Briefly about game monetization

Let's decide on some basic information. We'll start from the beginning.Game development is a business, and games, for the most part, are made to make money. In this connection, we can distinguish four main business models that are used in development:

  • Premium - sale of the full version of the game. In the classic version, it provides the player with access to 100% of the content. It is possible to release large paid DLCs - additional content. An example is The Witcher 3 from CDPR. However, recently developers have gradually begun to introduce monetization mechanics from the Free-to-play model into premium projects. When these mechanics are roughly integrated, they cause a flurry of negativity from users. Because they are used to getting all the content by paying full price for the game. If you wish, you can search for related scandals in the following projects: Star Wars: Battlefront II, Overwatch and Grand Theft Auto V.

  • Freemium - allows you to get free access to the limited version of the game. To interest the user and lead him to purchase the full version. This business model is also gradually starting to use Free-to-play mechanics.

  • Subscription games - the player is required to pay monthly for access to the game. It can also use monetization mechanics from the Free-to-play model. This model is gradually becoming a thing of the past. Games that use it refuse forced subscriptions, switching to pure Free-to-play. As an example, World of Warcraft, which still adheres to this model, and EVE Online, which abandoned this model in 2016. Subscription services are gaining popularity, such as Xbox Game Pass, which provide access to a pool of premium games for a monthly fee.

  • Free-to-play (f2p) - is a model that provides the player with free access to the full version of the game. The developer has unlimited access to user wallets. No matter how paradoxical it may sound, in this model the player pays to play less. This model constantly offers the player a choice - the long and boring path of discovering new content for free, or paying for a comfortable and interesting game, where content and a pleasant bonus will be waiting at the end.
The f2p model can be called the most popular at the moment. This is due to the fact that it allows you to involve the maximum number of players in the game, completely removing the financial barrier to access the game. And the most important thing is to get unlimited profits from these players. When selling the full version of the game, the developer can only count on a one-time payment. Perhaps for an additional payment when purchasing DLC. This is where the in-game money-making opportunities end, even if players are eager to buy something else. The f2p model allows you to make a profit from players as long as they have money and there are many mechanics for this. In this blog I will talk about the mechanics of f2p monetization.
There are three main ways to monetize an f2p product, which can complement each other:

  • In-App Purchase - in-game payments in all their diversity. Simply put, situations when a player directly pours real currency into certain purchases. This could be the purchase of game currency, game items, etc.

  • In-App ads - advertising monetization. The player pays with his time by viewing advertisements on banners, rewarded videos, interstitial ads, offerwalls, etc., bringing profit to the company.

  • Subscription - is the provision of some benefits for a certain period of time for payment. This could be disabling advertising, access to additional rewards, tournaments, etc. It can be implemented both on the basis of the platform and by in-game methods.