Posts Tagged free to play
Steadily evolving over the years, Get Set Games‘ Mega Run and Mega Jump have seen quite significant changes. Mega Jump was initially released in 2010 as a premium title, before being made free to play in 2011, alongside the release of similarly free to play Mega Run. Now it seems that things have come full circle with the renamed and remodeled premium titles, Mega Run Plus and Mega Jump Plus.
Given the change of strategy from Get Set Games, we took the time to talk to Derek van Vliet, one of the co-founders of the company, to find out more about the thought process.
148Apps: In the past few years you’ve jumped between premium pricing and free to play, resulting in both varieties catered for on the App Store. How come? Why the change in pricing model?
Derek van Vliet (DV): That’s true. Mega Jump started as a paid app in May 2010. Shortly thereafter we ran a couple of “free game of the day” promotions which showed us that the game could earn more as a free app with in-app purchases than it could as a paid app. So in August 2010 we switched it to Free permanently.
Since then we’ve added a number of new monetization features that make it hard to go back to being a premium game (primarily interstitial advertising). At the same time, we heard from lots of players that they would like to be able to buy the game up front and get all of the content in the game and not have to deal with the ads. These new paid versions of Mega Jump and Mega Run serve that demand. They are the same awesome games, but free of ads and all of the additional level packs are available to unlock for free.
148Apps: Do you regret going down the free to play route before?
DV: Not at all. We’ve been able to grow a fantastic company in large part due to that decision. We’re going to continue to release games that make people say “I can’t believe this is free”.
148Apps: Have such models affected how games are developed?
DV: Indeed they have. It has caused us to have to focus a lot of resources on systems that increase engagement, monetization, and virality. Things like Facebook-connected leaderboards and consumable power-ups. The player-facing components of these systems most often take the form of UI and as such, a lot of our development resources have been focused on enabling us to design and present large amounts of user interface in our games.
It also puts a large emphasis on the importance of being able to change the content of our games at a moment’s notice. So a considerable amount of the effort we put into making games goes into making the experience configurable over the air.
148Apps: What do you think works best between free to play and premium?
DV: Regardless of free to play or premium, what works best is delivering a high quality experience to the player. We’ve always strived to produce games that are brimming with fun and humor and we find that resonates with people in both the free to play and premium markets.
148Apps: What do you think the future is for the iOS pricing model?
DV: I think we’re going to continue to see free games dominate the top grossing charts for the foreseeable future. That being said, as iOS heads towards 1 billion users, even if only 10% of the money that is spent goes towards paid apps, that will continue to be a large opportunity for premium games.
Thanks to Derek for taking the time to answer our questions. Mega Jump Plus and Mega Run Plus are available on the App Store now, priced at $0.99 each.
Released: 2013-12-04 :: Category: Games
Letters From Nowhere will last Hidden Object game fans a long time, but that's partly down to its restrictive energy system.
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Part of a genre where every strategic battle title begins to look familiar, Heroes of Dragon Age separates itself with highly detailed artwork and gameplay to match. However, initial long load times and semi-auto gameplay might put some off.
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Rather than arriving as a game itself, Createrria is aiming to give gamers the necessary tools to create their very own platformers. The premise is great, but it could do with a few more creation and customisation options.
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Approaching things differently from the rest is always good, right? That’s what the folks at Little Bit Games are clearly thinking, too. Having previously covered their efforts earlier in the year, my interest was piqued thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign they’ve recently launched.
EchoChamber is the title hoping to be funded by it. It’s described as a rhythm game with a “unique twist.” It’s a free-to-play local multiplayer title that uses positional audio to get players to follow various cues and perform gestures in time with the music. I took the time to learn more from Cody Lee, co-founder and developer at Little bit Games.
148Apps: How did the idea for echoChamber come about?
Cody Lee (CL): The idea for echoChamber came about after playing the game SpaceTeam with friends. It seemed like such a unique and original idea and utilized your phone for multiplayer in a way that I’d never seen before. It kinda blew my mind and I started to think of other ways we could use mobile devices for multiplayer experiences that you couldn’t get on any other platform. I spent a lot of time picturing people physically standing around with friends, trying to come up with games that required that physical space, and that used the capabilities of modern cell phones.
148Apps: Why the decision to be free to play?
CL: echoChamber is a multiplayer only game, and is more fun the more people you are playing with. It seemed natural for us to release the game as a free download so people can start playing it as easily as possible with their friends without requiring everybody to commit to purchasing it. We’ll be releasing additional tracks as paid DLC for people who want to extend their experience beyond the base tracks.
148Apps: How hard has it been to implement the positional sound effects?
CL: Doing the positional audio itself isn’t too bad. It’s really just a matter of adjusting volume for the different devices to get the desired effect we want. The hardest part has been synching the playback of the track on all of the devices while accounting for network latency. If the sound is out of sync at all, the positional effect is lost, and you get more of an echo. If it’s REALLY out of sync it just sounds like garbage!
148Apps: What other challenges have you faced?
CL: echoChamber started out as more of a Pong-like game where sound would move around and players would have to tap their screens to hit the “ball” away. The problem is it’s hard to know when the ball has reached you. It get’s louder so you know it’s closer, but how loud is the “loudest” and “closest”. That’s why we ended up going the rhythm game route. When there’s a set beat, and the ball moves to the beat, it’s easier to know when the sound will “hit”. We’ve since moved away from the Pong aspect of the game and are focusing more on an overall fun musical experience instead.
148Apps: When do you hope to release echoChamber?
CL: If the Kickstarter goes well, we hope to release some time early next year. If it doesn’t go well… we’re not sure.
The Kickstarter campaign runs until December 27, with a wide selection of backer rewards to cover everyone’s budget.
Thanks to Cody for taking the time to answer our questions. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on echoChamber‘s progress.
Asphalt 8: Airborne is most certainly one of the more enjoyable racing titles we’ve seen this year and is personally one of my favorite games of 2013. I’ve spent many hours racing, jumping, and knocking out opponents. However, I never played long enough to unlock two of the game’s best and most expensive cars, which players either need to invest an insane amount of time in to unlock or put down close to 100 dollars to unlock with credit.
So, what does purchasing those two vehicles do to the game experience and is the increased speed worth the payout for those who decide to purchase instead of play? I collected some credits and purchased the Mercedes-Benz Silver Lightning (325,000 credits) and the Koenigsegg Agera R (375,000 credits). My first reaction was “holy shazbot, Batman! It’s fast!” – getting an increase of close to 100 mph is certainly felt.
All of a sudden the tracks become much smaller and shorter. It’s not just about faster vehicles, because each course is now a new challenge to master as the increased speeds can get players from one section to the next in a much quicker fashion. Also, with the increased speed each turn on every course becomes more challenging, requiring better reaction time as players need to make sure to hit it perfectly or they’ll crash. These faster vehicles certainly enhance the experience and make for a far more intense time than with slower cars. Every turn needs to be hit with near perfection, and it’s possible to keep the boost going for quite some time on certain courses that have the items lined up correctly for that.
The increased speed is great as it’s exciting to hit those jumps to spin longer and jump higher and further. It’s great taking them online too, though I didn’t have enough credit left over to fully upgrade them after spending the 700,000. That set me back a bit against some of the competition who clearly poured time or money into the game.
Overall, fans who wish to invest their time or money will be met with increased excitement when running with the Mercedes and Koenigsegg cars. Things move much quicker and it requires expert knowledge of the tracks and the game’s controls to ideally navigate the courses to perfection. I had a good time running with these vehicles and think others will greatly enjoy them as well. Remember, speed doesn’t just enhance the vehicles but also the course, making it a new experience to race through.
GT Racing 2 is another game I decided to take a drive with using its top vehicle. The Bugatti Veyron costs 5772 credits, which costs around $40 just by itself. Users can spend $50 to get 7500 credits or $100 to get 16000 credits. So basically, $100 would buy 3 of the 7 elite vehicles.
I played the beginning of the campaign with the first available vehicle, though never got to far beyond that. So going from what’s pretty much the slowest car in the game to the absolute fastest is something that should be noted.
At first, I absolutely hated using the Bugatti to race around with as I was expecting the fastest and most expensive car in the game to be fun to use. Each race I would end up all over the road, hitting the left side of the wall and then the right side as the car has some serious sensitivity issues and lacks solid control. The poor controls had such a negative impact on me at first, but I ended up sticking with it and changed the control sensitivity in the options to 0. This ended up helping a lot more with the control of the vehicle, even though it was still very jolty experience.
I also thought the game might be a bit broken at those high speeds, because it wasn’t just me that was all over the road at times. I’ve seen the computer go running straight into the wall without turning, which makes me wonder if it’s the speed or something else entirely. Some races just felt off, between the competition and the handling of the vehicle. After a while of racing with the Bugatti I was able to get a better grasp of its handling, which led to a more enjoyable race even though I still find the wall on several occasions. It’s certainly a difficult beast to handle.
It’s just not the easiest experience out there. Depending on the track, the high speeds require a lot more use of the brake. Of course, having brake assistance is a big help at these high speeds but without it the brakes become an even more important factor on courses that have continuous tight turns. That was another new challenge that came about: trying to quickly turn left while braking and then quickly turn right and tap brake with the other thumb.
I feel the handling of the Bugatti is difficult, but also think the high speeds are tough on some of these tracks. So, instead of purchasing another one of the high end cars with close to the same speed I decided to slow it down a bit and chose a lower tier vehicle. I went with the Citroen Survolt, a car that’s still plenty fast but not too over the top. The few races I participated in with that vehicle were far more interesting and felt better and more natural. Of course the car handles a lot differently anyway, but the slower speed makes turning and sensitivity less of an issue. Basically, what I’ve learned from this experience is that players are in for a challenging time when racing with high speed vehicles.
GT Racing 2 feels a bit demanding with how easy it is to go through a ton of credit. Spending cash might be worth it on the lower tier vehicles for those who enjoy the game, but I would question putting cash towards the high end vehicles. Especially if players want to keep it at a more casual and enjoyable experience. The high speeds are really challenging and can be very frustrating at times – and not in a good way.
I do look forward to trying it out once again with a gamepad instead of touchscreen. I think it might have a better effect on the controls. We’ll have to wait and see about that one.
Supercell has made an absolute killing over the past year with two colossal hits in Hay Day and Clash of Clans. The latter particularly has been a rather successful and influential game, spawning countless imitators but only in style, not in success: the game has duked it out with Candy Crush Saga for number one on the top grossing charts. But now, Supercell is ready to land on the beaches of the future with their latest game, Boom Beach. It’s currently seeing a soft launch in Canada, so we got on our boots and readied a dispatch on Supercell’s latest in this edition of It Came From Canada!
Boom Beach, like many other games including Clash of Clans, has two phases: building and combat. Building involves, well, building out a base. It’s very similar to other free-to-play building games: build resource stockades, material harvesters, and other handy buildings all set to wait timers that can be skipped with secondary currency. However, the interesting part begins with the combat.
The combat gameplay has players choosing which troops they want to launch onto the invading beach, with units like heavies able to withstand lots of blows on the front line while troopers hide safely behind them. From there on out the battles take place mostly automatically, but players can call in artillery strikes to help take out certain buildings so it’s not an entirely passive experience. Players spend gold to help uncover new parts of the world to go and attack – starting with CPU encounters before eventually getting to face other players by upgrading the radar to a higher level. Still, this is a strictly-solo affair for the early days of play.
It’s all a very familiar formula, but it’s one that’s certainly deeper than the average free-to-play game. It’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out in the coming weeks as it ramps up to a worldwide launch, and if long-term it winds up being much different from Clash of Clans. Still, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and Supercell is hardly going broke with their formula.