Mobile publishers are piling increasing pressure on indie developers to implement aggressive monetisation structures in their games, focusing on pay-to-win tactics that disregard the foundations of the game's design.
That's according to reports from a clutch of studios with first hand experience. Italian studio BloodyMonkey, for instance, approached publishers with an upcoming sliding puzzler called Pablo Cavarez.
Initially planned as a free-to-play game, Pablo Cavarez would give players the first handful of levels for free and allow them to unlock the rest of the game for 99c / 69p.
But in speaking to Pocket Gamer, BloodyMonkey founder Paolo Taje said it wasn't enough for some publishers.
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"We approached different publishers during the development, but all of them required some form of free-to-play mechanic (virtual currency, sell hints, ads...)," Taje bagan.
We decided to self-publish the game and stick with the initial design: no artificial gimmick
"We decided to self-publish the game and stick with the initial design: no artificial gimmick, just one world free to try and all the rest of the game unlockable one time and forever."
The other developer which has reported a similar encounter, Cliffhanger, told its story to Strategy Informer.
Creative director Jan Wagner said his upcoming game Aerena: Clash of Champions was turned down by unnamed publishers on the grounds that they "only take pay-to-win games".
Wagner retorted that he thought the pay-to-win model was "a race to the bottom in terms of quality" and was - unsurprisingly - told by some publishers to never contact them again.
The plural of anecdote isn't data, naturally, but it's unlikely that Cliffhanger and BloodyMonkey are the only two indie studios have conversations like this with publishers.