In 2016, the mobile game market was responsible for 37% of the total market revenue, closely followed by PC and Console at 32% and 31% respectively. When designing Steel Seal, we had a good idea on how we were going to monetise our game to maximise the amount of revenue generated.
Over the past 5 years, the amount of games using a fremium model, where the game is free but you spend money on in game items, increased 30%, while apps using a paid model has heavily declined over the past couple of years. In app advertising however, stayed fairly consistant with only a slight increase over the 5 year span.
The average earnings of each monetisation type also helped us make our decision. For advertising, our team is using UnityAds, a service provided by Unity that integrates ad's into your game. When using these ad's, the average eCPM (effective cost per 1000 impressions) is $6-$12. The final figure depends on a few factors including region, billing type, ad lenght and the ad itself. For IAP (In-App Purchases), 80% of developers reported that under 5% of their users made a purchase, but from those few users, the average purchase was around $6 for android users, and the most popular IAP prices were between $0.99 and $20.
For Steel Seal, we decided to design IAP that would allow the player to customise their game experience, without the game becoming pay to win. We did this by creating multiple costumes or "skins" that the player could purchase with a premium currency. The only way to obtain this currency is to purchase it with real money. Taking the route of IAP for cosmetic items only is not neccessarily the most effective way to get customers to purchase items, but the team believed this was the most ethical way to do it. Making people who play your game pay money for a chance at the high score boards is not the kind of game we wanted to create. This is why powerups in our game are applied at game start, and can be purchased with an in game currency that can be obtained just by playing.
Steel Seal also has a secondary form of monetisation in the form of in app advertising. These advertisements are secondary to IAP, becasue our team though that having a constant banner in game would be distracting and annoying. Instead of that, players can watch an ad after a playthrough for a chance to win a prize. This ad is completely optional, and if the player watches it they are rewarded with a prize.
We chose these two forms of monetisation in that order because of the way the research reflected the downfall in popularity of paid games. From the chart above, it is clear that IAP are the most popular form of monetisation and they have a higher chance of earning money from a smaller audience, rather than relying on an add reaching 1000+ people. Because our game probably won't reach an audience close to 1000+ people, going with ad's as a primary earner would be pointless. Instead, having cheap, affordable IAP that the player can use to customise their gameplay experience, and marketing towards a smaller audience would yield higher income.
Another important part of monetisation is branding and promotion. For Steel Seal we created a Facebook page that we could use to post updates and information about our game and easily promote it to friends, family and the public. On this page was our recognizable logo and a familiar banner, along with posts with updates and screenshots. This form of promotion seemed to be quite successful with 40 page likes, more than what was expected. This also translated to actual game downloads as well. Currently, the game has 51 downloads and 33 active users.
For our Play Store page, we again have our distinguishable logo to greet the customer. On the main screen we have some colorful screenshots. These screenshots are attractive to customers and give the game a professional look which attracts the player to install the game. The combination of interesting logo, and professional screenshots increase the chance a player installs our game.
From the data showing within our developer dashboard, the amount of downloads we currently have is more than what was expected. From this we can determine that our branding and promotion through word of mouth, and our Facebook group, our game was successful.
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Koetsier, John. "Mobile App Monetization: Freemium Is King, But In-App Ads Are Growing Fast". VentureBeat. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
McGregor, Claire. "In-App Purchases Of The Top Grossing Apps - Appbot Blog". Appbot Blog. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.