Under the Bridge

Freemium Design

So if you’ve been watching the iOS games market at all, you’ve no doubt noticed that freemium games are raking it in both by downloads

…Overall, 8,017 iPhone apps offered in-app purchase, and 2,156 of them were freemium games. But despite only accounting for 10.8 percent of all free games, freemium titles made up 94 of the top 150 free iPhone games in March, or 63 percent. And they make up 42.17 percent of downloads within the top downloaded apps….

and also by gross revenue, as any look at the charts will tell you. And although the recent brouhaha over Apple getting in a snit over strategies like Tapjoy for driving installs may be a little bit of a speed bump, we’ll go out on a limb here and say it’s not going to affect this trend overmuch.

Soooooo, it would behoove one to make freemium a design cornerstone of your next game, yes? And there’s been quite a good series of posts on that on the W3i blog, and latterly syndicated with Mobile Orchard, logically enough called the Mastering Freemium Game Mechanics Series announced here:

How To Plan An Effective Reward Schedule

Avoiding Inadvertent In-App Purchases

When and why to use alerts

Discounting Alerts

Threshold Alerts

Social Alerts

Lifetime Value, know it well

Revenue per daily active user (RPDAU)

Calculating retention rates

Lifetime value: bringing it all together

Didn’t realize there was such a science to the design there, did you? But yes, if you’re planning to actually make a living off your games … as a distressingly low percentage of us do … then time spent working through this will be time well spent, indeed!

UPDATES:

Using Social Disincentives as a Strategy for User Retention

How to build a freemium mobile game: Go cute or go home

Designing waiting time in Freemium games

The Complete Guide To Freemium Business Models

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