Comments on: How in-app purchase is not really destroying the games industry /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/ sealed abstract class drew {} Sun, 27 Mar 2016 22:51:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: dwightk /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11731 Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:51:59 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11731 @Drew

I think the number of people who might buy a game like The Walking Dead is probably bigger than the number of people who would have bought Doom or Quake back in the day.

Maybe that is only possible when it is tied to some other entity which is providing advertising (an AMC show), but I hope that there are enough people out there that ~6 $10 upgrades could replace the 1 $65 upgrade.

By: Handy /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11707 Tue, 04 Feb 2014 09:46:58 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11707 Something that I am missing here is also the
‘pay what you want’ approach of the Humble Bundle.

As you pointed out, the customer base is not uniform and the spending power and willingness is fastly different.

Assuming, you manage to trigger their spending willingness (cause your game is good), this willingness transferes into an individual amount of value, which related to the spending power.

A elementary school kid this could transfere to like 10% of his monthly budget, while for a working person it might be 1% of his daily budget, but then the daily budget of a working person is absolut, the 1% is only 0.10$ but the 1% is actually 10 Bucks.

You could try to incorporate that into your ‘pay for your next level’ but I haven’t seen it yet in a good way.

So far the only way, is that the more you spent the bigger your discount is (for certain IAP) but IMHO it discourages me to spent money rather than spending it because, the 1$ is not worth it if you look at the 100$ purchase but I dont want to spend a 100$. So there I go and buy nothing.

By: Joe /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11698 Tue, 04 Feb 2014 03:56:46 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11698 @Luc: Your comment “Games are entertainment. The industry has lost sight of that.” encapsulates the core friction around F2P. The games business is a business. Yes, the product is entertainment but in the end only those products which are financially successful enable the makers to make more. Niche appeal is often the worst business situation. Users love the games but, to the author’s point, won’t pay enough to keep the company in business.

The industry hasn’t lost site of anything. It is an industry. Industries operate on profit and loss. Would you argue that a bank prioritize art over commerce? Its shareholders would disagree with you. Yet you think nothing of demanding that of a gaming business. It isn’t realistic.

Game hobbyists are free to pursue gaming as an art. Companies are not.

By: Eric Marcoullier /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11697 Tue, 04 Feb 2014 02:39:15 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11697 My hunch is the “freemium is bad” argument is primarily an oversimplification of the underlying concern — the erosion of trust and how that manifests during gameplay.

When I play a traditional “pay” game, I trust that the developer want me to finish the entire game. After all, the team slaved away creating all that content and the player should damn well appreciate their effort.

As a result, when I get stuck at some point in a game (Dead Space 2 being a recent example), I trust that there’s a way forward and with a little more effort or practice, or perhaps if I retrace my steps, I’ll become unstuck and move along the path toward completion.

Because the developer and I are working with a common goal in mind — get Eric to the end of the game — I am confident that at any point in the game I will be capable of completing the challenges set forth (no matter how stingy the Dead Space guys are with ammo).

With freemium games, that trust is obliterated. When I can’t progress, I am forced to ask a fun-sucking question — is the developer trying to extort money from me in order to continue? Am I unable to continue because I just haven’t mastered some in-game skill or is this simply the point at which I’m supposed to hand over my tithe?

Candy Crush is an obvious (if extreme) example. When you can’t complete a level after the 20th try, the player begins to feel that the developer is expressly barring their passage. And at that point, the game ceases to be fun, at least for the generations of gamers who saved the princess.

You mentioned DOOM and Quake and I was happy back in the day to pay for more levels. Now imagine getting all the levels for free, but every two or three levels you have trouble progressing. Is this because you haven’t developed enough skills to complete the level or is it because you have to pay a buck or two to have your character buffed to continue. Hell, just TELL me that I have to pay in order to progress. But by making it a constant implicit question, you just alienate a heck of a lot of traditional gamers.

By: Andrew Brown /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11691 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 23:32:02 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11691 There are different types of IAP, some good, some bad. I wouldn’t argue that there are lots of potential good uses for IAP. Take League of Legends or Team Fortress 2, for example. Both manage to make money (I think even a large amount) without resorting to psychological exploitation (or even imbalancing multiplayer.) Games like dungeon keeper, on the other hand, get you hooked on a game mechanic (like building a room) and then get you to pay to speed up the process as you progress. It just feels like you end up paying 2014 AAA-game prices *even if in installments) to get 1994 shareware games… on an ipad.

I think that if that trend continues, “game” making will become more about maximizing short term profit regardless of the quality of the games. So in that sense, the industry is cannibalizing itself. The industry will still exist, but it won’t look anything like the one of the last 20 years.

By: Francis /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11690 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 22:59:19 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11690 I would argue that “No loss in revenue for game developers” isn’t actually a requirement, and in fact is what is driving these outrageous IAPs.

You simply can’t have 150,000 competitors in the game space, each earning as much as Carmack did. They could get those salaries because their games were all new and unique (mostly by skill, but partially also because the field was so young). There just isn’t that much (legitimate) money in the game industry for little one-off derivative games. The value isn’t there.

Furthermore, this situation is not unique to games. How much did you pay this decade for email clients? For web browsers, or operating systems? Or spell checkers, or file managers? All of these things have come way down in price, as everything becomes integrated and automatic and included with the core system.

So why is the (non-game) software field booming today? Because it’s getting into new areas. People don’t seem to have any trouble paying $30 for games that are truly new and unique, like Minecraft or Kerbal Space Program. These are the Carmacks of today, and they’re earning it.

By: Luc /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11689 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 22:23:37 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11689 You have given a beautiful analysis of revenue models, but missed the entire point of the other article.

It argues that IAP have reduced mobile gaming to nothing more than skinner boxes, dragging cash out of users to the detriment of the game experience.

I was in the industry for 12 years and our guiding purpose was always “is this fun?” I’ve been out for a couple of years but went back to talk to some friends about a job and the focus was entirely about “how can we monetize our users”.

Games are entertainment. The industry has lost sight of that. Your article treats it as just the same as a utility: just profit and loss. I’d like to think it can still offer more than that.

By: Jackson Squire /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11688 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 22:22:00 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11688 In-App Purchases are similar to coin-op games, but your entire argument falls apart when one needs to consider someone could play an entire video arcade (or even pinball) game on one single quarter (or whatever it cost) if he/she were skilled enough to keep it going. That was the whole allure of those old games in the first place. They were games of skill. When Roger Sharpe testified before a committee in Manhattan over legalization of pinball in NYC in the late 1970’s the fact they were games of skill was his major defense for pinball. They were made illegal decades earlier because they were seen as gambling machines.

With most practices involving in-app purchases with games on iOS this doesn’t apply. In the old days you paid one quarter for a set amount of lives and allowed to play the full extent of the game until you failed. You didn’t pay a quarter to unlock some aspect of the game. You didn’t keep feeding a pinball machine more money to get a multiball. You didn’t feed more money into a video arcade game to cheat or to unlock a weapon you couldn’t get otherwise. In-app purchases themselves didn’t cheapen video games. It’s the ways they’re used to push games away from games of skill into the realm of moneypit rigged gambling devices that does.

By: Brent /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11687 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 22:10:24 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11687 Apps that can’t differentiate themselves from one another will have few, if any, customers, because they are not going to be good. 150,000 games is only possible if most of them are poorly made by inexperienced developers in a short time. Although, with a little organization, a few thousand players could easily test out all of those games and recommend those that were good, and that is what the App Store’s top list is.

But even if half the games on the market were good enough to retain customers (setting aside difficulties in acquiring them), that is not really the problem that IAP is being used to solve, at least not the kind of IAP being criticized.

IAP and coin-op are not the same, despite some similarities. It’s also not sensible to compare the price of coin-op game to a mobile game. That was a different time, with differences in scarcity, physical costs, delivery, and more. It was not possible to reach many users even for the best games. The cost of reaching them was high, the product material costs were high, the availability of skilled developers was highly constrained, the development tools were far inferior, etc. But more to the point, those games were fun and challenging. While we often felt somewhat ripped off by over-hard games, the relationship between what you paid and the reward factor was clear and honest: more play meant better play meant longer play meant cheaper games. Unless you just sucked, and then, oh well, you found another way to have fun. Also, in general, it was much harder to become “addicted” to coin-op games, and they represented a much smaller percentage of personal leisure time, because of their access constraints. There were few, if any, “whales” in coin-op.

Finally, though, the problem with IAP is not the payment model itself. You’re ignoring the meat of the argument in favour of critiquing the semantics.

The problem is that of targeting compulsiveness and using social, difficulty rescaling, and other psychological tricks to give people incentives to play despite the fact that the games are rarely fun, and often not even games by the same standard.

These “games” are only games incidentally. They are more along the lines of behavioural traps disguised as games. While real games certainly can inspire obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour, that is usually a side-effect of the game being fun. When compulsion is the purpose, and game-ness a side effect, that is a real problem. And it is the mode of IAP, along with virtual currency (coins, gems, what-have-you) which make these no longer proper games of skill with clearly defined challenges and objectives and recognizable win-loss states, but simply perpetual intervention machines which eat vast amounts of time and money.

By: mknopp /iphone/how-in-app-purchase-is-not-really-destroying-the-games-industry/comment-page-1/#comment-11686 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 21:53:30 +0000 /?p=2226#comment-11686 I know that it is purely anecdotal, but how many gamers still rely purely on the top list to find good games? I stopped using the top list on iTunes a long time ago, basically when IAP games migrated from Facebook and took over the list. Now I find most of my games from online mobile gaming sites.