《Ski Champion》通过In-App Purchases of Coins包裹进行创收。这些Coin随后可以被玩家运用至两个地方：
* 购买额外Ski Pass：1场比赛花费1个Ski Pass，就和《Diamond Dash》中的Heart一样。我们还免费分发Ski Pass。
* 我们的主要创收渠道Ski Pass没有给游戏增添任何价值。相反，我们通过人为限制游戏时间，让玩家以掏钱进行弥补，移除游戏价值。
* 我们选择慷慨提供免费Ski Pass，也许到了过分地步：玩家最初有100 Pass（我们很快会对50进行测试），能够轻松获得额外40 Pass（游戏邦注：评价应用，订阅邮件列表），当你的Pass数量降至0时，每隔1小时就会得到15个补充Pass（我们很快将就每隔3小时频率进行测试），多数玩家都不需要运用他们最初的100 Ski Pass。
* 奖励道具：诸如“错过大门1次”或“涡轮增压”之类的消耗性道具能够将《Ski Champion》变得更具街机风格，融入超出我们在特定时间内驾驭范围之外的功能数量。
* 将Slope当做额外内容出售，这些内容无法通过玩法解锁：我们认为最好免费提供slope，充当玩家的游乐场，供他们运用，进而购买Ski Passe（消耗品）。下面是个我常进行的类比：如果石油的价格持续上涨，那么Shell或Exxon-Mobil等公司免费赠送汽车（应用），创建遍布各地的高速路（关卡）将是有利可图的举措，这样用户就会购买更多汽油（消耗品）。
* 替其他应用做广告：也许我们应该尝试这一举措。现在我们打算着手尝试。之前，我们认为相比虚拟交易收益，广告收入只是个边际收益。我们的计划是，将《Ski Champion》变成只融入交叉推广广告。
Freemium is no silver bullet
by Nicolas Godement-Berline
This is the second in a series of 2 blog posts where we analyze how Ski Champion performed on the Apple App Store. In part 1, we took a look at download numbers. In this post, we will focus on monetization.
Hi again ! Thanks everyone for the kind words. Let’s now look at Ski Champion’s financial performance (or lack thereof), how we explain it, and the lessons we learnt for our next titles.
In the course of over 2 months since its release as an IAP-supported free app, Ski Champion has netted Majaka a grand total of (drum drum drum) … 450 € ! Yup, not missing any K there, that’s 566 US dollars for our American friends. Not the best ROI for a €22,000 project? Well, read on.
We set out to make Ski Champion with the following goals in mind :
* Key goal 1 : release a game quickly to test the iOS waters
* Key goal 2 : get as many installs as possible
* Secondary objective : maybe make some money if we could
From that perspective, Ski Champion exceeded our key expectations (shipped in 2 months, 230K downloads), but didn’t meet the secondary objective.
Our company business plan never accounted for any revenue from Ski Champion,though we certainly did hope for better in our wildest dreams. Because we knew we would make mistakes with this first game, we kept the feature set to a minimum in order to ship quickly, and elected out many possible revenue streams to save on development time.
Let’s now look at our monetization strategy, and have a closer look at how revenue was spread.
We sold playtime and levels
Ski Champion monetizes through In-App Purchases of Coins packs. These Coins can then be used by players for 2 things :
* Purchase extra Ski Passes : every race costs a Ski Pass, much like Hearts in Diamond Dash. We also give out Ski Pass for free (more on this later)
* Unlock a Slope : there are 2 ways to unlock a slope, by getting medals or by purchasing it for 12 coins
The key idea with the Ski Pass system was to sell items that were both simple to implement, and consumable. We meant to give fans of the game the opportunity to spend large amounts of money if they ever fancied it. A fixed price-point sets 2 barriers, and the power of free-to-play is (in theory) to lift them both: price as a minimum barrier to entry, but also the high cap to how much a player can spend.
We added the option to pay to unlock a slope, because why not, but never expected much from it. As it happens, we have no reliable way of knowing whether the few players that purchased Coins actually used them for Ski Passes or Coins (though we suspect the former). We did set that up in our Flurry analytics, but actual payments were flooded into a sea of fake payments from jailbroken devices. Here we were, thinking piracy would not be a concern since pirates would have never turned into payers anyway!
Freemium is no silver bullet
Now, although we’re okay with Ski Champion not bringing in any significant revenue, it’s fair to say that our monetization strategy didn’t work at all.
With 258 Coins packs sold for 230 000 downloads, Ski Champion has a payer conversion rate of 0.1%.
So there you have it, a warning to our gaming peers. Beware the industry myth according to which, in a freemium game, 1-5% of players will end up spending money. Those are the numbers you typically hear at conferences or in the press here, here, there too, andhey look even in software too.
Of course, we always knew that Ski Champion would monetize poorly. We just thought that meant edging closer to the lower end of the 1-5% interval. How naive.
We realize now that it can be a dangerous misconception. Does it stem from the fact that many f2p developers never actually purchase virtual items ? Do we have such a hard time understanding what goes into the mind of a payer, that we just assume an average 1 to 5% of people are crazy enough to spend money pretty much regardless of the game they’re playing?
In retrospect, of course not. This is far from a rant against free-to-play, or against the press. I am glad those numbers are shared. But to reach that 1-5% conversion rate, the game has to be awesome, it has to engage & retain players over a long time, and virtual items have to bring amazing extra value. I hear you : “duh, obviously!”. Well, it was far from obvious to us when we set out to make Ski Champion, and I strongly suspect it still isn’t to many aspiring free-to-play developers.
Freemium is nice but you have to do it properly
Here is our explanation of why Ski Champion monetized so poorly :
* Our main monetization channel, the Ski Pass, does not add any value to the game. Rather, we removed value by artificially limiting playtime, so spending money simply makes up for it.
* Retention is low . The difficulty curve was rather poorly balanced at launch. While the base gameplay is rather addictive (we think), it gets old quickly due to lack of polish and features
* We chose to be very generous with our free Ski Passes, perhaps to a fault : the player starts with 100 (we’ll test 50 soon), can easily get an extra 40 (rate App and subscribe to mailing list), and 15 refill every hour once you get down to zero (we’ll test every 3 hours soon too). Most players never even use their initial 100 Ski Pass.
So all in all, it was down to a mix of a flawed system and poor implementation. We will definitely apply those bits of learning to our next game.
One thing that *did* work : revenue followed a power curve
As said earlier, 258 In-App Purchases were made by players, for a total of 450€ in net revenue for Majaka (after Apple’s cut). While these numbers are certainly too small to carry statistical evidence, it’s interesting to note that ~20% of payments accounted for 60% of the revenue.
We take this as proof that it’s important to give players the opportunity to spend as much as they feel.
Could it have gone better?
As with download numbers, there are many ways of monetizing Ski Champion that we intentionnally left out:
* Upgrades : sell faster skis, cool outfits, etc. Those are not consumable and would have made balancing the game more complicated
* Bonus items : consumable items such a “miss gate once” or “turbo boost” would have turned Ski Champion into a more arcadey game, and with more features to develop than we could handle within the timeframe.
* Slopes sold as extra content that cannot be unlocked through gameplay : we thought we’d rather give slopes for free (non-consumable) as a playground for players to happily use and hence purchase lots of Ski Passes (consumable). Here’s an analogy I often use (jokingly) : if the price of oil keeps going up, it may become profitable for the likes of Shell or Exxon-Mobil to give cars away for free (the App) and build lots of highways everywhere (the levels) so people buy more gas (consumables).
* Display ads for other apps : perhaps we should have tried. We’re about to experiment now. Back then, we thought ad revenue would be marginal compared to revenue stemming from in-app purchases. Our plan was to update Ski Champion with cross-promotional ads only.
We spent 22K€ making Ski Champion. Most of that money was spent on programming and art, things neither myself nor our Creative Director Ga?l could do ourselves. The way we see it though, the project brought us much more than €450 :
* What do you know, we can treat ourselves with a nice meal or buy an iPad3
* We got Majaka off the ground and began to make a name for ourselves
* We reached 200K+ players
* We made mistakes and learnt a lot in the process
Such was our plan, from the beginning.
What are we on to now? Why, of course, make more games. Our next title will have a much more serious focus on generating revenue, and will introduce a cool, innovative monetization channel that we can’t wait to try out live. So stay tuned and be sure to follow me on Twitter (@NicolasG_B) or Majaka on Facebook to be kept posted!（Source：gamasutra）