It’s back to school time and class is now in session. Welcome to the GeekGamerGuy School of App Prosperity where you will learn the ins and outs of app development and how to successfully launch and optimize your app.

See the full introduction here.

Monetization 201: The Freemium option and you?

The word ‘freemium’ is a recent, but important, addition to the design universe lexicon. Freemium, or free to play, apps have rapidly ascended to becoming the standard among game apps.

A freemium app allows the player to experience at least the basics of a game and then pay to upgrade this experience.

There are several ways to make money and prosper in the freemium model including:

  • Offering upgrades to existing items in the game for purchase. Example: Marvel Avengers Alliance
  • Speeding up in-game processes such as reducing building times. Example: Jurassic Park Builder
  • Selling additional levels or modes to a game. Example: Vector
  • Leveraging advertising platforms. Make sure the sdk for your platform is always up to date to ensure a steady stream of cash flow. Example: GeekGamerGuy

There are several advantages and disadvantages to this more service oriented model.

Pro Freemium Model Points

  • Players get to try before they buy so with good retention mechanics you can keep a customer around until you crack their wallets open.
  • The freemium model has users more open to in-app purchases since they didn’t pay for the game in the first place.
  • Currency sales can be boosted with sales and special currency package deals.
  • In-app purchase items sales can be enhanced with holiday or event items.

Con Freemium Model Points

  • There is a perception of low quality with free games. This bias is rapidly disappearing as the quality bar for all games rises across the board.
  • The free to play market is very crowded and getting more crowded all the time so competition is fierce. 

Is freemium for me?

The free to play model has rapidly gone from a negatively regarded model to an industry standard. The freemium model can be very successful if your game has a well-balanced economy, reasonably priced currency and good retention mechanics built in. Before deciding to make an app freemium ask yourself a few questions and see if these help you decide.

  • Does my app have enough in app purchases to be profitable without being premium?
  • Does my app have good retention mechanics to keep the players coming back for more?
  • Does my app have enough opportunities in the store to take advantage of holidays and events?

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