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GDotD - IN-APP PURCHASING
by Brandon Kidwell on 08/06/14 01:29:00 am

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

I decided that it would be easier to post as often as I can rather than stress a post every day. I will try to post every day but I may fall behind a day or so from time to time. Continuing on!

This Article touches on some important topics. One that stands out to me is how the future generations of gamers and game developers will take some of today’s practices as the norm. In-app purchases are not evil, but the way that many developers handle them “currently” is going to hurt the industry. Basically this is something that can be avoided if we take actions now to try and stop it.

What’s the issue?

Games are meant to be entertainment. Just like any other source of entertainment the goal is to provide this entertainment for a fee. Different models of payment helps different types of games. MMORPGs can benefit from subscription fees because it allows the developer to continue making content. Many games can be sold as a copy and allow the player to play the content without every paying another dollar. Free games like League of Legends can provide cosmetic and booster services for money but allow players to play the game for free. All of these work so what makes in-app purchases the center of attention?

In-app purchases commonly revolve around the players ability to play the game. i.e. if the player is trying to do something in a game like Clash of Clans they are constantly bombarded with “wait to play.” The player has to wait long amounts of time to play the game, the part that is supposed to be entertainment is locked. However for a fee the player can purchase a resource to move along at a faster speed, most of the time instantly as if nothing had stopped them. This is bad because it feeds off of a consumer “instant gratification.” Yes it can be considered the players choice to make the payment but doesn’t this shatter the integrity of a game? 

The more we promote this kind of business the faster we are going to burn ourselves. At a point we will be more interested in how fast we can get money out of people rather than trying to create amazing, fascinating, artistic, challenging, and fun games. Let me provide another example. A player is given the choice to cheat or not cheat. Cheating means that they win faster sacrificing the challenge of the game but gaining the instant gratification of winning. It is the players choice, but this is against the spirit of the rules and it breaks the games integrity. What is the point of a game if there is no challenge or actual achievement? You can make instant gratification games that do not funnel money from the player, it may mean some thinking and creativity but I promise it is there.

So the next time you want to go see a movie just imagine that the lady at the front says “Oh you can see a movie for free.” You go into the theater start watching and then about 15 minutes into the movie it stops. The screen shifts to “Thanks for watching so far, if you would like to continue watching juts pay $5 and we will continue the movie. If not please come back tomorrow at 4PM.

Practice maintaining integrity! What are your thoughts on this? Do in-app purchases like this create a serious issue or does it not matter?


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