In app purchase in games

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Post: #1
Hi,
Does anyone know of a big name developer (like Gameloft, or EA) that has implemented in app purchasing for the free version of their game?
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Luminary
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Post: #3
Thanks.
I assume "We rule" is the one with in app purchase?
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Post: #4
I think their entire "plan" recently has been free at first with in-app purchases to add things like lives etc.
Alex
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Post: #5
EvolPenguin Wrote:I think their entire "plan" recently has been free at first with in-app purchases to add things like lives etc.
Alex

Yea, ngmoco has gone entirely "freemium" and no longer releases games that you actually buy.

http://www.tuaw.com/2010/03/10/gdc-2010-...ium-model/
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Post: #6
As much as gamers might complain about it, I think the "freemium" model does make a lot of sense, considering the current market conditions.
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Post: #7
What about lite games that you can convert to the full version with in app purchase (only paying once)? Does anyone do them?
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You can't do that. Apple doesn't allow it. Does that seem ridiculous to you? It sure does to me! My guess is that it might have something to do with the SOX act, but I really don't know Apple's motivation behind it.

Basically, the rule is that every app on the App Store is a "full app". That means nothing can be "disabled" or "grayed out". You have to give the user everything. This means, no demos, as dumb as that may seem.

However, you *can* offer a free app and have features in it that the user can "purchase", which we might think of as an upgrade, through IAP, as you have already noticed. This is about as close to a "demo" as you can get, and there are restrictions as to how you go about doing it, and they aren't evenly enforced from one app to the next. From our experience, this approach gets far less sales than simply doing a traditional paid version up-front.

You can "up-sell" your lite version by advertising your full paid version. This wasn't allowed previously, but I've seen lots of games which do this and Apple lets them get away with it, so I guess it's legit now. What exactly the rules are for this anymore, I do not know. I do know that some folks have reported great success with it and some have said it ruined their sales, so YMMV. If you go this route, be sure to push the heck out of it!
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Post: #9
@AnotherJake: A quick question - I haven't read the latest revision of the license, but do you know what (if anything) the license says about using in-app purchase to supply episodic content for games? As I'm sure that episodic content was given as an example use of in-app purchase in the presentation introducing 3.0... possibly in The Sims 3...

Mark Bishop
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Student and freelance OS X & iOS developer
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Post: #10
sealfin Wrote:...using in-app purchase to supply episodic content for games?

Should be fine - some games do it already. The important point is what AnotherJake already said:
Quote:...every app on the App Store is a "full app". That means nothing can be "disabled" or "grayed out".

So include episode 1 for free, and use IAP for the rest (or e.g. include a few levels or game modes for free and use IAP for the rest). I think this works better than demo apps anyway, since a user that invests time into playing the actual game might be more motivated to pay to continue playing than someone who just "finished" a demo*. This strategy harkens back to the shareware days of DooM and Quake, where id gave away the entire first episode.

* Demos often blur that line, but the fact that you have to replay the demo content in the full version can be a turn off as well.
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Post: #11
@Frank C.: Re-reading your quoting of AnotherJake, I now interpret it to mean that no features can be obviously disabled in order to act as advertising; is that interpretation correct?

The scenario I'm envisioning is a little more complex than just level packs - such as a The Legend of Zelda-esque game where downloading the free app gets you the full overworld and the first dungeon... but some locations of the overworld are inaccessible until you've retrieved items from later dungeons, and those later dungeons are sold as episodic content.

Mark Bishop
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Student and freelance OS X & iOS developer
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Post: #12
sealfin Wrote:@Frank C.: Re-reading your quoting of AnotherJake, I now interpret it to mean that no features can be obviously disabled in order to act as advertising; is that interpretation correct?

As far as I know, yes, that's the way it is.

I think the IAP stuff is still good to go. I haven't read the whole new agreement either, but I haven't heard anybody mention anything indicating they've significantly changed their IAP rules.

As an example, you can have a button which says something like, "Purchase level 2 for $.99", and they can buy that content and then you can display a button saying "Play level 2". In fact, the content for level 2 can be included with the original app bundle download and simply unlocked internally once the transaction goes through. However, you can't make it *look* like you're unlocking it, e.g, you can't have a grayed out button saying "Play level 2" which is only active once they've purchased the content. IOW, there can't be a feature in the game which doesn't appear to work, and a grayed out button is considered a feature which doesn't work. You can advertise the content and encourage them to buy it, but you can't make the purchase of the content be necessary for completion of the game, as that too would mean that the app they bought wasn't fully featured.

This is where the freemium thing comes in. You could have a level boss which was really difficult to beat, but not impossible, and then interrupt the player with a message asking them if they'd like to buy the Super-Duper Weapon upgrade to make it easier to beat Super-Duper Tough Boss. As long as they can still complete the game without the Super-Duper Weapon, it should be legit.

So likewise, for episodic content, you can't have it be where they have to purchase the episodic content to complete the game. You could, however, offer an episode which *helps* them complete the game using a different path, or even complete the game more quickly.

I think Franks example of the original Doom shareware version is pretty close to what would be considered okay with IAP. Only thing would be that you couldn't say, like "Finish the fight and purchase the full version", or "Purchase levels 2,3 and 4 to finish the fight!". It has to be a complete game to begin with. The episodes would only be allowed to enhance the game by offering the player more to play.

sealfin Wrote:The scenario I'm envisioning is a little more complex than just level packs - such as a The Legend of Zelda-esque game where downloading the free app gets you the full overworld and the first dungeon... but some locations of the overworld are inaccessible until you've retrieved items from later dungeons, and those later dungeons are sold as episodic content.
I think you can do that, but you can't show that the dungeons are somehow inaccessible; they'd have to not appear to be a part of the game at all. The player can't be hinted to the notion that their game is incomplete. Dungeon one and the full overworld is all they get. Then you can put ads in telling them that they can "Purchase new dungeons to continue the fight against evil!" -- can't be to "finish" the fight though... tiny distinction.
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Post: #13
Man, I didn't realise that at all.
I was planning to have a paid version of my game and a lite version. The lite version is the exact same as the paid version, except that you only have a limited amount of turns and then you are prompted to unlock the app to continue playing.
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captainfreedom Wrote:Man, I didn't realise that at all.
I was planning to have a paid version of my game and a lite version. The lite version is the exact same as the paid version, except that you only have a limited amount of turns and then you are prompted to unlock the app to continue playing.

Nuts, isn't it? Doing what you're saying makes perfect sense to everyone, but as I understand it, no we can't do that. Wacko

Be sure to check on what I'm saying though, as it is certainly possible I may be spreading some misinformation. Definitely be sure to check around Apple's iPhone dev forums.
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Post: #15
I suppose I'll have to go the "freemium" route then.
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