I will play virtually any iOS game I hear about, which means lately I’ve been playing Candy Crush. It’s a decent enough match-3 puzzler with lots of polish, but the monetization scheme makes no sense and prevents me from fully recommending the game.
Candy Crush is free to download/play, but you only have a set number of lives. Once you run out you have to pay for more lives or wait. You can also buy additional power-ups, the pricing of which is insane and hidden until you are about to confirm the purchase (see above).
I once read an article (which I can unfortunately no longer find) that compared the situation to Disney Land. Disney Land used to be more like a state fair, where instead of purchasing admission you bought a finite number of ride tickets. Then a competing theme park (maybe Knott’s Berry Farm?) opened up and offered unlimited rides. Even though unlimited rides cost more than buying a bunch of tickets, people preferred it because they didn’t have to spend their day at the park worrying, “Is this ride worth a ticket? Should I save them for that ride?”
I recently learned the same lesson from another iOS match-3 game, Triple Town. Like Candy Crush, when you run out of turns in Triple Town you have to either spend money or wait. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but you could buy a set amount of additional turns for $1 or unlimited turns for $5. I knew there was a good chance a few $1 packs would more than cover my appetite for the game, but I bought the unlimited just so I could relax and enjoy the stupid thing. Candy Crush, far as I can tell, does not offer the equivalent option.
I’ve got no problem spending money on iOS games, but I want to actually get the game in return. Giving me something finite I have to worry about using stresses me out, which is the opposite of why I’m playing games in the first place.