Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

Summary: The days of the "try-buy" gaming model are limited thanks to the onslaught of free and ad-supported mobile gaming apps available.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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The days of the "try-buy" gaming model are limited thanks to the onslaught of free and ad-supported mobile gaming apps available.

In the old days, most cost-free games, especially those available on cell phones and PCs, were only free for a few levels of gameplay. After those levels were completed, users would be prompted to pay up to continue playing. Essentially, the developers are relying on the hope that the gamer will be enticed enough to purchase the full game.

That try-and-buy scheme has been outplayed by newer ad-supported games, which produce three to seven times more in revenue.

According to research conducted by Exent, owner of FreeRideGames.com:

...While traditional purchase pricing was historically the strongest, it is no longer the case. Large distributors began to exert strong downward pressure on pricing in an attempt to grow their market share, and as a result, publisher's revenues have suffered. Average prices for new games fell from $20 in 2005 to an average price today of below $7.

Since only a small fraction of users actually choose to upgrade from the free trial to purchase, try-buy has been declining as a revenue engine for the casual games market.

It's not hard to understand that this is the new truth for PC and mobile phone gaming. Just look at iTunes and the Android Market. Only a few gaming apps repeatedly reach the tops of the Paid Apps charts. (See: Angry Birds.)

But there are already thousands of games available on the ad-supported business model on smartphones and Facebook. Consumers are already inundated with ads so much these days, it's become normal and almost easy to ignore. Thus, if the only way to get a free game is deal with a few advertisements, it doesn't sound like much of a problem.

Topic: Mobility

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13 comments
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  • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

    Does this surprise anybody? People are cheap. If you give them a try-buy game, they'll try it, then switch to another game and try that one.
    Aerowind
  • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

    I think the real shift is that target audience is expanding and is becoming less demanding as a whole. They are happy playing cheap junk games and more receptive to ads.
    What I personally hate is the nickel-and-dime AKA free-to-play model which is likely to become a new standard.
    Scrabbler
    • You mean the Zynga model?

      It's not enough that I need to have all 500 of my facebook friends playing, but i need to pay them for certain things as well. Forget that.
      Champ_Kind
      • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

        @Champ_Kind Good point. it really gets annoying at times
        HrBingR
      • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

        @Champ_Kind
        Yes. There is a ton of games now using the same model.
        Scrabbler
  • Interesting

    Something I've been considering for my upcoming apps is what financial approach to take. The one thing that I find frustrating is when adverts appear in really prominent locations. I'm unsure what the criteria is, but it's something i'm leaning towards implementing instead of the try-buy model.
    Alansonit
    • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

      @Alansonit
      What I am looking into is having the ad display while the settings menu is open, during loading, and when closing. Giving the user full screen, ad free, usage of the app. As a note, it is not a game, and users will frequent the settings page, nearly every time they use the app. Sometimes more than once per usage. This seriously decreases ad display time, but I think will improve overall user impression, and prevents covering vital screen real estate.

      Posted from my Notion Ink Adam running the Beast Ron.
      aiellenon
  • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

    I think this is more true of the mobile games market than the high budget games market. Angry birds and Half Life 2 are different games. They can co-exist. Nobody has to get killed here.
    nickswift498
  • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

    When it comes to PROPER pc games, you don't really get ad supported games... Unless they generally suck or are free mmo's. As for try-buy, these are generally games by people like Bigfish and the like. You know, stuff like Virtual Villagers and Diner Dash. As for mobile, seeing more ad-supported games instead of "lite" try-buy games would be most welcome. believe me, I wouldn't mind in the least.
    HrBingR
  • Message has been deleted.

    LSEcatcher
  • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

    It depends on the ad. If it is a scrolling banner at the bottom, no problem, but I've tried a Hearts game and a Spades game (from the same company) which broke into the middle of EVERY DEAL to display a full-screen ad. After 2-3 deals, I deleted the software. Of course, it didn't help that the games were not very good.
    nfordtchrpub
    • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

      @nfordtchrpub
      I would agree. It seems that the business model of same game developers is to push out third rate games with advertising knowing that the game will bomb, but just see the game as a short term advertising channel. No effort on their part and a few bucks revenue.
      andygadget
  • RE: Free, ad-supported games are killing 'try-buy' model

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