Mobile revenue models not viable in long term, says Adam Saltsman

Sameer Desai
Mobile revenue models not viable in long term, says Adam Saltsman

Adam “Atomic” Saltsman, the man behind App Store successes such as Canabalt and Hundreds, isn’t convinced by the freemium model, which mobile game developers large and small seem to be flocking towards. However, he doesn’t think the App Store’s version of “premium” pricing will cut it for long either.

“I'm not very confident that freemium is the way forward for anything. I think when price was a strong differentiator in the market, it looked like it was going to solve a lot of problems,” Saltsman said in an interview with IVG.

“As a small studio, you have this huge problem of app discovery, word of mouth, and so on. But at least from where I'm sitting, I have friends that have built very good, very interesting freemium games, and they haven't been downloaded nearly as much as our "premium" priced game, because there are so many options for freemium games now.”

“I think for a lot of players the problem is finding time to play something, not finding the two or three dollars to buy it,” he added.

The latest iOS game from Saltsman's Semi Secret Software – Hundreds, received a positive critical reception and quickly notched up 100,000 downloads despite its $4.99 (Rs 270) price, which is considered high on the App Store. However, Saltsman doesn’t think even this “premium” price will be sustainable for too long.

“We've barely broken even on our "premium" game, while friends with the same number of units sold on Steam are literally millionaires! So at least for studios our size that can't afford X amount of user acquisition each month, and don't want to use treadmills or other malicious game loops, I think even the App Store's version of "premium" is probably not going to cut it long term.”

Image courtesy Edge

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Tags: Development , freemium , MCV India , indie developer , Adam Saltsman

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