- Game Evaluation
- Game Design
- Live Operations
Dissecting motivations of gamers from all walks of life
Hello again! Here is Part II of the F2P Monetization post which consist of practical known tricks that mobile games have been using. For my experience, I always follow my self-conceived formula of: Hook, Line and Sinker
Starter Packs - The Hook
Starter Pack Pop-up - Summoner's War
The earliest form of IAP presented to players. It is usual and best for games to show a prompt for this after the tutorial or ensure that the player has obtained fair knowledge for item(s) in the starter pack. For example, non self-explanatory items such as a Mystical Scroll may not appear directly useful for players that does not know what it does. Otherwise, these types of IAP are usually only buyable once for a limited time. Designers (Mobile) would term this as first-time conversion. It is to present a heap of benefits to players when they just got hooked. Depending on genre, starter packs are usually cheap options (ranging from $0.99 for casual games to $7.99 for RPGs). Many mid to hardcore games offer a Whale Starter where it's much more costly for spenders wanting to get the immediate big boost to "get ahead" of other players. This is definitely a pay2win factor.
Measure the starter pack expiry time based on average player progression. Usually near the expiry date, players' need for the starter pack benefits would peak. This can be perceived as a payment wall, depending on the game balance.
Currency Packages - The Line
In-App Purchases Menu - Lego Quest and Collect
This applies only to games with in-game currencies. It serves as the standard way of purchasing content over other IAP types. The most common strategy in games is to sell pricier packages for better value, this is usually either done by giving more currencies for higher price tiers or giving the same ratio of currency for a discounted higher pricing tier:
> A) 500 Crystals for $0.99, 1600 Crystals for $2.99 (+100)
> B) 500 Crystals for $0.99, 1500 Crystals for $2.79 (-$0.20) uncommon method*
Pricing tiers usually follow a ratio-like basis (with some offsets), this is often done to represent currencies in a referential format where players can indirectly but easily see the benefits of purchasing more expensive packages.
> C1) $14.98 yields me 1000 (+50) Crystals
> C2) $44.98 (about 3x price of the above) yields me 3000 (+300) Crystals
By purchasing [C2] as the player, I would know that I get a benefit of 250 gems (300 - 50). Smart spenders love to work out benefits themselves while the IAP menu remains discreet about explicit advantages.
Balance and master the monetization economy by referencing the currency sinks in the game based on what the game wants to achieve. For example, a 10x Character Roll costs 5000 Crystals in a game:
> D1) Selling a price tier slightly below 5000 would encourage players to earn the remaining required currency or purchase another lower-tier IAP
> D2) Selling a price tier slightly above 5000 would create post-spending impression where players are not left with 0 currency and have "spare" change to unlock content that may costs less Crystals.
Thanks for reading! Stay tune for Part III which will cover the Sinker!