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Ten Gamesbrief articles Jonathan Ross should read
It’s just been announced that Jonathan Ross has started a games studio. Hotsauce interactive is said to be staffed by a number of experienced developers, and has released an iOS game called Cacha Cacha Aliens. Ross and Stephen Fry provide vocal talents to the space exploration game, which is priced at 69p in the iTunes store. According to Gamesbriefer Oscar Clark, at the Bafta event where he announced the opening of the studio he criticised free-to-play, claiming that too many freemium games are poor quality.
I’m quite a fan of Jonathan Ross, so I decided to put together a list of Gamesbrief articles that I think he should read; whether he intends to change his mind about free-to-play or not.
Why you shouldn’t launch at 69p
Let’s get the awkward bit out of the way. At Gamesbrief, we’re not fond of the 69p price point. We think it devalues your game, limits your revenue and limits distribution by creating a barrier to entry for players who just want to give your game a try before fully committing to it. Jonathan, if you want to hear us out, here are some posts debating the topic that we published when Activision launched Pitfall for 69p:
The case for free-to-play
I couldn’t go on without sending you to a few articles explaining why we think your game would thrive if it was free-to-play. Here are some of our best posts about going free.
Why your game should be free to play
Whales, power laws and the future of media
A debate on free-to-play
The case for being expensive
Ross didn’t just criticise free-to-play; he said that there needs to be a diverse ecosystem of business models in the industry. There will always be a role for premium alongside free. We completely agree. Here are some posts about the limitations of free to play and the role of premium.
Cacha Cacha Aliens sounds like a worldly game, with items to collect and areas to explore. Last spring, I looked at Jetpack Joyride, Final Fantasy and Infinity Blade II to explain why games based on virtual economic activity work well during a time of real-world economic gloom. Along the way, I highlight some of the ways that games give players the sense of economic agency that they might not get in real life; regardless of whether the game is free-to-play, paymium or an old-fashioned boxed product.
Oh, and Jonathan: if you ever want to write a guest post about why you’ve chosen the 69p price point, you would be totally welcome here