This is my own opinion, I really don't appreciate so much the freemium business model in games. I consider games as art and we, the developers , need money to be able to continue in this hard career so, I see this topic like I see museums, yes, you can go to a museum for free, but if you want to keep a piece of art from the exposition you have to pay good money for it, that, or take a picture instead.
I see services like Youtube, the various app-stores and websites and so on as the modern/evolved museums, where you can enjoy art -if you are a good seeker- and once you like a piece of what you saw, you can go to the store and get a copy, well, it is a personalized copy just for you, but price it is not so high as the original painting hehe
Well, I'm talking about games like these actually:
Cordy (1 & 2)
Paper Monsters (1 & 2)
or the recent Monument Valley
There are more like these games, like Tiny Wings and others, but the point here I'm talking about is feelings, the player experience, for those users-seekers of another colour in the emotions palette. I can't compare these pieces of art with other freemiums games, I feel like games made with monetization as starting point are not really traditional games, but a way of utterly claim the fishing of the whales users, which represents only a very few part of the people who could enjoy your product.
But the games I showed you, these are what I would like to have, to make and to see more. Notice that I'm not saying that freemium games are ugly, I would lie if I say so, there you have Hearthstone, that I really like and enjoy and it is a freemium, as an example of answer to question "are your not paying players valuable?", but they are Blizzard, not so indie ,hehe
To summarize, I have to say I'm not so good at monetization and therefore my successful business model is paid-app, I have tried in-app purchases and ads but they didnt work me for a while (some years) , I feel like a cheater, a scammer, a smoke seller,an addiction generator ,a drug dealer! (exaggeration) doing freemium and following the main stream, that nowadays seems to be the new rules, ergo, make a game with good quality at all levels : art, gfx, sfx, gameplay and then monetize it because it must be free.
An this, for me ,it is not good...not to mention the I dislike monetization part, I think it is like add poison to the cake, I know, I know, it should be the way you can add drama to a comedy, but we are obligated to add monetization to our games although it should not be the most important part of your product, it is actually what you are going to need in exchange of the experience of playing from the final user.
Then, what happens when your users are accommodated to a reality where games are free, who is the fraudster now? where is your god now?
Friends call me crazy for using the paid-model instead of in-app purchases, based on numbers, they are right , it is crazy, but, I really don't trust in in-app purchases, and I really trust in these kind of art-games formula with pay-model, in the people who is really interested in those. I think they are a reflection of ourselves, we spend entire days and nights developing them, translating our energy, feelings and emotions to a digital form, in different ways/shapes, to all the world.
So, my new game: