I recently wrote a blog post for Tapjoy centering around different, and underutilized, methods of monetization in mobile games. There is an excerpt here along with a link to the full article at the bottom. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share feel free to add them to the comments section.
So, you’ve secured funding for your new gaming app. The game design is original, fun and full of promise. You have great social hooks and an expert ad network to drive acquisition. You have daily return bonuses and incentives to bolster retention and all the standard monetization routes like virtual goods and in-app payments. You’re just about ready to launch.
At this point you get the call from upstairs with that one question all investors have: “Are there any other ways we can monetize this app?” You cringe, knowing that excessive monetization can often ruin a perfectly good user experience. And yet, what if I told you there was actually a way you could monetize the app and enhance the user experience at the same time?
Let My Users Play!
Too often in mobile games, users are playing and enjoying the experience when one bad decision stops them dead (usually literally) and forces them back to the beginning. With the popularity of the infinite runner game this tendency has become more pronounced.
A few infinite runners such as Running Fred and Temple Run 2 have gotten the message and added checkpoints and the ability to continue through leveling and purchases. This philosophy, and its money-making strategy, can be applied to more games than infinite runners though. Any game that has a hard restart from a checkpoint or beginning of the level can benefit from the resurrect/continue option.
If there’s one lesson we can learn from the coin-operated video game world it is that users can get caught up in an experience and will pay to keep it going. Often in design it feels like the hard stops due to death are a missed opportunity to help players stay engaged and monetize them at the same time. Let your users ride that wave they remember from games like Contra and Ghouls ‘N Ghosts etc. and, instead of shoveling quarters into a cabinet, let them shovel payments into your account and keep that wave going.