When you look at the image above, what do you think? For me, when I opened AppShopper and saw the new Big Fish game Serpent of Isis for FREE I was thrilled and clicked the link to iTunes right away and grabbed the game. A few hours later I got their iSplash newsletter and saw that the game is NOT free, but in fact is a demo with a $4.99 in-app purchase of the full game.
Here is the image from the newsletter:
Don’t get me wrong – I love Big Fish adventure games and am sure that Serpent of Isis is well worth $4.99. But I have mixed feelings about how it was represented – it is shown as a game that costs $4.99 regularly but is now Free. Or … perhaps the in-app purchase is normally $4.99 but is half-off for a while? Neither of those are true – the game IS free to try, but to get the full game you need to pay.
How much? I didn’t know until I got the game, installed and ran it on my iPad. Here is the opening screen:
And when I chose to ‘Buy Now’, I had to tap on a continue button which THEN finally told me how much it would cost.
The price? $4.99 … exactly the ‘regular’ price shown on AppShopper. Where it says 50% off? Off what? What does that mean?!? Again, I actually like the idea of in-app purchases as a way to allow for demos, but when handled poorly it feels slimy and deceptive.
In the end I removed the game from my iPad and deleted it off my computer. It is unfortunate as my short experience made the game look fun – but they really made the process feel slimy. If they were up-front and just said that the in-app costs $4.99 for a short time which is 50% off the $9.99 regular price I would have said ‘cool’ and bought it.
To check out Serpent of Isis, head here!