism is offline
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Congrats on your soon to be released game! I can't offer any advice myself with regards to your question, so I too will be interested to see what others think especially from their own experiences.

I am also thinking of releasing a lite version for my forthcoming app and for me, I am partly interested in seeing how this does and what effect (if any) it has on the full version. Personally, I hope a lite version will help gain further exposure for the game and drive extra downloads and sales of the full version.

I also hope Apple do not reject the lite version and suggest i use IAP instead to unlock the full game...

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2013, 10:43 AM
raekess raekess is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Appvism View Post
Congrats on your soon to be released game!
Thanks Appvism! We're pretty excited about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appvism View Post
I am also thinking of releasing a lite version for my forthcoming app and for me, I am partly interested in seeing how this does and what effect (if any) it has on the full version. Personally, I hope a lite version will help gain further exposure for the game and drive extra downloads and sales of the full version.
Agreed, that's what we're weighing now. Will a Lite version drive sales or just tank that version of the app with junk reviews (people tend to be more brutal to free games over games they've paid for, from what I've seen).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appvism View Post
I also hope Apple do not reject the lite version and suggest i use IAP instead to unlock the full game...
Is this a new thing? I had to take a sabbatical from Squink because my old job cried "competition," so I admit I haven't kept up on what's doing at iTunes.
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  #4  
Old 07-08-2013, 11:09 AM
TheBunny TheBunny is offline
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I would not bother with a lite version these days.
I would make a FREE version that uses an IAP to upgrade to full.

Making users hunt for a full version is just one more bottle neck to getting a purchase these days.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:19 AM
raekess raekess is offline
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Default No IAP at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBunny View Post
I would not bother with a lite version these days.
I would make a FREE version that uses an IAP to upgrade to full.
The app is a kid's app for ages 2-5 - we've avoided IAP altogether. First of all, it reduces permissions needed for the game (which a lot of parents are leery of) and we don't want a child hitting a button and spending their parents' money without their knowledge.

Thank you though, TheBunny!
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2013, 11:48 AM
kashifraza kashifraza is offline
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release the paid version first, if you see less sales than release lite after couple of week.
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  #7  
Old 07-08-2013, 12:40 PM
raekess raekess is offline
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Originally Posted by kashifraza View Post
release the paid version first, if you see less sales than release lite after couple of week.
Thanks kashifraza. That's something we're considering as well. I think if we make it clear that it's a limited version of the game there will be minimized blowback for releasing a "free" game after people have already paid for the full version.
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Old 07-08-2013, 02:05 PM
Sheinfell Sheinfell is offline
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As someone in your target audience (I am a bit older than 2-5, so obviously parent ), I say make a Lite version.

Many children apps we have offer IAP to unlock the full app, or to get more content (e.g. more chapters or animals).

But your approach (no IAP) is the best in terms of feeling safe from "financial accidents" as a parent.

Now, why a Lite version?
Most important: With young kids it is hard to say what they will like or not. So being able to try for free if his Majesty approves is great for a parent.

Next: There are a lot of children apps out there. We look and shop around regularly, but we only get a fraction of what is released (think like 50 apps in total now, including lots of children TV shows, spread over 3 devices).
So, not able to keep up with even all the free stuff available for that narrow age range (18-24 months) , our "barrier" for buying a paid version is higher than it is for example for me and my games: I have a narrow focus and know quite well what games I want and like. So I tend to more quickly buy a full version; because I know that when it interests me enough to spend money on, it will most likely be worth it; and, free RPGs (or even Lite versions) are rare in my area.

Add my points 1 & 2 together, and you have a strong reason why a Lite children app is a good idea.

---
UPDATE: We just looked at your homepage. Unfortunately, from the description we cannot tell if it will be fun for our junior. Most spelling or counting games are too complicated for him yet. Although we see that he is interested in (perhaps the shapes of) letters. So from the list alone I cannot say if there is enough fun stuff for him.
Do sections per age group, and make longer descriptions; show screenshots, and maybe even a few short videos.
So, right now you don't have a buyer in us, because we do not have enough information.
With a Lite versions to try it out, I would just download it and check. And if it is good, buy the full version.

Last edited by Sheinfell; 07-08-2013 at 02:23 PM..
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:06 PM
raekess raekess is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheinfell View Post
As someone in your target audience (I am a bit older than 2-5, so obviously parent ), I say make a Lite version.

Many children apps we have offer IAP to unlock the full app, or to get more content (e.g. more chapters or animals). But your approach (no IAP) is the best in terms of feeling safe from "financial accidents" as a parent.
Thanks - we thought real hard about kids safety and wanted to ensure that parents felt safe letting their kids play in our world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheinfell View Post
Now, why a Lite version?
Most important: With young kids it is hard to say what they will like or not. So being able to try for free if his Majesty approves is great for a parent.

Next: There are a lot of children apps out there. We look and shop around regularly, but we only get a fraction of what is released (think like 50 apps in total now, including lots of children TV shows, spread over 3 devices).
So, not able to keep up with even all the free stuff available for that narrow age range (18-24 months) , our "barrier" for buying a paid version is higher than it is for example for me and my games: I have a narrow focus and know quite well what games I want and like. So I tend to more quickly buy a full version; because I know that when it interests me enough to spend money on, it will most likely be worth it; and, free RPGs (or even Lite versions) are rare in my area.

Add my points 1 & 2 together, and you have a strong reason why a Lite children app is a good idea.
Sheinfell - you explained your reasoning very well. I do appreciate it and it's adding much more weight to making a lite version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheinfell View Post
UPDATE: We just looked at your homepage. Unfortunately, from the description we cannot tell if it will be fun for our junior.
Again, thank you for taking the time to look and share your thoughts. Did you look at the home page or the game page? I will definitely do some updates based on your feedback but I'd rather focus on the right changes that need to be made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheinfell View Post
Most spelling or counting games are too complicated for him yet. Although we see that he is interested in (perhaps the shapes of) letters. So from the list alone I cannot say if there is enough fun stuff for him.
How old is your son? Are you on iOS or Droid? Tablet or phone? I'd love to send you a build of the game to show him, just to be able to understand your assessment of the game now vs. after you've seen it. Would you be amenable to that?

We do have gameplay videos and screenshots up on our press page, but are going to be making a few tweaks to them so we've not yet added them to the game page. That gameplay video is a huge part of helping people to better understand the game.

I'm also hoping to put the video on the main website page as well. Just a few (read: ton) more things to do before launch. Phew!

Thanks again - I really do appreciate the thoughtful comments and your time.
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  #10  
Old 07-08-2013, 03:52 PM
Sheinfell Sheinfell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raekess View Post
Thanks - we thought real hard about kids safety and wanted to ensure that parents felt safe letting their kids play in our world.
Sheinfell - you explained your reasoning very well. I do appreciate it and it's adding much more weight to making a lite version.
Again, thank you for taking the time to look and share your thoughts. Did you look at the home page or the game page? I will definitely do some updates based on your feedback but I'd rather focus on the right changes that need to be made.
You're welcome It is interesting for me, too, to coherently write down a thought/decision process like this.
And I followed the first link in your first post directly to the game's homepage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raekess View Post
How old is your son? Are you on iOS or Droid? Tablet or phone? I'd love to send you a build of the game to show him, just to be able to understand your assessment of the game now vs. after you've seen it. Would you be amenable to that?
Oha. Color me impressed! Sure would like to see your game, and our son too, I bet.
Just send me a PM, then I can give you my Testflight account or UDID.

Little one is almost 2 years old.
iPad2 here, iPhone5 with girlfriend, iPhones 3&4 with grandparents, iPod2 Touch with the rugrat. So quite the range

Quote:
Originally Posted by raekess View Post
We do have gameplay videos and screenshots up on our press page, but are going to be making a few tweaks to them so we've not yet added them to the game page. That gameplay video is a huge part of helping people to better understand the game.
I'm also hoping to put the video on the main website page as well. Just a few (read: ton) more things to do before launch. Phew!
Thanks again - I really do appreciate the thoughtful comments and your time.
Good luck! If you still have a few days, you will manage. You mentioned you have videos in the presskit: if all else fails, put those on the game's homepage.

Why?
Because they are there, just not on the "direct hit".
I specifically did *NOT* look at the press kit. Because that is something I would do, but for different reasons than finding out what the game is about.
It is a presskit, not the game's homepage. I'd look at it because I am interested in seeing different presskits and learning how to put them together, what to watch out for, etc.
My girlfriend comes from webdesign/publishing/journalism/branding; and her interests rub off. So we are a very specific set of parents with above-average knowledge and interest in the area.
Which is why I figured that most parents looking for a game for their kid will not look at the presskit, because they come from a different angle ("I want a game", without the "I am interested in development details" part).
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