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Do Mobile Games Really Make Money?

Do mobile games make money

Google Play and App store are brimming with games – some extremely popular, some mediocre, and others that hardly get installed. For each, mobile game monetisation works in different ways. The revenue curve is flat or unsteady, but never absent. So, who brings home the bacon and how?

The Global Heat

Research firm Newzoo says, as of 2017, the global market reach of games is $108.9Bn, of which mobile generates 42% ($46.1Bn). Here’s a cost breakup:

A device-centric competition drives the market with personal screens reserving the highest revenue. Back in 2017, smartphones accounted for 32% of the revenue, tablets 10%, other handheld devices 23%, consoles 31%, casual webgames 5%, and PC games 23%.

Today, the figures have increased to 30% and 10% for smartphones and tablets respectively and predicted to rise to 32% and 10% by 2020. Along with that, the shares for other handheld devices, consoles, casual webgames, and PC games are likely to fall. So, mobile game developers are on a vantage point.

Each sector is also affected by region-based interests. In the same report, the research firm reveals that Asia-Pacific accounts for $51.2Bn of the total market share, which is 47% of the total, followed by North America ($27Bn), China ($27.5Bn), Europe, Middle-East, and Africa ($26.2Bn), and Latin America ($4.4Bn).

Genre-Centric Monetisation

Verto Analytics – cross-device audience analyser, has placed mobile games second after social media in terms of their user base and time spent on devices. Games come and games go. However, the time spent is more or less consistent – 1.15 billion hours per month!

Gaming behaviour depends on genre, with brain-bogglers like puzzles and sudoku topping the list, followed by ARs, strategy games, and RPG. Talk about the most popular games of the year, and you can include the simplest of them like Candy Crush Saga, Flappy Birds, and even Snake, and the more challenging Clash of Clans, Game of War, and Badland.

Here’s how Genre-based Games Perform and Eventually Gross the Bucks:

Swrve – leader in mobile marketing automation, drilled down into Free-to-Play (F2P) and freemium games and found they alone deliver more than 90% of mobile game revenue. Their way of making money is a smart mixture of obvious and not-so-obvious tactics that include…

  • Ad revenue (Draw Something, Hero Academy)
  • In-app purchases and micro-transactions (Bejewelled Blitz)
  • Subscriptions and memberships
  • Sponsorship and affiliate marketing

Even if we leave out all the premium games that demand direct digital pay, based on the above data, the translation of mobile games to the greenbacks is pretty astonishing.

Popular success stories of games that created benchmarks

The CoC Success Story

The picture says it all. Leif Johnson of Gamezebo, who gave the game 4.5 out of 5, says the gameplay is ‘skewed’ and designed to coax players into making purchases. It is simpler than other strategy games of its league, which is an added advantage. The game has gone on to be a top grosser, generating revenue of $1.5m a day.

The Flappy Bird Success Story

Flappy Bird has ceased to exist, but the makers are still getting paid. 50 million players, who downloaded the game, earned the game masters $50,000 per day via in-app purchases and direct sales. Once reported as ‘painfully difficult,’ the game continues to generate revenue from ad impressions, possibly in billions. Now that’s monetization done right.

How To Create The Next Smash Hit?

Game monetization is beyond theoretical calculations. Design and marketing strategy play their roles in inviting profit because comparisons happen all the time within the gamer grid. If it’s a good experience delivered with value for money, infection rates would soar.

Follow Game Monetisation Best Practice

Discover the niche, find a target audience, study player behavior, and set goals.

  • Focus on cross-platform and plan the UI/UX.
  • Deploy a team that’s well-versed with programming, coding, digital marketing, branding, and audience building.
  • Consider investing in user acquisition, in-app purchases, rewarded video ads, events, and promotions.
  • Test and re-test the game until satisfaction.

And if you’re still wondering whether mobile games really make money, well, it’s more than you could imagine.

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