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Free-to-play has been praised by gamers and developers alike but the findings of a recent study cast a pretty big shadow on the popular model. According to Swrve, a company that helps developers monetize their apps, two out of every three new players quit playing freemium smartphone and tablet games within 24 hours.
Research also showed that nearly 20 percent of new players only opened a new game download once before abandoning it completely. Over a three-month period, just over half of new players opened a particular game more than five times. The numbers suggest acquisition as a metric in many cases is pretty much worthless.
Another important metric as it relates to free-to-play games is in-app purchases and yet again, the numbers disappoint. The study found that only 2.2 percent of new players made in-app purchases within the first three months of playing a game.
Customers that do end up making in-app purchases average 3.3 purchases for a total average of just over $20. When it's all said and done, developers on average can expect around $0.45 per install. It's one of the reasons that so many developers have to instead rely on advertising to earn a living.
The takeaway from everything is that it's imperative to make the right impression with gamers early on as the first few days - or even the first play of a game - are vital. If a gamer is not impressed by a title on the first play, they're not likely to ever give it a second try.