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6 Apr 2015

Want To Make a F2P Game? Ensure It Meets These Prerequisites

If you want to make a splash with your next mobile game, then you need to consider developing a F2P game. But what if you wish to make a F2P game, yet you have never made one before? Then you’re in luck. Thanks to an awesome, no-nonsense article by Jose Maria Martinez I came across this weekend, it inspired me to breakdown what makes the best F2P games truly great. Below are the prerequisites that every F2P game should have regardless of its genre or its type of gameplay.

Fun

Every game should be fine – that’s a no-brainer. But if you have played the countless F2P games out there, you will find that a lot of them are essentially designed to make money first, be fun secondly. Nobody enjoys playing a game, getting caught in the moment, then being told to come back a few hours later to play again.

Immediately after reading Martinez’s post this weekend, I found my wife playing a F2P game that allows players to play the game for only a few moves until their time is up, and they have to pay to keep playing or wait a few hours. That’s when this thought dawned on me: if indie developers that use this troupe had confidence in their gameplay, they wouldn’t have a reason to limit the player to only playing a few minutes before their time is up and they have to ‘pay to play.’

If a game is fun and offers awesome, paid rewards, then players are going to want to pay instead of feeling obligated to pay so they can continue playing!

I’ll give you a perfect example that happened yesterday. I’ve been enjoying Blizzard’s awesome F2P MOBA Heroes of the Storm lately – just as much as I’ve enjoyed their other F2P game, Hearthstone. I’ve never purchased anything in Hearthstone despite logging countless hours into the game – mainly because I know I can earn the gold pretty quickly.

Heroes of the Storm is different. Each match takes around 20-25 minutes to complete, so you don’t earn gold nearly as quickly (a pretty smart move by Activision/Blizzard). Moreover, most of the in-game items are pretty cheap. By spending a few bucks, you can save yourself the hours it would take to earn gold. Thus, I could have continued playing for hours just to earn enough gold to purchase a specialist hero, or I could have purchased it for only $3.99 and enjoy the hero now.

You know which choice I made.

I purchased the hero for one reason: because I knew I would have fun in the game – and I did! Keep your F2P game fun, and most of your players won’t have a problem with sending money your way.

Easy to learn, hard to master

Martinez mentions that your F2P game must also be for everyone: in other words, the old ‘easy to learn, hard to master’ approach. Again, this is where Activision/Blizzard has been excelling lately. Both of their F2P games (Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm) have a pretty slim learning curve. But if you want to master these games? Good luck!

There’s another words for this: it’s called depth. Be sure your F2P game has it, give it that additive edge, and you have a recipe for success.

The little things

Finally, ensure your F2P game meets these prerequisites:

  • Attractive graphics
    • Nobody wants to play a game that’s an eyesore. Be sure to give your F2P game appropriate, attractive graphics that will catch the attention of your players.
  • Multiple platforms
    • Be sure to release it for as many lucrative platforms as possible.
  • Know your audience
    • Do you want your game to be played in quick spurts, or will each session take half an hour to complete?
    • Will your F2P game appeal to your target demographic? Find out why or why not and tweak accordingly.
  • Monetization
    • Will you monetize your F2P game through in-game ads, ad networks, in-game items? Do what makes sense for your game!

Do you have any questions regarding making a F2P game? Let us know in the comments below!

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