Tag Archives: iAPS

29 Jul

The Way Home, the full unlock and the player’s experience


Today we released a big update for our time traveling arcade twitchy iOS game The Way Home.

It is a free game with various in app purchases, including one that says Full Unlock. It gives you infinite lives, taking you from free to play to premium game and it unlocks all stories (including hardcore stories).

Some players who were testing out the game came back and said that there’s a bug, that the full unlock does not activate all the levels. And that is correct. But it’s not a bug.

The Way Home is an episodic adventure. The levels are divided into stories. Skipping a level and not playing consecutively would ruin the story. We don’t want that!

The Full Unlock gives you access to the first level in every story so you can choose which one you play first. But whether you want to read the stories or not, you will have to go through each level in order to discover it.

Aaaand no, right now there is (almost) no amount of money that would make us agree to unlock all the levels and ruin that experience.

That Full Unlock IAP is powerful enough as it is. Show me how many games give you an IAP that removes the energy/life system.

The IAP however will go up in price as we add more content. So if you’ve already bought it, that is all you’ll ever pay in this game as far as content is concerned.

07 Apr

Why force push notifications onto players instead of charging for them?

push notification IAPs

A lot of games (if not all of them) use push notifications to inform or get players back into the game:

  • Your energy/life is recharged…
  • Player97 has challenged you. It’s your move
  • Your hero is fully healed

And it is normal for those to be free. I have a valid interest in sending those pushes to the player.

Games however have the power to create needs and thus the possibility of extra service for the players.


hay day tom

A good example of a service within a game is “Tom” from Hay Day.  He’s an errand boy that
helps you find resources you need to buy from other players.   Instead of searching through all your friends’ products on sale, you just tell him what to find and he gets it.

Now back to the notifications. Apart from the basic ones mentioned above that are nowadays sent even without specific permission (see local pushes), I think it is a valid option to charge for getting notified of important events within a game. Here are some that I would consider paying for:

  • New events or allies needing my help to defeat a Raid boss in Blood Brothers
  • When bosses can be attacked again in Word Mage
  • When any person from my shortlist or list of friends are playing any multiplayer game
  • When new heroes are activated/available for play in Kingdoms CCG for iPad

It is an interesting IAP that also can take on a “subscription” form.  The speed of receiving the notification versus other players is another approach to it.  Having a player pay for this feature might also increase the value of notifications for them.

It is true that I have only seen this in practice with Twiterrific, an app not a game but I am curious and searching to see if I can find such a service in a mobile game (that actually had success).

What are your thoughts on charging for “valuable” notifications (notifications as a service)?


31 Mar

What IAPs have you bought and why?

Pocket trains

I read an article today titled “3 rules for Freemium game devs“. The rules were as followed:

  1. Player must enjoy the game without having to pay.

  2. MicroTransaction should NOT affect game balance.

  3. People need to fall in love with your game first.

Very sound rules that make sense and that me and Tudor also strive to uphold and respect. However, I felt like there was something missing.

It is very true and very important that the IAPs in the game do not affect game balance in any way.  However, I think that for revenue and profits, it is equally important that the game proves the value of the IAP to the player.

If a player reaches a point in your game where he is presented with items or taken to the shop (with the purpose of him purchasing. We are not talking about the tutorial) and by that time the game has not “explained” why that power up or extra life or extra inventory slot or map or hint is valuable, the player will not buy.

That part of the game, from the first screen, tutorial, first levels and up until the first purchase prompt is in a way your sales pitch. The game is the one that creates meaning and builds up value for the IAPs.

Here are three examples:

1. The Walking Dead – the first chapter is free. By the end of the first chapter, you have several certainties about the game: the quality and entertainment value of the game, how long a chapter is and that you want to find out what happens next. The funny part here is that with each chapter, you invest more in the game and implicitly, you have a stronger desire to play it all.

2. Word Mage – a pretty good combination of word game and battle RPG. You unlock powers by combining certain elements dropped by monsters you defeated. Your inventory space however is limited and that is where the IAP comes into play.  By the time you face this problem though, you are already 1-2 hours into the game with several powers unlocked.

3. Disco Zoo – a Zoo management game that also has a cool disco. You obtain new animals by rescuing them. You do that by tapping on a 5×5 tile map. Each animal has a different pattern though and you have a limited number of moves. Knowing the patterns for all the animals really helps. And that is what they are selling. For the first set of animals, you get the patterns for free = you are shown the value of this power up. After that, you are invited to buy the “Zoopedia”. In a way, you could say it is a better version of the classic coin doubler.

So I would add a sub rule to number 2 or an extra one:

Rule no. 2.01… or 4 – The game should create meaning and value for the IAPs (while respecting the first 3 rules).

Apart from the 3 examples above, what IAPs have you paid for (happily paid for without feeling bad about it) and why?