It used to be the only question about monetising your game was how much to charge, and you could leave that decision until quite late in the development. But in this era of free-to-play we have to ask ourselves how we propose to charge for the game, and we have to ask early because the decision can have significant ramifications for the game.
How to charge for your game is sometimes very simple and other times very hard. With Bubble Pack I have always known that I want the initial download to be free. There are two reasons for this
- For my first game I want the low barrier to entry that free provides.
- It’s too easy for someone else to make a free clone of this game.
However, I also don’t want to use advertising in the game. Advertising on mobile is horrible – a preponderance of shitty looking adverts that make your game look cheap and nasty. Most advertising is not the sort of stuff I want to present to people who play my games. If I could fill the game with high quality brand advertising I’d be happy, but instead we get clickbait and ads for other people’s games.
Free and no advertising leaves me squarely in the free-to-play space, not necessarily the most comfortable place to be. What I really want to do is an old-fashioned try-before-you-buy model. So here’s the plan…
- The game will be free to download.
- There will be a single non-consumable in-app-purchase.
- There will be an energy system – a limit on the number of bubbles you can play with at any time.
- When you run out of bubbles you can wait for them to refill or pay once to remove the limit.
And that’s it. I have tried to ensure the game can be played for free forever, but the energy system must necessarily be a little annoying or no-one will pay. Please forgive me for that. My goal is for an honest, simple model of one payment to get the full game. If the game is good enough, maybe I can significantly beat the normal 4% conversion on free-to-play.
I added the number of bubbles the player has to the wireframes, and an overlay for buying the game.
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