Freemium is a label that is applied to a certain type of social games. These are games that are free to download but they offer in-app purchases to progress in the game.
For example, in Candy Crush, players only have five lives. If they use them up, then they have to wait for more, ask friends or purchase more lives. The game also offers purchases for ‘boosts’ to help them pass near-impossible levels.
Many games now feature in-app purchases. They have become quite controversial, and platform operators or doing something about it.
The Danger of the Freeium
Freemium gaming has the potential to harm the integrity of the social gaming world. Years ago, developers seemed to be in it to creating games primarily to offer fun experiences to players. Now that freemium gaming has taken off, there is the danger of damaging the integrity of the market.
We are starting to see plenty of games that place the emphasis on in-app purchases over the player experience, and it is important we nip this in the bud.
There is also the fact that in-app purchases can add up over time. Many players would likely stop themselves from downloading a game with in-app purchases to prevent themselves from making impulse purchases on extra lives or more coins. However, they can be ‘tricked’ into downloading these titles if the word ‘free’ is used in the description.
Over time, these small impulse purchases can add up to much more money than a player is willing to spend on a social game. There is also the danger of children spending their parents money on in-app purchases, as well.
Google Led the Pack
In July 2014, Google issued a ban on the ‘free’ label for freemium titles. So, games that offer in-app purchases can no longer advertise themselves as free. This is beneficial to both players and the gaming market as a whole. This is a good solution because it allows app developers to continue to make money from in-app purchase but without being somewhat deceiving about the price to play their games.
Facebook Followed Suit
This week, Facebook followed suit. Now, developers will have to state explicitly if the game contains either mandatory or option in-app purchases.
Will This Affect Free Slots?
On Facebook and the Google App store, free slots games will have to be more up front about their in-app purchases. This only serves to benefit the player, as it lets them know if they can expect to spend any real money while playing slots online. At Slots Temple, all of our slots are completely free to play. No in-app purchases whatsoever! View our collection here.