Welcome to the Future of Gaming, where in-app purchases cost more than a game does today.
I just saw this really depressing (to me) blog post about how Angry Birds is making a lot less money than a lot of Free to Play games on iOS: http://www.treysmithblog.com/the-fal...
The problem is not Angry Birds is going down - I weep no tears for Rovio. The problem is that the most successful games are now free to play with in-app purchases.
Right now, 18 of the top 25 grossing of all apps are Free To Play Games (72%). Also, it should be noted that 22 of the 25 top grossing apps are in the games category (88%), confirming the fact you need to be into games if you want to have the biggest potential payout. The reason for this is people have a stronger emotional attachment to games than any other type of app, therefore they are more likely to spend money.
CSR Racing (currently ranked #9 on the grossing charts) just released some data on their top grossing numbers.
In the last month, this single game generated over $12,000,000 on iOS alone.
From the CSR Racing App Store page, here's a list of top in-app purchases for that game:
- A FEW CHIPS - $2.99
- HIGH ROLLER - $4.99
- Super Nitrous - $2.99
- EXECUTIVE CASE - $9.99
- POCKET MONEY - $2.99
- ALLOWANCE - $4.99
- VIP VAULT - $19.99
- SALARY - $9.99
- SAFE INVESTMENT - $19.99
- GOLD TRUCK - $59.99
I find this whole phenomenon really depressing. My experience with free-to-play games is that generally they suck. Instead of being designed to be fun, they are designed to get you to buy stuff. Rather than focusing on making fun games, developers now must focus on how best to suck the cash out of players' wallets. Building a game to be addictive and entice players to buy things is a very different focus than building a game to be fun to play.