Why the IAP Model Needs to Die…

Paul Stoner 2

Sep 6, 2016
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For years now, the mobile gaming market, for both Android and iOS users, has been saturated with gaming titles requiring IAPs (in-app-purchases). Sure, you can play them for free, but on average, in order to get anywhere in the game, or 'level up', you have to drop serious cash into the game, usually anywhere from $0.99 USD to $99.99 USD.

With IAPs, there is an even bigger catch. There are no guarantees that whatever digital content you purchase will even be beneficial to your gaming experience. You can be trying to level up or rank up in any game whether it be a FPS, RPG, side-scroller, match-3; the list goes on. For the sake of an example, let's say you are playing Asphalt 9 by Gameloft. You have a sweet ride you want to rank up and max out. You are such a dedicated fan of the game, you are tempted to spend $99, but you opt to spend $49.99 on a card pack to be reasonable. You open the pack with anticipation, only to find out you get nothing you need, what you do get goes to some other car that you do not want or need, and the tokens vs credits purchasing in the game is worse than trying to find the daily value of the dollar.

Too bad, so sad. You didn't get jack, but the developer got their money.

I harken back to the days of PC gaming where you bought a game for $19.99 - $69.99, and you played it to death and back. There was developer 'brand' loyalty, games were an art form, games told epic tales, games could be played over and over again without a drop of boredom, and above all, games were diverse and unique. The Elder Scrolls (Morrowind, Skyrim, and Oblivion) is another great example. The Quake / Doom / and Wolfenstein series from id Software. The Half-Life / Portal / Team Fortress / Left 4 Dead series from Valve Software. Console titles like Halo, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, the list goes on and on! Earlier mobile titles such as Infinity Blade (sure, they added IAPs later, but they didn't ram them down your throat) gave us a unique hack and slash title with beautiful imagery, hard core action, and an engaging story. Even puzzle games like Hundreds, Zen Bound, Osmos, and many many more gave us endless hours of engaging game play.

The industry was cut-throat, you were either on top, doing well, or out of business.

Now, AAA titles can only be found on console gaming or PC gaming, and even those are getting into IAPs for extra goodies.

The gaming industry thinks they IAPs are the way to go, but as we have all found (cough Star Wars Battlefront II cough), their IAP titles were doomed to failure, and fail they did.

The gaming industry needs to have their pulse on what is happening in the gaming world. People want AAA titles for PC, console, AND mobile gaming – but they are sick to death of IAPs – bottom line.

The old gaming model worked for decades, and as the old saying goes, why 'fix' what isn't broken?


Q&A Team
Jul 7, 2013
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I think the popularity of games such as Fortnite and CandyCrush might argue your point. Both are free to play but use IAPs to extend gameplay and have massive player bases.


Well-known member
Jan 11, 2014
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The old gaming model worked for decades, but technology changes and they make far more money off IAP. Some players will spend hundreds, even thousands on a single game and developers are taking advantage of the cash flow.

Personally I've become a fan of free games that rely on IAP as long as it's not pay to win. League of Legends and Fortnite would be 2 examples.


Feb 23, 2011
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Personally I've become a fan of free games that rely on IAP as long as it's not pay to win. League of Legends and Fortnite would be 2 examples.

Ditto. The prices have to be reasonable too. For example, Dead Trigger 2 has golden versions of some of their guns you can buy. As far as I can tell, they offer zero benefit, but they cost $50. It's not even a multiplayer game, so it's not like you can buy it just to show others you have money to burn. Lol.

Something else I don't like is IAP's that are not persistent. If I spend money on a game, that purchase should hold true even if I restart it. I've seen some where it's a one time use purchase; if you start over, it's gone.

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