One Price Does Not Fit All

A few days ago I gave a talk at Evolve 2011 (part of the Develop Conference in Brighton, England) titled “One Price Does Not Fit All”.

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. Continue reading

Good Things Take Time

If you’ve read this blog recently, you probably know that Miguel and I are busy working on the iPhone version of Casey’s Contraptions. What may be surprising is that we’ve been working on it for over three weeks and we’re still not done. After all, to make an iPhone version all we have to do is make the project Universal, recompile, and done, right? Continue reading

Writing Reusable Code

Some people asked what I meant by a “toolkit architecture” in the previous post about my middleware fears. It turns out I wrote about that in a previous Inner Product column that for some reason I never reposted here. I think at the time I wrote this (late 2008), I already wasn’t very concerned about writing reusable code, and I was focusing it mostly with respect to using other people’s code and how I wanted it to be architected.

Continue reading

My Fear of Middleware

Once upon a time, the idea of using some kind of middleware or major external library in my projects was out of the question. Writing all my code was the one and true way! I had a bad case of NIH syndrome.

Over the years I’ve mellowed out quite a bit. Now I recognize my obsession with writing endless tools and technology was more of an escape from doing the really hard part of game development. In comparison to making all the decisions involved in the design and implementation of the game itself, writing the perfect resource streaming system sounds like a really good time. It’s amazing how early it started too: I still remember spending weeks writing a Basic-to-assembly translator in 1986, before I had even heard the word “compiler”.

Now I just want to make games.

Continue reading