“Why was free Playground changed to paid Play Garden?”

As many of you know, we released Playground pack in summer 2013 as a free pack, as our answer to the ever-popular demand for more freebies.

However, in October 2013, Playground was unpublished, and in January 2014, it was re-released with several items added (such as a tree house or swinging bridges). Under the name Play Garden, the pack is now sold for 3 Euros.

Why did we change this? There were several reasons for this. Pavel summed them up really well in an email to one of our users who asked us about the change. The email is very sincere and gives a full answer, so I might as well quote most of it here for the rest of you who might be interested:

The immediate reason for pulling the free Playground was that there were reasons to worry about Playground hurting sales of other expansion packs. Given that sales to users are our only source of revenue (you’ll notice that Inner Garden is completely free of any adverts, nags, cross-promotion etc.), we just couldn’t afford that.

Inner Garden is fairly popular, but it has not yet generated enough income to pay both of us for working over two years full-time on the app and its expansions. As of now, we are still losing money on it, so giving things away for free might not be the best thing to do at this moment.
Also, interestingly enough, our experience with making stuff available for free is rather bad. Although the free Playground was rather popular, it was also our worst rated pack by far. It appears that by charging for stuff, we get users who think about their download before they make it, who make sure they want our stuff and enjoy it when they get it. By contrast, a lot of users of free goods seem to download things on a whim and then punish us with low ratings for not matching their expectations. Apparently, people don’t appreciate gifts. We’d prefer if it didn’t work that way but it does.

And to be honest, I myself don’t feel bad at all for charging the price of a beer or two, or a pizza, for all the hard work that goes into Inner Garden, and the entertainment and/or relaxation that you can get out of it.

We’re still giving away a *lot* with our base app and that is not going to change. You’re also free to keep the free Playground on your devices.

So much for Pavel’s reply. I would only add for those of you who love Inner Garden and would like to see more of it, with more new content and more features: yes, we do not make enough money from the app to justify further development financially. We do it, because we love it. This is why we ask you again: if you like Inner Garden, please help us by spreading the word about it: telling/showing your friends, using social media such as Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook to show off your gardens, blogging about it, asking your favorite gardening blogs, websites or magazine to cover it, etc. If we manage to get more paying users over time, we can decrease prices and maybe even release a free pack. Until then, it won’t make much sense.

Help us to put out more free stuff by getting behind Inner Garden and telling everyone about it! If you have any suggestions or questions, please leave them in the comments below or visit our Facebook page.