How Do Free Mobile Game Apps Make Money?

Time
18-01-2021
Category :Mobile Application

If it is anything that has gained massive popularity in the past couple of months, it is the internet and of course, mobile games!

The gaming sector is an area that is seeing tremendous growth potential year after year. This has helped the game app revenues soar.

 

Why should I design a mobile game app?

If you have a gaming idea in mind, don’t hold back. Convert it into an interactive game. Take the help of a good game developer and get your idea transformed into a full-fledged gaming app. We will tell you why.

 

 Let us check some of the stats of the gaming sector:

  1. Mobile gaming revenue is estimated to be at $78 billion worldwide in 2020 and is expected to cross $ 100 billion in 2023.
  2. The mobile gaming industry in the US alone is expected to give revenues of over $ 12 billion by 2025.
  3. Tencent, the top gaming company, earned revenues of over $5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. 
  4. Asia continues to dominate the gaming market. It added revenue of $42 billion in 2018-19. North America came next with revenue of $ 9.8 million.
  5. 15.2 billion mobile games were downloaded across both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the second quarter of 2020.
  6. In 2020, mobile phone users spent at least 200 minutes per day browsing their mobiles.
  7. Google Play Store recorded 12.4 billion game app downloads in the second quarter of 2020.  
  8. The topmost video game companies are Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
  9. The leading game app publisher on mobile devices is Moon Active.
  10. The arcade mobile games generated revenue of $ 6 billion in 2016 and it is expected to touch $ 10 billion by 2023.
  11. Candy Crush Saga remains the most successful mobile game of all time even seven years after its release. It continues to generate revenue in millions. It is one of the top-grossing gaming apps on the iPhone.
  12. Pokemon GO is another gaming app that generates 10 million unique monthly users even now just in the US.

 

Which mobile game app should I go for?

Do you think action and racing games earn the most revenue? You are wrong!

The most popular mobile game genre is the casual mobile game with the puzzle genre coming second at 56.5%.

  1. Casual Mobile Game Apps
  2. Puzzle Mobile Game Apps
  3. Arcade Mobile Game Apps
  4. Action Mobile Game Apps
  5. Racing Mobile Game Apps

This is followed by strategy-based mobile games, card games, word games and board games.

But what is significant is the average game session length. It is the shortest for arcade, racing and sports games. In fact, the casino and card mobile games come first in the average session length with an average time of up to 22 minutes per play.

A high ratio of stickiness (ratio of daily active users and monthly active users) was observed for puzzle, word, board, card and casino games. This indicates the genre’s ability to retain players over a long period.

The average revenue earned per day per user is the highest in role-playing and strategy mobile games. This genre also has the highest conversion ratio at 1.6%

Are you having an idea about creating a mobile game app? Go for it now. You can monetize your game app and earn good revenue from it.

 

Is it costly to design a mobile game app?

Is creating a mobile game app expensive? How much money does it take to develop a mobile game app?

What do you think? Generally, people think that designing a mobile game is very costly. It is partly true.

Let us think about it from a different perspective. If you design an ordinary app and release it in the market, how often do you think people are going to use the app? Ordinary apps will be downloaded and opened only when required. You open a food delivery app only when you have to order food. You open a calculator app only when you have to do complex calculations. You open an e-commerce app only when you have to shop online.

Is it the same with a mobile game app?

Game apps are opened almost every single day. People stay on the app for more time per day.

Use this as an advantage to earn money.

If you look at it from an investment perspective, gaming apps give you better returns when compared to other apps.    

Getting a game app designed is costlier than designing other apps. But there are methods to reduce the app designing costs. Hire the services of effective game developers who design mobile game apps at the most affordable prices. They have the experience of devising strategies that help reduce the overall game development cost.

 

How to make my mobile game app?

Designing a mobile game app is easier said than done. There are various online tutorials that help you at every stage of game development. Also, now with free game engines, it is easy to develop games. But for holistic mobile game development, from the initial game design model to the final game upload, it is always better to have it done by an efficient game development company. This way, you focus on your idea and strategy while they design the game app for you.  

 

How to make money with my mobile game app?

Designing a mobile game app is just half the task done. The next crucial part is monetizing your mobile game app. How do mobile game apps make money?    

The first task is to have maximum downloads of your mobile game app. This is done in many ways-

  • Marketing through various social media platforms
  • Influencer marketing
  • Paid advertising on social media platforms and Google PPC

A good digital marketing agency will help you through social media marketing and paid mobile game app advertising. This is to ensure your game app not only reaches the target audience but also gets the most downloads.

Make your mobile game app a free-to-play app. This is the best way to get more downloads. Once you get an audience to play the game, you can start earning in many possible ways. 

 

Freemium format of mobile game apps

If your game app is free, how can you make money from your mobile game app?

Before, when games were introduced on mobiles, the paid format was the only way to earn. The player pays once and plays as much as he wants. But with growing competition, the paid format became less lucrative. A better way to get the game downloaded and still earn money was the freemium format. Here, you allow free downloading and playing, but with limited functionality. If players are to proceed to the next level or get an enhanced gaming experience, they have to opt for- 

  1. In-app purchases
  2. Subscriptions

But this format works when players are hooked to the game and do not mind spending a few bucks to keep them engaged.

 

In-app purchases

In-app purchase refers to the money paid by the player to increase his gaming experience. A majority of the gaming apps have the in-app purchase option. This is not done, exactly, as a revenue-generating model but its primary focus is to keep the players engaged in the game.

Most action games use the in-app purchase format to earn revenue. This is done through the purchase of virtual coins or currencies. These coins can, in turn, be used to purchase additional armory to destroy the enemy or to replenish the health on difficult levels or create personalized avatars.

In Candy Crush Saga, you use the in-app purchase to keep playing if you have run out of lives. In Clash Of Clans, Gems can be purchased to build the villages and complete the ongoing war.

The in-app purchases can be divided into two types-

  1. Consumables
  2. Durables (Non-consumables)

The consumable content is something that is used or depleted and can be purchased more than once. For example, in a word game or a puzzle game, you purchase hints using coins. You use them to help you solve the game. Once the hints get used up, you can purchase it again. This gives the game apps an opportunity to earn. Actually, there is no limit on the money a user can spend to buy the consumables.  

One more way to increase your in-app revenue is through the sale of durables (non-consumables). Non-consumable is when the player gets to keep the virtual purchase with them forever. For example, if a player purchases a special weapon, they retain it for as long as they are using the game app. The same goes for unlocking a bonus level through an in-app purchase. This increases the overall gaming experience rather than just helping to advance to the next game level. Also, as a player, it is value-for-money when you are able to use the in-app purchase permanently.

Nowadays, many game apps offer the flexibility of both consumables and durables. For instance, in Call Of Duty, a player has the option to purchase modern warfare through CP (Call-Of-Duty Points) either for a set number of days or for a lifetime. Of course, it costs more if you opt for a lifetime purchase. But for the die-hard COD fans, this is worth it.  

Make the in-app purchases more attractive by offering discounts to players. The virtual currencies can be sold in bundles with the highest bundle purchase having the biggest discount.   

Many of the games retain the in-app purchase option. The key is to integrate them strategically into the game at the right time such that the players feel its need.

The world’s top downloaded games earn the most through in-app purchases. The consumable Pile of Gems in Clash of Clans and extra moves in Candy Crush Saga have the highest purchases. This format works well for high-budget game app releases that have the backing of popular game publishing houses. But it is another story for the amateur indie game apps. Here, the in-app purchases do not contribute significantly to the overall mobile game app revenue when compared to the ads revenue.

 

Ads

Ad monetization has outscored all other revenue formats in recent years. For a freemium or free game, the ads work magic in monetizing the app.

The mobile game app advertising comes in several formats like-

 

Interstitial ads-

These are full-screen ads that are usually placed at transition points of the game. The transition points may be the completion of levels or a certain time interval. The ad can be in the form of an image or video. The full-screen video ads usually reward the players in the form of extra coins, a hint or an extra life. Clicking on the ad takes the player to the URL or landing page that has been set. The GK quiz and word connect game, Quiz N Win, opts for the interstitial ad format and has strategically positioned the timing of the ad at each two-level game completion.  

 

Native Ads-

These ads appear with the flow of the game and layout. These are embedded in such a way that they are felt like a part of the game. The challenge in native ads is their placement. The best example of a native ad is its display on the boundary or ground in a cricket game or on billboards in a car racing game. Another example is in the fantasy sports game app. Here you see an ad image banner blended amidst the various game options available. Also, in a cricket game app, the logos on a player’s t-shirt is actually the native ad. It is placed in a contextual way that is unobtrusive yet recognizable as an advertisement. The most common example of the native ad in a mobile game app is the small horizontal patch-like banner that usually appears at the top or bottom of the screen.

 

Expandable Ads-

Expandable Ads are first shown in the form of banners that when swiped or tapped takes over the screen and become a full-screen image or video ad.      

 

Rewarded Ads-

The rewarded ads are nothing but the interstitial or the banner ads that reward the players in one form or another when viewed for the entire time duration. The incentive may be in the form of extra life, coins, points, hint or something else that enhances their gaming experience. The popular GK and word connect game Quiz N Win rewards the players with extra coins for watching the ads.    

 

Dynamic & Static game ads-

The dynamic game ads like the ones displayed in billboards and logos are interactive and can be changed or updated in real-time based on demographics or player preferences. The static ads are pre-designed and are delivered in the same manner throughout the campaign.

 

Playable game ads-

The playable game ads usually showcase a brief video of how the game is played and then include a call-to-action at the end directing the viewer to the app install page. It can also contain an actual interactive game demo. These types of ads are usually found on FB and Instagram. This ad format can also be placed inside a mobile game app as a cross-promotion for any other game app of the same publisher or developer.

Of all the mobile game app ad formats, the rewarded video ads and the interstitial ads are the most popular pick.

 

Subscriptions

The subscription plan is the premium experience that you offer to your players who are willing to pay for it. When a player buys a subscription, they become its loyal fan. While the in-app purchase is designed for a player to buy and keep, the subscription plan is about offering access. The access may be to different exclusive avatars or extra hints for each game and so on.

For instance, in fantasy sports, subscribed members can have access to exclusive tournaments. Minecraft offers monthly subscription plans in the form of Realms and Realms Plus. Here, a player is offered a private game server to play along with their invited friends without the intrusion of the public.  

Many-a-times, the ads in a game disturb the player’s momentum. If a player wants uninterrupted gaming, one option is to offer them a subscription plan for an ad-free game. For instance, the popular word game Jelly Shift offers an in-app purchase plan of $2.99 for an ad-free gaming experience. Even though this format is popular on YouTube or Spotify, mobile game apps also offer such plans.  

So for a subscription plan, the idea is to offer a lifetime reward to the players. The subscription plan works best for games that have already an established fan base. But initially, expecting revenue generation from the subscription format will not work in your favor. As you work towards making your game the best for players, you can introduce the subscription plan.

 

What is the best ad format for my mobile game app?

The best type of ad for your mobile game depends on the game format and the player preferences. For an independent game developer, earning revenue through ad formats count. Big game publishers usually stick to in-app purchases and subscription models. Also, many go for the hybrid format and usually combine in-app ads and in-app purchases. 

 

Can my mobile game app make money?

If your game offers something interesting to the players, eventually it will be downloaded more and played often. To make that magic happen, work continuously on your game and keep bringing new updates that will keep the players hooked to the game.

Always get your mobile game app designed by trusted game developers so that they guide you from A to Z. It is not easy to design a mobile game app unless you are a dedicated game developer. It is even more difficult to monetize the game app and make it earn money for you.

Even so, a good idea and a neat execution with proper strategies in place right from the time of planning to its final execution with a continuous support and update system in place will definitely help you in the long run to make your mobile game app a success. 

        

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