In-app Purchases (IAP) are unavoidable in most games we play today. Let’s explore some cases in Pinball where IAP is done right, and where it destroys a game.

Jared Morgan
Oct 26, 2018 · 5 min read

When you play a video game, you do it to have fun. What is fun to one person differs, but in general you usually want to either complete the game or unlock everything in it. So what happens when your experience is interrupted by a game funding model that sucks the life out of your enjoyment of the game?

You get a bad case of the Smurfberries.

We explore a few recent examples of In-app Purchase (IAP) models that are at the expense of the game experience. We also talk about the effects of an unbalanced “buy it now” model in free-to-play games. To balance it out we also give you some examples outside of digital pinball where IAP doesn’t need to be gross and distracting.



And now… on with the show

Some warm-up banter about weather and stuff, then we get into the show…

PinSim Cabinet Build Progress

If you haven’t already, check out the Medium post Chris wrote about the Cabinet Design.

If you’ve done that, then listen in on the Design Phase and Parts update Chris talks through.

  • 08:30 — PinSim Progress

Customer Experience in Pinball Games

  • 21:15 — What is Customer Experience?
  • 22:15 — What are Smurfberries?
  • 23:58 — What are Paywalls in Games?

Multi-tiered pricing in Stern Pinball Arcade

  • 27:30 — Stern Pinball VR and Smurfberries
  • 29:05 — What Premium/LE Tables can you buy?
  • 33:30 — Can you just purchase the LE version of a modern stern table?
  • 34:40 — Earning tokens through challenges seems to end at a Paywall
  • 35:10 — Buy 12,000 tokens for $10. No way, Jose.
  • 36:00 — What is actually different in a Limited Edition table?
  • 38:00 — “May have to re-adjust it”. Mmm hmm.
  • 38:30 — Gameplay expectations in Stern Pinball Arcade vs the Smurfberries reality.
  • 38:30 — How could Farsight make their pricing model fairer?
  • 39:35 — Why are Farsight not offering Pro table version skins?
  • 48:45 — Tell us your experiences with actually earning Smurfberries in SPA
  • 49:40 — If you’re not having fun, you’re not going to buy IAPs
  • 50:00 — Smurfberries done right: Sky Force
  • 51:00 — Multi-tiered IAP in games is a huge turn-off

Zaccaria Pinball User Experience

  • 42:00 — Unlocking tables based on Achievements
  • 44:00 — How much would you pay to unlock all the achievement tables immediately?
  • 45:25 — Attributing value to IAP unlocks
  • 46:30 — Fun modes: Lamp Hunter
  • 46:55 — Fun modes: Mini Missions
  • 51:55 — Stars Phoenix Remake: Voiced by Chris

Zen Pinball Honeymoon Period

  • 52:40 — Physics gripes with Fish Tales and Junk Yard
  • 56:00 — Flipper tricks ease across digital pinball brands.

Closing the Show

  • 64:00 — Sorry YouTube Live Viewers: we weren’t deliberately ignoring you.
  • 70:00 — How to Support the Show

BlahCade Pinball

Podcast devoted to commercial digital pinball that occasionally veers wildly off-topic just because.

Jared Morgan

Written by

Tech Writer with a Product focus | Podcaster | Pinball enthusiast.

BlahCade Pinball

Podcast devoted to commercial digital pinball that occasionally veers wildly off-topic just because.

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