How to use In-App Purchases in free to play games

Are in-app purchases a bad marketing practice? Short answer: NOT AT ALL!

When it comes to free-to-play mobile titles “66 percent of new players stop playing after the first 24 hours”, according to a new report from the mobile analytics firm Swrve.

Hint: some developers’ practices are leading to users distrusting games with in-app purchases. This goes beyond the business aspect of the game, as it’s totally about the player’s expectations and experience with the game. Developers must understand that what they do as individuals affect the entire industry and determines its reputation.

The hard truth is that people don’t have the obligation to play games. They do so BY CHOICE, as a way of entertainment, to learn new things, to share experiences with friends…

For every new user that chooses to download your game, you should be able to show your appreciation to them in return. And the best way to do it is: don’t let them down. They expect what you promised in the app store description, whatever it was: top design, fun excitement, engaging community…

In app purchases are not the end-all be-all of your game…

Your users represent the most valuable metric you have. Your core focus must be to turn them into profit. In-app purchases don’t have to be a stopper for your players. Use IAP to bring valuable stuff to players and give them choices to make things easier. Take me as example, I’ve bought temporary power-ups so I could farm faster to get the resources I needed, but even if I hadn’t I could’ve gotten there anyway at a slower pace. And have fun in the process.

WWII:TCGUsers feel they are given value when they’re not forced to commit to an acquisition. It happens on a daily basis in our lives: when we choose what water to drink —instead of tap water— when choosing an apartment —instead of staying in your parent´s house. In the end, we always choose what brings us the most value, not something imposed on us.

Players don’t want to feel forced to pay to finish a level, to achieve a goal, to win a battle, etc. They want to earn things by their own merits. Striving to win a match to level up a skill is a great feeling. If a game doesn’t allow it, then WHY PLAY AT ALL? Players can feel pretty disappointed.

A game can lose all meaning to players if they don’t get the emotional links between them right, and will hurt profitability in the process. It’s not about stopping the use of in-app purchases, it’s about balancing the value you give with what users expect to get. Players appreciate that.