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Is It True That Free-To-Play Mobile Games Are In Danger Of Creative Stagnation?

Posted In Game reviews - By Techtiplib on Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 With No Comments »

It looks like freemium mobile games have begun focusing too much on monetization. Very few are centering their attention on the fun. Is it because money rules? In 2014, avid players of Candy Crush Saga spent over $1 billion on extra perks, thus fueling a profitable IPO for King, its publisher. Basically, some F2P games are more profitable than paid game on mobile devices; the freemium feature has inspired developers to add new excess of power-ups and extra gems, and thus compel players to buy and advance faster in the game.

Mobile Game

Is It True That Free-To-Play Mobile Games Are In Danger Of Creative Stagnation?

Swiping delicious candies is no longer free

This 2015, freemium mobile games are an encapsulation of monetary success. Titles like Clash of Clans, Candy Crush and Puzzles & Dragons, have also led to a new phenomenon – the birth of clone games. It’s not solely about specific genres or even about the games themselves, but about the mechanics used within them. Standard features like map-like level charts with 3-star ratings, pay-gates, times, push notifications, and difficulty spikes are seen in most of today’s mobile games.

Good freemiums and bad freemiums

Let’s just say that there are good freemiums and bad freemiums. There are even good freemiums turned bad because of the way they decided to make money. Some of today’s most popular mechanics have gone through a complete makeover. They appear to be designed only to make gamers and avid fans pay for extra perks. Simply put, they don’t delight us anymore. We see energy bars and timers everywhere; these don’t allow players to advance unless they choose to pay.

Words on Tour for example – a Zynga spin-off of Words with Friends – has been a stable mobile hit. The brand new Saga-styled structure of this mobile game is incredibly challenging, mainly because it persuades players to buy perks in order to move ahead. All of a sudden, what seemed like a fun experience at first quickly became a frustrating endeavor. Nobody wants to start a free game, only to realize that the “free” feature pressures the gamer to purchase add-ons to advance in the game.

It’s all about monetization mechanics

King of Thieves is another new release on mobile that didn’t seem creative enough. Developed by ZeptoLab, the makers of Cut the Rope, King of Thieves has a key-based energy system meant to stop players from playing. It’s characterful-looking strategy game with a dynamic similar to Clash of Clans. Sadly, it failed to exceed people’s expectations because it featured forced monetization mechanics. There’s no fun in today’s freemium mobile games, and it looks like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush are falling into this money trap, too. Of course they are, some would say. At the end of the day, that’s the goal – to make money with free games.

On the bright side, both the iOS and the Android market boast with creative, wonderful and quirky mobile games, including those that are not freemiums. The disadvantage with paid mobile games is that you pay once and you play for as long as you want without paying some more; this is not enough for developers because at some point players will stop buying; and since there are no in-game add-ons, their income is short-term.

We would love to live in a world with games like Thomas Was Alone, Bean Dreams, Threes, Waking Mars, and 80 Days, just to name a few. Sadly, that will never happen. Game developers need some more creativity. They should understand that people play games for the experience – that’s paramount. If there’s no creative spirit in a mobile game, fans will leave; nobody will want to play a free game that’s not fun.

This is the guest post by Fredrick Cameron and Parking Games 365!

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