Why not to make your next mobile game a paid gamePresentation Transcript
9 reasons not to use the paid model for your next mobile game by email@example.com
The buying decision is binary As a vendor of a product or service, having a buyer only have the choice to buy or not buy that product or service is greatly exposing yourself to losing the customer. If you truly believe what you’re offering is of value then having a customer experience your service before they buy from you is the ideal scenario. That’s why car salesmen love to get people in for test drives, that’s what you get 30 days free trial on anti-virus software. Because people want to try before they buy.
2. The buying decision is binary Using lite>full versions, or try before you buy model, is some people’s answer to the try binary problem, the issue is that this decision is still binary. People have a choice to buy or not. The cost of replicating digital goods is close to zero, so if it was possible to make this choice a spectrum, whereby the buyer can buy a bit of your stuff from you, why wouldn’t you allow it? If you believe in your product enough and believe that it’s a great game, then surely giving someone the choice to try it, then buy a bit of it, then buy more and more is the best strategy?
3. You are not satisfying the needs of all your potential players Some people will love your game and will want to buy more of it happily handing over sizeable chunks of cash for new content. Some will only want to pay a couple of $ over the lifetime of their playing history, some will not pay at all. But if as a mobile developer your remain true to your goal, to have your game enjoyed by as many people as possible, then allowing people to pay (or not) at these different price points should be key for you. Because as long as you make the same or more money from this group of playing people – well, surely you’re happy too?
Simple games are easy to copy Mobile gaming by its nature, is attractive to the masses. Most people have a mobile device and the simple controls that most mobile games harness mean that mobile gaming is more attractive than any platform before it. To appeal to the masses, what makes a great game, and often a best seller on mobile is often a simple concept that’s relatively easy to copy. The barrier to entry on mobile is even lower than it’s ever been before, and if you’re prepared to sell your game for x, then there’s someone else who’ll copy it and sell it for less.
5. Race to the bottom As a vendor of a product or service, the worst pricing strategy you can take for that product is to constantly reduce the price towards zero, particularly if it’s within a month or two of releasing that product. It shows you don’t believe in the value that game is giving to the game player and the efforts you put into it. If the only thing you’re differentiating on is price, then in the long term you’re screwed.
6. The only way is down If you’re using price as a way to increase distribution because players are only buying your product because it’s cheaper, then you’re going to find it almost impossible to increase your price. People are not going to buy your product if they’ve seen it’s been offered at a lower price previously. Consumers of mobile games are very savvy and they’ll wait for you to drop the price rather than pay an increased price. I doubt in the recent history of mobile gaming anyone has ever increased the price of a game above what they originally sold it for.
7. You don’t get paid for future work If you’re releasing a paid only game, you’re going to find it very difficult to get paid for future work you do on that game by selling to a new audience. Most people don’t hold off buying a game until a big update comes through. If you’ve released an update for a game, it’s likely you’re mostly only pleasing the people who’ve already bought the game.
8. Marketing troubles It amazes me that game developers devote so much of their time into developing some such great games, without thinking about how they’re going to promote them when they do. Alongside the great content you’re making, there has to be a consideration to how you’re going to get that content in people’s hands. If you’ve made a paid app – you’ll know how few routes there are to market your game ROI positive. If fact, there are no routes that scale to market a paid game on smartphones. Why would you release a product that gave you no other effective way of achieving mass distribution of that product other than dropping the price?
9. Consumers are savvy You’ll know as a developer that when you drop your app to 0 distribution increases 15x or more. This is because in this digitally distributed age with app stores that allow games to be found fairly easily, consumers know that more often than not, a paid app will eventually be made free by the developer. And until that time, they can more often than not easily provide a free gaming experience that offers an alternative as good or not better than the one you’re offering. Consumers play the waiting game, they know that someone’s probably done what they want for free, and they’ll take that until you give yours away. The paid for model is on the out, with boxed games and downloadable PC titles. No longer is the content made a product but a service and the people consuming this service are more aware than ever of their ability to jump ship if this service stops entertaining them.
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