[casual_games] Version jumping

Allan Simonsen Simonsen at rocketmail.com
Sun Oct 8 11:39:58 EDT 2006

We're seeing a lot of our users bypassing the 60
minute demo-timeout by changing providers (getting 3
or 4 different 60 minute sessions downloading the same
game from Reflexive, BigFish, etc).

I'd argue that this endangers part of the casual games
business model; if we wanted the user to have a 5 hour
trial period, we'd probably offer him or her that in
the first place. 

We're seeing a lot of players focusing on the
single-player campaign (the story mode, or similar).
Once they've finished the campaign, their motivation
for actually purchasing the product drops
dramatically, even if there's still additional puzzle
or community modules that they haven't explored. That
some of the portals don't interrupt the play-time at
60 minutes (effectively allowing the user to play as
long as he/she wants, provided they don't close the
program) doesn't help.

So.. solutions. The simplest path is probably to
implement a maximum playtime in demo-mode, using a
registry key or similar to ensure that irregardless of
distributor, the demo-version can only be played for
max 60 minutes. You'd need to check against the DRM
wrapper(s) to ensure that purchased versions don't
have this problem. 

- Has anyone experimented with this? What do the
portals feel?

- What are the DRM APIs that you'd need to support on
this? Has anyone looked at doing an abstraction layer
to simplify supporting all of the common APIs?


Allan Simonsen

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