Live game ops academy: Monetization

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Live Game Ops Academy: MonetizationThom Robbins (@trobbins)[email protected]@playfabnetwork

A live game operations company

Welcome to the Live Game Ops AcademyAttend all three introductory sessions and receive the PlayFab Live Game Ops 101 Certificate by email10/20/151


Live Game Ops Academy: MonetizationMonetization is one the toughest challenges facing any new game. There are a lot of moving parts to think through.

Lets get started



Customer Lifetime ValueBasicsApp value = Number of users * LTV of each userLTV of each userLifetime valueLTV = value* engagementValue LeversMonetizationViralityLoyaltyCommunityFeedbackMarketplace (downloads, rating and comments)10/20/153In order to focus on monetization, it is important to loop beyond just monetization


Economy DesignPremiumPay up front, get all contentFreemiumSmall sample for free, then premium purchase to unlock full gameFree-to-PlayFull game is freeMay use in-app purchases for items, content, currency to enhance or expedite experienceMay use mandatory or optional ad views to generate revenueSubscriptionPay a recurring fee for regular content additions/upgrades, or items/currency to enhance gameplay10/20/154


Choose the Model that Works for You!10/20/155


Build your PlanModel time it takes to consume contentAim for 60 days min for non-payersModel earning per session CurrencyXPModel spend per sessionPrice just outside of earnings to avoid inflationDesign early pinch points carefully (dont kick users out of the game)Start tight and loosen if necessary

Find cost to complete (most F2P games target $1,000+)If using Premium-Only items, target 30-50% of items in each categoryCreate enough premium content to sustain whales at launchPremium should be superior to grind items (but be careful of pay-to-win perception)Cater post-launch premium items to top spending playersDeep (80%+) discounts on expensive premium items can prompt conversion from reluctant spenders10/20/156


Monetization Metrics in the ARM Cycle

AudienceDaily Active Users (DAU) & Monthly Active Users (MAU)DemographyAcquisitionCost per acquisition (CPA)ROI on campaigns (Value CPA)RetentionStickiness (DAU/MAU)Retention RateMonetizationConversion rateARPU & ARPPU10/20/157


Selling Virtual Currency Theory

Flow TheoryIntermediate CurrencyDynamic Pricing10/20/158


Store Design Best PracticeLayoutSimple navigation & visual appealFull-screenItemsImagesPromo spaceServer-side controlEncourage scrolling (emphasizes depth of content)Mix premium and grind itemsSort/prioritize by perceived valueInclude Promo/Special/New section to drive payers to new itemsUse merchandising calloutsNEW, Best Value, Most Popular, 30% Free, 20% Off, etc.10/20/159


Store Design Best PracticeMinimize FrictionDeep link directly to relevant itemEnable purchase of consumables (currency, energy, etc.) directly from HUDActively prompt when lowProvide relevant price points for instant purchase, and store link for other options10/20/1510


Store Design Best PracticeTransaction PagesList highest priced items firstPre-select mid-level package to encourage higher spendDiscount higher-priced packages and clearly message discount/valueTest removing lowest-priced SKUs (or hiding below fold) to check price elasticity (especially after 1st purchase)10/20/1511


Purchases Best Practices Real MoneyUse Real Money transactions sparingly (high friction)Real money purchases may include:Premium currencyContent/feature unlocksBundles or packages of items that create added value10/20/1512


Purchases Best PracticesVirtual CurrencyPremium CurrencyForces paymentAllows granular pricing (esp. on iOS)Easily discountedRemoves payment friction at moment of purchaseEarned/Grind CurrencySell for Premium Currency to manage economy balanceScale exchange rate based on user segmentsBe careful of inflation if sold for real money10/20/1513


Purchases Best PracticeImpulse BuysSurface one-touch purchase option at pinch pointsUse prominent splash screens/dialogs to surface impulse opportunityIdentify moments of urgency for impulse/upsellThreat of losing somethingAuto-complete difficult level/taskTime extensions10/20/1514


Purchases Best PracticesOffersSegments allow targeting to different usersPromos may include cash discounts, limited offers, time/event based items, bundles, etc.Surfacing is key: use push notes, interstitials, and HUDCreate urgency by emphasizing limited time or scarcityDeeply discounted bundles are good for 1st time conversionsSales should be 40% or more to be effective, but always match with a strong sink to avoid inflation and hangoversVary timing and style of sales to avoid sale fatigue10/20/1515


Purchases Best Practice10/20/1516

Speed-Ups (for appointment mechanics)Make acceleration easy with clear surfacingTest event durations to optimize engagement and conversionDont do linear pricing for acceleration (x minutes=x gold), tune and testIncrease value for long appointment speed-ups to optimize revenue


Purchases Best PracticesEnergySlows content consumption but creates powerful spend motivatorMust identify:Regeneration timeMax energy allowedPermanent increase to max energy (paid or earned?)Auto-refill moments (e.g. quest complete)Actively prompt energy purchase when emptyAbility to gift/receive energy from friends can drive socialPush notes for energy refill are effective for engagement10/20/1517


Purchases Best PracticesDurablesIn-game items that users retain permanentlyOverpowering can remove incentives for future spendAllow for repeat purchases (level-ups, tier-gated, progressively stronger versions)Allow yourself to make durables more valuable in new contentAvoid purely decorative itemsshould have some gameplay impact10/20/1518


Purchases Best PracticeConsumablesItems with a finite life (number of uses, limited duration, etc.)Give new users samples so they can learn impact on gameAllow stacking/upgrading of consumablesHave multiple tiers of consumables for players at different levels/play stylesRotate boosts/items/power-ups to improve exposure and revenue10/20/1519


Purchases Best PracticesUnlocksPurchase unlocks for key items in your gameQuests/TasksLevel-gated itemsMap progressContent packsMake sure there is always a non-purchase way through (no hard stop)Must have enough content to support locking some behind purchasePrice to make skipping the whole game prohibitively expensive10/20/1520


Purchases Best PracticesChance MechanicsUse random chance delivery to drive repeat purchases and disguise rare item pricingEnsure payout probabilities can be tunedConsider offering different prices; higher-price=better oddsReceiving chance reward should include strong visual delightModel odds for best items at a significant spendFree daily spin can help build habitShould include premium-only options that contain or guarantee exclusive items10/20/1521


Alternate Monetization10/20/1522Mini GamesFun, repeatable, easy to find, and short (slots, card play, tap-tap, etc.)Add upsells for additional tries, better prizes, etc.Free play at gambling-type games increases exposure and value propDo not have to be integrated into core loop

Offerwall/AdsAllows players to earn in-game currency by completing offers or watching videosCan add 10-15% to topline revenueEntice through prominent Earn Free Currency linksActively prompt non-spenders or cart abandons


ToolsServer Driven StoreOffer discounts & promosRe-order and re-price itemsPromo ManagementDeploy discounts in real-timeTourney management, discount events, promote top sellers, etc.Entitlement deliveryGive free items/content to users for customer supportMessage users about game issuesInterfaceNeed simple GUI so you can make changes without engineering time10/20/1523


Next up!Attend all three introductory sessions and receive the PlayFab Live Game Ops 101 Certificate by email10/20/1524


Additional ResourcesGetting started with Live game operations E-book

Live Game Operations Resource Center



Live Game Ops Academy: Monetization

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