Best Practices of Mobile Gaming Monetization
The mobile gaming market made $29 billion in 2015– and it is only set to continue growing (with estimates as high as $49 billion by 2018).
But the mobile gaming industry remains in the “wild west” stage of its history today, with the continuous improvement of mobile phones therefore lots of variables to effective monetization. Though it’s hard to know exactly what mobile will be like in a couple of years, here’s what I see affecting the mobile gaming area in 2016.
Increased concentrate on mobile branding– optimizing each user
Nintendo’s move into the mobile area by bringing their renowned characters and IPs to smartphones, such as Pokemon GO, is going to have a significant effect on the increased focus on brand recognition for mobile gaming companies moving on.
User acquisition costs are already increasing per person; as a result, marketing spending plans will continue to rise. To sustain the increasing costs of this method across the board, and the congestion of new mobile games hitting the app store every day, we’ll see fewer games come out per publisher; instead, the focus will be on expandable and upgradable mobile games.
This will enable game developers to leverage the most ROI from their user acquisition efforts and assist develop the brand in a more standard sense (as console developer studios have performed in the past).
To expedite this troubled procedure of acquiring users, we’ll likewise see an increase in star endorsements similar to what Glu Mobile pioneered with the “star simulator” games like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and the just recently announced partnership they have with Taylor Swift.
These games not just bring effective existing brand names to the table, however have an easy preliminary target for advertising through social media channels where fans of these celebs reach the multi-millions. Star advertising for mobile games will continue to increase, also, for this very same factor.
According to Cornell University, they discovered in 2015 that an extremely reliable form of improving monetization was through multiplayer gaming design. Enhancing the competitive and social nature of the industry by adding features such as in-game chats became the industry requirement in 2015; 2016 will see this trend continue, with more emphasis on single-server environments and more advanced live translation software. In-game “live-ops” events will be more greatly promoted, with greater reward value to promote this level of engagement.
Clan engagement will be another big investment for any kind of non-casual game on mobile. Companies will start to allocate more resources to develop an extensive clan ecosystem within the game to promote discussion.
We found that a lot of our players take to forums and dedicated Skype channels to increase the immersiveness of their experience within the games. We’re currently seeing clans in our games overcoming built-in buddy and clan membership limitations by developing their own website solutions, complete with back-end support and advanced organizational tools.
Players are no more content with Dunbar’s variety of 150 relatives approximately, and are establishing tightly collaborated hierarchies numbering thousands of gamers across various time zones. We anticipate this trend to continue.
F2P will continue to be the dominant monetization method– with more immersion
If you glance at the leading mobile gaming charts for every month in 2015, what do you see? Nearly all are based on the free-to-play (F2P) model, with the exception of Minecraft. Minecraft also had the special advantage of being explosive on other platforms before making its way to mobile.
While other forms of monetization can be efficient in uncommon examples, it is much more likely that 2016 will be the year developers find brand-new methods to take advantage of F2P monetization around their games. As a shining example of what takes place when even fantastic games veer away from the F2P design, look no even more than Monolith Valley– an amazing game that triggered outrage by charging $2 for its expansion.
Additionally, we are most likely going to see an increase in genre-bending games that naturally support the F2P monetization model. As larger studios enter the game and bring bigger, more polished titles to market (with bigger development and marketing budgets), developers will be under increasing pressure to satisfy shareholder expectations and provide Clash of Clans-style success while still standing out.
This suggests a great deal of risk-averse titles that blend reliable elements of popular categories that have currently demonstrated success on the marketplace. MOBA (Multiplayer Online Fight Arena) games on mobile will likewise rise in appeal as a genre that has massive potential with F2P, because the short, basic nature of fights makes it ideal for the mobile platform, where users are continuously on the go.
The compatibility of MOBA games with e-sports likewise appears like an appealing motorist– titles like Vainglory are already splitting this open, making e-sports readily available to anyone with a phone. There is a underrepresentation of this type of game in the console market due to the fact that it is more adaptable to a mobile platform. League of Legends is a perfect example of a successful game that isn’t being monetized as well as it could right now (mainly because they haven’t had to due to their player base), but with F2P variations, this has big capacity.
As mobile phones become more powerful, developers will be pressured to invest more money into each mobile game. As a result, companies will begin to incorporate F2P tactics more perfectly into their games to develop a level of immersion that remains in line with their enhanced quality. Early examples that we see in the market are avoiding providing items or increases, instead offering currency similar to how Ubisoft monetizes extra content in their Assassin’s Creed games.
Mobile gaming always provides signs of the instructions it’s going, however it is still sifting through a maturation stage, in spite of how explosively successful it is right now. Something for sure is it will continue to impress and amaze as the market evolves.