Designing Game Apps With Continuous Revenue

Posted on: 19 November 2017

Gaming apps are a great way to earn money in the mobile-device dominated world if you don't have a specific business tool to sell. Unfortunately, many games are downloaded for a single price and then played or discarded, meaning that all of your app income will come from the initial purchase. To give your cash flow a few more paths, here are a few ways that mobile games can bring continuous, unique income from players across the world.

The Cash Shop

Many mobile games include some sort of shop where you can purchase special features or in-game advantages for real money. While this can be helpful if you game has significant challenges, there are ways to stunt the growth of your game by not making the right cash shop choices.

First, your game should never include a way to pay all the way to the end of the game. Make it easier to complete certain levels or defeat certain enemies, but major checkpoints of the game and the final stages should be devoid of cheap and easy victory.

This is because "winning" a game is a plus for the player, but a potential negative for you. If a player is able to make a few payments to win the game, they may not have a reason to come back. This can be seen as a way to squeeze a bigger purchase cost from the customer, but it's not continuous.

A good example of managing a cash shop is within online multiplayer, co-op, or player versus player (PVP) games. Players can have items that allow them to fight more battles, or basic potions to recover small amounts of health. There should not be items that can make a powerful enemy nothing more than hitting the same attack, and the items should not allow players to easily defeat other players.

This usually means adding level restrictions, sticking to basic items that would be obsolete after a few weeks of gameplay, or making the items only in specific situations. Allowing more power when fighting computer-controlled enemies while dampening the power against other players is one way to achieve balance.

Loot boxes And The Gambling Debate

Some games include loot boxes, or items that have a random chance to deliver something nice.

Games such as The Elder Scrolls Online allows players to purchase boxes that could contain items to make crafting weapons, armor, potions, or other items that would require continues hunting and adventuring in the game (known as farming) to acquire. Other rewards such as mounts to ride, or purely cosmetic pets and clothing are available.

Japanese mobile games that were once the forefront of cash shop gaming have created a sub-genre called gacha games, named after the gashapon-style capsule game that gives a toy or some item after putting in money. It's the same concept of paying to get a random item.

The random chance for certain items ensures that players will get something, even if it's not something they actually want. Some people consider it gambling, as it trades money some sort of unknown reward, and the odds are not always obvious to the player without research not easily conducted by the average user.

If you want to stay on the positive side of gacha games, consider a system that pays players back with an in-game currency if they receive duplicates. Contact a team of app developers to discuss the possibilities of a game that continues to pay out as players explore and power up.