Opinions Wanted: Monetizing Siralim 3

Before I say anything, let’s get a huge warning out of the way first…

Everything in this post is merely a collection of ideas I came up with while I was brainstorming. Nothing here is set in stone, or even planned to actually happen. I want to hear your opinions – no more, no less.

Now then, let’s get down to it. I’ve been thinking about some post-launch content updates I want to release for Siralim 3, and I’ve come up with a few ideas. Once all the bugs and issues are ironed out, I want to release a few large content patches for the game. Most of this content will be distributed free of charge, while the other part will cost a very small amount of money – $1 to $5, depending on how large the feature is. For example, maybe one patch will include 50 new creatures, 25 new spells, and a new gameplay system that is all free of charge, and then you can also pay $3 to access a brand new game mode or something like that. This is just an example, but hopefully you understand the idea behind it.

That all sounds normal and fair, doesn’t it? That’s completely reasonable for the Steam/Desktop version of the game, I think. However, this doesn’t work very well for the mobile market. People don’t want to pay a premium price (even $4.99) for a game and then also have to buy additional content after that. In fact, I don’t think the premium model works well for mobile games at all – most people just don’t want to pay ~$5 for a mobile game. I make very little money on mobile platforms compared to all the other platforms, so something is clearly not working there. That’s why I’ve come up with an alternative solution.

Imagine this: Siralim 3 is free for Android and iOS. Completely free, no bullshit, no ads. You get all the content patches I mentioned above for free as well. But there’s also a set of in-app purchases you can access called the “Cheat Shop”. This allows you to buy resources and other items with money, much like you can do with other games. Except in Siralim 3, you also have the option to make a one-time donation of $4.99, and the Cheat Shop will disappear from your game forever. In that way, you’re able to buy the game in the same way you did with Siralim and Siralim 2. That way, we can cater to both types of players: those who want to buy the game at a premium price and be done with it, and those who want to dive in for free and buy some items here and there to help them alleviate the grind. As an added bonus, this allows Steam/Desktop players to take advantage of our Cloud Storage features to play the game on their phones/tablets for free – that’s awesome! That means people won’t have to buy the game multiple times anymore.

Keep in mind that you could also just ignore the Cheat Shop entirely, and then you can just play Siralim 3 absolutely free of charge on mobile devices. That’s nice.

All multiplayer/pseudo-PvP content will be normalized (meaning any bonuses they purchase are irrelevant in multiplayer scenarios), so there’s no need to worry about anything becoming imbalanced on that end, even if players spend a lot of money on the game.

And lastly, because consoles take so much longer to develop for, I doubt Siralim 3 will be released on those platforms until the game is 100% done receiving content updates anyway. For that reason, this version of the game will probably just cost a one-time fee of $19.99 (for reference, it’s $14.99 on Steam) and you’ll get access to all the content patches for free, and there will not be a Cheat Shop.

Please think this over, then tell me how you feel about it. Again, this is not something that I’m even planning on doing yet because I want to make sure there aren’t any horrible flaws in my logic or anything like that. I also don’t want to completely offend the playerbase we’ve worked so hard to build up, so that’s why it’s so important to me that I hear your opinions first.

I’m also open to any tweaks you have to these ideas as well. Throw some ideas out to me, please!

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30 thoughts on “Opinions Wanted: Monetizing Siralim 3

  1. As someone who bought the first 2 games. I’ll be buying the 3rd without hesitation, I tend to help with bug fixes and what not out of the gate as well. That said, I wouldn’t be opposed to a few things that are optional for some extra cash. As long as the bulk of the game comes with the full version. I also think you should do a lot of cosmetic stuff for cash. Reskins/skins, maybe different sound effects or trail effects for the leader and creatures, reskin/texture for the castle proper. Stuff like that I certainly support as an added fee. Cause you can play the game without looking badass.

  2. I do not pay for mobile games, only 1 € for ad removing maybe, that is because my phone is not for gaming. Even if I spend much Time on some Games, they are Time Killers and not more. PC and PSN is the Hole where I throw my Money in and I am willing to pay for good DLC.
    If only one Day I could play Siralim 3 at Home and on the go with the same save file.

    1. The Steam and mobile versions have cross-platform cloud saving, so you can play the same save file on both platforms. The only platform that you can’t do that with is PlayStation.

  3. I actually think this DLC system isn’t that bad. I would probably buy everything the game has to offer anyway, and getting the mobile version for free is really good. As long as that version won’t spam you with messages like “Hey, you don’t have a lot of resources! Why don’t you buy 100k of every resource, for $$$?” If that doesn’t happen, it’s okay. I also like this system because the mobile version isn’t as optimized as the PC version. In the end I stopped playing on mobile because of lags, I had too many creatures. That didn’t really fit to how I play these games. I want to have multiple separate teams. That doesn’t work on mobile, because of frame rate problems. Because of this problem, I probably wouldn’t buy the mobile version for 5$. I’d just buy the Steam version (including DLCs if they will have a lot of content) and be happy with it.
    I wouldn’t mind that system, I actually like that. It’s a good idea in my opinion.

    1. The goal is to be as unobtrusive as possible with advertisements for any in-app purchases. It would most likely just be a simple menu option or an NPC in your castle. Gameplay always comes before everything else and I wouldn’t want that to be compromised over a payment system.

      Thanks for responding!

      1. First of all I’m not fluent with English and typing with a touch-screen keyboard makes it even worse, but I really want to word some of my thoughts about this post and answer of yours.

        Not so long ago, in-apps were not a thing. It became the norm so fast it’s scary. You already know where I’m going with this, don’t you? You obviously share some of it since you seem reluctant about them and are testing the water.

        What you came up with, a donation to remove in-apps, is another testimony to how nonsensical the mobile market has become. While I’m pretty sure it would work better than the premium system to make money, the bulk of it would be from the so-called whales. They come in two very different kind. Those simply rich and those mentally ill. I’m clinically diagnosed from that second group. After some tries to setup rules and various safeguards, I ended banning in-apps no matter the shape or form from my mobile devices, and Siralim 3 won’t be an exception if it does feature some.

        I hate how all of this does sound. Most people, ironically me included, don’t understand and would argue it’s up to the gamer to be responsible. It’s not that simple and doesn’t change the fact that a lot of money is made by those games from people who are already broke.

        It’s not the only issue. I fail to identify one group of players who’d have an improved game experience thanks to them. But, again, you seem to be already aware of it. And when all is said and done one has to still make a living, often involving compromises. And I got no better alternative to put on the table.

        I just wanted… No. Truth is I had enough of keeping my mouth shut, had to let go. It’s still not what’s really on my mind but getting closer would be hard without using my mother’s tongue.

        All that being said, I enjoy playing your games and reading your posts a lot. Keep up the good work!

  4. A large sized content update for the game is something that I don’t mind paying additional for. To me though, skins & anything cosmetic isn’t worth paying for as to me it brings nothing.

  5. I like your idea and have no problem with it. And as Regalkain said cosmetic is nice to charge for, even in multiplayer enviroment because it don’t effect balance.

    The best thing with having a free mobile game is the mass of people that might try it and fall in love with it and perhaps recommend it to friends.
    A bigger player base will also in the long run generate more income and spread the word further.

  6. For mobile, you could also try to have a free version with IAP and a paid version, seperate… I dont know how much trouble this is to maintain though.

    I like to be able to buy my games, that way if im not online I dont need to “confirm my IAP”, drm free if you will….

    I understand youre trying to make sure you can make revenue, which is 100% understandable, I would like to mention that no matter what I will be buying the game on both PC and iOS as I did with the first two installments, even if I only play on iOS 99% of the time…

    I am not so sure about the “free to play” approach, lets be very honest, Siralim is a niche experience, and I dont mean that in a negative way (its the reason some of us are so hooked) but I dont think changing to free to play would gather more people to try this “niche” game. Most people who purchase this have an idea into what theyre diving in.

    With that being said I still think it could be worth a shot, the only thing I would strongly want is that there is, no matter how its implemented, a way to “pay once and get the full experience” type of purchase available. Siralim 2 did that perfectly to me, having some optional IAP thatcan be farmed in game at a reasonable rate and hidden within an npc (so not “I want money !” In your face” type of thing.

    From what I get of this article youll definitely respect that last point, if you have more questions into mobile trends let me know ! As I did with S2 I offer to promote the game a bit on Toucharcade.com and get the forum rollig for a while once the game releases 😊

  7. Seems okay to me. Own multiple versions of 1 and 2 across multiple platforms. Willing to pay good money based on prior experience with you and the games. Your idea sound good.

  8. I don’t love the idea of the cheat store, but that’s just me. I’d pay $5 for a good game any day over that – but since you have that option, I don’t have anything to complain about. You will definitely get a $5 from me on mobile. I just hope its well balanced, but you’ve done well so far and I have no reason to doubt you at this point. The more multiplayer type aspects you can add into the game (at launch or as addon ideas like you mentioned) the better for me. I love to play with others and have a few friends who play Siralim 2 also, we’d like competition or trading or etc. Anyhow, cheers, I’m excited!!

  9. First – Why not? What can you lose by adopting this compared with the previous results? Lose of credibility with the old player base? A drop in number of recurrent fans buying the mobile version?
    Second – Why do it? What would be the gains compared to previous results? The potential income the ‘cheat shop’ could bring? The possibility of the game achieving a greater reach and attracting new gamers? Visibility?
    Third – ‘previous buyers/ that will continue to buy in this model’ ‘potential new buyers’ ‘visibility for Siralim and potential new buyers to the the pc version’ ‘expected income’.
    Consider all of these, if the odds are positive them logically speaking there’s not much to loss by adopting this idea and you can always switch to the p2p at notice. Unless you receive strong resistance of the established player base of Siralim and of this niche, what is mostly unlikely considering this will only affect the mobile gratuitous version and there be the option to buy.

    My general opinion: not much at odds to loss, the recurrent buyers will very likely buy again; you will gain some favour with your core player base that this is within the pc; if you sell well the point of the game being ‘completely free’ you would have some new people trying out and being introduced to Siralim All depends of how much income you expect to gain from new buyers over recurrent buyers, but i think is worth it is worth the try.

  10. I dont know why the mobile community is so stingy and just wants everything for free. Its probably the flood of free to play games which ruined it. Im fine with paying for more content on mobile and that if far better than not getting additional content.

  11. I own both Siralim 1 & 2 on Steam.

    Your proposed Steam pricing for the base game is very reasonable, given we know from history about both the quality and quantity of content.

    I’m happy with having an option of unlocking more meat or cosmetic stuff for a few dollars. If those two things are separate purchases, that might help with folks who don’t care about ‘looking pretty’.

    I’m not much for mobile gaming, so I’ll leave that topic to others. The fact that I might be able to cross play on a phone or tablet while travelling is pretty neat, though!

  12. I’m a huge fan of Siralim and I can’t wait for the Siralim 3 release. I think it’s a good idea to have moblile version for free with microtransactions. Because even if people don’t waste any money on “cheat shop” they still play Siralim. And if they like it and they probably will then it’s a good publicity cause they probably tell their friends about it who maybe not mobile players. They buy on steam and boom – profit 🙂 Don’t understand the mobile players anyways. I will definetly buy on steam and willing to buy any dlc as long it’s not cosmetics. Good luck with your excellent game, sir!

  13. I’m perhaps not the best source for input on mobile monetization given that I don’t play many games on mobile, and what I do tends to be things like Granblue Fantasy, where you can technically do everything free if you have the time. I don’t generally buy a game on mobile if there’s a version of it on a console or PC, especially with better quality in any way. I’ve also never bought any of the boosting addons that, say, Bamco likes to put on their RPGs. So, I’m not sure how prevalent my tastes in this regard are, but if you’re looking into who’s buying your game and how, here I am as an extra data point.

    With all that out of the way, I’ll definitely be buying Siralim 3 on Steam, and if it comes to the Switch or Vita, I’ll probably get it on at least one of them too. Cross-saves or cloud saves somehow working between any or all of these would be a big contributor to me buying it on the portable consoles.

    I am more than happy to shell out $15 or even $20 for the base game, and if you’re planning on paid major content patches, I’m also A-OK with another 3~5 bucks each – though it’d be REALLY cool if, say, you had ideas for a good 3~4 expansions worth at once and could offer a bundle on paying for all of them in advance at once, sort of like a season pass, except not for a terrible game. :p Like, you don’t even have to outline them concretely, just go “hey I expect X number of expansions, here’s an option to buy all of them now (optionally: at a X% discount) and I’ll email you when they go live” or some such, and I’d go for that immediately.

    I enjoyed the hell out of Siralim 2, having put in about a couple hundred hours across multiple save files, including at least two on a laptop that I forgot to salvage/cloudsync when it bit the dust. I’m also very much looking forward to The Negative, for whatever that’s worth! Everything I’ve seen about Siralim 3 sounds like a blast too, so keep up the good work. :3

  14. I think you should charge the same for both pc and mobile and include the cheat shop. The people who buy your game on mobile will be mostly those who like it on the PC and want to continue their games. You should definitely make large expansions as DLC and sell them. You deserve the cash your work warrants. Everyone who likes your games will buy them.

    Trying to break new ground on mobile will happen as word of mouth of a great game expands. This is where you will see your returns. People will pay any price for a game that they like, especially if they can play it in multiple places.

  15. If you want penetration into the mobile market, you could always make siralim 2 for free and then market siralim 3 in siralim 2.

  16. I am going to share my thoughts here regardless of what was already said and shared:

    My experience is that people don’t like to pay for mobile games initially because of the nature of mobile games, I am very afraid to pay 5 Euros for a game I am possibly never going to play and refunding is a hassle; people are lazy.

    So when can you make money? By getting them hooked on your game first and asking for money after you’ve already proven that the game is awesome. I’d let them pay for everything besides the main game in the form of DLC, call it conpensation, because you entertained them for free so if you like more of that entertainment you have to pay for it. It’s only fair.

    My idea is to let people pay for everything that is released after the main game, not just “a new gameplay mechanic” but also “new characters” “new spells” “new whatever” because people who like the game will gladly pay that price for incresed replay value.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for money, it’s your game and you decide the rules. You’re the creator, of course gamers will complain, but they didn’t make jack shit so they’re not in a position to complain in the first place, they will go to any length to prove me wrong though, apparantly they have enough energy/time for that somehow. (You should wonder why)

    My advise: Make your own choice and feel proud about it, don’t hesistate. You put in the time and energy to realise the full package, now it’s time to sell it accordingly. Give yourself a pat on the back because you absolutely deserve it, don’t feel insecure about it now go and sell it properly!

  17. I like to play with the dwarves when I have spare time at work or so, so it wuld be nice to have the mobile version for free.

    Theres something I want to ask: Will the female protagonist have its own skin or will they look like the male ones again?

  18. You could bring big updates with new spells, monsters and new game modes as paid expansions. It shows your commitment to the game and most of us players will support you.

    But I dont like the idea of cosmetics as dlc. It should be a ingame reward, to give us a sense of accomplishment. I bought the cosmetic pack in siralim 2 to support your game, and I liked that you made a way to earn it ingame.

    I dont like the idea of a “cheat shop”, if the player is looking for a shortcut to reach something so the game may be boring. Well, I can only speak about the steam release as I dont play mobile games.

    I dont know the reality and the dificulty of being a game developer, i wish you luck and discernment in choosing the way of monetizing your game. Cant wait to play siralim 3!

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