By Eve Watson
Most free-to-play (F2P) mobile game developers have two major goals. The first is to create a really good game. The second is to implement an optimal monetization system to generate maximum revenue. In order to achieve these goals, developers require a good game economy.
Every game – no matter how simplistic or complex – needs an economy. What’s game economy? It is essentially the vital organs of a game. It defines everything in your game, such as timeline, progression, placement of levels, every last character and environment detail, and so on. In short, a game’s economy is the heart of its rewards structure and is crucial to its success.
Different game economies will generate completely different results for the user. Depending on the formula used, it can lead to different KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), diverse expansions, and varying revenue. Outcomes can vary because it is the formula that defines the game. When it comes to game monetization, however, it is the progression of the game that often matters the most because it gives players more of what they want and, when they want more, monetization happens.
With that in mind, here are five top secret tips that you can use on your quest to achieve F2P game monetization success.
Tip 1: Hook Them First, Monetize Second
You need to focus on drawing in users first before you introduce them to your different monetization options. Let them get a real feel for your game and allow them to enjoy the fun for a while. Don’t start trying to gain their money right from the start. They’re not likely to keep playing if they feel the app is only after their hard earned cash; they’ll only spend if they feel it’s worth it. Give them a solid taste of what your game offers and they’ll be more likely to pay to advance further in the game later on when making purchases will make the game more enjoyable to play.
At the same time, it is imperative that you identify the critical stages within your game where you will monetize. The most ideal moments are when a user is fully immersed within the game. When they are caught up in the experience, particularly at a tense point in the game or when the difficulty level increases, they’ll be more tempted to pay for added benefits to get ahead instead of having a harder time progressing without these premium advantages.
Tip 2: Provide Multiple Currency Options
Research has shown that the majority of games that generate the most revenue offer their players more than one currency. For this reason, it is quite common for F2P games to give users spend flexibility by offering them both real money currency (hard currency) and virtual currency (soft currency) options.
Using only one type of currency – hard currency for example – essentially presents the user with an ultimatum: pay out-of-pocket for the benefit you want or find another game to play. The fact is that only an estimated 2 to 7% of users are willing to spend real money on games. Banking your revenue success on these users is a one-way ticket to failure.
By providing players with spend flexibility, you’re giving them the choice to enjoy your game as they prefer. Your paying users will continue to spend money while the remaining 95% or so will opt for the virtual currency route. These players can still make you loads of money via multiple sources like in-game achievements, in-game ads, etc. Reward your game players with the right monetization strategy and you’ll watch your revenue soar.
Tip 3: Give Users a Goal to Achieve
Where some developers fail their users, and ultimately their monetization, is by placing all their focus on making sales instead of on the user’s experience. You need to create a world that is both fun and challenging to interact with. Let players earn achievements so that they will find it worth their while to spend.
The more options users are given to achieve in-game currency, the better. There is pleasure in earning and in working toward reaching a goal. Most players like to watch their in-game currency climb higher and higher and feel gratified from it. Let your players enjoy this gratification and use this to your advantage by then providing them with objectives they can achieve on which they can use their accumulating funds. Players should always feel that their gameplay is improved by spending (real money or virtual). This is why spending should always be a natural, instinctive, inviting, fun and advantageous experience for the player.
Tip 4: Make the In-app Purchases Continually Irresistible
Virtual goods are essential to the operation of your game economy. Players must want to purchase them, not once, but again and again. While some of the goods you make available may have no expiry, you can’t make all the goods you sell never expire or you’re going to run into the problem of players buying the item only once. You always need to provide users with the incentive to make more purchases and to continue buying, whether this means enticing them to fork over real money or via ads or game currency. Special time-sensitive perks, offers that change daily or limited time offers give users a greater sense of urgency to act.
In other words, virtual goods must have value that is evident to the player and must be connected to consumption or expiration over time. This keeps the buying cycle in your game’s economy continually running.
Tip 5: Build a Dynamic Store that Appeals to Diverse Players
If you manage to deliver a fantastic game-enhancing experience for users, they will visit your store often. For instance, take a look at the mobile gaming trends for 2016. One of the top grossing games of the year was Pokémon Go. In its heyday, the location-based augmented reality game was a virtual phenomenon, providing users with a highly interactive, engaging and social experience. Although free to play and free to find and capture pokémon across the globe, the game’s store is an intriguing shop that sells premium items that can be purchased by PokéCoins.
The various items appeal to a diverse range of players depending on how they’re choosing to experience the game. For instance, you can purchase PokéBalls, a hot item that most players want because you need them to capture Pokémon. If you don’t purchase them, you’ll need to obtain the balls in less convenient and time-consuming ways. On the other hand, clothing and accessories to customize your trainer’s look are also available to purchase, but such an item would appeal to a much smaller percentage of users.
The point is that the Pokémon Go shop is dynamic and diverse, providing players with access to different offers and options. The bottom line: when you can appeal and monetize to a broad range of players, you’ll watch your revenue grow.
Eve is a tech-geek, loves traveling and capturing unforgettable memories along the way. She loves singing and driving – often, both at the same time. Her favorite pass time is to hangout with her family and friends. She believes in hard work and positive attitude. Eve is an online marketing manager at a media agency, but she spends her free time guest posting on tech blogs as a hobby.