Posts Tagged Free-To-Play: Making Money From Games You Give Away

Jungle Man: Strike Review

Jungle Man: Strike Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A great concept let down by its free-to-play system, Jungle Man Strike is average at best.

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Circus Life Review

Circus Life Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Light-hearted and intriguing, Circus Life has a ton of promise but is plagued with repetitive gameplay and freemium frustrations.

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Sword & Magic HD Review

Sword & Magic HD Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A Collectible Card Game with RPG elements, Sword & Magic HD is plagued with flaws that hold it back from its true potential.

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Team Monster Review

Team Monster Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Team Monster has a promising premise and is visually remarkable but is let down by repetitive and predictable gameplay mechanics.

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Thor: The Dark World Review

Thor: The Dark World Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Laden with clunky controls, messy visuals, and shallow combat, Thor: The Dark World is not the marvel we expected.

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Love and Dragons HD Review

Love and Dragons HD Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
A hidden object game of fantasy, mystery, and magic, Love and Dragons is a visual marvel but may only be of interest to fans of the genre.

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Village Life Review

Village Life Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Based on the popular Facebook game, Village Life makes it's way to iOS and is a truly enjoyable experience for players old and new.

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Crazy Market Review

Crazy Market Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Set in a supermaket, Crazy Market relies too heavily on in-app purchases to fund its enjoyment factor.

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Book: Free-to-Play: Making Money From Games You Give Away
Author: Will Luton
Price: $12.99

photoI just finished reading Will Luton’s new book, Free-to-Play: Making Money From Games You Give Away. It’s a $12.99 purchase in the iBooks store, making it a better deal than, say, the current paperback version, at $21.38 over on Amazon.

The book is a healthy roundup of what makes free-to-play (F2P) games tick, with sections on the economics, gameplay, monetization, marketing, and analytics–the underpinnings of any successful free-to-play game on any app store.

The examples he uses within the book are Farmville, naturally, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Bejeweled Blitz. In this way, Luton is able to illustrate his points with concrete examples from real world games that use the principles within.

The author believes that free-to-play games are a win/win proposition, letting developers quickly and inexpensively release games that have a chance of making some money, and letting players who wouldn’t typically touch a $60 console “gamers’ game” experience fun for no money down. It’s a delightful ideal, and I hope most, if not all, developers take it to heart: free-to-play games should be good games first, and monetization engines second. Luton continues to make this point throughout the book, though the message tends to get lost in the discussion of variable reward schedules (the same type of reinforcement schedule slot-machines are built on) and how to analyze key performance indicators.

As a non-developer, I did get lost within the many industry acronyms and other such jargon, but Luton does a good job of helping the novice reader get through it all. The title is clear: this is a book on making games that make money, and the information between the front cover and end flap is focused on that part of game making.

The level of depth and detail that Luton brings to the explanation of how free-to-play games work is astonishing. While the gameplay section, for example, tends to focus on player retention, play sessions, and triggers to keep your players coming back rather than actual game mechanics, it’s an interesting read nonetheless. I’ve definitely increased my understanding of what a complex achievement successful free-to-play games have attained.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who develops games for iOS or other mobile platforms, as well as readers and writers who want to get a better grasp on the breakout phenomenon of the free-to-play genre. Luton has created a fantastic resource, here.

The book Free-toPlay: Making Money From Games You Give Away, by Will Luton, can currently be found on the iBooks store for $12.99.

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