The billion dollar question for many of the successful games online with hundred-of-thousands, even millions of users is, “how do we turn this into profit”. Making a popular enough games is just the first step to making a successful game. With an ever-booming market for app games and other substitute products, there is a slim chance to really break through.
But the real problem for free- and social games with a big enough player base, is how to make the transition into a game that players don’t have a problem to deposit money into. Sure there are games that have an effective model with in-app purchases that get 1-2% of their users to buy an extra life or upgrade.
However the balance of getting paid from in-app purchases and making the game popular is a thin line. If the game relies too much that a player needs to buy stuff to complete their missions, then the lifetime expectations of the players will most likely plummet. But at the same time, the developers and investors needs to get paid.
We asked Kim from free-spins.org about his experience with offering free spins and similar free games at online casinos.
In my experience, it all come down to a numbers game. Free games and whatnot works in a similar fashion. The more users you can acquire, the greater the chance of getting players to purchase. There is always some folks out there that are willing to come out on top. Willing to get the most out of their experience and time in the game.
Kim is certain in his statement, from years of experience, that developers need to make games that is entertaining enough to play solely for free. And if there is a demand for cheats, extra lives or bonus levels, then it’s a good time to start getting paid.
What people miss out on and especially investors. Is that the whole concept of free is that it should stay free. If and I say if, players want to get the extra features, then it’s okay to monetize on it. But don’t make the whole game be focused on getting paid, or it will destroy the gaming experience and also the chances of making the game viral and talked about.
In summary. Let player’s make their own choice to pay extra for the game or play for free. Forcing the issue to get paid will only spiral down to a game that no one ever tries out. Believe that the game is good enough to make people ask for more. And only then, start getting paid for your efforts.