How to Generate Constant Revenue From Your Free to Play Game

by Game Marketing Genie, on 03-Nov-2021 11:01:32

Pokemon GO, Fortnite and Polytopia are a few examples of free to play (F2P) games that went viral and became major players in the gaming world. Many game devs (perhaps even you too) hold these games as shining examples of the kind of success to aspire to. 

Besides the interactive gameplay and the fact that the games appeal to different age groups, the other thing they have in common is that the games are free to download and play. The F2P model seems to be the go-to model for mobile games nowadays, with developers offering their creations for free.

F2P games by region

Figure 1: F2P mobile games market by region. Source: Statista

But this doesn’t mean there’s no money for free to play games. This gaming niche is highly profitable, with Statista showing that the mobile market segment generated $67.1 billion in 2020. F2P PC games made $23.1 billion, while F2P console games made $1.8 billion. 

Herein lies an opportunity to maximize your revenue and effectively increase your player retention. All you have to do is give players a reason to spend more time and money on your game. This article shares the monetization strategies you can consider to ensure your F2P game stands out from the crowd.

5 strategies to generate constant revenue for your F2P game

Use these strategies to convert your free players into paying users. 

Access to players

When planning how to convert ordinary users into paying customers, it’s natural to assume that virtual currency would be the biggest motivation. Well, that isn’t entirely true. 

Digital cash may provide instant gratification, but the long-term solution for gaining the loyalty of users in the F2P world is with access to premium content. Think about offering players premiums such as powers, special levels, and tournaments. The more exclusive the experience, the more likely the players will pay to access them and become lifelong subscribers. 

Fortnite does a fantastic job of providing players with a customized gaming experience. Players can buy costumes and skins for their avatars. They can also use V-bucks – Fortnite’s in-game currency – to access loot chests that reward them with special assets and features. There’s also the Battle Pass which unlocks extra game tiers that are exclusive to users who make the additional payment. 

Fortnite Battle Pass

Figure 2: Fortnite's Battle Pass. Source: Fortnite

The trick here is to use your game’s extra features and tiers to convey a sense of exclusivity. While users can enjoy your game without paying, it should be clear that they can take their gaming experience to a whole different level by spending a few extra dollars here and there. 

We have shared useful strategies to help you convince players to spend more on your game in our blog, How To Grow Your Player LTV With 6 Unique Game Marketing Strategies

Pricing – keep it simple

How much will players pay to access the premium features of your game? 

Game pricing is an essential factor that affects how much revenue you make. You don't want to make your premium features so expensive that people start questioning the point of downloading a "free" game. For this reason, you want to keep your pricing simple to ensure players understand what they are getting in exchange for a few dollars. 

It's recommended to start with three pricing plans, i.e., bronze, silver, and gold. Anything more than this will likely overwhelm your customers and make it difficult for them to pick one plan. But when faced with just three options, they can easily compare the options and choose the plan that best suits them. 

When setting out the game tiers, you need to make sure the extra features are worth the additional payment by the players. Users shouldn't have to pay $100 more to access extra costumes for their avatars. This is too much to pay for such features, and most players will decide to continue playing your game in free mode. Also, make sure each tier has better features than the previous one to encourage players to upgrade. 

Keep it real – avoid pay to win feature

Creating tiered plans to attract subscriptions is one thing; getting players to opt into the programs is another. Your game tiers may have unique features that enhance the gaming experience, but it takes much more than that to convince players to subscribe. Gamers are very passionate and don't like feeling like their loyalty is being tested. Their main interest is to improve their skills and have a good time when playing the game. If the paid plans don't provide them with this feeling, most will decide not to upgrade. 

Gamers also don’t want to feel like the game is rigged or stacked against them. Remember, gamers play games to have a good time, compete against fellow players, and maybe set a few records. As such, you need to design your game plans in a way that players can achieve all this without trying too hard. Players shouldn't struggle to progress through the game, or they will abandon it and never come back. It shouldn't feel like the game is set up against them such that players have to spend a lot of time and effort to move to the next stage. 

However, this doesn't mean you should make your game so easy that players don't feel challenged when playing. Just make sure each level is challenging enough to motivate players to use their creative abilities to overcome the obstacles and emerge victorious. 

Also, don’t be tempted to add a pay to win feature to your game. Since players are always excited to win, a pay to win scenario may look like an effective solution to turn ordinary users into paying players. As stated earlier, players want to experience genuine emotions and paying to win feels like cheating the system. 

If your game is enjoyable when it’s free and the tiered plans are just as impressive, then users will be encouraged to level up their game while keeping it real. 

Winner platforms

Create a value system

The more often paying players feel compelled to return to your game, the higher they value their subscriptions. You need to find ways to entice the players back into your game, and you can achieve this by offering bonus points or in-game rewards for consistent play. When you do this, you create a value that brings users back to your game for its thrill. 

The net effect of such a cycle is constant revenue for you as a developer. With players regularly launching your game to experience its amazing features, you earn a stable income in the form of in-game purchases as players seek ways to enhance their gaming experience. You will also have more players upgrading their plans to enjoy better gaming features and test their abilities at a higher level. 

Keep it fresh

As a developer, you earn more money when players launch your game more often to enjoy its amazing features. This means keeping your F2P game fresh is key to its success. As long as there are more premium features to unlock, the player's drive to play over and over again is reinforced. 

When a player is on free mode, you want to give them every reason to upgrade to your premium plans. With proper advertising, the free players will know about the fresh content they can unlock when they make a small payment. This could be more levels, characters, new items, powers, game modes, and so forth. The players will see this as an opportunity to improve their skills, and they will make the upgrade to enjoy the premium features. You also want to do the same with your paying customers. Let the players know that there is more content to unlock if they want a customized gaming experience. 

To achieve all this, you need to be active in identifying the features you will add to your game to motivate players to spend more time on it. Engaging players in their online communities is an effective way to find ideas to improve your game. Here, you will get to know the players’ wishes and how they want the game to be improved. Sit down with your development team and turn these wishes into premium gaming features that require users to subscribe to access them.

Xbox controller on reflective background

Your complete game marketing guide

Hope you enjoyed this article! For more insider game marketing information, check out The Ultimate Guide to Game Marketing: Everything You Need to Know.

Free to play games have become the norm nowadays. Players don’t want to make an upfront payment to access your game before finding out if it suits them. For this reason, you are better off creating a F2P game and locking in premium features that players can only access when they subscribe. 

While we’ve shared tips that will help you generate constant revenue for your F2P game, we understand that it can be difficult to convince free players to pay for more gaming content. Keep in mind that you can convert most of them into paying customers with proper planning. 

Contact us if you need a game marketing agency that can help you improve your game to attract more paying users.

Topics:Mobile Game MarketingVideo Game Marketing StrategyVideo Game MarketingDigital Marketing Strategy

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