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Why is Among Us Free on Mobile but Not on PC?

This is a question many gamers ask when they first try to download the wildly popular multiplayer game Among Us. As a fan of both mobile and PC gaming myself, I completely understand the confusion! In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explain the key differences between the mobile and PC versions of Among Us and why their pricing models are so different.

The Short Answer

The short answer is that Among Us uses a freemium model on mobile, meaning it‘s free to download and play but has in-app purchases. On PC it uses a premium model – you pay an upfront cost to download it but there are no additional purchases.

The freemium mobile approach maximizes accessibility and revenue through ads and in-app purchases. The premium PC approach generates revenue directly from game sales. Let‘s look at both models in more detail.

Among Us on Mobile – The Freemium Model

Among Us is completely free to download on iOS and Android devices. This freemium approach has several advantages:

  • Lower Barrier to Entry: More players can easily try the game at no upfront cost. This is especially handy for multiplayer party games like Among Us.
  • In-App Purchases: After downloading for free, players can buy cosmetic items like skins, pets, and hats. These in-app purchases typically cost between $0.99 to $2.99.
  • Ad Revenue: Among Us displays banner and video ads between matches. Players can pay a small fee to remove ads.

This model allows Among Us to cater to casual mobile gamers who may not want to pay an upfront cost. The developers generate revenue over time from ads and players who choose to make in-app purchases.

Here are some key stats on the mobile version‘s popularity:

  • 90 million monthly active users on mobile (SensorTower estimate)
  • $13 million revenue from in-app purchases in Q3 2020 (SensorTower)
  • 272 million downloads on iOS and Android (InnerSloth)

The massive success of Among Us on mobile shows that the freemium model can work very well. It leverages the convenience and flexibility of mobile devices for quick, social online games.

Among Us on PC – The Premium Model

On PC, Among Us uses a more traditional premium pricing model. Players have to pay an upfront cost to purchase and download the game:

  • Steam (Windows PC): $5 on Steam
  • Nintendo Switch: $5 on Nintendo eShop

Unlike the mobile version, there are no additional in-app purchases or ads with the PC and Switch versions. Players get the full experience with all available cosmetics unlocked after their initial purchase.

Some benefits of the premium model on PC/consoles:

  • Motivated Playerbase: Players who pay upfront are more engaged and willing to learn the game.
  • No Ads/Interruptions: No disruptive ads between games.
  • Unlocked Cosmetics: All skins, pets, and accessories come included.

This approach aligns with player expectations on platforms like Steam, where paying an upfront cost for a fuller game experience is the norm.

Here are some stats showing the success of the premium model on PC:

  • 3.2 million PC units sold on Steam in Dec 2020 (Among Us on Twitter)
  • #5 Top Selling game on Steam in 2020 (Steam)
  • 1.5 million Nintendo Switch units sold in first 3 days (Polygon)

While the upfront cost limits accessibility compared to free mobile downloads, the premium PC/console revenue still adds up. And players get a seamless experience without intrusive ads interrupting gameplay.

Comparison of Mobile vs PC Gameplay

Beyond pricing and monetization, there are some gameplay differences between the mobile and PC versions of Among Us:

Mobile PC
Max Players 10 15
Graphics Quality Lower Higher
Performance Good Faster response times
Control Precision Tap controls Keyboard/mouse more precise
Portability Play on the go Usually at a desk

So in summary:

  • Mobile – Better portability and accessibility. Lower graphical quality but solid performance.
  • PC – Faster gameplay, higher fidelity graphics, and more precise controls. But less portable.

Both platforms offer a great experience. Mobile caters to casual on-the-go play, while PC is ideal for players who prioritize performance and graphics.

Why the Platform Differences Exist

After looking at the pricing models and gameplay on mobile vs PC, you may be wondering:

Why did InnerSloth make these different choices for each platform? There are a few key factors at play:

Different Target Audiences

  • Casual mobile gamers tend to prefer free games with in-app purchases.
  • PC/console gamers are accustomed to paying upfront costs for games.

Platform Business Models

  • Mobile app stores thrive on freemium ad/IAP driven games.
  • Paid games dominate platforms like Steam.

Technical Limitations

  • Mobile devices limit game complexity/graphics compared to PCs.
  • Building one unified app for all platforms could constrain the experience.

Ultimately, building custom apps tailored to each platform allowed InnerSloth to maximize accessibility and revenue based on how people play games on that device.

Is Mobile or PC Better for Among Us?

So which platform is better for playing Among Us? Here are my thoughts:

  • The mobile version is great for casual play on the go against online friends or randoms. Hop into quick games anywhere.
  • For the smoothest performance and gameplay, PC shines with faster response times, bigger lobbies, and more control precision.
  • Cross-platform multiplayer means mobile and PC gamers can play together. Leverage the strengths of each platform.
  • Try the game on mobile first since it‘s free. If you enjoy it, the $5 PC cost is reasonable for an even better experience.

In the end, gameplay trumps graphics and Among Us shines on both platforms. Let your own gaming preferences guide you to the right version.

I hope this detailed breakdown gives you a better understanding of the strategy behind Among Us‘ pricing models on mobile vs PC. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out! I‘m always happy to chat more about one of my favorite multiplayer games. Have fun playing Among Us wherever you choose!