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Are In-App Purchases a Pain in the App?

February 06, 2016

According to Gamasutra, free-to-play games were the highest revenue earners for 2015, with the top 10 earning collectively over $5 billion. So, in the world of free-to-play games, IAPs are a necessary evil. But, most gamers hate this revenue model, and Devs hate the fact that they have to implement it.

William Grosso, the CEO & Co-Founder of Scientific Revenue, a revenue optimization service for mobile games, has listed three proven strategies that will increase revenue. One of which we have implemented in ReRunners.

1. Play the demo, pay for the ride


Personally, I find this somewhat of an annoying model. I remember the good old days of shareware demos, playing the first few levels of Doom over-and-over again. But now, it can be frustrating, like waking up from a great dream, and realising it wasn't real. It has been noted, however, that this model can be good for indie studios, giving players a taste of what to expect before paying to unlock the remainder of the game. Despite being annoying in nature, this can be good for word of mouth.


2. Opt-in Ads


Opt-in ads are something that we do in ReRunners. Viewing ads reward users with Gems that they can spend in-game, but we restrict users to viewing so many ads per day - this brings in a stream of advertising revenue and also encourages players to buy more in-app purchases; knowing that at the tap of a button, you can earn more virtual money. As Grosso states, “Watching ads, in other words, are training wheels for IAP.”


3. Downloadable content through IAPs


Just like console games, downloadable content is a way of giving your players and fans more of what they love to play for a fee. Popular free-to-play games like Monument Valley sold their expansion as an IAP within the game. But, despite it seeming like a money-making scheme, it's a good way to fund the production of a game and expand its longevity.


The key to adding IAPs to your game is to do it in a way that it doesn't take away the fun of playing the game in the first place, and at the same time, rewards you with needed revenue to pay the costs of running a development studio. Good luck!

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