Why LetterMiner is Free

I decided to release LetterMiner as a free game. The main reason for this decision is I was unable to build up a buzz for the game while I was developing it. Why bother charging for a game when no one knows it exists?

There are three main ways to make money on a mobile game.

  • Upfront purchase
  • In-app purchases
  • Ads

Upfront purchase is the way most people buy console games. Someone pays money and gets the whole game. On mobile there are more games to play than people can possibly play. I had a difficult time getting people to try LetterMiner for free as I was developing it. If I couldn’t get people to try LetterMiner for free, how was I going to get them to pay for it?

In-app purchases are a popular way for mobile game developers to make money. Let people download the game and play it for free. Get them to pay for things like additional content and in-game currency. I considered adding an in-app purchase to LetterMiner to unlock the multiple level mode. But I didn’t feel it was worth the effort to add an in-app purchase to LetterMiner so I didn’t.

Ads allow developers to make money while allowing players to play for free. The downside of ads for game developers is lots of people have to play the game to make money. When you play a mobile game and see an ad, the developer gets about one cent from that ad. To make $100 a game has to show ten thousand ads to players. I don’t like to see ads in games. I wasn’t going to annoy people willing to play LetterMiner to make $10 a month in ad revenue.