freemium Stories January 4, 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of Jeremy’s 5, my latest quick roundup of 5 interesting little things that aren’t big enough for full articles, but are still worth sharing with you.

My first edition of 2016 looks at two separate topics related to this week’s 2016 CES: first, Apple’s continued absence from the show, and second, the annual event’s seemingly declining interest to Apple fans. I also wanted to share some additional thoughts on Apple’s Remote Loop for the new Apple TV’s Siri Remote, the classic (but ever-evolving) iOS app Akinator the Genie, and the continued scourge of free-to-play games…

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freemium Stories August 19, 2015

I’m a daily Apple TV user, and that fact apparently puts me in the minority: even when the Apple TV’s price dropped to nearly iPod shuffle levels, it didn’t take off like Apple’s iPads or iPhones. From what I’ve gathered, many people think the little black box can’t do much. And it’s amazing to me that most people can’t describe what the Apple TV can do, even though it’s been available for years.

Adding an App Store to the Apple TV — a place to download games, new channels, and apps — has seemed for years like a no-brainer for everyone… except Apple. Blame the hardware, the software, or protracted negotiations with potential partners, but after years of waiting, it just hasn’t happened. Calling this a missed opportunity would be an understatement: video games alone generate tens of billions of dollars of revenue annually, and well over half of them are now sold digitally. Thankfully, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman reports, Apple will finally bring both iOS 9 and an App Store to the Apple TV this year.

The big question on my mind is how Apple plans to monetize the new Apple TV, particularly given its potential as a gaming console. Prior-generation Apple TVs failed to thrive at $99 (or even $69) price points, which is the same range where Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Ouya and others have struggled to match the market share of PlayStations, Wiis, and Xboxes. Moreover, Apple’s customers have shown little interest in paying ridiculous prices for iOS game controllers, so the hardware upside appears to be somewhat limited for Apple. There is, of course, a logical solution: Apple should accept the lessons it has learned about Apple TV and game accessory pricing, compensating for relatively low hardware profits by selling massive quantities of affordable software…

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freemium Stories November 19, 2014

App Store Free Get

Apple has introduced a small but interesting tweak to the way it markets apps on the App Store. As you can see in the screenshot above, non-paid apps are now presented with the word ‘GET’ rather than ‘FREE’. While the reason for the change in how Apple is presenting non-paid apps isn’t clear, it’s likely due to the popularity of ‘freemium’ apps and in-app purchases, something that has been the source of controversy for Apple in the past… expand full story

freemium Stories May 16, 2014

Apple under fire from Italian antitrust regulator over freemium app sales model

Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority says it is investigating “freemium” apps offered in Apple’s App Store along with similar stores operated by Google and Amazon, saying that customers could be misled by the “free” label, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the regulatory group, users who download these apps for free could believe that the game is completely free and not know when downloading the app how much it will actually cost.

If Apple is found to have misled customers, the company could be fined as much as €5 million. It’s not likely to put a big dent in Apple’s cash reserve, but the Italian antitrust committee has previously convinced Apple to change its policy regarding AppleCare marketing.

freemium Stories March 25, 2014

 

twitterrific iconWith the latest update, The Iconfactory has changed their business model for Twitterrific rather dramatically. Up to now, Twitterrific has been available for iPhone and iPad for $2.99.

However, Twitterrific has now changed to a freemium business model. This means anyone can download the app for free as an ad-supported application. There is also a selection of unlockable features available as in-app purchases.

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freemium Stories August 27, 2013

Madden NFL 25 game makes it to the iPhone and iPad as a freemium download

Madden NFL 25, EA Sports’ football simulation game that started life on the PC way back in 1989 and is now best-known as an XBox and Playstation game, today launched as a freemium iOS game for both iPhone and iPad. This iOS iteration of the famous football game promises to be more reflective of a console gaming experience, unlike the now retired Madden Social. EA has even included an exclusive head-to-head gameplay mode in this mobile version.

As we’ve learned in the past, many ‘freemium’ apps come with gaming caveats that can be confusing and frustrating as a gamer, but hopefully that isn’t that case here. In Madden 25, gamers will need to either earn coins to improve the player roster or simply cough up the cash to buy better players.

Perhaps most importantly, EA has improved the touch controls for Madden 25. The previously used virtual D-pad has been replaced by “intuitive tap & swipe controls.” Many of the player actions and moves can be executed using just one hand. This style of on-screen control may be the best way to game on iOS until we have a full-fledged hardware controller.

Madden 25 is exclusively available on iOS until later this fall when it will hit Android. For the biggest football fans, you can pickup a copy of Madden 25 for your favorite gaming console bundled with a year of NFL Sunday ticket for just $100. That’s up to a savings of $400.

An experience 25 years in the making! EA SPORTS delivers the most authentic NFL football experience to date on iPhone® and iPad® with MADDEN NFL 25. Build your Ultimate Team of NFL stars and run the show on offense and defense with new and improved touch controls, game modes and much more!

BUILD YOUR ULTIMATE TEAM Collect your favorite NFL players from packs or win them in the Auction House, then dominate the field against friends by building your ultimate powerhouse team.

AUTHENTIC NFL ACTION Madden NFL lets you choose from 32 REAL NFL teams and a roster of more than 1,500 REAL NFL players! Battle it out in true-to-life NFL stadiums, too. Ultra-sharp graphics make gameplay even more realistic. Feel the impact of every game-changing tackle with hard-hitting collision effects!

PLAY MULTIPLE MADDEN NFL MODES Relive NFL storylines and play through several seasons in Solo Challenges. Take on friends in the fast-paced, offensive shootout mode, Head-2-Head (a mobile exclusive)! Or, jump into Exhibition mode for single-player offensive and defensive football.

NEW & IMPROVED TOUCH CONTROLS Run, pass, and make the big hits on D with new and intuitive Tap & Swipe controls. Better tape your fingers!

Score MADDEN NFL 25 on iPhone® and iPad® now. BOOM!

freemium Stories June 3, 2013

Plants vs Zombies 2 launches as free-to-play iOS title on July 18 [video]

We already knew that the highly anticipated second instalment of PopCap’s popular Plants vs Zombies franchise was on its way, but today the developer has posted a new launch trailer for the game and officially announced a release date.

From PopCap’s press release it sounds like Plants vs Zombies 2 is only coming to iOS, at least initially, while the company also plans an invitation only beta that will launch next week during E3. For everyone else, the game will be available on July 18 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Unlike the original title, which is currently available for 99 cents on the App Store, PopCap is making the new game entirely free to play with some in-app purchases available, but not necessary to enjoy the full game:

Free to download, Plants vs. Zombies 2 will expand and extend the classic gameplay of the original and provide players with dozens of all-new levels, plants and zombies across multiple worlds at no cost. While the vast majority of the game will be entirely free to play (players can face every zombie and access every level in every world at no cost), Plants vs. Zombies 2 players will also be able to purchase upgrades and other in-game items.

PopCap adds that “New worlds with new levels, plants, zombies and new ways to play will be released on an ongoing basis.”

Designed from the ground up as a live service, the ever-expanding universe of Plants vs. Zombies 2continues the epic struggle of plants defending your brainz against zombies from your backyard through the vast reaches of time, both past and future. New worlds with new levels, plants, zombies and new ways to play will be released on an ongoing basis. Leveraging the touch interface of Apple’s popular mobile devices, Plants vs. Zombies 2 includes all-new touch-screen power-ups that enable players to “break the fourth wall” and interact with zombies directly, as well as via plant defenses.

freemium Stories March 25, 2013

Crossan-Apple-in-app-purchases

A police officer in the U.K. named Doug Crossan reported his own 13-year-old son for fraud after Apple refused to refund £3,700 that the child ran up playing freemium App Store titles on his iPad. DailyMail has the story:

Cameron then racked up more than 300 purchases on games such as Plants vs Zombies, Hungry Shark, Gun Builder, Nova 3. Many of them are free to download but users can buy in-game extras – in one game Cameron had purchased a virtual chest of gold coins costing £77.98.

But the technology company has refused and his only way of recouping the money is to report the purchases as being fraudulent. So Mr Crossan, of Clevedon, North Somerset, has shopped Cameron to the Action Fraud helpline – meaning his son could face arrest and questioning by the his father’s colleagues. He said: ‘I am sure Cameron had no intention to do it, but I had to have a crime reference number if there was any chance of getting any credit card payments refunded.

We reported last week that Apple was adding a new “offers in-app purchases” warning in the App Store to better inform consumers downloading free apps that additional content will require a fee. The move followed a settling a class action lawsuit that alleged children were able to rack up thousands of dollars through the iOS freemium model, i.e. in-app purchases, with both parents and children under the impression that the games were free. Apple is refusing to refund Crossan, citing “parental responsibility and pointing out that iPads contain password locks to prevent accidental or unwanted purchases.”

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freemium Stories February 20, 2013

What happens when you make your app free for a week

For an app developer like Infinity Blade maker Epic Games, making an old iOS game free for a week accounted for an enormous boost in revenue and downloads. As noted by The Wall Street Journal, Epic’s decision to drop the price of its original Infinity Blade title from 99 cents to free brought the title up hundreds of spots in App Store rankings. The increase is highlighted in the chart above from AppData. While being featured as one of Apple’s “App of the Week” certainly didn’t hurt, temporarily switching to the freemium model allowed Epic to generate more money than it was earning when the app was 99 cents. It also created a nice increase in sales for the developer’s $7 Infinity Blade II sequel, as shown in AppData’s second chart below:

freemium Stories December 21, 2011

Apple’s App Store is currently taking approximately four times more revenue generated by the 200 highest grossing apps in comparison to the Android Market. According to research firm Distimo’s recently published 2011 report, a significantly increasing portion of app downloads are originating in China.

Likely further increased by Apple’s recent announcement to begin accepting App Store payments in Chinese Yuan, Distimo said when comparing the United States and China, 30 percent of downloads are coming from China. This is up from approximately 18 percent reported by Distimo in January 2011.

Growth in China is even more impressive when looking at just iPad numbers with China now accounting for 44 percent of all downloads from the two countries. Distimo reported late last month that App Store downloads for the top 100 paid apps in China nearly doubled just days following Apple’s decision to accept Yuan.

During Apple’s fourth quarter earnings call, CEO Tim Cook called the progress in Chinaamazing” and said the country represents “enormous opportunity.” As of that time, revenues from China accounted for 16 percent of Apple’s revenue for the September quarter – approximately $4.52 billion.

Some of the other interesting numbers reported by Distimo, include: 50 percent of App Store revenue for iPhone is now generated by freemium apps and in-app purchases for the 200 highest grossing apps; there are currently 79,077 games for iPhone, 28,683 for iPad, and 46,045 for the Android Market.

While the report noted App Store downloads have been on the decline for the year, downloads peaked following the release of the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Distimo attributed the increase to what they call the “anticipation effect” for Apple’s new devices.

Distimo put together their App of the Year Award based on total downloads worldwide across all platforms. Not surprisingly, Angry Birds took the top spot, followed by Facebook, Skype, Google Maps, and iBooks. Check out the full top 10 below.

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