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[Indie Talk] Freemium Talk with Kamibox, the Guy Behind Okay?



By  Yesi Livera     2:59 PM    Labels:,, 
Remember my last 'Indie Talk' with moWow Studio? Well, it's a long time ago I think. Today, Indie Gems are back with our second guest, Philipp Stollenmayer, the guy behind Kamibox Studio, a German based one-man indie developer. Wait a minute, I think our first guest also come from Germany too. What a coincidence here hehe :p.



About a week ago, I made an article regarding Freemium aspect on mobile gaming. One of IAP model on Freemium method really picked up my interest. That's a 'tipping' method, and one of successful example on this field is Okay? game. In my opinion, it's really interesting to implement such as this model on mobile game platform and that's why I decided to contact the developer and did the 'interview' with him. Check the full interview below.

Hi, Philipp. I’m Yesi from Indie Gems and I would like to do small interview with you about freemium model on mobile games.

Before I start, could you tell us a bit about your company? Like how and when was it founded?
Hi, I am Philipp and my company is called Kamibox. It is about 1,5 years old now. I still publish under my full name though, because when I started app development, I had no company.

How many games have you published until now and which one is the most memorable/ successful one in your opinion? 

I have published 5 games and 2 apps, and my 3 latest games (Sometimes You Die, Pancake, Okay?) are my successful ones, but probably I like Sometimes You Die most, since I enjoyed taking control over some pretentious narrator.


Beside making games for mobile platform, do you make games on other platforms too?
No, only mobile devices, these are very uncomplicated for one-person-companies.

What do you think about mobile gaming industry nowadays?

It definitely changed the way the people perceive games. Now you can easily distinguish between mobile and console games.
However at the beginning of the mobile games era, developers thought they would have to bring the console feeling to mobile phones, but this doesn’t work. When you compare handheld gaming devices to smartphones, it lacks hard buttons, the games are cheaper, the audience is less into gaming. A new kind of games had to be created, and these had to be accessible, quick, also cheap.




What do you think about freemium pricing for mobile games?

The basic idea of freemium is a nice answer to the problems that come up with the new kinds and oversupply of games. It used to be like a demo-version, but not having to install the full game again nor losing all the progress you made in the demo. 

However some companies are exploiting it with unfair means, giving it a bad reputation. Big companies are used to big money, and they will do everything to get money back from the player. They have to pay their developers and designers. You can’t expect any sense of moral from a company with many people sharing the responsibility.

If I wasn’t wrong, before you released the Pancake and Okay? game, most of your previous games were using premium model for the pricing strategy. What decided you to released your game as freemium game?


Normally, I try to make games with some kind of atmosphere. 
Pancake is not a game with atmosphere. It is stupid and it has no impact on the playability when there is a banner on the bottom, so I had no problem with showing banner ads. Popup ads always break the game flow, I don’t like that and with Okay?, I wanted to experiment with something new, because with the oversupply in the App Store, hardly anyone is willing to pay for an unknown game.

Okay? is a freemium game with an interesting IAP model. It’s like a ‘tipping’ model in my opinion where we can pay how much we want and for me it’s the best kind of IAP among all. Would you like to share what’s the reason why you choose that model rather than ‘one price to unlock’ model or others?

For Okay?, I thought a lot about the pricing model. Of course I didn’t expect a great majority pulling out their Benjamins. It was more like a claim to myself to make an enjoyable game where people are treated as human beings, and to some human beings, the game is worth more than to another. I don’t see why I should create an artificial barrier to exclude people from enjoying the game.



Still with Okay? game, does that ‘tipping’ strategy met your first expectation? Is that a successful model for your game? How does it work so far and which platform that works better for this model based on your opinion?

I am very satisfied. Players who have no money on their account often leave a nice review instead, and this gives a good karma to the app. Even if the revenue is less than with a paid one (which is hard to say, it gets pushed because of the good ratings), it lets me sleep better. Nearly the same Apple and Android users donate – around 2%.

Would you like to share about your experience so far as a mobile game developer? In your opinion, does choosing platform also need to be considered too if we want to be a mobile indie developer?

I started developing on iPhone because I have an iPhone. When you have something strikingly unique to offer regarding design, I guess you should choose iOS. Most people that care about design and art have an iPhone. When you want a great mass downloading your app, you should choose Android. When you have spare time, do both.

Any other information would you like to add or share with us?

I have been analyzing the App Store for a long time. When you understand the wishes of the big mass, they let translate into a game quickly. My first 4 apps have not been very successful – now I know why, but I am sure that a game that fulfills these wishes will be successful, no matter how small and unknown the developer is.




Thank you so much Philipp for sharing your experience with us. Your story really inspiring for us, indie developers and anyone who wants to know more about mobile gaming industry. We can’t say thank you enough for your help, we hope the best for your company along with your family.

If you want to know more information about Kamibox and want to keep up to date, follow their Twitter @kamibox2015 or visit their website on kamibox.de and if you never play Okay? before, go for it because trust me, it's really a well-made game.

About Yesi Livera

Yesi is someone who love to talk about games. Mainly she plays games on mobile especially iOS. However, sometimes she can't resist with PC gaming too. She also like to share her opinions about what's going on on gaming industry. Thank you for visiting, keep calm and stay gaming.

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