From TheAlmightyGuru
Jump to: navigation, search

Crippleware is a software distribution model where the distributed program is described as free, but it contains features which will only be made available if you pay for them. The program may be crippled in varying degrees. Sometimes it is something minor, like eliminating the more exotic features that the average user wouldn't need. Sometimes it forces the user to advertise the product, by adding watermarks to saved documents. Sometimes it locks you out of key features like the ability to save your project or the ability to use the program more that five minutes. Many shareware products are a type of crippleware, but they're upfront about their limitations.

Traditional crippleware unlocks all the disabled features for a single flat rate, but modern versions of this model frequently use a micro-transaction system where the user is required to buy each of the features they want individually or in bundles. In video games, crippleware using a micro-transaction model makes the game progress especially slowly, but allows users to purchase power-ups that will expedite advancement, which they will often refer to as "premium" or "bonus" features.

Like with nagware or adware, I have an ethical problem when crippleware isn't upfront about their limitations and pricing.