在过去，购买一款电子游戏非常简单——你只需要付钱便能够获取。但是当我们着眼于iTunes App Store上的畅销游戏排行榜单时，我们会发现这种游戏购买方式已经被取代了。通过避免付费障碍，而在游戏中向玩家收取额外的内容费用，免费游戏模式深深吸引着玩家的注意，而免费游戏也主导着整个排行榜单。相关成功案例更是屡见不鲜。《CSR赛车》的开发团队便表示他们每个月能够从应用内部购买（IAP）中赚得1200万美元，《Clash of Clans》的开发商Supercell最近在《纽约时报》中也声称，基于这一模式他们每天可以获得50万美元。在此我只罗列出一些名字，但是却可以清楚地看出IAP是一种非常棒的业务模式。但是因为这一模式已经占据了App Store的大片领域，那其它传统付费游戏又该何去何从？一款带有价格标签的游戏是否还能够获得成功？
尽管IAP模式一直希望拓展向更多游戏类型，但是有些开发者却认为这种模式并不适合自己的游戏。例如超级复杂的益智游戏《Super Hexagon》。其开发者Terry Cavanagh表示，IAP对于这款游戏来说毫无意义，他也不会将其用于自己未来发行的游戏中。Cavanagh说道：“我认为我之所以能够取得成功便是因为将游戏销售作为一个完整的内容。”尽管《Super Hexagon》不如其它iOS益智游戏那般亲切，但是这款游戏一直努力在该平台上寻找新用户，并在发行的第一周便获得了超过3万的下载量（基于0.99美元的售价）。
Capy Games的联合创始人兼总裁Nathan Vella在提及经典的免费模式结构时说道：“在你眼前已经建成了一座房子，而你只需要去装饰它便可——这便是关于这种模式的最形象的形容。不过仍然有许多游戏开发者和工作室，也包括我们自己，始终热衷于从头开始创建房屋后再进行装饰。”
虽然像Cavanagh等开发者选择了远离免费模式，但是像Tiger Style等开发商仍然将其置于考虑范围。该工作室的《火星漫步》应该算是最典型的免费iOS游戏——不管是从游戏长度，冒险内容，还是对App Store早前热门游戏《布莱斯庄园的蜘蛛》的延伸。在发行的前2个月，售价4.99美元的《火星漫步》便获得了超过4万4千的下载量，为该工作室赚得了15万美元左右的收益——但还有一些使用了IAP的游戏开发商取得了更加出色的成绩。
Can Paid and ‘Free’ Games Peacefully Coexist?
Buying a video game used to be simple — you paid what it cost, and that was it. But a quick glance at the top grossing charts in the iTunes App Store shows that this method of paying for games is rapidly being replaced. The free-to-play model, which attracts players by removing that initial friction and then charges them for additional content in-game, dominates the charts. Success stories aren’t hard to find. The team behind CSR Racing claims that it’s earning $12 million per month from in-app purchases (IAPs), while Clash of Clans developer Supercell recently told the New York Times that it’s making $500,000 daily utilizing the model. And that’s just to name a few; clearly IAPs are good business. But as they take up an ever increasing chunk of the App Store, where does that leave more traditional, paid downloads? Can a game still succeed if it has a price tag?
This article is found on theverge.com. It contains some interesting insights that fit the consumer and business insights focus of our blog. The article continues…
While IAPs have managed to make their way into plenty of releases, for some developers they just aren’t a good fit. Take, for instance, the devilishly hard puzzle game Super Hexagon. According to creator Terry Cavanagh, IAPs simply wouldn’t have made much sense for the game, nor does he see them being a part of any of his future releases. “I think I’m doing just fine by selling games as whole, complete things,” Cavanagh says. And despite being far less approachable than your average iOS puzzle game, Super Hexagonhas managed to find an audience on the platform, selling over 30,000 copies at $0.99 in its first week alone.
Part of this aversion to the model has to do with the kinds of free-to-play games that currently exist. Zynga’s early success on Facebook with games like FarmVille was due entirely to the freemium model, and that mentality has since shifted to mobile. And given how lucrative the model can be, few developers have strayed far from the well-defined path. Meanwhile others believe that this kind of mentality puts limits on how a game is created. “Working around a free-to-play structure is always going to compromise the way you approach the design of your game,” says Cavanagh.
“The house has been built for you and all you can do is decorate it, I think is the best analogy that I can come up with,” Nathan Vella, co-founder and president of Capy Games, says of the limits put in place by the typical free-to-play structure. “Whereas a lot of game developers and studios, us included, are really interested in building the entire house and then decorating it.”
The main problem when it comes to games that use this model, he believes, is that the focus is on how to make money, as opposed to how to make a great game. “I think that the idea of making a game based on a monetization strategy is… it’s a bit sketchy. It’s understandable from a business standpoint but it does very little to drive the passion of the people making it and even less to drive the culture as a whole.”
But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. While most free-to-play games adhere to a relatively strict formula, using familiar tropes such as an energy system that limits how much you can play, that doesn’t mean that that’s the only way. In fact, developers may have only just scratched the surface of the potential for the business model. “Free-to-play as we know it is all about this little, itty bitty part of this expansive idea,” says Vella. “All free-to-play is is just an alternate way of looking at where the money comes from. I don’t know how much it actually has to do with game design.”
While developers like Cavanagh are staying away from freemium, others, like Tiger Style, are considering it. The studio’s Waking Mars is perhaps the perfect example of a premium iOS game — it’s a lengthy, polished adventure, and was the follow up to Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, one of the App Store’s early hits. In its first two months Waking Mars moved more than 44,000 copies at $4.99 each, earning the studio around $150,000 in revenue — impressive, but a far cry from some of the numbers being tossed around by developers utilizing IAPs.(source:gamesindustryblog)