Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time to Entertain

Depending on your viewpoint, in-game purchasing has become a gigantic opportunity/pain in the backside with mobile games. Mostly I hate it, because you get huge percentages of new games that are no longer set up to provide a fun experience the whole way through, they are set up to drive revenue at the expense of gameplay.

A lot of parents are complaining about 'free' games that then bombard kids with requests to buy more too, while most regular gamers feel cheated by unfairly hard games that charge you for better cars, or games that make you pay for every single level, or use coins that are collected so sparingly it drives you to want to shortcut the process by buying. To me, and many others this process of sales over gameplay is wrong.

It's not like you buy a full game and pay for an expansion, it makes you feel tricked and like the developers are being deliberately dishonest and deceitful.

Part of this is the new culture of cheap games started by the iPhone and Android stores, people expecting that games should cost £2.99 and no more, regardless of how many people worked on it and how long for. This means that smaller developers often need to find extra finances. Though I maintain creating a great game will always benefit you more in the long run than creating a great in-game sales mechanic.

What this does say to me however, is that the opportunity for brands to develop and involve themselves with games has never been greater.

If you are a brand, you can develop a full, fun game as part of your budget that drives awareness, engagement and eventually sales. You can develop games to be FUN, not to drive in game purchases; which, if done well, could actually lead us to something new: brands creating games that are more fun than non-branded games.

The cheaper alternative of course is to do what we were talking about several years ago, sponsor these downloads and show the brand in a giving light. E.g.: This 200 coin pack has been bought for you by XXXX.

While many developers and publishers are trying to twist mobile gaming into a stream of shopping cart microtransactions, we can help our brands take the lead and provide real content that people will appreciate (where relevant, of course!).

Pic via Diemkay

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