There is one last factor (and possibly the most under-considered). How will we encourage the player to purchase again?

This is hugely important for any business model – even pay-up-front games (i.e. sequels!), as otherwise we fail to maximise the potential of the audience. The following elements can help shape how we drive repeat purchases:

Unboxing: The moment we obtain a new item (regardless of the form of exchange) should feel amazing. The items need to feel special and the act of their first use should be momentous and impact how we feel about the game.

We need to be shown that we got what we expected (and more) and remember that acquiring an item in the game is a great experience in and of itself.

Visibility: When we have engaged in a game and parted with time or money we should be able to look back on our treasures and see how their use impacts play. We need to be able to appreciate our commitment to the game was important and helped us get to where we are. Too many games treat previous purchases as scrap or tries to hide how much you have spent (in terms of time or money), and this eventually undermines the value proposition for the game.

Rock/paper/scissors: Where each purchase introduces some planning or dilemma the more exciting the idea is to buy the other items. A bigger gun that is better in every way than my last gun is not interesting. Having a choice is empowering.

Think of the difference between a sniper rifle with incredible range and accuracy but that is very slow and means I need to be prone to get the full benefits, or a sub-machine gun which has low accuracy and damage, but fires an incredible number of rounds per minute and allows me to run about.

I need to own both guns to get the most out of the game; not just the biggest one.

Foreshadow: Communicating ideas of the next item we can unlock; or the benefits of upgrading the items we have is just as important as the design of those items themselves.

We have to create reasons for people to care about what’s coming next if we are to get them to engage and repeat purchase.

In summary

Each of these sections could inspire an article in and of themselves, but what we hope we have done is to get you to ask important questions.

At each stage you need to understand how your players engage with your game to optimise how we generate income in ways they embrace.

Included here is a one-page worksheet here – which if printed on A3 can be a useful tool when looking at your game in detail.

You can learn more about this topic by joining the FREE Webinar on November 27th 2018.

Read more about monetisation design at the Mobile Games University.

This article’s author Oscar Clark will be at Pocket Gamer Connects London on January 21st to 22nd 2019.

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