Free Games: A Bad Good Idea
Published 7 months ago
A zero dollar price tag is a lethal practice for the video game industry’s creators and independent studios.
Free Games: A Bad Good Idea
When we were younger, we absolutely had to make our way to the stores to buy our games. (Hello nostalgia!) But the internet has changed everything. The App Store, which first appeared about 10 years ago, and the Google Play Store now allow us to download games and apps from anywhere! Additionally, these digital products are often free. Good news? No, not for creators and independent studios.
Free Games: Favoring the Industry’s Giants
If you take a look at the charts for free games, you’ll mainly find the industry’s bigger players at the top. EA, King, Supercell, Rovio… Why? Because they spend a fortune on marketing analysis, advertising, and even on psychology! The big studios have those kinds of resources. They’re also able to pay for advertising across the globe. Some even go so far as to produce TV shows or movies that put their games in the spotlight (ex. Candy Crush, Angry Birds…)
What’s their goal? To sell derived virtual or real-world products (extra levels or lives, currency, virtual characters and accessories, toys, clothes…) Is any of this available to the industry’s smaller players? No. Or very little. In this respect, independent studios simply can’t compete with the giants.
Free Games: Too Many to Choose From
The marketplace for video games and mobile applications is overwhelmed with new free offers every day. It’s getting harder and harder for independent studios to push through the competition.
For example, let’s take our second baby, Tiny Derby, which is downloadable for free on Google Play and the App Store. Despite critical acclaim (it even took home the Numix prize!), it wasn’t discovered by the public. It passed unnoticed, notably because the competition is fierce, and numerous. The revenues brought in by Tiny Derby were very disappointing.
Evidently, making a fun and good-looking game just isn’t enough anymore.
Free Games: A Lethal Practice
At Triple Boris, we’re regretfully very aware that the current market climate imposes zero-cost games. However, we’re convinced that this is a lethal practice for small players in the industry.
As consumers, we have to understand that it’s normal to pay for a good or a service. We should recognize that developing a video game costs money (from concept to production to distribution) the same as with any other product. And when we purchase a locally-made game, we’re helping homegrown talent by ensuring they can continue their work.
Triple Boris’ goal is to create games that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the mind, all while observing its ethic and fundamental values, like respect, quality, and creativity.
In other words, we believe that free games are a bad good idea for the industry. Do you agree? Let us know.
Simon Dansereau
Software engineer - Executive