Freemium Games – Paying for an obsession

How many times have you gotten so close to beating a level on Candy Crush that you cave in and buy those 5 extra moves? It has happened. You get caught up in the fact that you just want to beat the level so what is .99 cents if it means you finally get to move on. Well you have fallen victim to a freemium gaming strategy.


Freemium games are a pricing strategy that is easy to get roped into. The game itself is free but in order to get those premium features, functions, or goods you have to pay money. While normally players don’t buy anything those times when they splurge on something extra really add up. The companies that have come up with these games  make billions off an obsession with the game!

The maker of Candy Crush is King Digital Entertainment; Freemium 2just this month they priced their shares from $21 to $24 which makes the value of the company $7.6 billion according to the New York Times. Each day 97 million Candy Crush users sign in to pay the simple but obsessive game. While companies pay for the development of the game, the goods that they sell in the game cost them nothing extra to produce, making the profit margin huge for successful games.

The freemium game idea have been around for years with origins in the 1980s when gaming companies would use free time or trial versions in order to get customers hooked so they would buy the full game. Now, when games can be downloaded in a matter of minutes and carried with you everywhere so you can play at any time, there is more potential  for profit than ever. But it is not just games, other apps also use this method, such as LinkedIn, Spotify, and any app that is a lite version.

There is no doubt that freemium companies have been thoughtful about how to get your money; make sure you are just as thoughtful.

Jacqueline Alexander
University of Wyoming Information Technology

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