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On iOS, I find it is more usual to see light versions of a game for free (with ads and less features) and a full version for a cost and all the features.

On Android, I see more games that have both a full version for free and one for a cost. One with ads and the other without.

On WP7, how are games usually priced?

Talking about a rather simple and small game here and I'm trying to figure out how to price it. I'm thinking of going for a 1$ app with full features no ads, but I'm not so sure. Would it be more profitable to put it for free with ads instead? How do other developers usually make that choice?

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3 Answers 3

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If your game has little or no replay value (which is not a bad thing, but it does change the way that I think you should price your wares) then you should charge your fee upfront. Get your money and be done. It will reduce the number downloads of your game gets, but at least you will make some money. Since you anticipate 30-60 minutes of total playtime for your game showing ads wont make you very much money. Ads supported games/apps work best when there is a strong reason to come back and play or use the app again (and thus see more ads).

Based on your comments, question, I think that $.99 is the most you should charge for a game that plays through in 30-60 minutes. Most short games are in that price point. I think that Angry Birds (mentioned in another answer) is the exception likely due to its low/free cost on other platforms. Most Xbox Live games on WP marketplace are in the $2.99 range, but most of these provide at least a few hours of gameplay before being boring, and IMHO many provide tens of hours of play.

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Thank you very much, that answers my question pretty well. I'll go with that then. –  Jesse Emond Jul 18 '12 at 19:54

From the various reports, tweets, articles I've read it still seems that unless you're an Xbox Live game the best way to earn money is via ads.

For example and the most successful indie dev so far Elbert Perez *(based on 12 month old data). He's recently tweeted that his ad revenue for the past two months (as at July 2012) has been abysmal though.

Our first non ad supported game made $204 in the first year as an XNA game. Just enough to cover the App Hub costs for two years.

Here's another example of a profitable WP7 dev in Australia.

The stats bear out using trial > full game increases downloads by 70x and conversion by 7x but if your game is only 30 mins long in total with little replay value, you'll want to be careful not to give too much away in your trial.

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But my game is very simple. It can be completed in about half an hour or an hour. Which means that players will play it for half an hour and probably never touch it again. Wouldn't ads be useless in this case? How does ad revenue actually work? People have to click ads or simply see them? I thought putting ads was worth it when you had a game that had a long life expectancy, which is not really my case. I'd like to have your opinion about that. –  Jesse Emond Jul 17 '12 at 13:19
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If your game has no replay value I think I'd be disappointed with 30 mins of play. You're probably right though, ads make less sense in this context. –  Tristan Warner-Smith Jul 18 '12 at 14:53
    
Alright good to know. I'm not saying that it has no replay value, simply that the concept is not one of continuous gameplay, such as DrawSomething or games like that. It has a sequence of levels that can be completed, rather than infinite gameplay. Should have expressed it this way, my bad. –  Jesse Emond Jul 18 '12 at 19:52
    
I'll keep that in mind for my next games with more complex mechanics and longer gameplay time, thank you very much for your help. –  Jesse Emond Jul 18 '12 at 19:55

DISCLAIMER: This answer is based on some spontaneous research, but I hope it sets you off in the right direction.

A good start would be to do a bit of market research on the Windows Marketplace website. http://www.windowsphone.com/en-GB/games (British localisation. You can change the localisation at the top-right of the website).

From my initial impression looking through myself, most developers seem to go straight in with pay-for full-version games. There are a few cases of demo or free versions being released, but none of which are under the XBox Live tag. ( http://www.windowsphone.com/en-GB/search?q=demo ).

In the XBoxLive submission tutorial, there is mention of, "Remember that the .ccgame file must come from an Xbox 360 project in XNA Game Studio, and must be a complete game with no errors." ( http://create.msdn.com/en-US/home/about/how_it_works_submit ). This could also mean that developers cannot submit demo versions of their games to the XBL section of the marketplace, as ordinarily you would see demo versions floating around (to not see an Angry Birds demo is a surprise to me).

As for the pricing itself, it seems to range anywhere between 50 pence and £8-£10. The price seems to be entirely dependant on content and/or the brand which is being sold. Based on this, for a "simple and small" game, $1 seems reasonable enough. Games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja sell for 79 pence ($1), and you rarely see full-featured games going for cheaper than that.

Cheers.

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Interesting. From my own research, it seems like a 1$ price is pretty common. I think I'll start out with a price and see how it goes. If I notice that no one is buying it, I'll think about using ads. –  Jesse Emond Jul 17 '12 at 13:20
    
On the WP marketplace, the option is Free, $.99, $1.29 and up from there. So if you want to charge, $.99 is the cheapest you can go. –  Nate Jul 18 '12 at 17:25

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