We are now a culture obsessed with quick, free forms of entertainment that we can pick up and put down as we please. A lot of this can be put down to the rise of the internet. Video streaming sites like YouTube and Netflix allow us access to a previously unimaginable horde of content, while services such as Spotify let us carry around virtually every song ever recorded in our pockets, ready to be played whenever we like. While the videogames industry has managed to fight off competition like this somewhat more successfully than the music industry and television networks, a parallel industry has popped up which is becoming more and more popular- that of so-called “freemium” apps.
While the actual gameplay of these apps may differ, they all operate on a similar principle. The app itself is free to download and play at first, but eventually players will find that certain features are locked for a period of time after playing a few times unless they pay a small fee. A common model is for players to be forced to watch an advert every time they fail, and have the option to pay for a “premium” version of the app which is ad-free. This is a win-win situation for the app developers, as they are paid regardless- either by the advertisers or by the players themselves. In other cases, there might be unlockable features which make a big difference to gameplay, but have to be paid for. These microtransactions are becoming increasingly popular in the conventional videogames market, but for apps they are an incredibly effective way of turning a profit.
So long as the basic idea of an app is good, then lots of people will play it- Crossy Road, for example, was a huge hit earlier this year from a small development company without the budget to produce a widely-released console game, because it contained a simple but fun gameplay idea. If enough people download an app, then only a small proportion of them need to opt in to pay-for-play features in order to turn a profit. The buzz around an app may not last for long, but the money generated during that time can pay for the next app to be developed, and the cycle keeps on going.
Have you got an idea that you think could be the next killer app? Want to unleash the budding games designer in you, but lack the coding experience necessary to succeed? At Netinstall, we’re all about helping our customers with IT solutions, and we’d be happy to help you on the road to success with your very own app.