When the Steam bestseller vampire survivors the fact surprise jump to mobile last month, not only was it as compulsively playable as its PC and console counterparts, it was also free. And discreetly. In a sea of aggressively monetized and sometimes downright exploitative smartphone games, it stood out even more. Developer Poncle Now Explains Shitty App Market Is The Reason vampire survivors‘ free port exists in the first place.
vampire survivors was inspired by a android game 2021 called magical survivalbut its explosion of popularity on Steam early last year led to your own clones in the App and Google Play stores while gamers searched for a game that didn’t exist on the platforms yet. “Months went by and a lot of real clones, not ‘games like vampire Survivors,‘, but the real 1:1 copies with stolen code, assets, data, progression, started showing up everywhere,” Poncle wrote recently in a post. late 2022 update on the game’s Steam page (via pc gamer). “This forced us to release the game on mobile as soon as possible and put a lot of stress on the development team who didn’t even have to worry about mobile in the first place.”
The developer said it tried to find a business partner to work with them on a mobile version of the game, but no one they spoke to was okay with “non-predatory” monetization. The biggest games on the app store and Google Play are free, but most still collect their pound of meat One way or another. Many progress out of the gate unless you wait a certain amount of time or pay, while others monetize in-game profits intended to milk regular customers affectionately referred to as “whales.” Some operate as thinly veiled slot machines. vampire survivors don’t use any of that. Instead, it relies on completely optional ads.
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The hit bullet hell roguelike has you fighting ever-growing hordes of monsters while collecting updates. Every game ends after 30 minutes no matter what, but the better the game, the more gold players will earn to unlock permanent upgrades and features. The free mobile version of vampire survivors take advantage of this in two ways. In the long run, you can “cheat” and get a second life if you see an ad. And once you die, you can watch a second ad if you want to keep more of your gold. The completely optional compensation makes the excellent mobile version even better.
“If you’re like me [and] my love against on mobile, you would have liked to pay a couple of bucks for it and call it a day; but the mobile market does not work like that and when doing against a paid app, it would have completely removed many new players from even trying the game,” Poncle wrote. “That’s why we ended up with a free-to-play approach, where monetization is minimal and designed to never interrupt your gameplay, always be optional and under your control via a couple of ‘watch ads’ buttons, and not have any of those real money sinks around which mobile cashgrabs are often designed.”
The developer says the experiment so far has been a success, with lots of user reviews and lots of new players pouring in by word of mouth. The only thing now is figuring out how to enter the Lunar Enchantment Legacy DLC that costs $2 on PC.
“The problems we are facing are the same ones mentioned above: how do we make it fair, but also accessible for players who only like free games,” Poncle wrote. “We’ll figure something out and post the DLC as soon as possible!”