Have you noticed the proliferation of the free games on the iStore or Android markets? Have you ever wondered how these guys can make so much money from games that are totally free and quite enjoyable to play? Well I will tell you how.
All these games have something in common and that is in-game purchases; you can spend a little money to make the game that little bit easier or to add something cool to the game. Most people don’t do this but a very small portion of gamers are classed as whales by the developers of these games as they put in a relative fortune to continue enjoying these “free” titles.
My wife is a whale
Yes my wife is a whale. I didn’t know this until this month but I’ve come to realise this is an undeniable fact. All her in-app purchases get invoiced by iTunes and all these invoices go to her Lazygamer email account that she never ever checks as we only set it up for iTunes.
Thus each of those mails comes to my inbox and I just delete them… I’ve literally never opened a single one until Tuesday this week when I clicked open instead of delete by mistake and noticed a few in-app purchases.So being the investigative journalist I am I decided to go back into the archived emails and pull up the invoices for July… and only July.
Prepare to be amused or shocked depending on how you feel about this.
Yes 10 invoices in July alone and we are only on the 18th of the month. Take out the 3 movie rentals and it comes to a total of $47.68 or R469.47 solely on cheap in app purchases. This is not a totally weird month; she can easily spend $50 a month on in app purchases which makes her a bigger contributor to the gaming industry than the majority of gamers out there who buy a new AAA every second month.
Oddly enough she isn’t the only whale in my family, according to the developers my mother is also a whale. Yet she’s an accidental whale.
An Accidental Whale?
My dad recently left on a trip and before he left he topped up my mom’s iPad with $100 in case she wanted some movies and books while he was away. Older generation struggling with topping up credit and all that.
Anyway she let my cousins play on her iPad and they managed to download a fashion game of some sort and within 30 minutes they had blown $98 on lipstick, outfits and shoes… R1000 on virtual fashion items which has made some developer out there very happy indeed. So these whales definitely exist; my wife is one and yet I still love her. I won’t show her how to buy iTunes vouchers on www.evopoints.co.za (our friends who have the best local website for point purchases) but yes I still love her.
So I’ve aired my dirty laundry in public now it’s your turn. How many whales do you know and do you think this new-found money pit is a good or bad thing for the future of the AAA titles which originally made the industry what it is today.