The developer of iOS auto-runner/brawler hybrid Punch Quest has changed the game from free-to-play to paid app after admitting that it was “way too generous”.
Speaking to Touch Arcade, Rocketcat Games’ Kepa Auwae followed up on an interview with The Verge in which he revealed that, despite being downloaded over 600,000 times, Punch Quest had barely brought in five figures in revenue.
Rocketcat, it seems, got free-to-play monetisation design wrong; while it was possible to buy powers, boosts and vanity items, it was never thrust in players’ faces. As our Punch Quest review noted, “The game isn’t pushy about its IAPs and you never feel like you’re punching your way through a barrage of pop-ups asking you to drop cash.”
Simply put, Punch Quest was too eager to please, afraid of putting players off by encouraging them to spend cash. A noble goal indeed but, it seems, a misguided one. So Punch Quest is no longer free. It’s 69p/99¢. “It’s 99¢ or increase the price of everything by eight times or more, really,” Kepa said. “The game is way to generous to be a single-currency, free game.”
It’s a striking reminder that the free-to-play is by no means guaranteed: success in this space isn’t decided solely on quality of game design, but also on the way monetisation is structured and, in this case, presented. The past 18 months or so has seen a host of paid games switch to free-to-play, most of them successfully, and it’s not often that one goes the other way.