Leave your scruples at the door, and take the bag of money. Kidscreen feature a really interesting insight into the Free-to-Play model that mobile game developers use to create some of the big hitters.
If a developer were to attempt the free to play model as designed in Candy Crush Saga but aim for the kid audience, the backlash would be enormous. Kids simply don’t have the psychological maturity to be able to evaluate whether the purchase decisions are actually good or coercive. Most adults struggle with that, too! So any developer attempting a free to play model would have to make significant modifications to the model. Without those aggressive monetization strategies, it would almost certainly mean a significant reduction in profit.
That’s why I said that you will never see even a fraction of $600k a day earnings if you implement this model for children or in a family-friendly way. The gates to slow down kids from making poor decisions would also slow down revenue. Parents would have to be involved to manage how much money a child can spend, and as soon as you add another layer, the profits drop. Subscription models are so challenging for this reason, too.
One thing that was clear during the Children’s Media Conference panel is that for a company to successfully implement this model, they would have to build an enormous level of parental trust, both as a brand as well as in the restrictions in-game. So perhaps Nick Jr. or Toca Boca could in fact do a free to play model with relatively little push-back from consumers? But would it monetize as successfully as their current premium purchase model?
To find the answers to free to play, we need to continue the discussion as a community of developers. Is there really a way to marry the financial and social responsibilities in free to play? Or is that only an option for those with no scruples? Are we better to implement in-app purchases and ad networks like the recently announced one by SuperAwesome? GamesBrief brought up this question of monetization and ads in children’s apps
Read Carla Engelbrecht Fisher‘s insightful article.