Free to Play games are the next big thing on mobile. More accurately, the problem the big thing right now on mobile. The leaders of Free To Play (F2P), are by far iOS and Android. The reason being is that these platforms have both the games and the users to make for a market that is favorable to F2P. BlackBerry 10 arguably has the right technical specs to be a competitor, but what it’s really lacking is the user base. But lets be hypothetical for a minute; what if BlackBerry 10 had the users? There are a couple aspects of BlackBerry 10 that make it highly competitive in today’s market. One is the payment relationships RIM has. The other is its commitment to a its developers.
BlackBerry 10 has the game developer relationships to make it a killer game device.
Competitive Advantage in F2P #1: Payment Methods
BlackBerry has PayPal, credit card and Carrier Billing. As far as I can tell, RIM is the only smartphone manufacturer to offer all of these options with more coming (such as gift cards). With F2P games, it’s essential that your users have every available option when paying for virtual goods, which RIM’s BlackBerry App World also supports.
Competitive Advantage in F2P #2: Developer support
RIM’s total commitment to developers means that the BlackBerry Platform supports a wide range of code bases with which developers can make apps. From native C/C++, to HTML5 and Adobe AIR, there are plenty of ways developers can quickly and affordably port their games to BB10.
In Reality: Free to Play on BB10 Is Not Ready Yet
Free to Play doesn’t make sense just yet as BB10 doesn’t have the numbers. One major developer is already trying to capitalize on the F2P market early though and that’s Half Brick with their famous title Jetpack Joyride. It’s not clear why they decided to go free so early, but it’s hugely appreciated from the BlackBerry community. Really, they should have charged up front and left the virtual goods as a “nice to have”.
With the average game making $10K per lifecycle, making F2P games are already risky, let alone with a platform such as BlackBerry 10. The games industry is fickle but if F2P is even around for the next 2 years, that’s enough time for BlackBerry 10 to build a significant user base and empower developers to make a significant amount of revenue. Although we’re clearly a biased site, it’s impossible for us not to be optimistic about device sales and BlackBerry 10.
If you have an iOS device, you should check out our friends Artic Empire and their app Bet To Win. We’re betting that RIM will ship 10 million BlackBerry 10 devices in the first calendar year.