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Are in-app purchases effective?

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By KidCarter93, Retired Forum Moderator on 6th April 2013, 03:10 PM
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As the title says, are in-app purchases as effective as I'd like to think they are?

As we're all fully aware, there are a lot of people around the internet who will do whatever they can to get a game or app that they shouldn't be able to.
Obviously developers have to make money when they choose to because otherwise they could be making a loss and not want to continue to develop any more. What is their best option to make money?

1) They could have a price on their app/game but once paid for, no more money will need to be spent in the app/game.
2) They could use the popular method of creating a free version and a paid version.
3) Have the app/game free of charge but have in-app purchases to make some money from it.

There are of course downsides to each of the options above but in my mind, the best option is 3) because it's not as easy to be able to get around the paying system. The only way around, that I can currently think of, would be by using cheat systems such as GameCih.
Whereas with the other 2 options, it's fairly easy to be able to bypass the required payment.

A perfect example of in-app purchases working is with Shadowgun Deadzone.
If the app had not been free, chances are I wouldn't have been interested in it because I couldn't test it before buying.
As the game is free, I tested the game out and because I thoroughly enjoy the game, I've since bought in game gold numerous times and will continue to do so.

I know that not everyone will have the same mentality as me but it proves, in my case, that in-app purchases work.

What are your thoughts on in-app purchases or what do you feel are the benefits of simply putting a price on the app/game?
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8th April 2013, 07:58 PM |#2  
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From my experience, In App Billing is really good.
In my truck parking game, 3D Truck Parking, there are about 4 level packs for free and 1 that you have to buy with IAB. I must say that I got a lot of purchases daily!
7th May 2013, 09:51 AM |#3  
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IAB is better, you don't have to maintain two different versions, its easy to set up. Also users can't cancel an order they make through IAB & its linked to their accounts. On a normal paid app you can copy the apk and cancel the order, making it easy to steal.
14th May 2013, 12:42 PM |#4  
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When i started to work with android app i did two version free and paid. Now i'm sure that it's wrong. One free application with in-app payments is the best choise.
15th May 2013, 10:54 PM |#5  
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Hi Guys!

I'm writing my academic thesis about the market of the app stores and I would like to interview some developers about the monetization, revenue models etc... If you could answer some questions please contact me at It would be a great help! Thank you very much!
16th May 2013, 03:08 PM |#6  
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Freemium and IAB

I believe Freemium is a good model for many apps, specially games.
And IAB is the best option to support the Freemium model, to my experience.
I tried other options such as free app with paid apk acting as an unlock key, which is a quite popular model on the Play Store, but not as powerful and flexible as IAB.
So I would really recommend IAB, specially latest version 3 which is easier to use.
Make sure you use the helper class provided by Google, but be careful, there are a few bugs in it...Look for fixes in stackoverflow !

Good luck!
27th May 2013, 04:41 PM |#7  
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I can certainly say I wish I had implemented in app purchasing instead of a free and paid version of the same app. As mentioned before, the ease of not having to maintain two versions, as well as the advantage of free app entry is a big plus. Definitely the way to go if the app is designed in a way that makes sense for that style.
13th June 2013, 02:42 PM |#8  
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In-apps are gr8, the only problem is that the app must be developed rly good (if not excelent i.e. nice in-game economy) to encurage ppl to use them. Freemium FTW!
17th July 2013, 06:13 PM |#9  
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I would love to move to IAB but I already have a paid/free app combo in the store. That would just be another app to maintain

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22nd July 2013, 10:54 AM |#10  
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Just to say, Google Play bans ALL apps with in-app purchase here.
Besides, I can't but any apps in GP.
What a shame, Google.
22nd July 2013, 12:09 PM |#11  
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F2P is here to stay
When you look at the top grossing list on both Google Play and iTunes you will see that, in fact, free-to-play titles make more money than paid titles. Of course, market for premium titles will still exist, especially for high-quality utility apps but in games F2P is dominating and, I think, this trend will continue.

As you experienced yourself, this model is super-convenient for players, you can test a game and, if interested, pay for additional items, etc. The only one thing which is tricky is keeping balance, ie. not making a game pay-to-win.

Last but not least, it's so much more exciting from a dev perspective to have 1 million of players enjoying your title than 10k Making money of them is yet another matter.
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