Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Price is Right? Mutant Mudds iOS


The perception of how much money games should cost in the iOS App Store, for example, is very different when compared to the Nintendo eShop and other digital outlets. This is probably largely due to the majority of the audience being casual players and/or users who want simple pleasures on their phones instead of in-depth hardcore gaming experiences due to the limited time they have available to devote to gaming on their phone. This perspective might be slowly changing as the once ‘casual player’ is gradually finding their appetite for games growing and their desire to play more games increases. But, that’s a different story…

Nevertheless, the stage has been set and price expectations have been cemented for the near-future. Games on the App Store must – for the most part – be free or inexpensive to purchase if they are to appeal to the masses.

I would like to present to you, yes you, a (hypothetical?) question to ponder and ultimately answer.

Question: How much would you pay for Mutant Mudds iOS?

Please choose one of the following:

Answer #1: Same as the Nintendo eShop price - $8.99.
“I would be happy to pay the same price as the Nintendo eShop version to have Mutant Mudds on my iPhone. It was worth $8.99 on the 3DS, and it is worth $8.99 on my phone. I think there should be a free demo though, which contains a couple of levels, so people can check it out.”


Answer #2: The typical App Store pricing of $1.99 or $0.99.
“I would never pay more than the normal pricing of Apps for Mutant Mudds – no matter what. I like the game and all, but playing it on the iPhone is not the same as a 3DS due to no 3D and no physical buttons. I still think there should be a free demo though, which contains a couple of levels, so people can check it out.”


Answer #3: Freemium with In-App purchases for convenience.
“I’ve never heard of this game, and there’s no way I’m paying anything for it before I can check it out. A demo of a few levels isn’t enough. I want to get it for free. If I like it I might be interested in paying small amounts – like $0.99 or $1.99 – for In-App purchases that unlock later levels sooner and/or power-ups sooner, but these should be optional because I also want to be able to play the whole game for free if I am good/patient enough.”


Answer #4: Other (please specify in the comments below).

42 comments:

  1. You're not really going to end up making everyone happy, no matter which you choose. Same price as eShop and you're downrated by entitled $0.99-or-bust iPhone gamers, price it at $0.99-$1.99 and you might tick off those who bought it on 3DS.

    In the end, you just have to price it the way you think will maximize its revenue, and tune out the haters. If you find a good price that works and makes you money, keep doing it. That way you'll have more money and can make more games. :)

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    1. Thanks for your support, Andrew. :)

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  2. The same price as the eShop,of course! It's the same game, why should the price change?

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    1. I agree in principle, but each market is different because of the audience's expectations. Plus, like Andrew replied below, it is lacking physical buttons and 3D.

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, that makes sense. However, I think that 1.99 or 0.99 is too low because it might make the customer think the game is smaller or simpler than what it actually is and while it might get the attention of "casual" players, someone looking for a full platforming experience might get turned off and assume it's just shovelware.

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    3. Yes, that is a good point.

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  3. I think the eShop price represent the value of the content but as an Android and iOS game

    First I would like to recommend asking your friends in the industry since asking customers might confuse you.


    Second let me be the first to confuse you.


    - Free if you want volume with low margins.

    - $.99 or $1.99 Standard pricing with possibility of opprotunity cost.

    - $8.99 too high for the platform but seems to be working for SqureEnix

    I would recommend offer free demo. $4.99 for full but with less content than eshopS

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  4. > The same price as the eShop,of course! It's the same game, why should the price change?

    Not necessarily, the controls will be worse since it's touch-based. That might justify a lower price point.

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  5. Well, I won't buy it on iOS because I already have it on 3DS. That said, I think your best option is #2. Yes, that may anger some 3DS owners, and it might hurt your revenue from that version. However, you need to balance the need for new customers and greater revenue sources along with keeping existing loyal customers happy. So long as you keep supporting the eShop, I will more than likely buy those games over other platforms that I use.

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  6. I recommend finding a middle ground between the eShop price and the bottom-of-the-barrel iOS prices. People have been more and more willing to pay a few dollars extra these days. Maybe you can do an introductory sale of $.99 and then increase the price to maybe $4 after a week or two.

    The game may be worth $9, but that's a harder sell on the iOS market so that's probably not a good idea. And I don't recommend doing a free app with IAP purchases either. Even if you spell out very clearly that the free app is essentially a demo and that the user needs to pay to unlock the rest, the general audience STILL often cries foul and claims to be duped. You see it all the time in the reviews for games like Ghost Trick, etc. There's a lot of animosity surrounding IAP and you should probably just avoid that to maximize good will.

    Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Craig. Good suggestion.

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  7. I would like to ask you a question and try to base your price on it. Do you think that a 2D platformer as a genre would appeal to the majority of iOS gamers (including Moms, dads, grandpa's and 2 year olds) or is it going to be a niche product?!

    You need to figure out the equilibrium price because there will be a ceiling to demand since it is not as accessible as Where's My Water to your average iOS gamer.

    Don't rush with your decision.

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  8. Sticky situation, eh?

    What about a free version with no powerups and about 10 levels, then $1.99 for the full, original version of the game? Then you could add on the Granny levels as paid DLC for another $1.99 or so? You'd be straddling the tiers between the Gameloft $6.99 games and the regular $0.99 games while simultaneously giving people options.

    This way, iOS owners could choose how much they want to spend and how much of the experience they want. eShop owners wouldn't feel as slighted because we got the update for free. Of course, getting it all on iOS would be cheaper overall, but it's not in 3D now is it? :)

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  9. Since it's a niche product cross out the freemium and the $.99-$1.99 price structures

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  10. I would recommend this article if you missed it first:
    http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/10/outwitters-sales-disaster/

    Second, does Apple have a price point? LEAD by example I say. If you THINK Mutant Mudds is worth $4, $5, or even the original $9 or $10 on other systems, why not try with that first if they allow you, then adjust accordingly?

    Again, I don't know how the iOS market locks prices, like Nintendo unfortunately did with the WiiWare titles, but if they allow price drops. Higher then lower? Maybe try the opposite? "Free for 30 days, then $2?"

    BTW, our oldest (not yet 3.5) attempts to play Mutant Mudds on my PC, and calls it by its proper name.

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    1. Yes, I read that article the other day. Freemium is a delicate thing.

      I think reducing the price on iOS is possible, and something that could certainly prove to be helpful.

      Glad to hear your 3.5 year old knows it's priorities. ;)

      Delete
  11. I believe it should be the typical App Store pricing. Maybe you could sell it for $0.99 and then make new items around 50 cents to download, or even $1 level packs. I think you should try to keep the overall download price pretty low though...you guys could get TONS of money out of this.

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  12. In my opinion, the price should be the average of the eShop & the app store price.

    let's say 4 or 5 dollars.

    Why? Mutant Mudds is a great game and it should not be ever treated as a normal iPhone game.

    And we can't let all the 3DS buyers feel angry if they payed nine times the app store price.

    And since it doesn't support 3D, you can cut the original 3DS price a little bit.

    4 or 5 dollars looks appropriate to me. Or 3 dollars while charging for the granie levels as a DLC.

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  13. My question is more about if Mutant Mudds is the right game for iOS. I think precision controls heavily factor into the enjoyment of the game, so I wonder if losing those is a deal-breaker to potential customers, or if not having them and compensating with a lower price to fix the price:value ratio would work.

    As I'm not entirely familiar with the costs of development, would it be likely that a new game tailored to iOS and with the needs and desires of iOS players could be created on a similar budget to what it would take to port Mutant Mudds to iOS?

    Or maybe the answer is to do both? If you had to pick one or the other, porting Mutant Mudds instead of creating a new game could be more of a concern about opportunity cost. I imagine MM could easily turn a profit on iOS, but the question is...if you created a game specifically for iOS, would it have done much better? And how does the port of Mutant Mudds with its iOS control scheme impact your reputation as an iOS/general video game developer? Are there ramifications for that later? Would a new game perhaps increase the likelihood for new customers to bite (and existing ones, too) versus the number that may bite with Mutant Mudds iOS?

    These are all really good questions, and I figure you've probably thought about all of these things, but I hope maybe something I asked about or mentioned helps in some way. Please continue making fun games! I'm excited to see what you have in-store next for the eShop! :)

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    1. I believe Mudds is a good fit for iOS. Not as perfect a fit as 3DS, but still valid.

      Porting Mudds is much quicker and less expensive than creating a new game - for sure.

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Delete
  14. I say charge $3 for it but do not include any of the granny levels, charge $2 for them as an addon plus $2 for any additional packs you may want to include down the line. That way you aren't bundled in with the cheap shitty crowd yet 3DS owners still feel they are getting a good deal as they have been getting the addon content for free.

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  15. I'm part of the $3-$5 mindset with the Granny levels as DLC. You know all this of course, but for the discussion, this is my thinking behind that pricing.

    What I have read consistently is that there are as many problems with going straight to the .99 cent price point as there are with pricing too high. The obvious one being at .99 cents the only discount option for having a 'sale' is free. Where I think this becomes especially relevant is in the fact that post mortems of iOS apps regularly focus on the importance of seeing when your app is getting awareness/traction and being able to respond to that. Lastly, the free trial is a must, with the in-app option to purchase the full game and keep playing on the spot.

    It's really awesome to see MM going multi-platform, I hope it just explodes for you guys!

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  16. $4.99 seems reasonable as its not quite the 3DS version, but certainly more substantial than a $.99 game.

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  17. $2.99 - $3.99 is reasonable I think, the game is much fuller than most typical $0.99 - $1.99 releases, but lacking some handy things from 3DS like 3D and physical controls as some others have mentioned.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I see the logic in that. Thank you.

      Delete
  18. Personally, if it's up to $10, I would not hesitate about buying this. I don't have a 3DS and my PC is in parts (unless it'd work on Mac OS X somehow), so iOS would be the only platform for me. But realistically, I think $2/$3 for the game + $2 for DLC would be the most sensible balance between making it profitable and not upsetting every single person in the "complaining about spending $2 on a game for their $500 device" demographic.

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  19. You should definitely go with the freemium model. The barrier to entry will be super low, and TONS of more people will actually download it to at least try it out.

    And if they like it, they'll pay for more levels. If they don't really like it, at least they know about Renegade Kid and Mutant Mudds now.

    :)

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    1. Yes, that is certainly the appeal of freemium. It is a risk, but one that could pay off.

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Delete
  20. I defiantly agree that ideally, it should be the same price on mobiles, not because I'm a 3DS owner and would be upset otherwise, just because I think the work and effort you guys put in to the game deserves to be rewarded, regardless of platform.

    However, the way things are, I think its best have a one time payment of £0.99 - £4.00. I think that pricing more than makes up for the lack of 3D and physical controls. And maybe having the Grannie levels as DLC for £1 or something like too.

    Hope you find a way that works for you, you guys deserve it. :D

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  21. I'd probably pay $6.99 or $7.99 at the most, but even $8.99 isn't that much more expensive than titles like Infinity Blade.

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  22. I'm a Galaxy Note user who has never played Mutant Mudds and doesn't own a 3DS. However, I have played with the 3DS a few times and am generally interested in video games. My two cents:

    -Mutant Mudds seems to be extremely reliant on tight controls. For touchscreens, this sucks. There is no way around it. If you look at the most popular smartphone and tablet games, you fill find passive, slow-paced simple games: poker, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, etc.

    -The 3DS' bread and butter, judged by its best-selling titles, is in platformers, action, fighting, and racing games. Mutant Mudds is a mix of platforming and action from what I can tell. All of these are unsatisfying on handhelds. Yeah, yeah, Pokémon / Nintendogs / Brain Age could probably be made on a smartphone, since they don't require frantic action. But if you check the list of best-selling 3DS games, I think you'll agree with my assessment.

    -I'm not aware of *any* eshop game making its way to smartphones. There are several examples of the reverse (Cut the Rope, Monster Shooter, SpeedX, Gunman Clive is coming soon as well). The 3DS does have its share of slow-paced games in which controls are not really crucial, but still, the point remains: the 3DS can handle smartphone games with ease, while smartphones can't handle 3DS games. It's not about power, but about controls (and with the XL,I would also argue it's about sheer screen size and the usefulness of two separate screens).

    -But there's GTA! GTA III is on phones for five bucks and it's selling a lot! Well, yes, GTA III is available for five bucks. I bought it from Google Play (the first GTA I bought, in fact) and uninstalled it after a couple of days. You may have noticed that, for a series with immense brand power, BTA III has sold 500.000 to 1 million units on Google Play - hell, San Andres sold 27 million to a smaller installed base. (The App Store doesn't reveal numbers, but Android alone has 500 million users). And a good chunk of those who bought it may have been people like me, who just had played GTA before and wanted to "repeat" the experience. It's not that I have any positive opinion of the game, or that I heard any positive feedback.

    -But GTA doesn't sell because five-buck games on Android don't sell! Sorry, but that's bullshit. Look at Kairosoft, which also prices its games at five dollars. They have several titles in the 100.000-500.000 sales range, just under GTA, and their brand power is minuscule by comparison. Their 30 or so games (Enlighs plus Japanese versions), which they churn out at a rate of one per month, have probably sold millions. Their graphics, hours of gameplay, and content in general are much poorer, smaller, and shorter than GTA. If you look at it the objective way, GTA seems a bargain for $5, while Kairosoft seems overpriced.

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  23. -If you actually read GTA's reviews, many are mediocre. I'm repeating myself, but this huge mega-game doesn't work on 10-minute gaming spans, and the controls are only acceptable. By contrast, Kairosoft's games are replete with raving reviews from fans who eagerly await the next installment, devour it, and wait again.
    (Disclosure: I don't personally find Kairosoft's games fun, but a good chunk of people seem to do. And certainly, they seem far more satisfied than the average GTA downloader).

    -So if you look at it from the user point of view, GTA on phones isn't fun. Kairosoft is. And that's what matters.

    -The same Kairosoft vs GTA / Shadowgun / etc comparison applies to a lot of other "AAA" mobile games, which usually receive tons of hype from the press. "Consoles are doooooomed!". Then, said game is released, and...nothing happens.

    I've already played through Shadowgun - it's a shallow, boring, forgettable experience and nobody will trade his console for that. Again, again, again: THE CONTROLS! there's a reason FPS have never made it on handhelds, let alone smartphones. (I know Shadowgun is third-person, but it's close enough to an FPS).

    -You may have noticed that the exact same game is often $10-20 cheaper on PC than on consoles. Why don't people rush to buy the PC version? Because the disadvantages of a PC can't be overcome with a lower price (playing on a chair rather than a sofa, having to install stuff, etc.).

    Tl, dr: test Mutant Mudds on a smartphone before releasing it. Test it thoroughly, because even if "the game is the same", the experience may not be. And user experience is the key. If you think the experience of Mutant Mudds on a touchscreen is worth $8.99, go ahead.

    But personally, I would suggest something around $2.99. It separates you from the army of free or $0.99 apps, without going premium.


    PS: yes, I had to split the comment in two. I hope my opinion was useful!

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  24. Honestly, I would never buy iOS games that's $8.99 or above. It's just not worth the money, especially if the game has low replay value. $4.99 price range however, is alright with me but depending on the games like the ones from id Software and Epic Games/ Chair.

    Though freemium would please every consumer around, I don't feel that a game like Mutant Mudds deserves that kind of treatment as well. I would say that the price should be between $0.99 - $1.99.

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  25. $4.99 seems like you're paying for the quality, but being discounted for the lack of buttons. Really just sell it to make money from the largest install base possible so we can see your 3DS FPS, I really want some shooting action on that thing.

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  26. i think slightly less then the eshop would be fair, considering the controls will take a dive.

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  27. I'd say reuse the assets already created and repurpose them into something that works for the iOS, like say Maximillian's Mutant Mudds Run. Given the precision needed to play Mutant Mudds and the lack of precision in virtual controls, creating a new experience aimed for the device would be best. I could easily see and would eagerly anticipate a MM done in the vein of Jetpack Joyride for my iPad.

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  28. How much would I pay? Hmm.. let's make it an even $5 (maybe $4), due to lack of 3D and (more importantly) lack of buttons.

    But i -as well as people like me- have Mutant Mudds from the eshop, because I am more tailored to that market. If you're going into iOS, it would probably make more sense to make it freemium, but making half or more of the game purchasable for the $4-5. But that's just my opinion on the masses of iOS purchasers

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  29. People who complain about the controls on ios gaming and doubting whether or not it will have tight enough controls for this game, should really actually play good ios platformer first. League of Evil, Mikey Shorts, Mos Speedrun, these are fantastic platformers that have wonderful controls on touchscreen, and it's really not that much of an issue as long as it's implemented well.

    My opinion on pricing would be $2-3 as a launch sale. Stay away from Freemium, because most gamers who are interested in this kind of game usually despise free to play, and unless the whole buying the contents thing are fair, you'll just get labelled as greedy and be cast with the other iap money hungry gamemakers, because the app store have hard wired a lot of us iphone/ipod touch user like me to think like that.

    You are able to change the price whenever you want, so maybe after the launch sale of 0.99 - 2.99 , raise it up to 4-5 perhaps, because the appstore market fluctuates constantly, and you want your game to be accessible at the beginning and let the reviews flow in.

    TL;Dr :

    1-3 dollars as launch sale, pretty please!

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