Don't miss
  • 2,232
  • 6,844
  • 6097
  • 134

Activision charging for Pitfall could make sense, But not at 69p

By on August 10, 2012

In response to my post on Activision’s baffling pricing decision for Pitfall yesterday, Will Luton of Mobile Pie tweeted:

"You know Pitfall! Has IAP, right? They could Peggle to free whenever. Going free is most powerful when you’ve been paid."

Will is, of course, totally right. If you launch with a price – any price – you have a powerful marketing weapon in your arsenal: the decision over when to go free.

  • When you go free, people will download your game, in case you change your mind and put the price up again (It works if you just reduce the price too, see Steam sales)
  • Bots will automatically pick up the price change, and there are websites and other places where you can alerts about games that go free
  • Services like Free App A Day work much better when you were previously free

I can absolutely see why launching as a paid app makes sense. It is easier to drop your price than raise it. It gets the biggest fans to pay a full price that they are happy to pay to get it first before you play with the price to draw in less committed players. The price drop will give the game a secondary marketing boost (see Star Wars: The Old Republic for how this is playing out right now.)

I still would have launched Pitfall at almost any other price point than 69p.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: