A writer at Gamasutra decided to ask some mobile game developers about their business models for their respective games. Some of them chose to go free to play and others went the fully-paid route. Their responses to the questions provide some insight into their decisions. However, like most decisions it comes down to the kind of game you’re trying to make.
Here’s one of the many responses:
I still think a F2P puzzle is a lot harder to monetize than other F2P genres, mostly because the content is limited and requires a lot of level design.
Candy Crush is the best example of highly successful F2P puzzle. They have more than 250 levels and are still producing a lot of content and find new gameplay mechanics with every update to keep their current userbase. That’s a lot of content, 2x more than what Angry Birds has.
The other thing that’s hard in general with an F2P game is balance – to monetize you have to create gameplay mechanics which involve timers, and some developers will also play with frustration to push the player to buy bonuses or boosts.
To augment the information gleaned from the Gamasutra article I suggest reading about the challenges of marketing a game. It’s not what it used to be at all.
Overall, ZeptoLab says it will spend around $1 million launching “Cut the Rope: Time Travel,” which traces the adventures of the green monster Om Nom as he meets versions of himself in time periods like the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. On top of that sum, which includes the costs of animation, the company is counting on some free help by promoting the game inside its other titles.
It’s essentially to think about the business plan and the game design concurrently.