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Design-Driven In App Purchases: Creating Sustainable Monetization

, 六月 23, 2015

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  1. What I have to say in all this iap and freemium talk is having played Angry Birds 2, some type of role playing dragon game in the windows store, the sonic the hedgehog infinite runner game, and Looney Tunes Dash is that the IAP is used for people that seem to want to pay to avoid playing the game and so IAP for those games seems inappropriate. Sure they make money from it but it must seem a little sad they are paying to avoid playing the game because what does that say about the game?

    That said Sonic the Hedgehog and Looney Tunes IR games are the only ones I play occasionally and I make it a point not to buy IAP. I also make it a point to not do unsolicited FB sharing of my game results however if asked I would recommend those games.

    As far as my own aspirations I am a hobbyist so my only goal is fun hobby and if I get lucky good but I still like seeing moderation models.

    1. I guess this comes down to making games for art or making games commercially. If we are to make/sustain an industry of making games which i believe we should then accepting that the profit motive is part of that is I think unavoidable. But! Please dont mistake that for putting the players need second.

      In fact unlike games as art commercial games have to consider the players. The trouble is right now people can make a lot of money by playing with monetisation levers. Not unlike in pop music with trash bands.

      However, if we want games with the ambition and potential to change the way games are accepted as well as to be commercially sustainable they have to put players first. Its the point im trying to make here. We need to create an expectation of value for player and deliver on it.

      Nothing wrong with kickstarter, Patreon, arts funding etc to free the developer to make the games to delight audiences but that is no guarentee that they will satisfy player’s needs. Indeed there is less incentive to do anything but the developers own vision.

      The good news is that there is room for both.

      Suspect we wont agree but i do hope i have at least encouraged you to consider that despite the current examples it is possible to make better commercial games.

  2. It seems, your ultimate goal is, to just make the most money. Its all about extracting the most out of the players. Even if you write that making the game awesome is a much better way to go than to employ cheap short-term psychological tricks, its still about extracting money from people.

    “Doing evil trick #23?” – “Oh, that’s possible but it will increase the money fatigue of your paying dipsticks”.

    Don’t get me wrong.. All these points are probably very valid and there are a LOT worse articles out there…

    But I still would not want to work at your company.

    1. @Imi Sorry you feel that way and whilst I appreciate that there is a concern over where we cross over between making great gameplay and making money I don’t think the two are neccessarily at odds. In fact I’d argue the opposite. The advice I’ve tried to give here (and I accept I may have failed to get this across) is actually about looking at the way designers have to put the player first and their enjoyment as paramount importance.
      Yes I want designers to do that in a way which makes it more likely to make more money. However, I do that as I believe game designer and development is a worthwhile process and like any art is worth paying for on it’s intrinsic merits. I don’t believe we should be paid just because we turn up and do our jobs – if I did I’d work in a Bank!
      Perhaps the language we use as shorthand doesn’t help. I know lots of different people read this so as well as right-minded people like yourself concerned about the over commercialisation of the hobby we all love; there are others whose motivation is more commercial and I want to show them that the use of dirty tricks is actually self-defeating in the long run.

      1. I still have to disagree heavily. Concerns about money are fundamentaly at odds with concerns about the well-being of your players!

        Nobody likes to spend money intrinsically – just for the sake of spending money. Psychological manipulations that make players want to give you money may be the “best possible manipulation” in your eyes, but don’t dillude yourself in thinking that you do your players some favour by making them give you money.

        Also, there are people who totally don’t care about money at all as its never a limiting resource for their activities (“whales”). Still, extracting money from those people is not an intrinsic reward.

        Your point basically says: Instead of just grabbing their wallets and run, make them give you their wallets. Then you don’t need to run. And they might come back with their girlfriends wallet.

        There ARE other models how game developer can get food. For example, they could be sponsored by angle investors or through sites like kickstarter. Or they could get compensated by taxes. Or critics prices. Or devs can do some other work and write games in their free time – many composers I know work that way and their songs are pretty awesome..

        That may not feed the same amount of developers that are fed by the game industry today, but if those who only care about money leave the game branch, I wouldn’t care..

        1. (and by “kickstarter”, I meant “patreon.com” ;) )

  3. One thing that I think is very important is a ´bonus´ effect you receive after your first purchase. Two free games I played, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Stronghold Kingdoms both did that. When you make your first purchase, not only do you get the credits that you buy, but other things get changed about your gameplay. In fact, Stronghold Kingdoms even had a bonus after your second purchase also. In DDO, you got more character slots and a few other perks after you make a purchase, and in Stronghold Kingdoms the rate at which you get freebie cards is increased after your first, and again your second purchase.

    In both games, for me, that bonus you get with your first purchase was the reason I made the first purchase at all… and then obviously once you have someone familiar with the mechanisms and safety of making a purchase, they are much more likely to do it again.

    1. Bella merda.

    2. Thanks!
      Its been a v long time since I played D&DO and I don’t remember getting round to spending money – Ironically I can personally be a cheapskate with F2P games. However, that does sound smart. Some games do that by removing ads for a period of time after a purchase is made, but as I think I said I’m never too sure about whether thats the right approach. Something like an extended XP bonus for 24 hours after a purchase might be a cool way to do it but extra character slots and some bonus perks makes sense too

  4. Very good article!
    Second and Third picture – are very good examples of in-app purchases risk in my area.

    1. thanks!