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Quality Without Compromise

  • Hey Devs,

    I've been working on an update for my latest game "Randy Rogue" (Free on Google Play, available also for Blackberry & Windows Phone 8)

    • New Update will include:

    * Joystick controls

    * (& possibly a Windows Azure based Leaderboard system)

    Implementing this takes a great deal of effort, the point of this forum post is because I would like to share/gain some perspective on MONETIZATION .

    Making games with replay value is the only rationality as a single indie dev I need to start a project (Once I start a project no excuses I'm persistent in completing it)

    Free To Play games seem to be the only ones to make breakthroughs . While I can see how a free app can go viral a lot faster then a paid app , I want to know how many devs here believe Free To Play is a compromise against their hardwork . I want to emphasize that I don't just download a paid app because of the ratings, reviews or screenshot, how many of you really feel like implementing ads to your game justifies monetization for your hard work .

    Ads seems to have inconsistencies & make it harder to monetize cross platform. Also intrusive or not players don't like ads, finding a way to making it as least intrusive as possible is key but does the hard work from implementing ads justify the urge to just charge .99 up front for it

    Because if a game has replay value then it was meant to be enjoyed - .99 cents isnt going to stand in the way of someone wanting a piece of that experience and I feel like if someone is going to pay upfront for a game its because they genuinely WANT TO OWN the game .

    I personally have to games out "Don't Crash Dummy" & "Randy Rogue" & I think reaching out to youtubers as a way to gain awareness of my games is one of the best ways I can do so along with offering a free web experience.

    Charge up front or implement ads ? What do you guys think

    REPLAY VALUE IS KEY

  • Yeah, difficult one I think.

    I for one hate adds in any form on any media - with a passion.

    To me, a fairly good game free of adds, is way more professional than an excellent game with adds.

    Actually I refuse to put adds in my games - and it would be a fantastic thing if every dev - large or small, pro or indie - would do the same thing.

    But to the concluding question of your post:

    Paid up front:

    Likely lead to less downloads. (It seams these days people don't even want to spend .99!) At least until you get a name for good products.

    Implement Adds:

    Most annoying thing on the planet. Only do it if the paid version removes the wretched things completely. (hmm nah, what am I saying, dont' do it at all..!!!)

    Other options:

    First level free:

    Up grade to unlock all levels.

    Completely free:

    In-app purchases for more powers, weapons, vehicles etc. But be careful, don't make it seem like a money pit, and make the purchase really special.

    Just my 2 cents worth, I am sure others will see things differently....

  • michael Thanks for sharing your perspective it truly means a lot to me

    *Couple things I want to highlight*

    • I understand your strong feeling towards ads in games & media
    • I agree with you, I think having ads in a game makes it look less professional (Intrusive or not) & you're the first person I've noticed to directly express that .

    -Paid upfront likely to lead to less downloads without having a Name for Oneself

    -Going the COMPLETELY FREE route with an IAP system included.

    "Most people don't want to spend .99 cents on a game." <- (Conditional Statement)

    One must ask "Why people don't want to spend .99 on my game" (Taking into consideration your game has replay value)

    • Name (True/False): Do you have an audience & do you they respect you.
    • Information (True/False): Is/are there enough data out there specifically regarding your game that IS insightful enough to get people to want to own your game. Does your game content appeal to you ? Do you think your game content has the potential to appeal to other people, & can you see other people telling other people about your game ?

    If one or both are true then how do you plan on monetizing your product ?

    • Charge up front

    Pro: All money up front no hassle

    Con: Without a trial or demo experience, its unlikely to get massive amounts of DLs out of no where. Having to create a two versions means having to do so for each available platform & updating them together separately.

    • Free 2 Play with In-App Purchase

    Pro: Get people to download your game without them being able to give you a legit" excuse,if the game gets a high volume of DLs roll out an update with an IAP. Players won't feel pressure or inclined to spend money.

    Con: There doesn't seem to be a standard way of creating an IAP for a cross-platform app, it'll be up to the dev to find a way to create an IAP for each platform the game is available on. You'll have to update your game more with an IAP (Heavy pressure on getting it all right the first time no one wants to have to do multiple updates for their app if the IAP doesnt seem to be working properly), it would require more maintenance. Requires a great deal of effort to implement, especially if for a cross-platform game

    • Ads

    Pro: You get paid

    Con: You'll need a massive amount of overall active people playing your game in order to generate real revenue . Regardless of where ad banners are placed there's a chance it could turn off & discourage people from further playing or coming back to your game. Requires a great deal of effort to implement, especially if for a cross-platform game

    I just want to mention: If Miley Cyrus or Kanye West had apps about burping door knobs & they charged up front for it, people would pay to download

    So as an indie dev trying stretch the reach of your game the only alternative I see that can really justify ones urge to charge up front , as michael mentioned, are IAP . I say this because people don't like ads and there's also an assumption that if a developer uses ads once in there games they are likely to do it again , & not only does one not want compromise the quality of their work by implementing ads, they also don't want to be known as notorious for using them in their work .

    If I were to recommend a solid plan, & I hope michael you can agree with this as well .

    ~ Make your game completely free without ads (Free for iOS & Android, PAID for Windows Phone 8 & Blackberry), promote your app where you can (Flappy Birds creator said "I don't do promotion") getting people to try your game. Reach out to youtubers who can provide commentary reviews &/or gameplay including a hashtag for it . Try to have a goal of total downloads then once getting to or near that goal roll out an update with an In-App purchase system . The key is while your game is live start working on the the IAP so that if you start to bring in serious amounts of downloads you're timing will be right with publishing the update.

  • I guess I would go for the option where you leave it up to the player..

    Create a considerable amount of free to play content and add a choice for the player to either buy the complete product through IAP or continue playing, but with advertisements..

    It's kinda like educating the player on how annoying adds are..

  • I think ads on a website are acceptable (off the canvas) as long as they are not everywhere To have a single adChoice or amazon type strip banner docked on the top right seems acceptable. I will even click on them if I like the website and then quickly back out. target _blank is a must for canvas games anyways.

    Dan

  • LittleStain lol I like your point . If the game is fun & ads are intrusive then the player can just buy the game (IAP) and that'll give them the complete product without the ads.

    Although I've come to realize there are ways around ads, one can turn off data or go on airplane mode to avoid ads popping up. I'm not saying thats what most people do to avoid ads but opposed to buying the complete game people might choose that alternative .

    The thing about ads tho is that implementing them only to have the end user annoyed doesnt seem to jusify the work spent on the development because if the ads really frustrate the players theres always the potential that they just delete the app you know .

    Also having two versions of the game can make it more work to maintain and update, but having one version free with ads & and another paid up front would seem like a win - win from the developer perspective but could be perceieved as a lose - lose from the end user perspective because they are forced to either deal with ads or pay up making them feel inclined to buy the full product could be a deal breaker for some. But that method is what Timberman did and that game has 7 figure downloads. https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... mber&hl=en

    I feel like if you're gonna leave it up to the player then its best to not put them under pressure where one could risk having the product uninstalled all together - in the event of intrusive ads - ads alone are annoying to people & require a great deal of effort to implement . Having a single version (That will include in IAP in the next update) allows the player to spend money without feeling pressured or inclined to do so .

  • dan I agree with you that's a dynamic approach to monetization. I think offering a free web experience for a game then charging for it on a mobile platform or including an IAP could work out well for any dev, and if you can make some money with ads from the web based version why not - I find ads on web pages, to a certain degree, to be less annoying then within apps .

    Good luck getting green light approved, hope you get in - you got my vote !

  • Thanks Eyez. I completely agree with that.

    Your game looks fun!

    I like the idea of a free web edition that runs in a limited fixed resolution to help build an audience and a full screen paid edition. Ads in my book would be off the canvas or maybe visible in a full screen browser game... It is true that some people just don't lke ads and will not tolerate them no matter what.

    Happy creating guys.

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  • EyezWidee

    What I was trying to say was that the first part of the game should be ad-free, to give the user the full gaming experience without annoying ads..

    After the free content is played the player will have the choice to continue playing the program for free (but the rest of the levels will have ads) or pay for the program through IAP and continue playing the way they are used to..

  • The ads in game are... Not only looking non professsional, but it is the way to render your game annoying, also people I know at least turn off their internet on their devices just to not have them, except if a special functionnality requires it (SAM in jetpack joyride is an exemple of that kind of functionnality). They are also, let's be honest, a money wh*re thing, people are not stupid, they know most developers do not choose the ads that will be displayed, that results in a belief like "they don t even care about the ads, they just want the money", even on a website ads aren't popular when they are justified, but in an application that you have downloaded, this is just wrong.

    Up front payment is nice and legit, but fewer download:

    -Not everyone is confident in paying for a game online

    -Not everyone like to pay a non physical copy of the game

    -the refund time on the playstore is ridiculous

    -in some cases, the performance is actually a pretty big barrier "Will it work on my phone?"

    -Will the game be worth it? (Popular belief: mobile games are short and not that great)

    The last two ones being the most important for me, I actually bought a game on the playstore that was more than 1GB for approx. 20$, in that case it was worth it because I already knew it beforehand, the performances were the big question, it is actually fine on my device, but really even though I knew it wouod work, I was still worried.

    In the case of C2, you have a pretty advantage: the user could test a demo on the web to know what to expect, heck if your game is free 100% you could even have the complete version on the web, and providing the app only for people that don't have a decent experience through their browsers.

    The IAP one is actually pretty complex, it should be treated like dlc's, aka: If that is an important part of the game by itself, it should be already inside the game, if it is a skin or something, that is actually okay, also remember that a good player should be able to complete the game without needed to buy them, additionnal levels could be bought as packs of levels if there are a lot (but do not call your game free in that case, since some level aren't).

    As for the completely free, no ads, no IAP games, the awnser is simple: just make your game popular enough to have a name, but I would think most people want to make money or even a living with games, if ads or abusive IAP are known as the only good ways to make money, then that would mostly tell that the market is not yet ready.

  • For any new indie dev, I HIGHLY suggest you watch this presentation:

    And this one:

    Subscribe to Construct videos now

    It's from Butterscotch Shenanigans, also a new indie dev team but they are now on the road to success! Learn from their experience & wisdom.

    I wish I had seen these videos before I made my own games.

    ps. As a no name, no fame indie dev, do not EVER ask for an upfront payment for your game. You want to be KNOWN first, get your games into as many gamer's hands as possible. There's a great line from that video, you are NOT competing versus a cup of coffee (well, $0.99 is cheaper than coffee even!), but competing against an ocean of free games out there all wanting to get user attention. As a no fame dev, you are basically erecting a mountain obstacle by asking for upfront payment for your game.

    Ads are a necessary evil, because I hate ads, you hate ads, but if nobody wants to pay for the game, then advertisers have to pay for it, thus, ads.

  • I don't believe in mobile gaming, but if I did I'd probably release a free demo and then charge for the full game, or just make sure the trailer is really good and then put out the full game; demos are known to decrease sales.

    No ads. Ever.

  • I don't believe in mobile gaming, but if I did I'd probably release a free demo and then charge for the full game, or just make sure the trailer is really good and then put out the full game; demos are known to decrease sales.

    No ads. Ever.

    Apparently billions of people globally believe in mobile gaming.

    Nearly all of them don't want to spend any $ doing it though. So someone has to pay for devs to work hard making games for them to enjoy. If they don't want to pay, then let the advertisers pay, pretty simple.

    I see nothing wrong with Ads or IAPs, as long as its done well and as least intrusive as possible. If I load up a free game and the first thing I am greeted to is a full screen Ad, it's automatic uninstall. But If i play games and it has a banner ad in a non intrusive place (that doesn't interfere with gameplay), I'm fine with playing it. For those really good ones, I even spend $ on IAPs.

    I'm firstly a gamer, and then a game dev so I can see it from both aspects.

    Either way, highly recommend other mobile devs to view the videos I linked above.

    ps. I don't run Ad Blockers on my PC browsers or phones. It's a filthy tool that deprives the content creator of much needed sustenance so that they are able to keep on making content that you want to browse on. It's actually a form of piracy. I am reminded of the collapse of the game studio Natsume everytime the issue of piracy is raised, because I loved their Rune Factory & Harvest Moon type games, but 99% of people pirate it and the studio died due to out of funds.

  • The ads in game are... Not only looking non professsional, but it is the way to render your game annoying, also people I know at least turn off their internet on their devices just to not have them, except if a special functionnality requires it (SAM in jetpack joyride is an exemple of that kind of functionnality). They are also, let's be honest, a money wh*re thing, people are not stupid, they know most developers do not choose the ads that will be displayed, that results in a belief like "they don t even care about the ads, they just want the money", even on a website ads aren't popular when they are justified, but in an application that you have downloaded, this is just wrong.

    Up front payment is nice and legit, but fewer download:

    -Not everyone is confident in paying for a game online

    -Not everyone like to pay a non physical copy of the game

    -the refund time on the playstore is ridiculous

    -in some cases, the performance is actually a pretty big barrier "Will it work on my phone?"

    -Will the game be worth it? (Popular belief: mobile games are short and not that great)

    The last two ones being the most important for me, I actually bought a game on the playstore that was more than 1GB for approx. 20$, in that case it was worth it because I already knew it beforehand, the performances were the big question, it is actually fine on my device, but really even though I knew it wouod work, I was still worried.

    In the case of C2, you have a pretty advantage: the user could test a demo on the web to know what to expect, heck if your game is free 100% you could even have the complete version on the web, and providing the app only for people that don't have a decent experience through their browsers.

    The IAP one is actually pretty complex, it should be treated like dlc's, aka: If that is an important part of the game by itself, it should be already inside the game, if it is a skin or something, that is actually okay, also remember that a good player should be able to complete the game without needed to buy them, additionnal levels could be bought as packs of levels if there are a lot (but do not call your game free in that case, since some level aren't).

    As for the completely free, no ads, no IAP games, the awnser is simple: just make your game popular enough to have a name, but I would think most people want to make money or even a living with games, if ads or abusive IAP are known as the only good ways to make money, then that would mostly tell that the market is not yet ready.

    LittleStain I see what you mean that is solid plan, I feel like too many think that if someone puts intrusive ads in their games they assume all the dev cares about is making money which isnt necessarily true.

    Aphrodite I agree with you on the points you made, ads are perceived as annoying and a way for users to counter then are to turn off data/airplane mode . Also having a game tat requires online access , in my belief, makes the player feel as if they don't really own the game which can caused mixed feelings about it even if its a good game . I do think that publishing a free online version of a game with reference to the mobile version is a solid plan, I might be wrong but: if one has a website they can post the web version of their game on it and within their website have ads so that way they still make money off of ads without being intrusive but still getting impressions. To Highlight two points you made -Performance & -Value Are you saying if a game performs well & has replay value you are willing to spend money on it ? If you choose to charge upfront for your games then the only way for people to really measure Performance & Value before purchasing is to watch gameplay video and read reviews & hear about it from word of mouth . People take for granted the reviews that are posted within the appstore so I think having reviews & ratings from other outside sources (Indie Game Mag, Gamespot, Ign, Youtube) would be more effective in determining the value (& even performance) of your game pre-purchase .

    • IAP systems are pretty complex, at least thats how I perceive them to be, has anyone here ever used CocoonJS to create an IAP ? & if so how difficult was that to thoroughly complete ?

    Silverforce Thanks for sharing those links I'll make sure I check them out . Where do you stand on publishing a COMPLETELY FREE version first then rolling out an update (if the game gets 4 figure downloads) that includes an IAP or Ads . & which one would you go with if you were trying to only make one version of your game - Update with an IAP or Ads (Without being intrusive) ? With ads you're going to get paid

    Tokinsom you're missing out man, (As said by Silverforce) "Billions" of people download & play mobile games . Not saying there isn't money to be made on the web but its a lot easier to get someone to pull out their phone & check out your game than it is to tell them to go to a website on their PC or Laptop and check out your game .

    If "Demos are known to decrease sales" then providing a demo then full game on the appstore would be a compromise .

    I think if/when a completely free game gets 4 figure downloads rolling out an update that includes non-intrusive ads , particularly a banner in the "Game Over" layout , would be a solid plan . CocoonJS provides the ability to implement ads or IAP with your games so I guess it depends on which ever one is more appealing to the dev (& by appealing I mean less difficult to thoroughly implement as envisioned)

  • I don't know if this is doable or how it can be done, but heres an idea:

    What about creating only ONE single mobile version of your game, it would be completely Free to Play, if it starts to get 4 figure + downloads roll out an update that includes non-intrusive ads, particularly in the "Game Over" layout. But also an IAP system that allows them to purchase items & any item purchased automatically shuts off ads.

    &

    A bonus would be publishing a completely free web-based version of your game "to your website" with ads in the website & non-intrusively in the game (Within the "Game Over" layout) .

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