We're absolutely going down this route.
So can you share anything about how you're going to not let the business model invade Puppygames' core gameplay values?
We don't have any gameplay values as such, we just make games that we want to play. However the traditional model, which goes something like:
1. Attract customer to site
2. Convince them to download your game
3. Let them play the game for a while
4. Then attempt a one-time upsell to unlock the rest of the game
is totally broken now. Every step of the way is thwarted:
1. We pay a minimum of about 10 cents to just get someone to visit our site. To get any significant numbers of people to visit we're looking at spending, literally, thousands of $$$
2. Convincing people to download something once they've got there is extra difficult. In fact, we're recording that approximately 0.7% of people who we manage to visit through an advert actually subsequently install a game.
3. The demo then does a double-stupid: it gives people 99 reasons not
to buy your game. Not least because they might get an hour's entertainment out of it for nothing. WTF? Why are we giving away an hour's entertainment for nothing? There is no investment in effort from the punter, and we give away all the delight and discovery for nothing. Of the people who are downloading our demos, about 10% of them are buying the games.
4. Then finally, the ultimate stupid: we set a price and other than making new games that manage to get past hurdles 1-3 each time, that's it. No more money. Our fans can't give us more money if they wanted to for a product. They can't go on changing the way the game works by buying things for it to make it, or their experiences, different. We simply send them on their way.
We have a multi-pronged approach in progress.
Firstly, we're heavily revamping our website to make sure that if someone visits, the site is pretty clear about what they need to do: download a game.
Secondly, we're going to tune our advertising so that it attracts more of the sort of people that actually click because they're looking for something to play.
Thirdly, no more demos. The games will simply stop at a paywall which is unlocked using in-app purchase. There won't be any website involved. Then we'll find out at what price people will buy them using a series of dynamic A/B tests until we home in on the one that makes the most money.
Fourthly, we're making a free-to-play game. The base game is limited only in variety for free players. Players will be able to grind away to get a bit more variety, but we also understand that many players are time poor but financially rich. These players we want to give the opportunity to give us as much money as they want to get as much variety in their game as possible. Variety simply opens up new tactics and sometimes just "looking cool"; but fundamentally there is no "pay to win".
We have plans for a joke skinnerbox game too but that's top secret