In the traditional gaming retail model, popularity leads to financial success. Unless a game suffers astonishing rates of piracy, a large base of players leads inevitably to financial success.
But free-to-play disrupts that seemingly common sense chain of events.
With this monetisation model, it's perfectly possible for popular and acclaimed games to be financial failures, and that's exactly what happened to Gasketball, Punch Quest and Monkey Drum.
This week, intrepid reporter Lee Bradley picked through the wreckage of these three missed opportunities, and talking to their creators in an effort to see what lessons can be learned.
One such lesson, unfortunately, is that updates can only do so much. If the game's monetisation isn't fine-tuned from the get-go, it's an extremely difficult situation to turn around. That's a lesson that these devs have learnt the hard way.
The full report contains a host of other lessons, too, and is essential reading for F2P game designers. But that's enough chat from me. Instead, let's move on to our bite-sized overview of the last seven days' on PocketGamer.biz.Monetisation
- In this week's edition of the PocketGamer.biz Charticle, we take a look at what happens when console developers make the move to mobile.
- Following the revelation Unity would charge "six-figure sums" for gambling game developers to license its engine, CEO David Helgason claims that 99.9 percent of devs will be unaffected by the new rules.
- Costa-Rican developer Sabor Studio announces a partnership with monetisation outfit LoopJoy to sell branded physical goods directly from its in-game store.
- PocketGamer.biz examines three 'popular failures' of mobile gaming – titles that have generated downloads but monetised poorly – and investigates how developers can avoid the same fate.
- W3i downplays the value of smaller microtransactions, publishing research showing that 47 percent of mobile gaming IAP revenue comes from transactions in the $10-$20 range.
- iOS developer Hunted Cow is forced to pull its game following server strain created by pirate players.
- In the latest PocketGamer.biz infographic, we take a look at how developers can best take advantage of tablets.
- Tylted bolsters its HTML5 mobile gaming platform with 10 new developer partnerships, including TinyCo and Slingo.
- Tapjoy announces that its network has "crossed the 1 billion device threshold."
- GREE shifts its platform development to Tokyo – resulting in unspecified redundancies in its US games platform team – and acquires a minority stake in My Horse developer MunkyFun.
- Samsung recently announced the winners of its Smart App Challenge 2012, a contest with the stated aim of providing "support for the development of innovative apps." But the winner of the contest's gaming category is allegedly a clone.
- TIGA launches a Kickstarter page designed to highlight projects from British developers, PocketGamer.biz editor fears that TIGA's promotional presence risks skewing the level playing field that Kickstarter represents...
- … And mobile gaming consultant Will Luton argues that the average backer doesn't know what TIGA is, anyway. TIGA's move is well-intentioned, he suggests, but probably won't be effective.
- Finally, TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson gives us his take on the matter, explaining that TIGA hopes to promote the efforts of its members and encourage the growth of new IP.
- AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat explains how the service has evolved from an email newsletter to an app discovery service with almost 6 million users.
- After Boyfriend Maker was removed from sale for containing violent sexual content, we asked the PocketGamer.biz Mobile Gaming Mavens for their views on Apple's submission and review processes.
- "Mid-core isn't a type of game. It's an aberration; a Frankenstein creation that is one part casual, one part hardcore and all parts lame," argues PlayMesh VP Shawn Foust.
- Following App Annie and Apple's public difference of opinion over App Store growth last week, 148Apps.com founder Jeff Scott examines how App Annie gathers its data.
- MAQL Europe CEO Harry Holmwood argues that those looking for the next big thing in mobile gaming should simply take a look at Japan.
- Indie developer and Best of British co-founder Alistair Aitcheson explains the pros and practicalities of running a mobile game jam.