The main idea of the talk was the importance of “flexible pricing”: Letting players spend as much money as they want to get more enjoyment out of the game and customize their play experience. Flexible pricing can result in revenues much higher than the traditional fixed price approach (derived from manufactured goods). It’s also orthogonal to the concepts of freemium and social games, and we’re only scratching the surface in ways to effectively implement it in games.
Here’s the official conference abstract:
Did the biggest fans of your game spend more money on it than someone who played it just a few times? If not, you’re leaving a huge percentage of money on the table. This session will talk about how digital distribution has made fixed prices obsolete and how you can take advantage of flexible pricing through in-app purchases in your games. We’ll also talk about the consequences (good and bad) of making a game free to play. The session will present hard data from iOS platforms, but applies to all digital distribution platforms.
Answering questions preemptively: I definitely don’t think that allowing players to spend the amount of money they want is “evil” in any way. And someone during the comment came up with a great point: Isn’t it more “evil” to have players spend $60 on a game, just to find out 10 minutes afterwards that they don’t like it or it doesn’t run very well on their system/network?
I was going to record the audio, but unfortunately I forgot to turn on Audacity before the talk. Note to self: Start recording when I set up the laptop, even if it’s 10 minutes ahead of time.