If you have a mobile gaming app, you can make a lot more money than a couple of dollars every time someone downloads the game. Microtransactions are already a large part of the gaming world, and even though the earning opportunity can be extremely unpopular with the gaming community, it can be done ethically. Here are a few microtransaction concepts to help you do the right thing with your app while making more money.
What Are Microtransactions?
A microtransaction is a sale within a larger service. The original concept is that the main program--whether it's a game, graphic design tool, or office program--is one large product with smaller products that can augment the service.
A non-game example would be buying an art program that has a basic set of painting, drawing, and editing tools, but you could buy some customized tools by paying a few dollars. In gaming, this can either be a way to enhance purely cosmetic appearances or completely break the game.
Microtransactions have nothing to do with whether the game has an original sales price or not, although there is a lot of debate over microtransaction ethics. Should a game that already costs an initial purchase also sell items on the side? What about if there's a subscription fee? Here are a few of those debates.
Subscriptions And Microtransactions
To many gamers, paying a subscription and having a microtransaction shop or cash shop that can affect the game is a high-order sin of game development. In their minds, all players should have a premium experience because of the subscription.
Many games have a hybrid answer to this question. Games such as Rift, Everquest (and many Sony/Daybreak games), and Star Wars: The Old Republic will give subscribers a monthly supply of cash shop currency and other benefits, allowing them to use the cash shop for the money they've already spent.
This can get tricky, as some game companies carefully craft their costs to encourage subscribers to spend more money. If the subscriber microtransaction currency is too small, many gamers will immediately detect a ploy that pushes them to buy more currency, and this can lead to a split between angry quitters and willing consumers. The balance isn't always in your favor.
Cosmetics Versus In-Game Power
Some games need money no matter how people feel about cash shops, but they don't necessarily have to change the game play to make money. Korean and Japanese games such as Black Desert Online, Moonlight Blade, Phantasy Star Online 2 and ArcheAge allow players to buy costumes that are truly a work of fashion and digital wonder.
Costumes add no game play advantage in most cases. A step up from cosmetic shops is giving players equipment with slight power boosts that can either make the game much easier through defeating enemies faster or saving in-game money by using gear that doesn't need to be replaced until much later in the game.
Finally, some games affect the game economy and power balance directly. Sometimes you can buy low and mid-tier items that are usually found or crafted in game, and either use it without paying in-game gold or even sell the item for in-game gold.
The choices you make in your gaming app can change the types of players, and you may attract or deter certain player populations based on the balance. Contact an app design services professional, such as App Makers LA, to discuss integrating a microtransaction shop to your game for a new mode of income and game play.