iOS game developer to offer IAP permanent unlock option

Game developer to offer IAP permanent unlock option

Last week I shared my thoughts on the problems with In App Purchases - that some game developers are far too greedy and end up ruining their games as they grab for money. Take a look at Richard Devine's scathing analysis of EA's Madden 25 as an example. Today there's some more positive news out of England - long-time iOS developer Strange Flavour has come up with an alternative it's tentatively calling "Play Nice."

Strange Flavour is putting the finishing touches on a new iOS game called "Any Landing," which will be the first game in their library to sport the "Play Nice" model. The idea is that Any Landing will feature an "all you can eat" option that permanently unlocks all optional content. You can see a rough version of the feature above - Strange Flavour cautions iMore that it may not look exactly the same in the final version.

Additionally, if you buy any of the optional content, the cost comes off the price of the All You Can Eat item - so players aren't penalized if they don't want to or can't unlock all content right away.

If you're wondering why Strange Flavour is doing this instead of, say, just charging up front, it's because despite the vocal protestations of people like Richard, myself and others who see IAP as a customer abuse, App Store buyers have shown over and over again that they'll download a "freemium" game much more often than they will a game that charges up front. So In App Purchases remain a necessary evil for developers - but Strange Flavour is trying its best to level the playing field here so you aren't taken advantage of.

Strange Flavour is an indie development studio in the UK. They were Mac developers and frequent collaborators with indie darling Freeverse back in the day, with games like "ToySight," which brought Kinect-style gaming to Macs equipped with iSight cameras. More recently Strange Flavour has developed iOS titles like Freeverse's Flick Fishing and the slot car racing game SlotZ Racing. Now they're striking out on their own as a developer and publisher.

"Play Nice" is a direct response to player complaints about IAP, according to Strange Flavour:

Recently more and more games have moved towards IAP (In-App Purchase based payment) as it has proven popular with a large segment of gamers. Unfortunately, it has also shown to be very unpopular with other gamers - a lot of the IAP systems allow players to deliberately or accidentally run up huge bills.

Strange Flavour CEO Aaron Fothergill said in a statement that IAP has been abused in games. "Strange Flavour wants to play nice and help rebuild the players' trust."

Is Strange Flavour on the right track with Play Nice? Or would you rather just get charged one fee up front? Sound off in the comments.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

iOS game developer to offer IAP permanent unlock option

15 Comments

see this is the type of inapp purchase I can support. They will give you an unlimited one if you so request. As soon as inapp purchase cross $10 in the ingame currency something is big time wrong.

Aaron - Are you with Strange Flavour? I want to thank you as a customer for doing this. I will be downloading this game when it drops, and supporting this effort with the Play Nice option right away.

Thanks for not taking advantage

Yes, I'm CEO/Lead Coder (i.e. half the company ;) ). Thanks for the appreciation. We've been working on this idea for quite a while, so hopefully we can find a good, fair, balance between making a living and releasing fun and inexpensive games.

Hopefully one day Strange Flavour will be a common flavour among IAP developers. Kudos for being a pioneer!

Wow! You must have some serious mojo sir [Mr. Cohen]... You just wrote the article and already devs are paying attention.

xD

Seriously, it's wonderful to see a developer with the foresight of considering their customer base in such a way.

Sent from the iMore App

This is a developer that I can get behind. A very original idea that I hope will be picked up by others in the biz. Good show Strange Flavour!

"some game developers are far too greedy and end up ruining their games as they grab for money."

Candy Crush: "Charm of Stripes" powerup IAP is $39.99.

"Too greedy" you say?

"Is Strange Flavour on the right track with Play Nice? Or would you rather just get charged one fee up front? Sound off in the comments."

This is AWESOME! The lack of a demo system in iOS means i cannot try out a game and then not purchase it or return it if it is not for me, the Play Nice option is great especially because IAP count towards the full purchase. One downside for them is that they are limiting future revenue's by allowing people to no longer need to purchase anything after a certain amount.

Where the serious freemium titles are going for the few "Whales" (i.e. players who will throw $100+ at a game), we're more interested in more players paying a more fair amount. We're also going to be mixing games with up front payment (first tier, 99c/69p) + Play Nice and Free + Play Nice depending on the game.
So hopefully we'll still have a decent enough revenue to make a good profit, without it being the insane levels of some of the freemium games.

It's either I'm blind or there is something in the screenshot that doesn't really separate unlimited option. To me it look just like other ones, and I didn't bother to read text thoroughly : )

Read the text thoroughly ;)
Essentially, in Play Nice there'll always be an All You Can Eat option that's permanent once bought and if you buy any of the smaller packs before that, the cost of them is taken off the All You Can Eat option.

I see the direction that Mobile device developers are going with the pay to play model. What got me thinking about this subject was a game called Dungeon Hunter 4 and Candy Crush, 2 of the worst abusers of IAP’s IMHO.

Candy crush made the game so hard to play and so dependent on luck that for many the only way to enjoy the game is to buy IAP.s. The sad thing about this is most people do not see that they are being taken and willingly do the IAP without fully understanding that once you do this 1 time it becomes the standard for your playing. Before you know it you could easily spend tons of money on power-ups that do very little to help you progress.

Than you have games like Dungeon hunter 4 where the IAP’s are so in your face and so intertwined with the game that I felt I was constantly harassed to spend money. Seeing that this game has PVP and also multi-player it turns a game that could be considered skilled based into a game of who can spend more on the credit card. It does not make for a even playing field when people can buy the best items in the game. Items that appear to be better than anything you can get without paying. IMHO they took a fantastic looking game and turned it into credit card wars as opposed to a dungeon crawler.

I then found articles from the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of King games (Ramin Shokrizade), the makers of candy crush. This provided a very detailed look into the thoughts and future for IAP’s to be honest it is dark and worrisome at best.
(Removed links as it was considerd spam. Go figure)
What was interesting in the articles was that more thought was placed in how to maximize profits (Part suckers from cash) than providing a great gaming experience. One should read this article as it provides deep insight into how games are produced for the mobile platform. What was the most shocking was the usage of psychological experts in behavior. Games are no longer produced for the pure fun but for the pure monetization. I remember simpler times when game makers were more about the game, they knew that if they produced a great game people would buy it.

We the consumer, have ourselves to blame for this. People expect good games to be produced and sold for dirt cheap, if you price your game over 3 bucks chances are many people will not even try it. I know I have been guilty of this as well, if I see a game listed at 8 bucks I seriously have to think about that purchase. However on my PC I would not even think about dropping 40 bucks for a game.

This leaves the developers not many options but to create a game that is heavy on IAP’s. It is going to take a large shift in consumers mentalities to fix the broken model. I have shifted at this point and I now look for games that have no IAP and I am no longer passing up apps that cost more than 3 bucks. I am willing to pay up to around 20 bucks for a good game providing that it has no in app purchase that affect gameplay.

I now try and find games that do not have IAP. I do make some exceptions.
1. If the IAP is for new playable content.
2. If the APP is free to try but once you decide you like the game it offers an IAP to unlock the complete game.
3. Subscription to newspaper of magazine.

We the consumer have the power to reverse this trend, but to do that we have to get over this mental block of only wanting low price points. We the consumer need to stop spending money for IAP that do not provide new content and are designed to part cash from us faster than the government. Application developers who create fantastic games should be rewarded. Classic example is a game called Oceanhorn, this game cost close to 8 bucks, has a great story line and as of today I have invested 10 hours into the game and have completed about 25% of the game.