Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, July 16, 2010

Free-To-Play Working for iPhone

Now that Apple has been allowing in-game sales for a while, the data are in to show that it's working, really, really well. Per-user revenue rose from about $2 apiece to over $14 apiece, which is pretty impressive. Farmville on iPhone has millions of users, and revenue rose dramatically when in-app purchases were allowed.

Now attention is turning to Google, where Android doesn't currently allow that same option. I'd guess they'll get around to offering that sooner rather than later, seeing as it's working so well for Apple.

It still leaves marketers with the challenge of letting people know about the game, but it's far easier to get people to play when they don't have to spend anything up front. Or even to keep playing... if your design is good, the purchase decisions will come easily during the course of play. Which means that marketing and game design have to work together really, really well. And not just once; they have to continue to work hand-in-hand, as games have become a continuing thing rather than a fire-and-forget thing.

This is occurring to people in the console market as well, where they are contemplating charging subscription fees for successful games like Call of Duty. Though they still don't seem to get it; I think they want to charge you $60 to buy the game, then a $10 a month fee to continue to play online. Good luck with that, when more and more games are offering free-to-play and selling virtual goods to raise money.

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