I downloaded the newest Fire Emblem mobile experience, skeptical but also excited. The download was medium-sized, but I hadn’t intended to play it immediately anyway. My plan was to come back to it later that night.
And so I did. I opened the app, and played the 10-minute tutorial. Not mind-blowing, but excited to play a bit more, definitely. And then, WHAM…
The game asks me to begin the +2gb download of the rest of the game before I can continue. Wait, what?
This is absolutely a terrible first-experience for the user, let alone being a completely impractical way to present your game. If I had to guess, this was a publisher’s idea, and not the developer’s idea. It was likely done to lower the “bar to entry” on the game by ensure that the initial download size wasn’t too large. If the initial download size is kept to under 100mb, then there are very few people who will run into any issues downloading it, either over mobile network or because of free space on their device. But, if it’s a +2gb size download off the bat, you’re already decreasing the number of total downloads you’ll get by a factor of the number of people who have less than 2gb of free space on their device, which is probably a decent percentage.
Thus, the player downloads the “teaser” tutorial (without being told that’s what it is), and when it comes time for the game to need the rest of its data to be played, the player is prompted to download it. Whether or not they have the space on their device doesn’t matter; the publisher got you to download the game, it’s on your device now, you’re more likely to keep it there now that you’ve come this far with it, and they can count that as a game “download” in their statistics on the app store.
[ Today I Was Playing: nothing ]
February 4, 2017