Mobile gaming can be a very lucrative business, with the very top most popular apps raking in billions. Even those not at the very top can make generate very profitable returns on game development. However, marketing and monetising mobile games works very differently to more traditional video games played on a console or computer. Read on to understand how.
Spending habits of mobile gamers
Access to mobile games is very different to traditional games and this is reflected in general spending habits. The term ‘freemium’ was coined for mobile games and refers to games that are free to play, but with additional paid content, features and boosts.
Since apps are all typically downloaded from an official app store, consumers have virtually unlimited options and it’s very hard to get noticed. This has led to mobile gaming apps typically being free at point of purchase – it’s very unusual to charge upfront for a mobile gaming app.
Mobile apps instead feature in-game currencies you can purchase with real money. These purchases typically help the player accelerate progress in the game or offer them spins at a loot box or gacha-style collection system. Most games rely on what are called ‘whales’. The majority of your player base will either not buy anything or not spend much, but a few individuals (‘whales’) will spend significant sums of money on your app. Some famous apps like Fortnite and Pokémon Go bring in over $1m in daily revenue.
Usage habits of mobile gamers
Surprisingly, only 8% of mobile gamers are teenagers. In fact, 55% of mobile gamers are around 55 years old. This means mobile gamers typically have more disposable income, but it also affects the type of apps they play and how. Puzzle games are particularly popular and most people play games daily, but for short periods of time under an hour or less. ‘Pick up and play’ is particularly prominent on mobile game apps, so factoring in mobile app play preferences to cater to your audience is important, balancing hourly and daily gameplay elements.