If you haven't been living under a rock, then hopefully by now you know that F2P (Free to Play) games aren't really free. The upfront cost may be zero, but think about the damage to your brain that all of those Kate Upton ads have done... If you don't play that many F2P games, you'd be advised to learn the shocking tactics they use before you start bouncing checks.
Trivia Crack has managed to go beyond the standard F2P tropes though, and coerce millions of players to create game content for free. Read on for 5 ways Trivia Crack gets free content without lifting a finger.
1. You Create the Questions
A large majority of the questions in Trivia Crack are created by it's users. Etermax (the developer of Trivia Crack) reported in an interview with Business Insider that the game has 20 million user submitted questions in the queue to be approved, compared to 1 million that are currently in circulation. Questions are the game, and the players are creating the game one question at a time - without getting paid a dime of course.
2. You Translate the Questions
So you've got 20 million questions, but not everyone speaks the same language. How can do you get your free questions translated? To quote Maximo Cavazzani, CEO of Etermax:
"What you should do is get content for each country in each language, which is pretty difficult and very expensive. So we started thinking out of the box and we realized what we needed was for the users to create the content..."
There are whole businesses devoted to localizing games, but Trivia Crack players are happy to do it for free.
3. You Curate the Questions
Alright, millions of free user generated questions - check, translated for free into every popular human language - check. Hmmm.... to keep people engaged they'll need a way to tell which questions are the most entertaining or controversial. It will also be important to filter out questions that have wrong answers or are just bad. They need some kind of review process... oh, I know - why not ask the users to do it! Yep, that's right... set up a review queue, slap a 85% positive requirement on it and there you have another crowd sourced value added service that Trivia Crack gets for free. Starting to see the trend?
4. You Advertise the Game
While it is possible to pick up the game straight from the App Store (it has enjoyed the record longest streak in the #1 spot) and play against strangers, many if not most of the 100 million Trivia Crack players at this point are marketing the game to their friends. Directly challenging friends to a match is the most obvious way the game gets free marketing, but Cavazzini has also stated that the app was designed for word-of-mouth marketing:
"There's a big virality to the app because if you're playing and you don't know the question, you just say it out loud, and if you say it out loud, someone hears you and says, 'What are you playing?'"
5. You Fix Problems
If by some chance a question gets past the initial screen, or the correct answer to a question changes over time, Trivia Crack also provides you voting buttons and a more subtle "Report Error" option. Compared to some of the aforementioned mechanics these options are less devious, but they still amount to another way Etermax gets its users to clean up questions without having to lift a finger.
So why do you do it?
"Because you can", is an important reason to acknowledge - since Etermax has so graciously provided an avenue for users to provide these various forms of feedback, many feel like their "voice is being heard" when they vote on questions or report errors. I think another very smart design choice in Trivia Crack is the display of "authors" and "translators" on each question. This imbues a tiny amount of celebrity to the users whose questions have made this cut, and in an already hyper competitive game it is enough to attract more free content producers. A final, and perhaps most significant reason is that free-to-play gamers generally have a lot of time to kill. Since there are limits placed on how much you can play the game for free, users are fairly often forced to do something besides play the game. For the addicts that just can't wait for a heart to respawn the Question Factory provides the perfect outlet to spend whatever free time they have left. When you look at it all in summary, there is a devious genius in the content creation mechanics of Trivia Crack.
Will you keep playing voting in Trivia Crack now that you know you're being datamined? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.