Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Study: Half of In-App Purchases Come From Only 0.15% of Players

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the pay-5-slashbucks-to-continue-reading-this-summary dept.

Businesses 144

An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever seen a goofy microtransaction for a mobile game you play and wondered, 'Does anyone actually buy that junk?' As it turns out, few players actually do. A new study found that only 1.5% of players actually spend money on in-app purchases. Of those who do, more than 50% of the money is spent by the top 10%. 'Some game companies talk openly about the fact that they have whales, but others shy away from discussing them publicly. It costs money to develop and keep a game running, just like those fancy decorations and free drinks at a casino; whales, like gambling addicts, subsidize fun for everyone else.' Eric Johnson at Re/code says he talked to a game company who actually assigned an employee to one particular player who dropped $10,000 every month on in-app purchases." Meanwhile, in-app purchases have come to the attention of the European Commission, and they'll be discussing a set of standards for consumer rights at upcoming meetings. They say, 'Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved.'

cancel ×

144 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

0.15% vs 1.5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369529)

See title.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (5, Insightful)

FuzzyDustBall (751425) | about 7 months ago | (#46369547)

1.5%* Top 10% is 0.15%... which is what the title is referring to. Please read full summary before ripping title.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46369863)

There's actually two different numbers at play here:

In a mobile monetization report released today, app testing firm Swrve found that in January, half of free-to-play gamesâ(TM) in-app purchases came from 0.15 percent of players. Only 1.5 percent of players of games in the Swrve network spent any money at all.

So, half of all spending comes from 0.15% of all players, and only 1.5% of all players spent anything (and make up the other half of spending).

The rest of us refuse to hand over money for whatever in-game gimmick you have implemented which makes the game suck without it and end up uninstalling the damned game.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46369891)

Sorry, you clearly grasped that ... but clearly some people are having a hard time understanding it.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 7 months ago | (#46370411)

The rest of us refuse to hand over money for whatever in-game gimmick you have implemented

Speak for yourself. I am part of the 1.5%. When I asked my five year old nephew what he wanted for Christmas, he said he wanted, more than anything else in the world, a $5 bushel of virtual smurfberries. So I bought them for him. I am now his favorite uncle.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370831)

I'm guessing his parents turned him down, so he looked for some other sucker.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (1)

mybecq (131456) | about 7 months ago | (#46370025)

The title should say "Half of In-App Revenue ..." then, just like the article.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370027)

Please read full summary before ripping title.

You must be new here

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about 7 months ago | (#46369551)

Only 1.5% spend any money. 1 in 10 of those spend 50% of all the monies. So 0.15% spend 50%.

Were you told there would be no math? RTFS and DTFM.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370671)

When you live in America you're promised that there won't be math unless explicitly stated otherwise, at which point you can (of course) opt out.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (1)

RealRav (607677) | about 7 months ago | (#46369561)

I don't expect you RTFA but atleast finish the blurb before complaining.

Math - it works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369577)

" only 1.5% of players actually spend money on in-app purchases. Of those who do, more than 50% of the money is spent by the top 10%. "
1.5 * 10% = 0.15...

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 7 months ago | (#46369655)

I see. Those are indeed two different numbers that you typed out there. Good work AC! Or is this like a fight? I'm thinking the 1.5% would win if it came to fisticuffs. I'd give it ten to one odds in fact. 0.15% may have an extra numeral in there, but I don't think the zero is worth much in the ring.

Or is it you want to DISCUSS the differences? There's a decimal place of difference. I might start out with Khan Academy if you need further explanation of maths. I don't know if they do percentages and decimal place explanation.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369853)

Nice trolling there, 8/10.

Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 7 months ago | (#46370537)

See title.

See summary.

$10,000?!? (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#46369549)

Here I am, trying to sell the Golden Gate Bridge on the street and I could be selling it in a game.

I've got to get caught up on synergies of new technology, to coordinate my vision of business core-competencies with the emerging paradigm.

Re:$10,000?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369639)

Seriously. Some people make it big, and just have no idea what to do with the money. I simply can't imagine this.

If you have the funds to drop $10k per month on in-app purchases of a game, then maybe you should drop $3-5k on a life coach and figure out how to express yourself a bit better so you can maybe find a spouse and have a family. Families are expensive so having money for it is useful, but they're far more rewarding and for far longer than digital items in a game.

Re:$10,000?!? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369711)

I like the two ignorant assumptions in your post.

1.) People who spend lots of money on in-app purchases don't have a family.

2.) To be rewarded in life, you have to have a spouse and join the ranks of the mindless breeders.

Fuck you.

Re:$10,000?!? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369845)

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

metiscus (1270822) | about 7 months ago | (#46370907)

I wish I had mod points.

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#46369861)

Seriously. Some people make it big, and just have no idea what to do with the money. I simply can't imagine this.

If you have the funds to drop $10k per month on in-app purchases of a game, then maybe you should drop $3-5k on a life coach and figure out how to express yourself a bit better so you can maybe find a spouse and have a family. Families are expensive so having money for it is useful, but they're far more rewarding and for far longer than digital items in a game.

I figure I need to write a Justin Bieber Egg Tosser game - sell special Ostrich eggs and a spiff trebuchet.

Them who have needs, need to have a good provisioner.

Re:$10,000?!? (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 7 months ago | (#46370197)

Money spent on digital purchases doesn't cease to exist.

The developer can get a life coach, or feed the homeless with his profits.

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 7 months ago | (#46370549)

Where is this "life coach" app, and how many IAPs does it have?

Re:$10,000?!? (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46369645)

Here I am, trying to sell the Golden Gate Bridge on the street and I could be selling it in a game.

I've got to get caught up on synergies of new technology, to coordinate my vision of business core-competencies with the emerging paradigm.

I was thinking the same thing; we should collaborate, make our own game that's nothing but microtransactions...

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 7 months ago | (#46370111)

So, Candy Crush then?

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46370267)

I was thinking more like Flappy Bird, but you have to buy screen tap credits in bulk from the market.

Re:$10,000?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370447)

You don't need to buy anything in Candy Crush to enjoy it. When you run out of lives just set the clock forward a few hours, go back into the game and watch the lives go to full, then reset the clock back to the correct time and continue playing, or alternatively you could use it as a cue to take a break from the game.

But I gave up playing Candy Crush when they started those ridiculous trademark lawsuits.

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 7 months ago | (#46370781)

You weren't giving them any money, so why does it matter if you do or do not play their game in protest?

Re:$10,000?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370179)

Here I am, trying to sell the Golden Gate Bridge on the street and I could be selling it in a game.

I've got to get caught up on synergies of new technology, to coordinate my vision of business core-competencies with the emerging paradigm.

I was thinking the same thing; we should collaborate, make our own game that's nothing but microtransactions...

I propose a game where players profit by getting other players to perform microtransactions. Of course, the best techniques for getting other players to perform microtransactions will be available through microtransactions.

Re:$10,000?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370319)

Several games of that kind already exists, the most popular ones are called NYSE and NASDAQ.

Bitcoin (2)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46370359)

we should collaborate, make our own game that's nothing but microtransactions

I believe that game is called "Bitcoin". It even has a character [wikipedia.org] named after the protagonist [bulbagarden.net] of Pokemon.

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 7 months ago | (#46370567)

I was thinking the same thing; we should collaborate, make our own game that's nothing but microtransactions...

It's a good thought, but EA would sue you for stealing their business model [kotaku.com] .

Re: $10,000?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370161)

I hear there's a pretty good market selling virtual widgets in the SecondLife game. Your avatar can buy all sorts of useless crap there (using real dollars).

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46370273)

I hope you're getting more than $10K per month for that bridge, can you imagine what the toll booth takes in?

Re:$10,000?!? (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 7 months ago | (#46370379)

no...you forgot to develop a cloud-based API in Ruby that leveraged social graphs and advanced mapping functions...

nobody could figure out what and where a "Golden Gate Bridge" was...

The worst kind of human beings (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369643)

A person who spend 10,000$ a month on a game has a problem and someone who's trying to exploit someone's problem in order to become rich is nothing but a thief. The man behind that company should be put behind bars.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (2)

parkinglot777 (2563877) | about 7 months ago | (#46369707)

May or may not be. However, I disagree to use legal to intervene the issue because it is easily abusable in the future. If the rich person can afford it, be it because it is not my problem (and should not be yours).

And by the way, the rich person they are talking about is a woman!

The company, he said, had assigned an employee to cater just to that whale, to ensure that she was always satisfied with the game and therefore likely to keep coming back.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 7 months ago | (#46369847)

I was listening to TWIT a few weeks back - one of the panelists said she'd spent something on the order of $400 playing Candy Crush. That amount floored me... I couldn't believe anyone would do that!

And now this - $10,000 a month is INSANE!

Re:The worst kind of human beings (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 7 months ago | (#46370213)

What's $400 over what could easily be a year or more? Probably a dent in his daily Starbucks budget.

I grew up playing arcade games at $0.25 a play.

Occasionally spending a buck for another 20 minutes of Candy Crush when I'm bored is a harmless dent in my yearly entertainment budget.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 7 months ago | (#46370861)

I was thinking the same thing... I spent $1-$1.50 a day at the arcade everyday after school. Of course my kid's have an xbox and rent or buy a new games all the time. $400 on entertainment doesn't sound amazing if it's spent a little at a time over a year.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 7 months ago | (#46370225)

she'd spent something on the order of $400 playing Candy Crush. That amount floored me... I couldn't believe anyone would do that!

But it's okay if someone spends the same amount of money on a video card, camera lens, monitor or anything else they want to spend the money on, right?

Just because you wouldn't spend that much money on a game doesn't mean others won't. How much money did you spend (if you're old enough to have done so) on video games growing up? I would be willing to bet you easily spent that much enjoying yourself playing games.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 7 months ago | (#46370735)

Haha, you're probably right - I do remember throwing a lot of quarters at Donkey Kong, Bezerker, Asteroids, and the like when I was in college (yup I'm old).

Looking back, I probably should have saved that money and invested it!

Re:The worst kind of human beings (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46370383)

Keep the numbers in perspective, 0.15%.

Being on a "smartphone" or "tablet" puts you easily into the top 70% of the socio-economic strata... poor people carry prepaid burners.

So, the people have money, 1.5% of them are willing to crack open their wallets, and 10% of those just don't care.

The top 1% make more than $500K/year, and we're talking about 1/1000 type people here...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

Sure, if I made $50K/month, I probably wouldn't blow $10K of it on cocaine and hookers, or candy crush, but I should be so lucky as to be tested....

Rich kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370589)

A while back I had a discussion with a buddy in the gaming industry about a fashion game. It had become popular with a click of girls with too much money to spend, oil barren kids and the like. Per the developers, they would drop 10k easy to obtain all of the virtual outfits. This could be the game in question, and if so, I don't feel sorry for them.

Re: The worst kind of human beings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370477)

I played CoC for a few months and used the chat rooms as to discuss the game and the psychological methods that it uses. Obviously, that results in lots of talking to 9-14 year olds, but when you run into 30 somethings and they don't get it either, it's kind of scary.

The gameplay is you stealing resources from other players and using it to build up your stuff so that you don't get stolen from. It's the most popular multiplayer game on the App Store right now. Except it's not multiplayer. You don't interact with another player, you interact with their stuff. It's more like a really goofy sim city than Starcraft, but the ads would have you believe otherwise. Most "multiplayer" apps are this way and should serve as a warning that the game is going to have psychological hooks. You're playing against models, not humans and the models can be picked to frustrate the crap out of you in order to break your will.

When a high level player came in, people would fawn over them. I would ask how much money it took them to get there and how much it took them to stay. The few that would answer said thousands.

Thousands of dollars to be king. Thousands of dollars just to be a wannabe. Many of the little kids had spent hundreds. "Yeah, i just got an iTunes card for Christmas" cha-Ching...and it was gone, so that they wouldn't need to wait two weeks for some thingamajig to finish building.

Every time i played, i asked people if their goal was really to make it to the top, because all that means is spending money and lots of it. I could understand a kid not getting it because they don't get the whole money thing, but how could an adult keep throwing money at a constantly doubling clock designed to piss him off?

Even if you decide to play for free, you will spend an insane amount of time looking for resources, as the game picks players for you that seem to never have enough.

It's a common feature in all these iap apps. You will always end up pitted against some guy that paid and that will make you grumble and open your wallet just to keep up.

There really isn't any way to fix it or talk people out of it. If you want to destroy ea, supercell, etc make sure to leave reviews that warn these people before they begin.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (2)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 7 months ago | (#46369827)

Should casino's be shut down because some people spend more then $10,000 a month gambling, should the NFL be dismantled because some people paid $10,000 for two seats to the Superbowl? People are paying for entertainment, just because some value it more then you or I, does not make it stealing.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 7 months ago | (#46370047)

You're not really helping your case. Gambling, is, actually subject to a massive amount of regulation precisely because it's the kind of thing that people endup losing their shirts because of a combination of rather normal (that is, most people in the same position would misjudge the odds) poor judgement on their part, and predatory behavior on the parts of others. Casinos and bookies have long been subject to heavy regulation where they are legal, and are outright banned in much of the world.

On the other hand, Bitcoins aren't regulated yet, so there's that.

The kind .. (1)

savuporo (658486) | about 7 months ago | (#46370675)

So, why arent "in app purchases" considered gambling yet anyway ? I'm playing a nice game of .. lets say .. Boker here on my crappy android phone. Another in app purchase lets me play another round at the "high rollers" chat room .. why is that different than physically sitting at a table in Bellagio ?

Re:The worst kind of human beings (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46370423)

Casinos should be shut down if they advertise "FREE" gaming, then get you more or less physically addicted to the game before slipping in a "insert credit card here to get what you really really want...."

For a small percentage of the population, gambling is a weakness that they cannot control. Exploitation of those people should be banned.

Not everybody who spends $10K/month gambling is being exploited, but those who spend their last rent and food money on it, are.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#46369879)

A person who spend 10,000$ a month on a game has a problem and someone who's trying to exploit someone's problem in order to become rich is nothing but a thief. The man behind that company should be put behind bars.

The problem they have is they have too much money and have yet to find e very, very good friend like me, to like, help them find fun and exciting ways to spend it.

Re:The worst kind of human beings (1)

Pope (17780) | about 7 months ago | (#46370841)

It's their money, they can do what they want with it. Plain and simple.

"The man behind that company should be put behind bars."

No, he shouldn't.

iapcracker (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 7 months ago | (#46369687)

Any time I "buy" all the microtransaction purchases, I feel like I'm cheating. There's no challenge anymore and I usually delete it. Not just games either is the weird part. A paint program for my 2 year old, after he couldn't bring up the "type in your password to buy this thing" screen anymore he was bored of it.

Perhaps it's just that as a general rule, apps that have microtransactions suck in other ways, and even if you pay nothing for them, it's not worth it.

Re:iapcracker (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46369825)

Any time I "buy" all the microtransaction purchases, I feel like I'm cheating.

I've found many of the new crop of mobile games are more or less set up that unless you're buying the stuff in the game, you'll never get anywhere.

I've seen a few games which let you play once or twice/day unless you buy something. I've seen games where it would take an infinite amount of time to earn the things needed in the game.

I have two tests for a new game I've downloaded:

1) Put the phone into airplane mode and turn off wifi -- if the game complains it can't connect to a server, uninstall it, because it it can't work on a plane I don't care.

2) Check if the game immediately starts suggesting you go to their store in order to be useful -- if it looks like you'll never get anywhere without buying the baubles, uninstall it.

I find many many games seem to be built for the sole purpose of advertising and selling in-game stuff. Which is why I only play games in airplane mode with no connectivity, and something which has caused me to uninstall a lot of them after under 5 minutes.

It is amazing how many apps which should require no internet connectivity insist on it -- and I'm sure that's not about anything other than trying to get them revenue, which I have no intention of providing them with in the first place.

If the first 25% is actually without charge (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46370045)

Check if the game immediately starts suggesting you go to their store in order to be useful -- if it looks like you'll never get anywhere without buying the baubles, uninstall it.

Does half an hour count as "immediately" to you? Because in Doom, a speedrunner has proved [youtube.com] that it takes only 6 minutes and 7 seconds from game start to "You've completed the demo. You can unlock the rest of the game with a one-time payment."

Re:If the first 25% is actually without charge (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46370555)

Free market, as long as the stuff uninstalls cleanly, I'd say anything is fair.

I had one "Free" game that started sending me notifications every few days - I don't care if I can tweak my O.S. to filter them, I can also just uninstall the crap.

Re:If the first 25% is actually without charge (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 7 months ago | (#46370605)

Interesting point. Mobile app vendors have re-invented shareware. Yaaaay.

I had hoped we, as an industry, had gotten past that embarrassing epoch in our history.

So what's less embarrassing than shareware? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46370911)

If you consider shareware "embarrassing", what's a better way to evaluate a purchase before making it?

Re:iapcracker (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46370529)

I released a game for Palm Pilot - it was "donationware" - if you like it, send some money. I got tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of installs over the years, zero donations. (to be fair, I had no way to track play-time.)

It was listed on PalmGear H.Q. for awhile, the way they listed it implied that you had to cough up $9 to get the download file - wasn't true, but it appeared to be. While I was listed higher up in the rankings, I was selling 10 copies a month. They eventually pushed me down below all the arcade rip-off titles that sold far more copies and sales tapered off.

I think the opportunity to get in-game remuneration from advertising is great - $50K/day for Flappy Bird - nice lotto win for one guy, $5/day for a thousand solo authors is also at least something for their efforts.

Re:iapcracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370889)

I feel pretty much the same: the game only exists to sell you boosters or extra lives or what have you. Some are impossible to complete without buying something.
I still play and enjoy it because I cheat. But I had a board on one of Kings games today that had an objective of clearing 24 items in 12 moves. Took me over 200 moves.

Re:iapcracker (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46370439)

I play Hill Climb Racing - perhaps a bit too much.

I have never paid for any of the in-game "points boosts" - it does feel like cheating, gamewise.

I have considered buying one, just as a "thank you" to the authors - haven't done it yet, but maybe someday...

yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369697)

The other half come from 99.85% of players

I'm not suprised. (2)

AltGrendel (175092) | about 7 months ago | (#46369709)

I consider playing the game without doing in-game purchases part of the game. It's a good challenge and if you work it right, you can use it to teach children about economics. No, I'm not kidding. It's all about allocation of resources and also setting goals and priorities (and sticking to them). You just need to show them how to do it properly in the game.

Re:I'm not suprised. (3, Funny)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 7 months ago | (#46369913)

This is why I had 26 Facebook accounts when I was actively playing Farmville.

Re:I'm not suprised. (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 7 months ago | (#46370807)

I was going to mock you, until I remembered the reason I have 11 characters in World of Warcraft is mutual support in gathering, crafting, and World of Pokemon. Not because all 11 characters are equally fun, interesting, or enjoyable to play in the main content of the game. "Trade alts", they're called in the parlance. (The presence of a standard name for the phenomenon says everything that needs to be said about its prevalence.)

So, yeah. It's a pretty common effect. OTOH, I only pay the basic subscription for the account, and WoW doesn't have any Pay-to-win type of purchases, so it's a bit different than the subject of TFA. (Paradoxically, I'd probably quit if WoW became free-to-play, but limited until you paid. Don't know why, since objectively it probably wouldn't be much different that straight-up pay-to-play.)

Free to level 20 (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46371055)

Paradoxically, I'd probably quit if WoW became free-to-play, but limited until you paid

In that case, you should have got out in mid-2011 when World of Warcraft became free to play up to level 20 [gamespot.com] .

Re: I'm not suprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370935)

I don't know what's more disturbing; the fact you created all those Facebook accounts, or the fact you played FarmVille.

Re: I'm not suprised. (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 7 months ago | (#46370967)

It was a fun little Skinner box for a while, until my farm got so big and had so much crap on it that it took over a minute to load in the browser and went 5FPS. I quit when I "won" by unlocking the last achievement (the one that would have normally cost $200 but since I had so many accounts I got it for a little bit of time investment) - and not a day too soon, since they raised the level cap shortly after I quit and added a ton more achievements that would have cost thousands of dollars to unlock.

Finishing the demo (2)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46370105)

I consider playing the game without doing in-game purchases part of the game.

So how did you pass the end of "Phobos Anomaly" in Doom? You know, the one where it asks you to buy the rest of the game to continue. My point is that there's a continuum between the shareware model and the abusive wait-barrier IAP seen in My Little Pony and Dungeon Keeper.

Re:Finishing the demo (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about 7 months ago | (#46370763)

You are, like, talking of the shareware "demo" version of Doom. The complete game doesn't act like that, and what you say might confuse younger readers that never knew shareware was pretty much the demo version of it. It also made the game famous back in the day, but nobody considered the shareware release to be the actual game of Doom.
Comparing it to those little time/money suckers is just wrong. You should be ashamed of yourself, I hope cacodemons invade your house and turn the floor into lava or something.

Jokes aside, that one gave you one episode in full and once you purchase the full game you have the actual full game. In those examples you mention, if I am not mistaken, it's about purchasing little items, characters or playtime, in several small payments instead. Even if the basics are similar (pay for a game) in one case it was a demo given out to promote a full game, while in the others paying for stuff is an actual core mechanic of an otherwise freeware game.
Sure you can argue that Thy Flesh Consumed was some form of DLC addon by today's standards but back in the day we used to call those "expansions" and tended to bring something minimally juicy to the table instead of just one character or silly hat or single map.

Maybe this is just my love of Doom speaking, but I don't know, comparing it to my little pony hurts man. And purchasing Doom/DoomII back in the day eventually gave access to a near-infinite amount of free mods that are still coming even today. Few games offer as much value as Doom.

Re:Finishing the demo (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 7 months ago | (#46370859)

If we wanted a Doom analogy for TFA situation, I'd argue it'd be like you can get full DOOM for free, but you have to buy ammo for any weapon above the normal shotgun from the publisher. Say, 50 cents for 150 minigun bullets or 100 plasma rounds or 2 BFG shots or a few rockets.

Which would suck super, considering how many rockets I had to fire to kill the cyberdemon at the end if Ep 2.

Dammit. Now I'm going to have to find, dust off, and install my Doom collection CD.

Re:Finishing the demo (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about 7 months ago | (#46370927)

Yep, I think that is a correct analogy. Pity Slashdot won't let me rate your comment.

Doom turned 20 years old in December, so I got quite into it recently, actually making mods and playing the newest ones from the community. I fully recommend doing the same. If you find maps and weapons stale, go grab GZDoom and play it in glorious GL with fancy new modded weapons, system mechanics (the "wrath of cronos" mod is pretty competent as an RPG mod for example), and if you search for Oblige (at sourceforge) and enter the forums you can download a WIP for a really good random map generator. You can make Doom into a roguelike if you are so inclined, nowadays.
And I fully recommend a full conversion named Reelism, it's a blast for short bursts of 5-10 minute gaming.

You can't say "demo" or "trial" anymore (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46370903)

You are, like, talking of the shareware "demo" version of Doom.

I think part of the confusion is that app stores don't let developers say "demo", "trial", or "test" anymore. See section 2.9 of Apple's App Store Review Guidelines from September 2010 [weblogsinc.com] . (I apologize for the outdated information; newer versions are behind a $99 per year paywall.)

The complete game doesn't act like that

I'm aware of that. But nowadays, it'd more than likely be implemented on devices with the engine and first episode available without charge and episodes 2-3 (and later 4) as a paid expansion purchased through the platform's in-application purchase framework. I guess part of this was directed at some of the criticism of OUYA, which requires all games in the store to have at least some free-to-play experience, at around the time when games for major consoles were devoting disc space to paid day-one DLC and mobile games were starting to abuse repeatable IAPs just to allow taking more than a handful of turns in one 24-hour period. People saw "IAP" and knee-jerk replied in a manner that showed that they had forgotten about the traditional shareware model.

Re:Finishing the demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370805)

Given that you had to get the rest of the game through means outside of the game?

Less convenient to buy = better? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46370945)

As I understand what you're trying to tell me, shareware that makes the user leave the program's UI to upgrade is better precisely because the user has to leave the program's UI to upgrade it. I don't agree yet, but if you're willing to explain in more detail how making a product less convenient to buy makes the product better, I'll consider it.

In-app purchase suck! (3, Interesting)

muffen (321442) | about 7 months ago | (#46369771)

The problem with in-app purchase is that it is destroying the games. I agree with this article.
I think the suggestion by the EU, that you cannot label apps with in-app purchases as free, is really good!

A beluga good time (4, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 months ago | (#46369779)

"It costs money to develop and keep a game running, just like those fancy decorations and free drinks at a casino; whales, like gambling addicts, subsidize fun for everyone else.'"

Except video game players are more accurately described, than even casino players, as whales.

Zynga's Whale Problem (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 7 months ago | (#46370491)

"It costs money to develop and keep a game running, just like those fancy decorations and free drinks at a casino; whales, like gambling addicts, subsidize fun for everyone else.'"

Except video game players are more accurately described, than even casino players, as whales.

This is what Zynga reported years ago (before the bloom went off their rose) [1] - this entire economy seems ... ripe for abuse as a mechanism for laundering money in my opinion. In Zynga's case, I told one of my friends who worked there that if I was an investor, I'd love to be funneling money to Zynga, while my stock represented 100x the value of whatever I "donated". That's just one use case, it could be used simply to launder money from "users" to "developers" (what if they're both the same) - going through an app store runs the money through an reasonably effective one-way function at a basic cost of 30% overhead.

[1] http://www.businessweek.com/ma... [businessweek.com]

Rich people subsiding my entertainment? Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369791)

If a few rich guys want to subsidise a game i enjoy than all the best to them. I can play for free as long as they have more money than sense; if they suddenly stop paying i might lose the game i enjoy but don't want to actually pay any money for.

That being said in-app purchases in mobile games are still abusive, dangerous and downright evil.

dropped $10,000 every month on in-app purchases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369795)

He must really like Angry Birds GO!

Mobile gaming is abysmal right now. (3, Informative)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 7 months ago | (#46369809)

This is kind of an interesting number. I have have found a vast majority of the mobile games to be utter trash, that attempt to cash in on in game purchases while failing to implement a set of solid basic game mechanics. I would gladly drop $30 (or more) just to play a good mobile game that wasn't a poorly concealed slot machine. I wonder if the general shitty state of mobile gaming is causing a disproportionate number of players to not spend cash, or it is just the nature of people being cheap when it comes to 'free' apps. ('I am not going going to spend money on a game that is free', or 'I am not going to pay to win')

As an aside, the 'Freemium' model is really the scourge of the industry right now, with devs looking for easy ways to extract more money from the player base while providing no real product in return.There are a few people who do it right (WoT, LoL, and TF, for example) and a huge pack of greedy shills who are following in their footsteps.

A lot of the free to play model games basically let you pay to win, does this 0.15% number line up with the percent of the general population that is incapable of delaying gratification? I bet you could correlate this number with the result of some psychology study on the topic.....

Re:Mobile gaming is abysmal right now. (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 7 months ago | (#46370123)

A lot of the free to play model games basically let you pay to win, does this 0.15% number line up with the percent of the general population that is incapable of delaying gratification? I bet you could correlate this number with the result of some psychology study on the topic....

One of the most prolific Freemium vendors is a company called GameInsight, which sounds more like a company performing some kind of study of gamers than a publisher of games. I've been wondering for a while if that's their actual origin, and their "games" are actually based upon the results of some kind of psychological research, especially as those I've tried seem to largely follow the same pattern and have the same key components in terms of what they're trying to get you to spend money on.

Re:Mobile gaming is abysmal right now. (1)

Pastis (145655) | about 7 months ago | (#46370985)

As a developer of (quality) paid educative apps for kids, http://dragonboxapp.com/ [dragonboxapp.com] I can tell you that chosing the revenue model is difficult because of the way the app stores work.

We make learning games that we intend to be as short as possible, for the benefits of the user. Our app model leads to lower ranking due to lower usage (compared to games designed to be addictive) and lower downloads (compared to free apps). We are considering to go towards free + unlockable, so that users can at least preview the games easily, but the consequences are very hard to predict and probably require a whole redesign of the games themselves with some features that are not necessarily in the pure benefits of the users. And we risk to scare the users who might compare us to free+consumable apps...

To the top 0.15% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369833)

$10,000 is chump change. They already control more wealth than 50% of America, so why not blow it on in-app purchases.

The amusing corollary is that I bet all of those game developers don't realize that their customers, their target audience, are actually the top 0.15%. I wonder if that would change their strategy...

Re:To the top 0.15% (1)

sideslash (1865434) | about 7 months ago | (#46370043)

At risk of a "whoosh" moment, I don't think it's reasonable to assume that it's predominantly rich people who spend money on this. Maybe they're mostly middle class.

Re:To the top 0.15% (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about 7 months ago | (#46370305)

Or kids using their parents credit cards...

There are many stories of kids racking up thousands of dollars on in-game purchases in games that seem to specifically be targeting kids.

Rewarding the developer. (4, Interesting)

galabar (518411) | about 7 months ago | (#46369875)

I've played games like "Path of Exile" where I've enjoyed the game so much, I decided to drop $20 or so on in-app purchases, even if they weren't going to actually help me advance in the game. I've done the same for other apps that I've enjoyed. If you enjoy the game, it can't hurt to reward the developer. Now, $10,000, well that is a bit extreme.

Re:Rewarding the developer. (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#46370425)

I thought Path of Exile was a well made, if pretty grindy, game. So I wanted to toss the creators 5 or 10 bucks as a thank you. I was shocked at how expensive their items are. Turning your Town Portal from blue to orange was like 12 bucks. Adding a purely cosmetic lightning effect to your weapon was over $20. So they give away thousands of man-hours of work for free, and then ask for massive amounts of money for things that clearly required just a few hours.

Last week I started playing Loadout, which I think is the best FTP game I've seen. I gave them $25 for some funny outfits and double XP for a week.

Re:Rewarding the developer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370583)

I much prefer Path of Exile's model. Nothing you can purchase gives you an in-game advantage. Purchasing double XP (like you mentioned in Loadout) is simply not an option, and I think that's a good thing.

Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46369937)

"whales, like gambling addicts, subsidize fun for everyone else."
"Whales" as the jerk calles them, are people who pay because they want to win, to dominate other players. Lose some non-paying customers and they'll lose paying ones too.

In a multiplayer game, players are part of the game itself.

"EU to warn that purchases cost money" (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 7 months ago | (#46370053)

'Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved.'

My gosh, someone should warn people! When you buy things, it costs money!

Maybe we should have them issue a warning that "buy one, get one free" isnt actually free: buying one costs you money. How sneaky!

Re:"EU to warn that purchases cost money" (1)

unimacs (597299) | about 7 months ago | (#46370433)

Well, one problem is that many of these games are targeted at kids. Free should really mean "free", and not "mostly useless until you spend money".

Computer game makers now have brought on people from the gaming industry (as in gambling) to get better insight on how to hook people. And casinos will target people who've historically spent wads of cash with free rooms, meals, shows, and other perks to get them to come back. They do this knowing in many cases that those people they're targeting have a serious gambling problem.

There are serious ethical issues involved here.

The same applies to Facebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370151)

If you are not paying for a service, you are the product being sold (cheap AI) and not the customer.

How to get more money out of players (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370237)

Allow me to buy stuff for others. I'd buy Nariel Pridence anything she wanted. New spaceship? New planet?

More than just games. (1)

SlurpingGreen (1589607) | about 7 months ago | (#46370565)

This is not new. When you go into the grocery store, everything is 1/3 more free, buy one get one free, 5 for $5, $0.99. Advertising. Data-mining. Figuring out how much your internet will cost after the 6 month introductory rate. These are all obfuscations and manipulations.
 
I don't think you can just say, oh some people are just stupid, these manipulations don't work on me. We're all cynical. We all know the games aren't free, that we're being suckered. If someone asked us rationally would you rather pay $3 for a game designed to be fun versus a free game specifically designed to constantly bother you for money, many of us would say we'd pay $3. But then you're bored and want to waste 5 minutes so you go into the app store and there's the $3 game next to the free game. $3 is a commitment, maybe it isn't good. Download the free game. It sucks. Whatever. Next guy does the same. Boom. Suddenly the $3 game doesn't show up when you look at what games everyone is playing.
 
It's really not obvious how to avoid obfuscation and manipulation in a 'free' market.

The whole world sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46370639)

There is a lot of shaddy practices in the free2play world, but sadly I don't find the 'brick and mortar' world much better.

There is a *lot* of soulless games thar produce impressive screenshots and videos, but then are curiously devoid of depth and gameplay, lasting only one or two sessions. Do you know why? That is because you pay before you play and the game can dispose of you once you dipped. That kind of game is designed to get players interested before they get access to the game, so they will get to you with a massive (if short) marketing campaign, and bribed reviewers. Ask around and you'll meet a lot of old players who don't play games anymore because the games have stopped giving them what they want (things like duration, content and depth) and instead they are all about big cutscenes and FX.

On the other hand, the freemium world is slowly being taken by non-games designed to exploit purchasing impulses and gambling genes. Developers such as King.com are just small-time criminals operating on a very large scale. Everything on their 'games' is fraud, a deception designed to give you false value for your money at the moment when you are most vulnerable. We need legislation against that kind of shit. Those people should be in jail, not laughing at the world and amassing millions. There is a reason why gambling is tightly regulated, when not downright illegal, and this is no different (in fact, it is even worse; this is like a form of gambling where losing is guaranteed).

That being said, freemium can be done right. In fact, it is probably awesome when done right. Path of Exile is excellent, for example. The sad thing is, that kind of game can't exist at the brick and mortar world (sorry, not flashy enough, you need a $100 million production for each four hours worth of content to compete there) and can't compete at a pure freemium market such as mobile (sorry, you need to pay for visibility there, and at such rates that only fraud games designed to exploit gamblers can compete).

Occupy App Store (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 7 months ago | (#46370723)

0.15% of the players, 50% of the revenue!

The truth? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46370787)

The truth is, these games are setup to milk money out of a few rare people that have both money and a serious enough mental disability that they're compelled to fall for these immoral tactics. The blatant exploitative behavior of these "Developers" is shameful.

$10,000 a month (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 7 months ago | (#46370915)

If I had an extra $10,000 a month to spend, I'd much rather spend it on vacations with my family than microtransactions in a game. Call me crazy, but $10,000 can buy a pretty incredible vacation (or a series of incredible vacations) with life-long memories. Who's really going to look back 20 years from now on how they got some extra items in some mobile game that likely won't even exist anymore?

So basically... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#46370919)

... this is just an observation of the pareto principle?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?