I've had a few people ask me about my experience in using IAPs so I figured I'd do a quick write up on how and what I learned from using in app purchases in Pocket Ninjas.
Firstly, this is how I implement them -
I create an IAP with the Product ID - "com.companyname.gamename.10000coins"
A) When the user selects the IAPs Button - (request information for "com.companyname.gamename.10000coins")
B) - (on request response for "com.companyname.gamename.10000coins" ) - I set an alterable string to the IAPs formatted price
c) If they select the in-game Buy button - (request payment for "com.companyname.gamename.10000coins" quantity:1)
D) - (On Payment Processed for "com.companyname.gamename.10000coins" ) - I update the games ini file to show the purchase
This method works for both consumable and non-consumables. I use the ini to manage what has been purchased and how much has been purchased.
To restore purchases (non consumables only)
A) I have a button that when pressed - (restore transactions)
B) - (On Payment Restored for "com.companyname.gamename.10000coins") I update the ini file to reflect the purchase.
This may not be the best way, but its worked smoothly enough for me.
My Experience with IAPs in Pocket Ninjas-
As far as using them in Pocket Ninjas, when I originally released the game it was $0.99 with no IAPs. I got lucky in that it was featured in the N&N section of the App Store and a couple sites posted about it which started sales off at a decent pace ($150+/day). Eventually though it declined to about $10-$20 a day in sales so I decided to refine the game and expand it to utilize in game currency to upgrade your Pocket Ninja.
My goal was to keep the game completely playable, and have everything unlockable, without having to spend real money to purchase the in-game currency, but to make it take just long enough to earn enough gold that if someone wanted to skip ahead they would spend a couple bucks. When I released the update that contained this I also made Pocket Ninjas free which was key as it allowed it to get into as many peoples hands as possible. I can't stress how important this was as only about 2-3% of people actually bought any IAPs (I think this is relatively standard from what other developers have told me).
Initially profits skyrocketed and it was bringing in $750+ a day (my biggest day was about $1600), but eventually this decreased and it has found a steady range(I also stupidly put an end date on Pocket Ninjas being free and forgot to remove it). It is still humming along and with my latest update sales have jumped again and this time its free permanently so IAPs have become a really nice earnings method as they have accounted for 80% of my earnings on Pocket Ninjas (taking into account that for 5 of the 7 months it has been available it was $0.99)
The one thing that has really jumped out in favor of using In App Purchases is that regardless of where the game ranks on the charts it still brings in money because the people who already have it are still spending so discover-ability isn't as much of an issue as it was when I charged for the game.
Also, I sell more $0.99 IAPs than anything else but I earn most from the $9.99+ IAPs. I thought this was interesting as I wouldn't think people spend that much but it only takes a couple a day to equal the cheaper items.
A few things I would have done differently from the start and have learned from my experience -
- I would have included IAPs from the beginning
- A big thing is to have as much content in the game for people to earn so that they have more reason to spend on the in-game currency.
- Have consumable items in the game(like bombs or health packs) or eventually they will run out of reasons to purchase IAPs
- Offer a "God-Mode" from the start. This is my most-expensive IAP ($14.99) and also my biggest earner. What it does is unlock everything currently in the game and also unlocks anything in future updates. Some people don't like to offer this type of IAP because they think it cheapens the game but ultimately if you are looking to do this as a career (which is what I have been doing for 3+ years ) you have to do what will keep the game profitable.
- Spend as much time planning on how to monetize the game as you do on planning the actual game itself. Whether it be by just selling your game at a single price, offering IAPs, or utilizing advertisements, the second you decide developing your game is more than just a hobby, this becomes extremely important and needs to be treated as such.
Hopefully all that rambling made some sense.