I'm trying to decide between a paid game and a free to play game. Is there research on the pros and cons of each one. I would really appreciate some concrete data on this and not just opinions. This is for mobile (currently iOS with Android later) game.
There are quite a few resources to refer to. First thing to note is that 93% of the top 100 grossing games use in-app purchasing so that by itself means something. Here is a research by flurry showing the dominance of in-app purchase dominance as a monetization model for mobile games. This is from about a year ago and the trend became stronger since:
Part of the reasons why free 2 play works well:
- It allows you to generate virality and traction with the free players
- It allows users to get addicted to the game before deciding how much to pay. In turn this increases the chance they will pay more - $14 on average according to flurry.
On the flip side - you should keep in mind that Virtual goods requires more effort to develop and optimize and you should probably invest some time reading game design resources that deal with building virtual economies. Here are some resources on that:
- Ben Cousins talk on Optimizing free to play for Battlefield Heroes
- Simon Ludgate also has a few interesting books and posts about this subject
Still working on getting you more resources and will edit that in shortly.
It depends on the game you are trying to make, the decision is made before the game is made not after. F2P that involves micro transaction and monetization is integrated into the game design, does your game use boost to speed up game progression? does it offer something new and rewarding to the players after purchasing parts of the game, if you design the game using F2P model then the revenue model is naturally F2P.
On the other hand if you design your game with tradition content, levels or expansion it is naturally fit for one purchase. Some time this can work well for small projects especially if your game doesn't concern player persistence in the world.