Gone are the days, when after installing a game and paying its price, you could enjoy it seamlessly without any ads or extra purchases. Today game developers in their desire to earn more and more money pester the players with annoying ads, notifications, and make their game unfairly difficult just to force in app purchase. This trend has made it really difficult to really enjoy a game, as the players are clueless whether they could even complete a game without IAP(S). Those games force people to buy game currency (stars, credits, diamonds etc) to proceed any further.
For instance, Cut the Rope 2 is too difficult without any purchases, and gets to a point where going any further is an uphill task. Though this strategy might help companies earn money in the short term. But the brand image and user base gets a hit by such short sighted decisions of companies. So, the game could not get as popular as its prequel.
The situation is comparatively better in iOS, but in android, where users can pirate an app effortlessly, most developers have no choice but to integrate in app purchases in their games as in app purchases are comparatively less prone to hacks and cheats. Many Android users ignorantly download premium apps and games unknowingly from shady sources unknowingly which installs malware and adware along with the apps. Thus the reputation of the game also goes down as it was evident from the case of Pokemon Go, which my friends declined to download as they had already downloaded many adwares from Google Play Store.
So, naturally the developers are forced to think of the right way to monetize their games without harassing the end users. This question has no such “right”. One may argue that in app purchases is the way to go. But, it is also evident that in app purchases are highly polarising as there is a new trend between gamers to condemn games with in app purchases. So there must be a balance between financial desires and good gameplay. This is the reason why seemingly simple games, which preserve the philosophy of simplicity and fairness, are sought after by a wider audience. For example Crossy Road the recent mobile sensation had in app purchases but never annoyed its users or added superpowers to the game’s character. Instead, all the purchases were just visual in nature.
This leads game designers to rethink of what a good mobile game is. Can an average game developer earn money in this huge but intensely saturated market? What should be the strategy for indie game developers to gain traction? Unfortunately, there is no direct answer, however as per my experience, it all depends upon the game you’ve made. Think out of the box. Make its graphics (with special emphasis on icon) visually appealing to your target audience. Avoid video or banner ads which interrupt the gameflow. Small ads at the end of a game or level are just fine. For your first game, keep it completely free and try to gain some traction like this fine new arcade game in Google Play. This game,
The game is indeed catchy and makes you fall in love with the beautiful graphics and catchy music. It is indeed a great execution of a good concept and this is the way to go for indie developers. Even though it has not yet gained many downloads, but its rating just shows the mettle of the game. It has got five star rating from first twelve reviewers. This game is free of ads and in app purchases and is “Easy to Learn Hard to Master”.