我们的游戏《Betty Boop Bop》刚刚作为一款付费应用发行于iOS和Android上。我关于游戏最初的想法便是将其做成一款付费应用，但我们一直承受着巨大的压力，不知道是否应该将其做成免费游戏。似乎每一款想要赚钱的新游戏都会遵循这条道路。许多开发者和玩家谴责免费游戏模式是一种不道德且会破坏游戏质量的方法。在我之前关于这一话题的文章中我便认同过这一看法。但我却并未说明，有时候避开免费游戏路线并不只是关于维持游戏设计的完整性，这同样也是一种简单的经营决策。许多优秀的游戏只因为一个非常简单的原因便变成了失败的免费游戏。
我们很幸运能在第一款游戏的创造中获得Betty Boop的授权。最近关于Simon Cowell和Animal Logic全新电影的公告也向我们证实了选择这一品牌的正确性。我们很容易将游戏缩短成一些当前热门游戏的复制模板，如《Betty’s Crush Sweets》, 《Betty’s Farmer Market》, 《Flappy Betty》或者《Clash of Betties》。创造复制品并不是我成为游戏设计师以及Betty变成一款游戏的原因。我是这个角色以及Max Fleischer所创造的卡通形象的忠实粉丝。着眼于《Old Man of the Mountain》或《Minnie the Moocher》，我便知道自己是错的。所以我也从中领悟到游戏必须带有音乐和舞蹈。
《Betty Boop Bop》的灵感是来自一些经典的游戏，如《Osu Tatakae Ouendan》, 《Dance Dance Revolution》和《Space Channel 5》等等。这是一款基于关卡的节奏类行动游戏，你可以通过在不同的背景中获得S级并打开所有的歌曲和成就而获胜。我们并未将其当成免费游戏进行设计。在听说免费游戏是赚钱的方法后，我研究了当前最畅销游戏中的各种用户留存和盈利技巧。钱很吸引人。它让你能够吃饱饭，同时也能确保你的孩子衣食住行无忧。
突然间我不得不停下来并往回走一步。我到底在做什么？我就像是《Toddlers and Tiaras》中的妈妈一样，不断地往我那可爱的小女生脸上涂着一层又一层的化妆品，尝试着让她能够吸引那些未经允许不能离开家的人。
《Betty Boop Bop》从未作为一款免费游戏，因为它是一款基于技能的游戏。如果你着眼于最畅销的免费游戏，你会发现它们都带有一些“冷冻式”体验。甚至连《Clash of Clans》也是如此，即当你把你的单位放置在地面上时，它们的自杀式AI便会接管它。在这些游戏中，玩家总是被牢牢控制着，并且可以冷静地评估什么时候购买一把120美元的剑，1美元的恢复药剂或者额外的移动最好。
如果将《Betty Boop Bop》变成一款免费游戏，我便是提供给免费玩家一款过于复杂且毫无吸引的技能型游戏，如果它不具有免费游戏机制，这便等于破坏了免费游戏玩家的游戏体验。
如果我们赚到了足够的钱，我们便能够继续创造新的游戏。可能有一天有人会将《我的世界》请出付费iOS应用，并将《Clash of Clans》或《Candy Crush Saga》带离最畅销游戏榜单。那些开发者将会知道他们在做些什么，并且他们也真的很幸运。但这并不是所有人都可以指望的。
The Other Reason to Avoid F2P
by Mickey Blumental
Our game Betty Boop Bop has just launched on iOS and Android as a paid app. My initial approach to the game was to make it a paid app, but we kept feeling pressured to make it free to play. It seems that almost every new game intending to make money is expected to go that route. Many developers and players decry the free to play model as unethical and damaging to a game’s quality. I don’t necessarily disagree as evidenced by my previous articles on the subject. What is not said enough is that sometimes avoiding the free to play route is not just about maintaining the integrity of the game’s design, but a simple business decision. Many great games have and will flop as free to play games for a very simple reason.
Paid games are a bit like movies, while free to play games are more like TV shows. Movie makers want you to buy a ticket. They would still like you to enjoy the movie so you would recommend it to your friends and hopefully come to see the sequel, but getting your ticket purchase is priority number one. TV shows, on the other hand, are all about hooking you up for the long term. Any TV show that doesn’t last past its first year is considered a flop.
A free to play game is trying to sell you a new hobby. A hobby you can carry around in your pocket and keep engaging with it for months if not years. A paid app is more focused on giving you a finite experience. You pay a few dollars, enjoy the game for a few hours and then move on to the next game. With free to play games in order to make money you first have to find a way to retain your players and keep them coming back on a regular basis.
We’re fortunate to have the Betty Boop license for out debut game. The recent announcement about the new upcoming movie from Simon Cowell and Animal Logic reassured us that we made the right choice of brand. It would have been easy to shoehorn the game into a cloned template of one of the current hits: Betty’s Crush Sweets, Betty’s Farmer Market, Flappy Betty and maybe even Clash of Betties. Making re-skinned clones is not why I became a game designer and Betty deserves a proper game. I am a huge fan of the character and the Max Fleischer cartoons from the 30′s are pure unadulterated genius. Look up Old Man of the Mountain or Minnie the Moocher with Cab Calloway’s singing and rotoscoped dancing and tell me I’m wrong. So I knew the game had to have music and dancing.
Betty Boop Bop is inspired by the classics – Osu Tatakae Ouendan, Dance Dance Revolution, Space Channel 5 and so on. A level based rhythm action game where you can beat the game by getting an S rank on all difficulty settings and unlocking all the songs and achievements. It was not inherently designed as a free to play game. Hearing everywhere that free to play is the way to make money I studied the various user retention and monetization techniques used in the currently highest grossing games. Money is nice. It allows you to pay for things like food and shelter and clothing for your kids.
F2Players love to cheat. So let’s add some consumable cheat potions to revive from failing a song. Energy limits are a good way to session play time and make sure the player leaves wanting more or coughs, up for energy refills. Added. Alternate costumes for Betty? Easy peasy eggs on easy. Can even slap various palette swaps to increase selection. Bam, money in the bank. Card packs for collecting hundreds of cards that give you various in game bonuses? Naturally. Different price points for card packs based on rarity? Hell yeah. A starter pack with unique cards that can only be purchased for real money? Winner winner, chicken dinner. Utterly pointless experience point system? Make it rain. In game currency to encourage grinding countered with the irresistible coin doubler? Check, check, check, bingo.
Suddenly I had to stop and take a step back. What the hell was I doing? I was like a mom on Toddlers and Tiaras, slathering layers upon layers of ghastly make-up on my naturally adorable little girl, trying to make her look attractive to people who shouldn’t be allowed to leave their home without an ankle monitor.
It didn’t matter how much I threw against the wall, none of it stuck. Betty Boop Bop was never going to work as a free to play game for the simple fact that it was a skill based game. If you look at the top grossing free to play games they are all chilled experiences when you tap on things at your leisure. Even in Clash of Clans once you place your units on the ground their suicidal AI takes over. These are games where the player is always in control and can calmly evaluate when is the best time to buy a $120 sword, $1 revival potions or extra moves.
By making BBB free to play I gave the f2players a skill game that was too hard for them and unappealing, while turning off the p2players who would enjoy this type of gameplay if it wasn’t gasping for air under piles of f2p mechanics.
When making any kind of game, but especially f2p, the importance of early analytics can not be overstated. Playing and observing lots of free to play games is a good way to get a broad understanding of what keeps players coming back and what they spend money on, but you will never really know what works for your game without analytics (you will know it doesn’t make money, but not why- exactly why).
Unused assets for the f2p version of our game
We may not live on Twitter or wallow in existential pondering, but we are an indie outfit. We had a slightly bigger team when we were creating the initial artwork and music, but the rest of the time it was me and the programmer trying to contain this beast of a game. Cutting out anything that wasn’t essential without compromising the core of the game was a daunting task.
There was a limit to our time and resources. As a result we realized that it wasn’t practical for us to embark on the long route of tweaking and adapting our free to play game based on analytics feedback. We were relieved to realize that our best course of action was to go pay to play. As a result our game now has zero free to play mechanics. You buy the game, you get 21 songs, 20+ costumes, 4 difficulty settings per song and 200 collectible cards that represent game achievements.
And that’s it.
No in-app purchases, no ads, no energy refills, no consumable cheats, no card packs, no push notifications or app review prompts. Buy it, play it and when you’re done I bid you adieu and hope to see you again when our next game comes out.
That is, if we make enough money for there to be a new game. Someone will dethrone Minecraft from the paid iOS apps one day and Clash of Clans/Candy Crush Saga from the top grossing chart. Those developers will know what they are doing, but will also be very lucky. As in winning-the-lottery-lucky. It’s not something anyone can count on.
I’m perfectly happy making enough money to be able to make the next game.
Another game I can genuinely be proud of.(source:gamasutra)