Pricing Strategies for Mobile Games

Pricing your game can have significant impact on your revenue stream and game appeal to audience. Hence we must evaluate various pricing strategies available to mobile game developers for app stores. For effective pricing, it’s extremely important to know competitive landscape on app stores and customer expectations.

There are various pricing strategies available to mobile game developers and each of them can have impact on game matrices like download, retention and ratings. The categories are listed below

Free-with-ads: Mostly used in casual, arcade and quick fix games; and primarily relies on advertising as major source of revenue. There are two broad options available in advertising space

  • Incentivised Adverts: -Incentivizing user to perform some action by rewarding with virtual currency within the game is termed as incentivized ads. E.g. asking user to download another game or watch a new promotional video to get free coins within the game. Its less intrusive to consumers but provides less revenue to developers.
  • Un-Incentivised Adverts: – Displaying adverts randomly during the game play is termed as un-incentivized adverts. It’s usually annoying, like TV advertisement during famous sports matches, but provide higher return to developers. Few companies providing advertising options are MoPub, Facebook, AdMob, InMobi etc.

The basic challenge is to setup Ads frequency, so as we can optimise game revenues without upsetting players. Advertisement frequency is decided based on game genre and average session length, however it’s recommended to serve one ad in a minute. Higher ad frequency can impact your retention and rating, whereas lower ad frequency can impact your revenues from ad-stream. Each game must find its optimal ad frequency by experimenting with various options.

Furthermore, there are various ad-units available to mobile developer including video advertisement, interstitial and banner advertisement.

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Free-to-Play: Commonly termed as fermium games, allows users to try the game for free, and charges users for additional content through in-app purchases. E.g. Angry bird charges for skipping a level, Clash of clan charges for additional virtual currency. This is extremely famous pricing strategy and provides maximum return to developers.

The pricing strategy falls into two broad categories, termed as consumable and non-consumable contents.

Non-consumable content is an item that lasts during the entire game play and must be restored if the user re-installs the game. E.g. unlocked episode, unloked weapon etc

Whereas consumable contents is consumed during the game play and doesn’t last forever e.g. energy points required to revive in endless runner game, or stamina pack required for specific battle. Data suggests consumable content has provided higher return to developers.

Pay-to-own: Generally termed as Paid games and charges consumers upfront to download each new games and enables to get free upgrades in future. App stores have separate category for top Paid Apps, and are fairly popular choice. However, it reduces the trial and is recommended for brands with strong history and momentum.

Pay-for-subscription: Rarely used but can charge subscription fee to the user for using the game or content monthly. Only a handful of games are using the approach including Disney’s Club Penguin.

Before implementing any of these strategies we must understand why the player may be willing to pay for game, competitive pricing strategies used by other companies, and cost of content. Few other items to factor in are game developer’s brand, quality of content, users rating and game genre. Hence the price points must be set carefully. In short, players have certain price expectations for specific content and we must match our pricing based on consumer expectations. The more attractive pricing you has, higher the chances of having optimal revenues.

GenITeam has build over 300 mobile games and can help you build your next game and optimise pricing strategies. Contact to speak with our gaming consultant today.

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