Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why not? It's Only a Dollar....

Ramblings Post #314
First you click the button, and you go weee! That's how they get you. Like drugs. First hit is free. That's how they get you hooked on, whatchacallit, Candy Crush. Before you know it you're Mafia Warring, Farmvilling or worse. That's when they got you. Before you know it you're giving up your Latte and muffin for a power-up or a shiny new tractor. Just stick with the drugs boy. Cheaper. Smarter! 

I've been writing quite a bit, a couple of pages a night (not much of it usable) and researching,  wasting more time on reddit than I'd care to admit in mixed company, and so this blog and my game play have dwindled and currently consists of monthly updates plus the free to play games in the Apple Store on my Ipad. Don't judge me. This desperation has pretty much convinced me that I really need to create one of these phone gaming apps because this right here is just ridiculous. I've downloaded and deleted more than a few, but I see what they're doing and I'm pretty sure that once I'm finished this project I can come up with something a few million folks will be willing to long as it's free to start. That's the key.

I've written about the dangers of DLC in the past, but this is something different. Good DLC is like adding toppings to a burger, making an already good product better. Bad DLC is selling you the bun and charging you extra for the meat, making you pay extra for what should have come standard. This is DLC supreme. It's selling you that same burger by the bite, and calling it gourmet. It's reminiscent of the old double my pay scam I once read in a Richie Rich comic book. 

The few games I've taken the time to start all begin the same way. Some relatively crudely designed story to make the cartoon mechanics of the game make sense, and an incredibly easy first level. You feel so alive, like the conquering hero! This continues to the second or third level depending on how many levels there are. Or, if there are only six levels, like in the racing game I downloaded, then you just get the one. I mean, I was the king of the track the first season. Win after win, zoom, zoom, zoom. Then came season two. And suddenly it's like I'm racing against Ferrari in a little red wagon. And looking at the way the game is structured, it doesn't appear you can't even really grind you way through like you would in a regular console or PC game. So I figured, why not, it's just a buck, and opened the power up menu.


Okay, kids, let me say this, if you look through the power up menu of one of these "free games" and one of the items has a retail value over $40, you might want to think about just deleting that whole game. Because I've got a business degree and modicum of experience, and I'm fairly certain when I tell you that this seemingly ridiculously priced item for a casual game you play maybe ten minutes per day if you're bored, IS THE BARGAIN PRICE. A deal if you will, the discounted hook-up. This price actually SAVES you money. Because I'm also almost fairly certain that what the developer would prefer you do is take the $1 or less option. Because you'll do that without thinking about it. Repeatedly. And so eighty five 'why not, it's only a buck' mental justifications later, they've doubled their income.

For the record, I'm just gonna try to grind it out and see how that goes. It will certainly make the game last longer.

But that give someone a buck mindset, that is what the developer is aiming for. A six or seven hundred thousand curious downloads of something as brilliant as matching the shapes, and the average developer is in high cotton. And let's say a fifty percent bailout rate at the first level. Which translates to three hundred thousand on the first round. Then you figure each level up another ten percent out.... it just keeps adding up, dollar by dollar. If you get lucky and get a Candy Crush, with fifty MILLION or more players, you can get to a few hundred million in a snap. Just like the old Mars Candy Co, a billion dollars a nickel at a time.

I've often lamented as to certain business models and their effectiveness for getting people to part with their money, usually as deceptive or unethical constructions. This I envy. This I want in.    

All I need a theme.

Barkeep, I'm gonna need some five hour energy, a sketchpad and three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Brain food.  

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