is Freenium killing innovation?

Posted Aug 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm in Threads > Games

Hi all.

long time lurker, first time poster. Saw the Nexus 7 comp and thought it was a good time to vent my rage at a horrible mobile gaming trend – freenium.

I’ve been an avid mobile gamer since the early iphone and I admit, I completely understand the appeal of the freenium model for a game developer. It ensures that people at least check out your game, and provides you with an incredibly simple method of game development; make it open ended but with an extremely steed progression curve which requires IAP.

Unfortunately I feel it breed lazy game development. We’ve all seen it before, and quite a few companies are incredibly blatant with it; make the first level an open demo, and then anything after that requires mandatory purchasing of additional currency that can ONLY be done via IAP *cough* GLU *cough*

Whatever happened to DEVELOPING a game? interesting storylines, a REASONABLE increase of difficulty once a user becomes experienced well into the game, the unlocking of additional ‘expert’ moves/codes/tools/add ons once you reach a certain area? This all seems fairly basic, video game developers were handling this extremely well in the late 80′s for crying out loud.

Unfortunately however, mobile games are seen as a ‘pick up and play’ game style, where the average attention span is the length of your bus trip to work.

I’m hoping that with the increase of mobile gaming popularity, and it’s impending seemless integration into ‘gaming’ console status (especially with the upcoming android console) we see the likes of freenium as a horrible trend in a specific age of mobile gaming.

Now some freenium models are built ok. Dead Trigger for one, is extremely reasonable. I havent spent more than $10 on that game and I’ve enjoyed it. I don’t however, enjoy games that FORCE you to use credits/tickets to continue playing. Quite a few games with the freenium model employed this system and I can’t stand it (I can’t remember the name of them now as I deleted them straight away!)

Companies like Steam have proven that gamers will pay reasonable $ for quality gaming development in an convenient distribution channel. I hope this freenium trend dies out shortly. Unfortunately however, looking at the ‘top grossing’ apps in google play, I think it’s going to be around for quite a while. Lazy developers are earning quite good money by employing the same frustrating gaming system on all their games. Who really benefits? the developer earning easy money while their customers are frustrated. Awesome.