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[Opinion] Freemium - Is that Good, Bad, or Worst?



By  Yesi Livera     2:41 PM    Labels:,,,, 
Few days ago I found an interesting discussion topic from my internship office. A brief story, every Friday on my office, we talk about games that popular nowadays, along with its retention, monetization, also the virality of the game itself. Back then, yesterday's topic was pretty interesting in my opinion. The topic was a freemium model along with all the 'equipment' inside it.

Alright, I believe I ever write about how much does a mobile game should be cost before. However, today I want to share my point of view only for a freemium game. How I change my sight into freemium game right now. You might see some repeated words may be sentences here, but just to make sure if I don't skip anything to tell you about freemium model especially for the games on mobile platform.

What is Freemium?


Few years ago, a free game means a truly free game. Something that you can play without paying any single penny. Unfortunately, it's kinda hard to be found on that time. You need to pay at least for a lil candy for playing a game... (* may be - don't include the one who share his/her game project for free :p). However, nowadays time already changed. People also changed, too many games available on the market. So they decided to bring a new payment model for their games, they make a game that free-to-play.


Clap.. Clap... Hurray! No dear, you might be wrong. A free-to-play game doesn't mean its 100% free. It just free to play, not free to enjoy all contents inside and this what we know as a 'Freemium' title nowadays. A 'Freemium' is different from 'Paidmium', in my opinion Paidmium is the worst model ever. It's too greedy. I'm not saying if a paid game with IAP inside will be called as Paidmium all of sudden. A paidmium game is a paid game with a forcing IAP inside. If we don't pay for it we can't make any further progress. The progress here is such a consumable thing. Remember, it's different with an episodic game. Episodic game, though it's usually has IAP inside we can't conclude that as paidmium. They give you full experience on that episode, if you like it you can purchase another.

A greedy paidmium is for example, you paid $3.99 for a fighting game. Then you just realize there's a paywall inside it, such as timer, energy system, or any other special accessory things that can boost your game's progress for instantly. Moreover you still need to grinding so hard on that game to be a best one or you can just pay some bucks for a mastery thing. To be honest, that's really an unfair method ever. Okay back to topic.

So basically, Freemium consists of 3 kinds of payments along with 3 expanded version of it :p. So right now, we got 6 different freemium monetization models.

  • A Freemium game, with Pay To Unlock All Contents
Sometimes its free, sometimes its not. For a free one, basically you got few parts of levels/ stages for free. Then you should pay to enjoy the rest of all the contents. It's kind of a LITE version in one single app. For a paid game, you might found a paywall inside, but this isn't a pay-to-win method. Usually, it's used on an episodic game such as Republique, TellTale game, etc.

This game was ever Free as App Of The Week once, to unlock all episodes you should buy it via IAP
  • A Freemium game, with consumable IAP
It's one of the most common method for a freemium game. So many examples on this one, such as Temple Run, DragonVale, Clash Of Clans, etc. Or I can clearly say, most games that have currencies inside will have this kind of IAP. No matter its for soft currency (coins, fruits, other currency that can be gained easily from playing the game) or hard currency (gems, diamonds, a currency that harder to get).

CoC is one of game that has consumable IAP
  • A Freemium game, with Ads inside
This can't be counted as a true freemium, but it can't be said as a pure free game too. This game has ads inside, can be a banner, video, nor full screen ads. Sometimes, there's no way you can get rid off those ads except you block it by an AdsBlock. However, sometimes there's an option of IAP for removing the ads too, usually costs $1-2.

Usually, you'll find an ads banner during the gameplay
  • A Freemium game, with Ads inside plus consumable IAP
This is bit annoying, sometimes there's a game that even still have Ads inside though we already purchased the IAP. I know it's their right to decide what kind of freemium model which they want. But still, this one is the most annoying one.

  • A Freemium game, with pure cosmetic IAP
The best example for this method on mobile is Crossy Road. That's a great game with pure IAP for cosmetic purpose only. No increment for skill ( such as damage point, attack, defense, or anything that'll impact to the gameplay directly). The game works as usual same no matter what kind of cosmetic that you wear. The thing that changes is appearance only.

Crossy Road is an example of Cosmetic IAP only
  • A Freemium game, with Tipping IAP model
Basically it's a same model as Pay to Unlock All Contents model and this is the latest model I found interesting enough as a freemium method. However, what's make this different is how much you do you pay for the game is depends on your willing. Usually, the developer will give 4-5 different price tiers inside their games. One thing, that you should know, they also include Free option on their price tiers. That's mean you can enjoy the whole content of the game for free too. It's kind of gambling model, but you never know if people like the game and think if the game worth than Free, they won't mind to pay for it. The great example on this one is Okay? game.

In Okay? you can choose how much do you want to pay the game.
Even you can have the full game for free

Conclusion


So, can I say if freemium is a good monetization method or should I said if that's a worst method instead? That depends, in fact nowadays, a freemium game is an easiest way to attract people for trying your game and you can't deny for that. However, based on my observation people already tired of freemium game, you also know about that :p. But actually, the one that made us tired isn't that freemium method but the game itself.

If we keep making a similar game without even give any single improvement on the gameplay and you make it as a paid game, you'll be ended up as nothing. Even if you make it freemium, it won't be long last. Before you concern about the monetization for your game, please concern first with your game itself. Try to design a game that bring an enjoyment, fun, excitement to be played by your players. Once you got it, no matter you make it freemium or premium, I believe your game will get that attention for sure :)

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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