The company behind the popular Plants vs Zombies mobile game has said that the introduction of a charge for a previously free item was just a “test”.
PvZ isn’t what interests me about this article. It’s the concept of in-app purchases in general.
Mobile analyst at IHS Insight Jack Kent said that users can be reluctant to pay upfront for a game if they don’t know what they are paying for so in-app charges become more important.
“For smartphone and tablet developers in-app purchases are the dominant business model, 80% of revenue is made this way,” he said.
There are several ways of offering in-app purchases without pissing people off. The fact that people can be reluctant to pay upfront for a game can be remedied by offering a trial for free and an in-app purchase that unlocks the full game. It’s a single transaction, but it seems to work quite well on Xbox Live Arcade. In essence, offer people a demo if up-front charges are intimidating. Just don’t milk them for all they are worth.