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Android Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

Ouya Dropping 'Free-to-Play' Requirement 107 107

itwbennett writes: "One of the Ouya micro-consoles's selling points has been that you can sample every game for free. That requirement is going away soon. In a recent blog post, Ouya's Bob Mills said, 'In the coming weeks, we're going to let devs choose if they want to charge up front for their games. Now they'll be able to choose between a free-to-try or paid model.' Good news for developers, perhaps not as good for customers. 'Maybe this new policy will attract new developers that can offer something compelling enough to be a system seller,' writes blogger Peter Smith."
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Ouya Dropping 'Free-to-Play' Requirement

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  • Dumb move... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @12:31PM (#46574851) Homepage

    They are a barely alive gaming platform and they are starting remove features they were built upon...

    Not smart.

  • Good news for me. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @12:33PM (#46574883)

    Speaking from personal experience, "Free to play" games generally are not even close to free. It's pay to play, rent your EXISTING equipment, pay to win, pay for upgrades, the list goes on. So for me this makes the platform more appealing.

    I like my games to be 1 transaction (The purchase) and it's done. Expansion packs are okay too.

  • by Laxori666 (748529) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:01PM (#46575159) Homepage
    It's not free-to-play though it's free-to-try, as in, a demo. Like the shareware of old. They would require each game to have a shareware version, but now they have removed this requirement.
  • The main problem with the OUYA

    Yep, I do test some of my Android stuff with bluetooth gamepads and TVs, so that part of porting to OUYA isn't a big deal. The primary problems I had with OUYA development be two fold:

    0. Free to play means taking the time to create a demo version, and the effort is barely worth it because:
    1. Cheap games are impulse purchases. Once curiosity is sated by the demo, the drive to purchase is gone.

    For my wares, screenshots and videos drive hype and result in sales; Demos largely do not, and frequently decrease sales instead. "Oh, that was fun, I'll buy it later, lemme try this other demo first", lather, rinse, repeat, do not pass Go, do not collect 200 pennies. Even when demos do lead to sales it is insanely difficult to create a good demo because you're trying to demonstrate enough of the gameplay to leave the player with a satisfying grasp of what the game is without including enough content to leave the player satisfied with just the demo.

    This is "big" news, relatively speaking, for (prospective) OUYA devs. Allowing pay-up-front-once may convince me to port to OUYA, given that it's the only sales method I use. I've seen much of the same sentiment among other indie game devs. Personally, I'm still hesitant because when I factor in time and cost to play test & debug a version just for OUYA, the cost/benefit ratio drops back to at or below even. I'll have to test after cutting down on geometry details & texture res because phones out-pace OUYA in power; For for phones/tablets I can expect folks to upgrade so I don't test on multiple hardware power "tiers", I just pick the minimal requirement for a smooth game. Factoring in creation of a demo just for OUYA, and what that means for sales, eliminated it as an option but now I might take the risk.

    Notice that I do not concern myself with in-app purchases; While that is how one deploys a demo version on OUYA (a one time IAP unlockable), a continuous micro-transaction model is not a part of my game mechanic vocabulary, and never will be. If you want to pay-to-win parts of my games, then those spots are not monetization opportunities, they are where I've failed as a game designer. Banking heavily on that pay-to-win model (since demos don't drive sales), really irked me about OUYA -- it means I'd have to design a game around its monetization, ugh, no. If games are to be artforms we have to treat them that way -- That means being born without an auth-server death sentence, hence without IAP even if it's a one time unlockable.

    I also find it frustrating that a console claiming to be giving developers more freedom even had the restriction of free-to-play only in the first place which no other platform had. That OUYA also claims to be giving players more choice while they require them to hand over a credit card to even use the device is also really messed up considering the games were all "free to try". Trying to leverage "casual" gamer marketing from a traditionally "hard-core" gamer console space is also a strategic failure, IMO. Protip: "Hard core" gamers are the prime spenders on "casual" games too... So the most paying demographic already has a console, they likely also already have a PC, and phone / tablet. I can't see casuals picking the vastly underpowered OUYA just for casual-tier TV games when they can get far more powerful and seamless experience with an Xbox360 for around the same price, or likely already need/have a phone, and with these options won't have to trust kids with a credit card number just for them to play games.

    I agree that nearly anyone who would buy an OUYA has a cellphone and they can probably hook it up to their TVs, but no one wants to jump up and yank wires from their phone in the middle of a game to take a call... For this reason I don't think wireless video transmission is quite the answer either. Smart TVs aren't the answer because TVs are expensive and you'll want to upgrade hardware long before the screen nee

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