6/18/17 at 03:02 AM 0 Comments

My Strange (and Profitable) Journey Developing a Free Play Card Game

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Free Play App Development vs Paid

A friend of mine runs a series of gambling sites. We actually met because he was looking for someone to create original software and expand upon software created by licensed providers like Microgaming. I wasn’t up for the job in the end, but we stayed in touch and he became a close friend.

I learned a lot about the industry and its profits. He made good money and I even considered getting involved myself. Two years after that first encounter I received an offer to work on a “free-play” blackjack game. Basically, the developer was a small-timer and he wanted to cash in on the success that a rival had enjoyed with a poker game.

He knew it would be a simple game to create. He knew it would be cheap and quick. And he suspected that there would be a lot of profit in it. Unfortunately for him, so did I, so I asked for a decent sum of money and for a share of the profits. He agreed. I created the game and then I learned something that still astounds me to this day.

There is More Money in Free-Play

It sounds bizarre, but it’s true. And i’m not just talking about profits over cost. The simply fact is that it can be very expensive to run a paid gambling site. You make a lot of money through the whales who come, play a variety of games, unload and then leave with empty bank accounts. But then you have to pay out promotions, loyalty bonuses, welcome bonuses, jackpots, and God knows what else. It’s why online Canadian casinos have famously struggled to get to grips with this industry.

With a successful “free-play” app, there is no outlay. However, you can make a lot of money through ads, paid versions and through in-app purchases. In fact, the latter of those things is where the bulk of the profit came from in this case.

The game was basically a twist on blackjack that could be played online and against the AI. It allowed you to enter a blackjack career of sorts and it rewarded you with a story and plenty of varying opponents. The problem is, you needed coins to play, and that’s where the profit was.

To get these coins the app asked the players to view ads and to take part in things that earned money for the developer, but don’t require anything more than a few moments of their time.You could also buy packs of coins. These began at just $0.99 and we found that if the prompt came at the right time, just when they realized they needed more coins to progress, the vast number of players would pay.

After all, this was a blackjack game, so we were dealing with adults who had bank accounts and income, at least for the most part. We began by selling coins for very little, but after noticing that some users would spend upwards of $20 a day, we offered bigger and better packs.

In just a few weeks, the game generated over $20,000. This was a fun-play game. No real reward. No real inventive, yet people were paying, we were profiting and there was nothing to lose. We were a huge hit with youngsters, mainly students, but we hit most demographics.

When I told my online casino owning friend, he nearly had a heart attack. as it happens, he has spent the past few months trying to create a free-play game of his own, but he hasn’t had much success.

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