Friday, May 31, 2013

Can a Freemium game be worth your time?

If you're using android and looked up any games, you'd be familiar with seeing games for free. If you're curious, you'd think, well, how is this possible? Why would so many developers release stuff for free.

Well, to be frank, 90% of the time, the app or game, isn't worth shit.

I seriously tried to find a less coarse way to say this but I cannot. Most of the crap for free, is crap. If developers could defecate through their fingers, they would be able to recreate the freebie lists on Google Play store.

Gameplay on most free android games is usually incredibly shallow (even some paid ones). In addition to repetitive shallow gameplay, there's uncomfortable controls, advertisements, social logins, and in-game application purchases.

This is why the term "freemium" is used. It's free, but you end up paying for the experience in some other way, generally through annoyances, or IAP.

So looking at controls - just because it's touch doesn't mean i should be touching an image of the game that blocks my view. Seriously. I'm not transparent. make a button toward the edge of the screen mate! While i can see it works in some games - like pulling back a bird on a slingshot, I don't need to see it in games where there's a lot of action on the screen.
Advertisements - suck. Sure - use my bandwidth to download crappy advertisements of stuff i'll never buy, and just waste my time looking for the little "x" to click off. Stop delaying my getting to the actual game, and for the love of god, stop putting ads on the screen during actual gameplay. I don't mind buying games outright in the play-store if that gets me a no-ad version.
Social logins - NO. BAD. BAD developer. This is annoying. I don't need to know who did what when, with some score, and ... just NO! Annoying! Yes, there are some less intrusive versions out there where this doesn't suck, but don't keep throwing it in my face!
IAP (in-app purchases) - This is a slap in the face when you consider how much you may actually spend. Normally games force you to spend money on this by making the game extremely difficult without it some item only available for real money. Forcing people to buy items to progress in a game? LAME! Just avoid these if you can. Vote with your wallet.

There's major problems with this. Lets say you try an android game and spend money in IAP stuff. If you have to re-install, or upgrade your android device, all that money spent is gone. In a real game, you can regain your position through simply playing, you're SOL on a freemium IAP model.

Keeping advertising down to a minimum, and making IAP not a necessity can keep a developer's game from being completely asinine.

Now there ARE some freemium games that are actually decent.
I'm bringing up Real Racing 3 for a reason - it's both loved and hated. The reasons seem to stem from differences in playstyle.
Real Racing 3 is popular for a reason. The graphics are above the standard for android games. The control (touch) is especially simple to use, and there's a sense of realism, many console and even PC games often lack. No turning a corner at 200MPH here (I'm looking at you Need for Speed: Undercover). Slow the fudge down! Real Racing 3 is may remind you of the anime Initial D, in that Braking, and cornering rule this game.

While a lot of people dislike it, I think it manages to appease die hard IAP haters if you play in a particular manner.
Like many freemium games, there's 2 currencies. One - "$R" is easily earned, the other "Gold" is limited.
To not feel the sting of wait times, get more cars. When one is being fixed or delivered, play with another one. In a sense, it helps keep variety, since you'll find yourself playing many different cars instead of fixating on one, and eventually boring yourself.

There's a couple ridiculous expenditures - 2 cars that cost hundreds of "Gold" effectively preventing a full 100% completion of everything unless real money is spent, though that may take months to get anyway, so there's a lot of replay value regardless.
So, can a freemium game be worth your time? Apparently yes :)

Real Racing 3 employs a damage model for cars. servicing the cars (like an oil change) takes real time."Gold" is used to skip the wait. "Gold" is also used for instant car delivery, paint jobs, final upgrades on certain cars and a couple of cars. While the game is certainly doable without any of that, it does help. That said, you'll earn "Gold" over time through gaining race experience, and completing divisions.

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