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Author Topic: How In-app Purchases Has Destroyed The Industry  (Read 3245 times)
hamradio
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« on: February 03, 2014, 12:52:05 AM »

Quote
I don't like writing negative articles that don't include a solution to the problem, but in this case, there is no solution. The state of in-app purchases has now reached a level where we have completely lost it. Not only has the gaming industry shot itself in the foot, hacked off their other foot, and lost both its arms ... but it's still engaging in a strategy that will only damage it further.



from Baekdal
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 12:57:14 AM by mouser » Logged

Carroll - HamRadioUSA
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2014, 09:12:32 AM »

Only shaving the surface... It's much worse than that.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2014, 09:33:30 AM »

I had just downloaded Dungeon Keeper to my tablet Saturday, played it a bit, and then a bit more Sunday. Having been a big fan of Dungeon Keeper 2 (I never played the original), I was so frustrated with the in-app purchases (IAP) that I left the game a one-star review and recommended people pick up the original games on GOG.com for a few bucks.

Almost immediately after I'd left my review, I saw a link to this article on Twitter. I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates this kind of IAP gouging with a passion.

Another great article on the subject (mentioned at the bottom of that one) is:

Optimizing Your Industry to the Point of Suicide

My new review for EA games and others that engage in these awful practices:

Free-to rate (1 star)
1 star: free
2 stars: $9.99
3 stars: $18.99 (most popular!)
4 stars: $27.99
5 stars: $34.99 (best deal!)
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wraith808
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2014, 11:03:07 AM »

From the comments (and I totally endorse this comment)

Quote
To "fix" this problem, we need to make it acceptable to pay real-world prices for games so that developers don't feel the need to turn into greedy cretins.

We've entirely caused this by going "pfft! SEVEN QUID FOR AN IPHONE GAME?" and then rushing off to buy 99p games loaded with micro-transactions. And also "Oh this is a phone, I don't have time to sit for three hours playing games on it, I have five minutes at dinner... and now I will forget about your game and never ever play it again because I have 60 other cheap ones to go through"

And EA is bonkers... maybe they're trying to claw back money lost in SimCity ;-)

And that's the problem- we've steered them in this direction.  Where people don't want to pay $5 or $10 for a decent program, but want everything for free.  First they subsidized with ads, and had a full version with no ads.  But that's not popular.  So now, its micro transactions.  And most companies just don't know how to do it.

The same thing for f2p games.
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wraith808
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 11:08:18 AM »

Another good comment:

Quote
"Basically the content industry has turned into the tobacco industry. A business that is causing harm to their customers, but it works because they are engaged in a pay-for-addiction strategy that forces people to stick with them.

There is nothing wrong with micro payments or in-app purchases if it is used to enhance the experience, but that's not what these CEOs are doing. They are using gamification to cheat you into becoming addicted to their product, then gradually lowering the experience to a point where you just cannot stand it anymore."
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wraith808
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 11:59:19 AM »

And another good article that I posted before definitely comes into light regarding this issue:

Dopamine Driven Game Design
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2014, 04:36:38 PM »

Just to get people talking, here's a bit of a "(something-other-than-Devil)" view.

Not All Gaming Is Created Equal.

This includes the colossal field called ... Sports.

Very briefly, in Sports, people don't bat an eye that upgrading certain equipment means better overall results. Each has its own. Tennis Racquets, Shoes, and shockingly, even Chess Equipment.

So in these "Games", watch the line where "cheap game" merges with "Sport". You start to get clashes with "Cheap Game" vs "Sport" eventually. Of course the sneakier Developers push this line.

If you go back to the world of "Pure Games", the best example from my younger days is "Magic the Gathering". It's In-App Purchase driven from day one and everyone knew it and mostly accepted it. You can goof off with your friend but if you wanted to get serious, it would cost you easily $300 on a good day. *If* you also made a few savvy trades. Twenty Three years ago.

Now, new angle. Something is totally wrong with Apps. "Several Someones" have decided that it's the new marketplace of idiots, and therefore any half baked junk is an "App".

The fallacy of course is that Phones are just Comps from 15 years ago. So it's far from clear why an App on a Phone from 2014 is 30 times worse than a (better) precursor program on a Win98 machine from 1999. I mean, they hold demo competitions on who can squeeze the most functionality out of older hardware, most famously the Commodore line. So what's with a cute prog from 1999 that outperforms a phone app from 2013?

Something about the Culture. In the old days, you/they released software as best as they knew how, with every last ounce of tech they had. Today's Apps are slammed out as fast as they can do it without too egregious bugs making them look bad. Somewhere in there ... is the problem.







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phitsc
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2014, 01:37:41 AM »

And here's the opposite opinion: http://sealedabstract.com...oying-the-games-industry/
and toucharcade.com's comment about it: http://toucharcade.com/20...oying-the-games-industry/

Personally, I don't "buy" free-to-play games, and probably never will. I prefer knowing up-front how much a game is going to cost me. The only IAP that are ok with me are the ones where you buy additional "campaigns" (like the Zen Pinball series, Sentinel 3 and GOF2 HD for example).
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wraith808
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2014, 10:03:36 AM »

As a developer who makes money off of software, and a gamer who plays games, I still have very little sympathy.  I understand the points that they are making, but I just don't agree.

I 'bought' a free to play game, finally.  Tiny Death Star.  I paid for one 'dose' figuring that $4.99 was a reasonable price to get somewhere in the game, as the game was enjoyable, and definitely could have been priced as such.  But I quickly realized- they don't just want to give you a trial and then you pay something and get to play the game.  They want to wring you dry.  4.99 made me the proud recipient of an elevator that went twice as fast, and enough money to add one level.

That's not what I think of when I think of an equitable exchange for the money.  I've uninstalled it. 

The games are pretty, and shiny, and have mechanisms within to make it fun to play.  But the relationship isn't equitable.
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40hz
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2014, 01:29:19 PM »

The new immersive gaming experience:



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Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
wraith808
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2014, 01:59:04 PM »

10 ways Facebook changed gaming for ever

I think the fact that a lot of these ideas came from facebook flash games is what makes them as ass backwards as they are.
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mwb1100
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2014, 03:03:56 PM »

They want to wring you dry

That's the key - if in game purchases were truly optional perks that that made an enjoyable game more fun, or occasionally helped you past somewhere where you were blocked, that would be something I could agree to.  But when the 'free' game is essentially non-playable without having to make continual in-app purchases, it's just a bait and switch.

Unfortunately, it looks like there are enough suckers that the model will probably only get worse. I think that as far as the game companies are concerned, in-app purchases haven't destroyed the industry, they've made the industry much more profitable.
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wraith808
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2014, 04:05:52 PM »

I don't think they're usually bait and switch...

... hmm, but an argument could be made either way.  If you're blocked and basically have to spend/waste time or wait for time to pass, is that a time sink or a bait and switch?

I know in certain games, there are what is termed 'time sinks' that basically make the game seem longer because of useless waits that are inserted.  Like in MMOs when you're crafting something and you watch an animation while a progress bar fills up... that's a time sink.  You could just as easily click the button and be done... but they want you to wait.  It's a useless pacing mechanism meant to slow people down.  So you can progress- but unless you pay, your progression is retarded.  And in the case of tiny death star, it was retarded beyond all belief.  To make the increasing amount of money to add a new level, I had to wait *days*.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2014, 05:34:36 PM »


The entire article's credibility is destroyed in the first two paragraphs (emphasis mine):

Quote
See, in the in-app purchase model actually predates phones. It predates video game consoles. It goes all the way back to the arcade, where millions of consumers were happy to pay a whole quarter ($0.89 in 2013 dollars) to pay for just a few minutes. The entire video games industry comes from this model. Kids these days.

But in fact, the model predates computers. I can trace it at least as far back as the Periscope mechanical arcade game from Sega in 1966 that offers to sell you ten lives for 25 cents ($1.80 in 2013 dollars).

So which is it? Or am I just old fashioned and a quarter was changed to 12.5 cents in the past couple of decades?
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