Are in-app purchases effective?

Search This thread

KidCarter93

Retired Forum Moderator
Mar 26, 2012
14,554
7,554
27
Coventry, UK
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?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinny899

tlovidiu

Senior Member
Jan 20, 2012
79
51
28
Satu Mare
www.ovilex.com
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! :)
 

nishyt

Member
Nov 1, 2011
21
2
Mumbai
entranced.in
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.
 

mgrmobi

Member
Mar 14, 2013
26
11
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.
 

H4nkMoody

Member
Jan 29, 2012
11
0
Question

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 [email protected] It would be a great help! Thank you very much!
 

appyhand

New member
May 16, 2013
4
1
Chambéry
www.appyhand.com
Freemium and IAB

Hi,

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!
Eric
 

creatiive

Member
May 26, 2013
16
0
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.
 

viper2g1

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2009
150
9
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 :(

Sent from my Nexus 4 using xda app-developers app
 

cities516

Senior Member
Dec 19, 2012
928
3,308
Taipei
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.
 
Last edited:

tom.mleko

Member
Jul 22, 2013
16
4
dataspin.io
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.
 

Archaic1881

Senior Member
Jan 4, 2011
259
64
As a user I still like the idea of purchasing an app once and using it for as long as I like, but maybe I'm getting old...

I don't like the pay2play model, for example in real racing 3 you can only race a couple of rounds and then your car needs maintenance. This maintenance takes just long enough to hate it, but with in game coins you can make it happen instantly, which you can buy with real money.
The same goes for buying new cars: you don't make a lot of money racing so buying a new car takes ages (if you don't pay for quick maintenance that is) but you can again buy credits with real money to make it faster.
This probably makes for a continious money flow for the developers, but it annoys me; I would much rather just pay once and then play forever, and after that maybe pay some more for some dlc or something, but i don't like paying just to keep playing...
 
Last edited:

Marx2

Senior Member
May 6, 2006
378
15
Gliwice
I don't mind what model developer choose. But I'm really disappointed by the lack of proper filters in Google Play. Free and Payed is not enough! It's cheating that demo or IAB applications are listed together with really free applications. There should be at least third category, which would gather demo, IAB etc apps - apps that aren't fully free. I would also love to have "open source" category.
 

knutson

Senior Member
Mar 8, 2013
74
36
SPB
www.kyworks.com
Google's IAB is simple to implement in the app/game, but it has a huge disadvantage: if no server verification was implemented, then it is very easy to automatically hack IAB, there are many hacking tools available. Server verification is not an easy to implement. At least, a dedicated server is needed + experience in server programming.
 
IAP is good, but takes work

I have deployed apps with both IAP as well as the free/paid model.
  • IAP allows a single app with combined ratings and DL count (and free apps get more casual attention)
  • IAP takes more work - code, testing, and setup in portal
  • Paid apps on different app stores are easy. IAP solutions from each app store are not compatible with each other.

I plan to use IAP as the primary model on my next app (as well as ads), with no paid version. We'll see how that goes. I decided to try subscriptions, which is a tougher sell.

For a first app, however, the free/paid model may be much easier for many devs. Just hit a switch to show the no-ad layout (or whatever other features the paid version has) and dump the separate apk up on Google Play.

BTW I blog on ad networks and Android app stores at http://www.projectjourneyman.com. I created a report with charts showing my experience with a paid app as well as a free app w/IAP on Amazon and Google Play (plus paid app on Nook). Getting it signs you up to my email newsletter, but you can unsubscribe right away if you want :)
 

ozzy lion

Senior Member
Dec 24, 2010
100
21
Perth
As a user I agree with an earlier poster that a once off fee for a full featured product is the most satisfying.

The biggest problem is IAP is that it needs to be very well implemented and generally this is not the case. More often than not it becomes a pay to win scenario which is just silly.

Too many games entice you to make a payment and then you feel you've been robbed as there was little value in the purchase.

I understand it is a good business model to get money from your hard work as a developer but personally I find it almost unethical. It becomes a little like gambling where games are addictive and require you to keep feeding in money to continue playing. This is not dissimilar to the pokie machines (aka slot machines) which are a very political issue here in Australia. I can imagine this pricing model in mobile games also becoming a political issue for similar reason if it is not self regulated by developers.

Also, hacking IAP apps is often pretty easy to do to avoid payment so this model is not immune to piracy.
 

bong4316

Senior Member
May 14, 2010
157
30
Developers who depend on freemium might find their market drying up when their customers finally realize it's really a scam.
Im sorry for putting it this way but it's more honest to say so.
Freemiums are making money right now because of new smartphone owners who dont know any better.
But just like kids growing up, they will realize its better to buy outright a game than to keep throwing money into a game to get in game items just to play it well. It becomes pretty expensive later on.
The gold rush isnt going to last.
 

damagedgoods

Senior Member
May 31, 2012
159
70
Here's my 2p's worth as a consumer, not a developer. The Freemium model is OK if its implemented correctly. Hill Climb Racing and Jetpack Joyride are two examples of what I believe to be decent titles. They're both so well made I have ended up spending real money on them both, not because I had to in order to progress or complete them (I'm looking at you Glu Games) but because I enjoyed the titles so much I wanted to play faster and support the developers. As for Real Racing 3, well I've got all the cars fully upgraded and I've never given EA a f***ing penny, nor will I.

There are limits.

I personally love the free / paid app model and almost all the tools and system apps I now use or have used were free versions I found invaluable and subsequently paid for. Hell, I've even bought 'Donate' versions that are exactly the same (Orux Maps) purely because the apps are that good.

Ultimately if people want to steal your work they'll find a way. Theft isn't going anywhere. But neither is the desire to reward decent work that is genuinely good value. I guess the way to get paid is to strive to create something of value.
 

knutson

Senior Member
Mar 8, 2013
74
36
SPB
www.kyworks.com
Developers who depend on freemium might find their market drying up when their customers finally realize it's really a scam.
Im sorry for putting it this way but it's more honest to say so.
Freemiums are making money right now because of new smartphone owners who dont know any better.
But just like kids growing up, they will realize its better to buy outright a game than to keep throwing money into a game to get in game items just to play it well. It becomes pretty expensive later on.
The gold rush isnt going to last.

I do not agree, not all games use aggressive freemium model to milk the money from the users. In-app purchases are often used to buy additional unnecessary content (for example, extra levels) or to remove ads (because all free games are supported by ads). So the game just gives users a choice: either live with ads, or convert game into ads-free version.
 

ceatalid

Member
Jul 3, 2013
10
0
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.

totally agree! IAP is much better!
 

Top Liked Posts

  • There are no posts matching your filters.
  • 1
    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?
Our Apps
Get our official app!
The best way to access XDA on your phone
Nav Gestures
Add swipe gestures to any Android
One Handed Mode
Eases uses one hand with your phone