Exploring the Links Between Game Genres and Mobile Monetization, Part 1 | Pocket Gamer.biz


Ignasi Prat is marketing director at Tappx.

Match-3 games are ubiquitous in the mobile gaming world, where Candy Crush Saga is perhaps the best known example and ambassador of the genre.

These games tend to occupy the top positions in the rankings of the most profitable and downloaded app stores. This is not at all surprising since these games target a large audience, are easy to learn, and are very effective at delivering addictive and dopamine-inducing mobile gaming experiences.

But the match-3 genre of game is very saturated as players have hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from.

It’s a challenge to differentiate these types of games and only match-3 game aficionados will be able to identify the main differences and nuances between the multitude of options available.

The mechanics of match-3 games

These are deceptively simple. Designers have to work on many different game elements such as the definition of objects, attributes, and game objectives / goals.

Then there are also the number of levels needed, the design and complexity of the custom levels, the storytelling of the game, the optimization of the frustration / difficulty settings for the levels, the reward and punishment programs in place for that to happen. players continue to play, or whether or not to include social skills to create a multiplayer game.

To maximize the chances of success, developers should conduct detailed research into what their audiences want and market trends.

Don’t create a match-3 game that you would personally love to play, but create a game that will appeal to the widest audience possible.

Don’t create a match-3 game that you would personally love to play, but create a game that will appeal to the widest audience possible.

Many consider match-3 games to be similar to human logic puzzles – this point of view is only partially correct.

Visual art styles and in-game storytelling have a lot of influence on the practices and processes designed to engage users.

When these elements are properly synchronized and constructed in a cohesive fashion, they attract the player, enticing them to play over and over again.

To retain players and keep them coming back, you need to make sure that the right set of features mentioned above are included and implemented in the right way.

But never treat your game as an end product – think of your match-3 game as an evolving entity. Mechanisms that hook players might work against you and create an uninteresting experience in future levels, as the player feels like they’ve played everything before.

The secret sauce is to surprise players with a constant stream of new mechanics (e.g. chocolate or bombs in Candy Crush Saga). It is imperative to give players fresh, new and constantly challenging game mechanics and ideas, encouraging them to adapt to new styles and strategies of play.

This will have a positive impact on the overall happiness of gamers, thus increasing the possibilities of acquiring new users by using viral mechanisms in games, the end consequence of which is a positive impact on mobile game revenues.

Monetization of match-3 matches

It is well known that the game mechanics and the monetization strategy are two sides of the same coin. They are intrinsically linked, both pointing towards the same goal of maximizing the revenue of a mobile game.

The majority of match-3 games use in-game purchases and incorporate advertising as the primary monetization model.

The majority of match-3 games use in-game purchases and incorporate advertising as the primary monetization model.

In-game purchases rely on long-term retention, or poor patience, that casual players have in match-3 matches. They are based on offers to players to buy items, which in return help them progress faster and further in the games.

In-game purchases are relatively inexpensive, yet very effective, as prices often range between $ 0.99 and $ 9.99. It’s not a big deal in monetary terms, but it presents a significant psychological hurdle for players who have never purchased in the game before.

Once players get a taste of getting in-game items quickly for a small amount of money, it increases the likelihood of repeat in-game purchases in the future.

Converting a non-paid player to a paid in-app consumer is a challenge. There are tactics to break down this mental barrier. These include options like offering incentives like limited time specials, discounts, and free items for new buyers. In match-3 matches, subtle changes like these can yield positive results.

In-game purchases assume that only a small portion of your players will spend money on them. For example, if we acquire users by paying $ 3 per install and know that on average only 15% of players make in-game purchases, you will need to get $ 20 for each paying user to break even for a defined period.

In-game purchases can easily accomplish this as you can start to trick players into paying low. As players progress through the game, payout rates increase as fun and retention levels increase with challenges, increasing the likelihood of them paying more.

If revenue per player is low, you will need to leverage the rest of the player base by showing ads to the public.

There are many ways to impact audiences using advertisements. Successfully using this revenue model is more than just putting ads into the game. You will need to understand the flow and needs of the users and how they can be integrated into the mechanics, story and design of the game.

But by using ads, you can make sure that 100% of your audience is monetized. Currently, one of the most popular ad formats is Award-Winning Video Ads, where players choose to watch video ads and are then rewarded with game assets such as game assets or in-game currency.

Final thoughts

With the major app stores filled with match-3 games, making them profitable isn’t an easy task, but it can be. If you do discover “the key” or “the secret sauce”, developing and publishing match-3 games can be very lucrative.

In order to capture the attention of big spenders or users who buy sporadically, match-3 game developers have to constantly introduce new features and virtual purchases on different price points.

Constantly test new ad formats and moments of impact. And above all, prioritize what your audiences want and target them with features based on their needs and demands.


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