Mobile videogames monetization
Howdy fellows! Welcome back to Interactive Project’s column “Videogames Wiki”! Today we want to have a fast discussion on the various monetization methods in a mobile videogame. Mobile videogames arose since the birth of the smartphones last decades. A wave of independent producers started publishing mobile videogames (together with applications) sustained by low costs and accessibility. The market for mobile videogames was characterized by lower entry and exit barriers such that it boomed in few years.
It is estimated that in 2015 earnings from the mobile videogame sector will surpass the consoles ones. In an overall videogame market which is growing at rates of over 40% annum. This makes the videogame market a very profitable one also for the ones who cannot afford to get to the console markets.
There are many ways to monetize a game, we are focusing here on the monetization of mobile games (you can find more information on the importance of retention within the various monetization methods here).
When you publish a game on the mobile stores there are several monetization opportunities, some of the most used are:
- Pay-to-play: one of the most attractive choice and one of the most used in the first years of mobile gaming. Pay-to-play is derived from the console and PC tradition, gamer has to pay an up-front fee in order to download the game and play. This type of payment might seem attractive to developers because of the up-front cash they get. Anyway since the rise of free apps mobile gamers started to prefer free-to-play apps rather than pay-to-play ones. Nowadays pay-to-play games are usually famous very complex games which might target a niche or existing customer of a specific publisher/developer.
- Advertising: this option is ambivalent, it usually holds average to good returns in terms of money if the game is downloaded enough times. Anyway either the game is too good or the advertising is perfectly integrated in the gameplay it is highly likely that gamers will feed bored by advertising and quit the game. It is then crucial to study the game design in a way to optimize exposure to the advertisement and gameplay, there are several advertising possibilities:
- Banner, usually always under the eyes of people playing banners usually held a lower return and are pretty intrusive;
- Interstitial, this full screen advertising solution holds higher returns than banners, but might prove very intrusive, so it is better to place it strategically (like once every X games)
- Video, video ads are the most profitable source of advertising, anyway it is very difficult to place them without destroying the User Experience. Usually they are in a special section where the user might get something in return if they watch the video (i.e. more coins).
- Freemium: in this case you give away some free trials of your app but the user has to pay to play the rest (or part of) it. This might prove a nice strategy since it gives the chance to try the game before deciding whether to buy it or not, on the other side it might prove frustrating that when the game starts to catch your interest you have to pay thus incentivizing game dropping and bad reviews. It is also possible to ask for payment of clusters of the game, for example a new world, or a multiplayer mode;
- In-App-Purchases: one of the most effective strategies is in-app-purchase. This strategy holds a great risk in the sense that the player might well finish the game without even spending a single Euro (or Dollar, or whatever their currency is), however the possibility to buy upgrades, extra features or new character open up the road for heavy spenders which might boost your sales and earnings.
And if you get lucky…
Your game might prove so cool that you can start selling merchandise!
Do you need support for your game monetization strategy? Write us here!
Nizan, Y., (9-10-2013), 42 ways to monetize your mobile game, Game Analytivs blog, retrieved at: http://blog.gameanalytics.com/blog/42-ways-to-monetize-your-mobile-game.html
Nutt, C., (15-04-2014), In-app purchases really are most effective for mobile game monetization, Gamasutra, retrieved at: http://gamasutra.com/view/news/215546/Inapp_purchases_really_are_most_effective_for_mobile_game_monetization.php
Bea, F., (17-12-2013), 40 iOS and Android mobile monetization strategies for app developers, Appflood, retrieved at: http://appflood.com/blog/40-ios-and-android-mobile-monetization-strategies-for-app-developers