Freemium, a portmanteau of the words "free" and "premium", is a pricing strategy by which a basic product or service is provided free of charge, but money (a premium) is charged for additional features, services, or virtual (online) or physical (offline) goods that expand the functionality of the free version of the software.This business model has been used in the software industry since the 1980s. A subset of this model used by the video game industry is called free-to-play.
The business model has been in use for software since the 1980s. This is often in a time-limited or feature-limited version to promote a paid-for full version. The model is particularly suited to software as the cost of distribution is negligible. Thus little is lost by giving away free software licenses as long as significant cannibalization is avoided. The term freemium to describe this model appears to have been created only much later, in response to a 2006 blog post by venture capitalist Fred Wilson summarizing the model:
Give your service away for free, possibly ad supported but maybe not, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc., then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base.
Jarid Lukin of Alacra, one of Wilson's portfolio companies, then suggested the term "freemium" for this model.
In 2009, Chris Anderson published the book Free , which examines the popularity of this business model. As well as for traditional proprietary software and services, it is now also often used by Web 2.0 and open source companies.In 2014, Eric Seufert published the book Freemium Economics, which attempts to deconstruct the economic principles of the freemium model and prescribe a framework for implementing them into software products.
The freemium model is closely related to tiered services. It has become a popular model,[ citation needed ] with notable examples including LinkedIn, Badoo, and in the form of a "soft" paywall, such as those employed by The New York Times and by Press+. A freemium model is sometimes used to build a consumer base when the marginal cost of producing extra units is low.
Other examples include free-to-play games – video games that can be downloaded without paying. Video game publishers of free-to-play games rely on other means to generate revenue – such as optional in-game virtual items that can be purchased by players to enhance gameplay or aesthetics.[ citation needed ]
Ways in which the product or service may be limited or restricted in the free version include:
Some software and services make all of the features available for free for a trial period and then at the end of that period revert to operating as a feature-limited free version (e.g. Online Armor Personal Firewall). The user can unlock the premium features on payment of a license fee, as per the freemium model. Some businesses use a variation of the model known as "open core", in which the unsupported, feature-limited free version is also open-source software, but versions with additional features and official support are commercial software.
In June 2011, PC World reported that traditional anti-virus software had started to lose market share to freemium anti-virus products.By September 2012, all but two of the 50 highest-grossing apps in the Games section of Apple's iTunes App Store supported in-app purchases, leading Wired to conclude that game developers were now required to choose between including such purchases or foregoing a very substantial revenue stream. Beginning in 2013, the digital distribution platform Steam began to add numerous free-to-play and early-access games to its library, many of which utilized freemium marketing for their in-game economies. Due to criticism that the multiplayer games falling under this category were pay-to-win in nature or were low-quality and never finished development, Valve has since added stricter rules to its early-access and free-to-play policies.
Freemium games have come under criticism from players and critics. Many are labelled with the term 'pay-to-win', which criticizes freemium games for giving an advantage to players who pay more money, as opposed to those who have more skill.Criticisms also extend to the way that the business model can often appear unregulated, to the point of encouraging prolific spending.
In November 2014, the sixth episode of Season 18 of the animated TV series South Park aired an episode entitled "Freemium Isn’t Free". The episode satirized the business model for encouraging predatory game design tactics based on an improper business model.In 2015, Nintendo released two of their own freemium games in the Pokémon series based on other standalone purchasable titles. With the title Pokémon Rumble World , Nintendo took a different approach by making it possible to complete the entire game without buying premium credits, but retaining them as an option so players can proceed through the game at a pace that suits them.
Freeware is software, most often proprietary, that is distributed at no monetary cost to the end user. There is no agreed-upon set of rights, license, or EULA that defines freeware unambiguously; every publisher defines its own rules for the freeware it offers. For instance, modification, redistribution by third parties, and reverse engineering are permitted by some publishers but prohibited by others. Unlike with free and open-source software, which are also often distributed free of charge, the source code for freeware is typically not made available. Freeware may be intended to benefit its producer by, for example, encouraging sales of a more capable version, as in the freemium and shareware business models.
Shareware is a type of proprietary software which is initially provided free of charge to users, who are allowed and encouraged to make and share copies of the program. Shareware is often offered as a download from a website or on a compact disc included with a magazine. Shareware differs from freeware, which is software distributed at no cost to the user but without source code being made available; and open-source software, in which the source code is freely available for anyone to inspect and alter.
The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer must pay a recurring price at regular intervals for access to a product. The model was pioneered by publishers of books and periodicals in the 17th century, and is now used by many businesses and websites.
Free-to-play video games are games that give players access to a significant portion of their content without paying. Free-to-play is distinct from traditional commercial software, which requires a payment before using the game or service. It is also separate from free games, usually referred to as freeware, which are entirely costless. Free-to-play's model is sometimes derisively referred to as free-to-start due to not being entirely free.
A mobile game is a video game that is played on the mobile phone screen.Historically, the term refers to all games that are played on any portable device, including from mobile phone, tablet, PDA to handheld game console, portable media player or graphing calculator, with and without networkability. The earliest known game on a mobile phone was a Tetris variant on the Hagenuk MT-2000 device from 1994.
Avast Software s.r.o. is a Czech multinational cybersecurity software company headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic that researches and develops computer security software, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Avast has more than 435 million monthly active users and the second largest market share among anti-malware application vendors worldwide as of April 2020. The company has approximately 1,700 employees across its 25 offices worldwide.
Pogo.com is a free online gaming website that offers over 50 casual games from brands like Hasbro and PopCap Games. It offers a variety of card and board games to puzzle, sports and word games. It is owned by Electronic Arts and is based in Redwood Shores, California.
Microtransactions, often abbreviated as MTX, are a business model where users can purchase virtual goods with micropayments. Microtransactions are often used in free-to-play games to provide a revenue source for the developers. While microtransactions are a staple of the mobile app market, they are also seen on PC software such as Valve's Steam digital distribution platform, as well as console gaming.
Downloadable content (DLC) is additional content created for an already released video game, distributed through the Internet by the game's publisher. It can either be added for no extra cost or it can be a form of video game monetization, enabling the publisher to gain additional revenue from a title after it has been purchased, often using some type of microtransaction system.
Companies whose business center on the development of open-source software employ a variety of business models to solve the challenge of how to make money providing software that is by definition licensed free of charge. Each of these business strategies rests on the premise that users of open-source technologies are willing to purchase additional software features under proprietary licenses, or purchase other services or elements of value that complement the open-source software that is core to the business. This additional value can be, but not limited to, enterprise-grade features and up-time guarantees to satisfy business or compliance requirements, performance and efficiency gains by features not yet available in the open source version, legal protection, or professional support/training/consulting that are typical of proprietary software applications.
A revenue model is a framework for generating financial income. It identifies which revenue source to pursue, what value to offer, how to price the value, and who pays for the value. It is a key component of a company's business model. It primarily identifies what product or service will be created in order to generate revenues and the ways in which the product or service will be sold.
Humble Bundle, Inc. is a digital storefront for video games, which grew out of its original offering of Humble Bundles, collections of games sold at a price determined by the purchaser and with a portion of the price going towards charity and the rest split between the game developers. Humble Bundle continues to offer these limited-time bundles, but have expanded to include a greater and more persistent storefront. The Humble Bundle concept was initially run by Wolfire Games in 2010, but by its second bundle, the Humble Bundle company was spun out to manage the promotion, payments, and distribution of the bundles. In October 2017, the company was acquired by Ziff Davis through its IGN Entertainment subsidiary, though operates as a separate subsidiary.
The open-core model is a business model for the monetization of commercially produced open-source software. Coined by Andrew Lampitt in 2008, the open-core model primarily involves offering a "core" or feature-limited version of a software product as free and open-source software, while offering "commercial" versions or add-ons as proprietary software.
Pretty Pet Salon is a strategy video game developed by Hong Kong studio Dream Cortex and published by Animoca The game was released on January 26, 2011 for iOS and on May 13, 2011 for Android devices. An HD version was released for the iPad on February 26, 2011, followed by an Android version on May 13, 2011. The iOS versions were taken down for a time on January 15, 2012 but since then the franchise has reappeared on Apple's App Store. Pretty Pet Salon titles on the Android Market and on the Amazon Appstore were unaffected.
AnyMeeting, Inc. is a provider of web conferencing and webinar services for small business that enables users to host and attend web based conferences and meetings and share their desktop screen with other remote users via the web. AnyMeeting is a web-based software application accessible by users via a web browser. This method of software delivery is commonly referred to as Software as a Service. The company was founded in 2011 and backed by Keiretsu Forum angel investors.
Real Racing 3 is a racing game, developed by Firemonkeys Studios and published by Electronic Arts for iOS, Android, Nvidia Shield and BlackBerry 10 devices. It was released on iOS and Android on 28 February 2013 under the freemium business model; it was free to download, with enhancements available through in-app purchases. Over time and despite an expensive virtual economy ingame, the developers began to tolerate the use of playing with time zones in order for the players to watch unlimited ads to get free gold.
Pokémon Rumble World is a freemium action video game in the Pokémon series developed by Ambrella, published by The Pokémon Company and distributed by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS. It is the fourth game in the Pokémon Rumble subseries, and features toy versions of at least 719 creatures from the first six generations. The game was first released worldwide as a free-to-start download title on the Nintendo eShop on April 8, 2015, with physical retail versions available in Japan the following November, Europe in January 2016, and North America in April 2016.
Video game monetization is the type of process that a video game publisher can use to generate revenue from a video game product. The methods of monetization may vary between games, especially when they come from different genres or platforms, but they all serve the same purpose to return money to the game developers, copyright owners, and other stakeholders. As the monetization methods continue to diversify, they also affect the game design in a way that sometimes leads to criticism.
Nintendo, a Japanese home and handheld video game console manufacturer and game developer, has traditionally focused on games that utilize unique elements of its consoles. However, the growth of the mobile gaming market in the early 2010s led to several successive fiscal quarters where they were running at a loss. Nintendo, led by president Satoru Iwata at the time, developed a strategy for entering into the mobile games market with development partner DeNA, as a means of introducing their franchise properties to mobile players with a goal of bringing them to buy Nintendo's consoles later. Since 2015, Nintendo has internally developed a number of mobile games, while also publishing games with other developers, including games outside of the initial DeNA partnership. Several of them have been entered the top-downloaded games list on the iOS App Store and Google Play stores, earning over US$100 million in revenue in total.
The popularisation of mobile games began as early as 1997 with the introduction of Snake preloaded on Nokia feature phones, demonstrating the practicality of games on these devices. Several mobile device manufacturers included preloaded games in the wake of Snake's success. By the early 2000s, the technical specifications of handsets had matured to the point where downloadable applications could be supported, however mainstream adoption continued to be hampered by market fragmentation between different devices, operating environments, and distributors.
Some companies have only a single version of their software, while others follow an "open core" model, providing a community release of the core version, and offering proprietary premium features us- ing a commercial license.