In June 2007 Apple released the first iPhone. Although revolutionary as a phone and personal entertainment device, few people regarded it as threat to the mainstream video game industry. Fast forward to 2012, Apple released the New iPad featuring the most advanced display ever seen on a tablet. This remarkable device has a screen resolution of 2048×1536 and 3.1 million pixels, rendering nearly every other tablet computer obsolete the moment it launched.
With the addition of the App Store in 2008, consumers were given access to thousands of games available for instant download to the mobile device. The app market place offered both free and paid games, with prices ranging from $0.99 cents to well over $9.99. Due to the popularity of the iOS device, players experienced a revolution in casual and social gaming.
The iPad is quickly becoming a major factor in the game industry, drawing a greater number of players who have tired of the traditional game console. This progression has given rise to a new business model, “Free to play” games with an “in game store” for cash purchases. The benefit of using this model is that players can download and play a game for free, but have the option to spend real cash to improve their experience.
Using this business model, developers and publishers can draw more players to their title, since acquiring the game does not cost any money. A greater number of downloads increases the likelihood of customers investing with cash purchases. This encourages developers to create high quality products with addictive content. Furthermore, a developer can include in game advertisement to generate additional revenue.
There are many benefits to using this model, but there can also be just as many problems. The game industry has a tendency to copy designs that prove successful in the market place. As a result, the App Store is inundated with clones of popular games. This makes it difficult for a new product to stand out above the crowd, which then affects the quantity of downloads.
Another problem is that some games focus on directing players to the store at the expense of maintaining fun factor. Gamers are intelligent and expect a rewarding experience, so if a game places too many limits on what they can do without spending money it becomes boring, and the gamer will move on. People do not want to spend countless hours grinding for currency in a game just to reach the equivalent of a $.0.99 cent purchase.
Gamers are eager and willing to spend money, but that does not mean they will blindly purchase anything in the shop. The quality of the purchases must enhance the game, and avoid becoming an endless $0.99 cent black hole to make the game more enjoyable or accessible while the user continues to pay. Producing quality gameplay and content will yield better sales if the customer can still feel rewarded without being forced to make purchases.