Been playing a few ketchapp apps today to check out what kind of techniques they use to make their games well suited to both the mobile platform and the app supported model.
Ad-supported model: The game lengths are usually very short, with the vast majority of “lives” taking less than a minute. It seems like having an avatar on screen is helpful for intuitively communicating the game loop mechanic. Restart button is featured prominently.
The ways that this design is influenced by monetization reminds me of coin-op arcade games. Simple to pickup and play punishingly unfair. Crucially though the player is given some small taste of success so they can see how they could have done better. (Only negative feedback is the one moment of game over)
In terms of the mobile platform, many of these games hinge on one button control schemes (either tapping or holding or both). It’s an extreme way to circumvent the imprecise input on a touchscreen device, and is pretty restrictive design-wise. On the other hand, one thing these games also have in spades is elegance, which I value highly. 🙂
I decided to put ads in stock shock!
On the one hand, the traditional paid games model is attractive because the deal with the customer is extremely clear. Once they have purchased the app, the developer has no other considerations other than designing a compelling experience (hard enough by itself).
On the other hand, on a platform that tends towards bite-sized experiences like mobile, it can be hard for a potential player to justify spending money on something that they may only play once or twice, especially when there are a ton of free alternatives available. On a platform with intense device diversity like Android, it can also be hard for them to know for sure whether the game will even RUN before handing over their cash.
Cons for ads
-Can be distracting/invasive
-Can cheapen the feel of the experience
Pros for ads
-Allows players to try with no risk
-Can extend with ad disabling in-app-purchase to get best of both worlds
-Less impact on game design than free-to-play model
Later posts will probably go into my experience with the app providers I’m using, further details about F2P vs Ads, and the different types of ads that can be used.