publisher Chillingo announced today that its Crystal SDK now supports development of microtransaction-based "freemium" games as well as traditional paid apps.
The SDK, which currently supports iPhone and Flash development, with plans to add Android support before the end of the year, has expanded available monetization options to make it easier for free-to-play games to make money off of virtual goods, gifts and promotions.
Crystal also allows developers to easily add features like challenges, achievements, leaderboards and branding into their games.
"We now offer our developers two alternative business models to engage gamers – the traditional one-off paid model, and a freemium model,” said Joe Wee, Co-Founder and Director of Chillingo.
“We have spent the past six months extending our technology framework. It now provides our developers and ultimately our customers more choice in how they choose to engage with social games on mobile platforms," he adds.
The freemium market has received increased attention in recent months, with Ngmoco CEO Neil Young partially crediting the model for his company's continuing success in a recent Gamasutra interview
"In summer last year we made the shift to free-to-play games, and that really made a huge difference to our business as we transitioned from monetizing downloads to monetizing usage," Young said. "When you monetize usage, you realize it's really about building sustainable relationships with customers, which is not entirely dissimilar from operating and running a service."
Sales of virtual goods are projected
to drive over $2 billion into the industry next year.