Jul 30

2013

Choice of Intrigues Is About to Stop Being Free

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (26)

At long last, after a ton of hard work, we’re about to release ‘Til Death Do Us Part, the third part of the Choice of Romance and Choice of Intrigues trilogy.

Intrigues is currently available on the web at no charge. On iOS and Android, Romance is available for free (with a $1.99 in-app purchase to turn off advertisements), but Intrigues costs $0.99.

In order to be able to afford to keep working on games like ‘Til Death Do Us Part, we have to sell our games, not give them away for free. We’ve tried giving away our games and monetizing them through advertisements and in-app purchases, but we simply can’t make enough money that way to keep on making new games.

The impending release of ‘Til Death Do Us Part (we call it Death, for short) forced us to make some hard decisions about how to price the existing parts of the Affairs of the Court trilogy, which is how we now refer to Choice of Romance and its sequels.

Here’s what we plan to do when we release Death.

  • On iOS and Android (including Kindle Fire), we’ll make Death available as an in-app purchase for $0.99; Intrigues will still cost $0.99. You’ll be able to buy Death without buying Intrigues, and vice versa. (You also still be able to pay $2.99 to play the game without advertisements.)
  • On E-Ink Kindle devices, in-app purchasing is not possible. We currently charge $2.99 for the Affairs of the Court app, which includes Romance plus Intrigues and no ads; when we release Death, we’ll increase the price of Affairs of the Court to $3.99. Everyone who’s already purchased Affairs of the Court will receive Death at no additional charge, in an upgrade to the original app. (Note that this could take a while, while we wait for the upgrade to be approved.)
  • We’ll make the entire Affairs of the Court trilogy available for $3.99 on the Chrome Web Store, Mac App Store, and Windows Store (for Windows 8 PCs), without any advertisements or in-app purchases.
  • We’ll remove the free version of Intrigues from our web site. When you reach the end of Romance on the web, you’ll be invited to purchase the rest of the game on one of our other platforms.

By removing Intrigues from our web site, we’re effectively raising the price of Intrigues to match the price on iOS/Android, to avoid chiseling our mobile customers. When we release Death for $0.99, it will be possible for mobile players to purchase Death but not Intrigues; if Intrigues is free on the web, we’ll be effectively asking our mobile customers to play Intrigues on the web, switching to mobile only when playing Death. We want our paying customers to be confident that they’re getting the best deal possible, and not force them to jump through annoying hoops to save money.

People Who Can’t Buy the Game

Unfortunately, charging money for Intrigues will mean that some people who can currently enjoy the game will no longer be able to play it at all, especially players who are too young to have a bank account.

We’ve heard your complaints about Chrome Web Store’s Google Wallet, which doesn’t accept payments in all countries. Our hope is that by also making the game available on the Windows Store and the Mac App Store, we’ll be able to reach as many paying customers as possible.

If you have access to a PayPal account but do not have any way to purchase the Affairs of the Court trilogy, please email support-affairs-paypal@choiceofgames.com and we’ll try to help you out by hand. (One day, we’ll build our own online store to accept PayPal payments, but designing a secure online store is a lot of work; since we already support seven different online storefronts, our hope is that we can handle the rest of you via email.)

The Good Old Days When Everything Was Free

Overall, this is yet another step in our evolution from a company that gives games away for free to a company that charges money for games. We began this process immediately after Google banned us from Google AdSense, cutting our advertising revenue substantially. As we’d hoped at the time, being forced to charge money for our games has been good for our profits.

We have to admit that there was another way to unify our prices: we could have made Intrigues available for free on all platforms. As a team, we agreed not to do that. We’ve worked really hard on Death. (Really really hard. This might be the most complex game we’ve ever written.) If we made Intrigues free on iOS and Android, we’d lose the substantial revenue that we continue to get from Intrigues, effectively reducing the revenue we made from Death. We feel that if we made Intrigues available for free, we’d be getting paid less for Death than we deserve.

We know that a lot of you still yearn for the good old days when our games were available online for free. We’ll continue to experiment with techniques that could help our free games earn as much money as our paid games, without using exploitative tricks for which free-to-play games are so notorious.

We want as many people as possible to enjoy our games. If we can find an ethical way to make our games available for free without losing money, we’ll do it.

In the meantime, you’ve still got a week or so to enjoy Intrigues on the web at no charge. (We’ll submit the new version to Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon this week; we’ll release Death once they approve us.)

26 Comments

  1. gaiaswill says:

    A question: is the Affairs of the Court trilogy complete? I confess that I would not be terribly interested if ‘Til Death Do Us Part ended inconclusively.

  2. Aileen says:

    I’ve always loved the Choice of Games ever since I found Choice of Dragon way back even before this website came out. I watched as you guys grew as a group and produced more and more games, and enjoyed every hour I spent on them. While I’m sad that the games will no longer be free, I’m happy you guys have found a way forward. Best wishes!

  3. Pqfire says:

    This is no problem, I’ve already bought choice of romance and intrigues so whatever, if I was working super hard I’d charge for the end product so, not a big deal on that either

  4. Pqfire says:

    An when is this coming out exactly? Super eager to play :3

  5. Spindizzy says:

    If it means longer and better games then I’m all for it, provided the games can be purchased easily (I personally use Amazon Appstore since I can’t get Google Play).

    Is there any chance of the user submitted games being available on appstore as well? Some of them seem to be of comparable quality to your main titles.

  6. AmyLaPazza says:

    I really don’t have a problem with paying for the games, because they are not so expensive and to support games I love I don’t care if I have to pay something. I would have already payed something for the games, if there wouldn’t be this problem with Google Wallet. But I see that you’re trying to do something about this, so there is another good point to pay something. As thanks for the great games and the great support for the users.

  7. Martin says:

    I have no problem spending 3-4 dollars on this game. Sign me up

  8. UmraheL says:

    I’ve already bought them on iOS and will buy for PC when released.

  9. Sarah says:

    It’s worth it. And you have to do what you have to do to survive! Love the games, it’ll be worth it to continue being able to play new, quality games. :)

  10. Countersong says:

    That sounds like a tricky decision to make, but I’m all for paying people for their hard work. I’d rather part with a few dollars than see such an awsome company be rendered unable to continue producing the content we all love.

  11. Victoria says:

    Such a shame–I was looking forward to playing Death, but, sadly, the ‘dollar’ currency and/or Paypal are not available in my country. Still, I wish you guys the best of lucks, and may you grow to be a truly successful company.

  12. Skip says:

    I’ve followed Choice of Games since the beginning, and I’m more than happy to pay for the games. Even at two or three dollars, it’s still a huge steal as far as content. Keep on making games.

  13. Anonym... says:

    Is it possible for you guys to handle this issue, of not being able to buy the games, via “Pay-By-Cash” (as you did with PayPal)? I’m not pulling ads here or anything, but “Pay-By-Cash” offers such a variety of payment methods it has been the only way I ever found to pay for online access to games based outside my country. I’d certainly purchase access to many games from CoG should I be able to buy them at all, and I guess this situation is shared by many other people. At that, I’m totally up for you guys charging for your games… it is your craft, after all, you should be able to capitalize on it (as long as this wordly system works on capital)

  14. Ragter says:

    “When you reach the end of Romance on the web, you’ll be invited to purchase the rest of the game on one of our other platforms.”

    Shouldn’t you remove Romance then as well from the web? It’s pointless to keep it on here if we can’t continue the story, and it’ll make players feel cheated that they spent time on a game only to be told to purchase the rest of it on another platform and start over.

    • Zoe says:

      It’s more like a demo from the way I understand. Also you have the option of saving the game once you finish. You’d purchase the other parts but by no means would you have to start over.

  15. Mikki says:

    Sadly I’m to young to buy stuff on the App Store and my parents don’t want to spend money. But I was at least hoping you would release a demo version :| I hope you guys become successful anyways :,)

  16. Deviija says:

    I certainly support you folks going the way of purchase-to-play, if only to cover costs to continue making games and earning well-deserved compensation for effort, time, and entertainment put into Choices games. :)

    Is it possible to make purchases into bundles of some kind (for convenience and maybe even savings deal for buying in bulk vs. one by one by one)? Perhaps, say, buying all the games in a collection in one shot? Or purchasing a bundle of 5 games, and the person gets to pick and choose which games they’d like? Maybe being able to do this via redemption codes that can be used to redeem the desired games? (i.e. purchase a bundle of 5, get 5 codes, then input the redemption codes in some manner — like the beginning of the game to unlock it online, here, or through one of iOS and etc shops somehow?)

    Just a suggestion I was thinking about when buying a Humble Bundle the other day. :)

  17. B. says:

    I’m so excited to hear the next part is coming out!! I’ve been stalking the site for a good year but stopped around June due to never being home long enough to mess around online. Best news to come back to ever! :D Honestly I’d be willing to pay way more than what you’re charging for the game as it’s one of my all time favorites. :)I’m so excited!

  18. Wahd says:

    Im just wondering, as intrigues is being put down, can we still purchase it and once we complete it can i go straight to death (obviously paying).

  19. Elizabeth says:

    I’m not even going to pretend guys -
    I will buy this. I’ll buy all three. If you bundled them up and slapped them together in a way that I could download them and play them on my computer offline I would buy it in a heartbeat. This and Choice of Vampire are my two favorite games.

  20. Cassandra says:

    Hi, I’ve just now bought Affairs of the Court on the iPhone App Store for $3.99 but I apparently still have to do an in-app purchase of both Intrigues and Death separately to play them. Is it supposed to be like this?

  21. Cassandra says:

    Sorry, I would like to make an amendment to my previous comment. It was actually $3.98 in Singapore Dollars. Which is still considerably more than $1.99 in USD even when converted.

    • FairyGodfeather says:

      If you don’t get an answer send a mail to the support email address. They should be faster at responding than the blog is.

  22. Stephanie says:

    A bit late to the party, I know. But I was wondering if the concept of a membership had occurred to you all? I envision paying, say, $20, and in return I get unlimited access to the full catalog of games, including any new releases. I can play them in any combination as many times as I’d like. At the end of my year, I lose all that access. (Excepting any games I may have directly purchased.) I can choose to let that membership stay expired, or I can choose to pay another $20 for another year of unlimited access. I would consider that money well spent, and far easier than buying multiple games at various times.

    This concept is the entire reason I pay for the Playstation Plus service. I understand and support why you’re no longer free to play, but it’s hugely irritating to have to pay for each game separately when all I wanted was a fun way to spend an hour. A membership service removes that barrier alltogether, and would probably have me promoting your games to my friends more often.

    I’d love to know what you think!

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