IAP for HG title questions


#1

Questions:

  1. With a hosted game, as opposed to an official CG title, is it possible to install an in-app purchase for further game play?

  2. If so, is that something the writer installs or is that a special request made directly to the CoG company to handle correctly?

Concept:

My concept is an old school, a ‘buy more lives’ type of in-app purchase.

By that, I mean that the free download version would be fully playable, all the way to the end - but offer the IAP for extra lives for those who don’t make it that far and wish to pay for the convenience of continuing without having to start from the beginning if they habitually die, which statistically should be about 85% of first-time players (the way my game is set up now). Therefore,

  1. Is that a player despised or otherwise impossible feature for an HG title, as opposed to the standard, three chapter cutoff paradigm?

Expectation:

My expectation is that this method may vest and engage free download players a lot more than just cutting them off after three chapters and thereby increase the ratio of sales to downloads. Wherefore,

  1. Has this method been tried before with some demonstration of measurable difference in total sales results?

All facts and opinions welcome - Thanks!


#2

Kind of… but not quite. There’s ones around that have the wait or pay now to start again, which seem to do well with most players.

Extra lives because you died though? Personally I think it would frustrate me into not playing because to have that method work, I’m guessing you’re going to have a lot of ways to die in there that I’m going to have to keep paying to get out of, or restart the game (I’d rather pay outright a single time and get a save system, otherwise I start to feel nickle and dimed.) If you were always going to write it that way anyhow and not add extra end scenes for the sake of extending out the potential to get people to pay, it might work provided COG is able to implement it (you’d need to talk to them about if it is possible and it’s likely they would install it for you.) No idea what the ratings would be like. I guess delight games uses that method and they do ok.


#3

Charging for people for something like lives wouldn’t go down well. You would get a lot of bad reviews too.

The types of IAPs seen so far have been additional background choice (Choice of Zombies) start as the consort (affairs of the court) hero guide (heroes rise) and most recently for the HG brand extra skill points (Zombie Exodus safe haven)

Edit and Trials of the demon hunter and its sequel foundation of nightmares had IAPs for music and art.


#5

Thank you for your very thoughtful reply, I’m very happy to read your kind advice!

Initially, the player gets 9 lives like a cat, which should get them approximately 2/3rds of the way through on average but still leave a track open to complete the game if their luck and careful reading skills hold out.

Then the IAP would be for another 9 lives, which should get them the rest of the way to the conclusion with about 4-6 average lives to spare, unless they deliberately try every choice available, just to see where they go.

That way, the game doesn’t just stop cold, but counts down lives so the player is in control of when they need to pay to continue, if they run out of lives by their own choices.

And the possibility of making it all the way through the game without paying a dime seems like a more attractive reason to download a free game that goes as far as the player can take it.

I’m thinking that kind of progressive stop might be a more satisfying experience than an abrupt stop, even if the player never pays the IAP fee - it was still fun and engaging.

The number of lives would have to be restored to the default 9 on payment, rather than unlocking scenes, which might be simple to implement as a single ‘set’ number command on a ‘gosub’ file that gets triggered by the purchase, offered in the ‘death’ file.

You’ve really got me thinking now! :smile:


#6

Old school design paradigms that emphasize hardcore rules of survival are not accepted by the CoG IF community unless an “easier” path is included at the same time to circumvent the mechanics in question. (ie. providing a story-mode that makes it easier to survive until the end).

I have a feeling that your reviews on the app stores (ios and android) would be hit hard based on the reactions I see there.

I also would expect your reviews on Steam (provided you were published there) be dependant on whether the customer base saw the dlc as “greedy” and putting a price on additional lives would qualify from my experience.

It may not be fair but that is how I think the iap/dlc would be viewed as.


#7

You are probably right about that but what other methods are there that you know of that don’t feel like pulling the rug out from under the player at the end of the third chapter?

I’m trying to come up with something that might make the player feel more deeply vested in the game before hitting them up to pay for the ‘rest’ of the story like the third chapter cutoff thing.

Are people just so used to that method, that paying for the whole thing is assumed if the first three chapters don’t sour them?

How does that dynamic work in your experience? In download numbers versus actual sales numbers.


#8

Thanks for giving me the foundation for your opinion - that’s solid observation I need to apply here.

You’ve got me thinking now that when I incorporate the ‘achievements’ functions that extra lives could be earned along the way to shave the edge off of that negative potential.

Alternatively, do you think it’s safer to just go with the third chapter cutoff and not worry about any new and risky methods?


#9

I like this mechanic but I do think there would be pushback dependent on specifics.

I do think this would be the safest for a new author/developer … with that said, I do think your best bet would be to open a WiP/beta thread here and let the community as a whole weigh in.

Perhaps prepare the demo with the achievement mechanic built in and explain how you see the new IAP working. The community is very astute and welcoming on the whole, so don’t be shy about showing your mechanic as well as having this discussion.


#10

There used to be an option for free to play with adverts with an IAP to remove the ads. But due to issues with advertising I think CoG are trying to move away from that.

My own game has 2 episodes free with an IAP for episodes 3-6. But that is on android but it is also paid only on ios. I’ll check my last statement and give you an idea of sales.


#11

Ideally, I’d like to find a method that’s more inviting for making the full purchase than putting up a toll booth at a pre-determined point.

I’m not sure what the downloads versus sales numbers are but my very subjective feelings are any improvement on the sales methods could be reflected in that ratio. Some experimentation may be helpful.

I’ll try a test and see what impressions it generates. If they’re negative, I’ll go with what we already know works. :slight_smile:


#12

Sounds a little bit greedy to be honest. That’s literally pay to win like in some of these mobile games you see often.
Having it as a demo with pay to advance is different because some people would just stop playing if they aren’t interested but here after dying near the end they could get mad and delete the game (especially if the game is long)


#13

Have you finished it? Perhaps a closed beta with a few people to see what their reaction is to the system and give you an idea on whether F2P players are going to find the system inviting or frustrating? Other thing would probably be to see if it’s even possible for you to have. If it’s not possible, it kind of takes the question off the table for you.

Have you seen Delight Game’s system? I think it’s kind of what you’re going for. You either pay currency to step back a choice or get sent back to the start of the chapter. You can “earn” free currency but it is limited, otherwise you need to pay for it to top it up. So more complicated that what you’re going for but the principal is similar. Their ratings were actually very high last time I checked. In saying that, their games tend to be very linear in general and in a different style to most of the HG’s so you might get a different reaction from the reader base here. The one’s I’ve played from delight games, I play once and not again, and it does encourage you to “play safe” rather than explore options, so it kind of depends on the style of your game I think. Only one way to know for sure how it’ll go though :slight_smile:

It might be safer to use the cut off point, but if you have lots of “insta-death” kind of situations, I’d still recommend a save point where you can rewind the last decision to avoid bad reviews from players annoyed at having to having to play again from the start. (You can make the save points to put in there if you want, it’s not a feature COG supports but is possible to do.)


#14

I’m not crazy about ads either. It’s really tough trying to make monetization something less of an annoyance to the end user so the emphasis is moved from opting out to opting in to monetization.

That’s the million dollar question.

Writers and their publisher should get paid for their work but the conundrum is how to get paid without suppressing sales.

The crowd funding model generates enthusiasm and my thoughts are how to create enthusiasm specific to the work that we all put so much of ourselves into that elicits a similar reaction to support the work with the immediate gratification of the download.

I think IF is going to continue growing as a medium and my thoughts are that exponential growth can happen for all by the innovations we prototype and refine here.

I’m sure those innovations will happen. The people here are all very sharp minded.


#15

To give you an example of sales.

Last month I had more sales from Google play store than the apple store which is pay for full game.


#16

I’m not sure that’s the best measure though. I’ve always gotten more sales from android than apple and I have exactly the same games on both :slight_smile: I’ve heard the same thing from others too.


#17

I don’t know about your games. But in the case of UnNatural its sold differently on the android to iOS.

Android players get episodes 1-2 free then an IAP for episodes 3-6.
Apple players pay a one-off fee for episodes 1-6.


#18

The greedy approach is what I’m trying desperately to avoid.

How can we put the choice into the hands of the end user to pay us on their own - without stopping everything to force payment or move on? That seems like an ultimatum of a kind.

Do any gentler methods come to mind?


#19

Yeah it would be kinda hard to do that. You could make it like older games where you’d have to pay to remove ads/replay the game without waiting but most people wouldn’t pay probably. And the ads themselves don’t give much revenue too, I read somewhere that Choice of Dragon was only 4th in the top earning COG games despite having the highest amount of downloads.


#20

So you’re not doing the partial free download but doing the straight sale?

At GooglePlay, I looked through the download numbers and noticed that the $2.99 games were at numbers like 1000 downloads, while the ‘free’ with IAPs were in the tens of thousands of downloads.

My thoughts were 10% IAP sales out of 50,000 downloads ($5,000) was better than 100% sales out of 1,000 or 2,000 paid up front downloads.

The magic would be making the 10% IAP compelling and positive.


#21

This line concerns me a bit. If the rate of survival for a first playthrough is that high, as a reader I will find the game frustrating then discovering that I have to pay to continue (or start all over again) after I lose all my lives seems to be synonymous to pay to win in my perspective that is.

Just to be clear though, the IAP is a one time payment feature?