Moneyadviceblog » Business » The Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Game Monetization – Part 4

Following on from our last post on in-game advertising, which you can read here if you haven’t already, the penultimate part of our beginner’s guide to mobile game monetization will cover subscription models. Let’s dive in.

When someone says subscriptions, what comes to your mind? Most likely, your mind instantly goes to Netflix or HBO. Well, just like people pay monthly fees to access these platforms, you can make players pay fees to access something in your game.

In most cases, subscriptions work as an addition to the main monetization model. For example, even if a game mainly earns money from in-app purchases, it can also include subscription offers. By doing this, the game should get another valuable cash stream. This model is most suitable for games that have engaged user bases. After all, by paying a subscription fee, players are committing to the game. In return for their commitment, a subscription should bring them good value for money.

Types of Subscriptions in Mobile Games

Let me run you through the most common types of subscriptions in mobile games.

Battle Pass

Battle pass subscriptions are the most popular type of subscription in mobile games. They appear in all sorts of games, from hardcore to casual.

The game offers players a battle pass plan to purchase, e.g., at $5. By paying this fee, players get access to different rewards. However, unlike in-app purchases, they don’t get all the rewards instantly. Instead, they have to play and progress through the game to earn the rewards.

All of this lasts for a set amount of time. For example, 15 or 30 days. These periods are usually called battle pass seasons. If players want to participate in another battle pass season, they need to pay the fee again.

Not all battle passes require paying, though. Battle passes usually come in two versions: free and paid. The free version offers players a limited battle pass experience, while the paid version offers a premium experience.

Remove Ads” Subscription

This type of subscription can be found in mobile games that rely on ad monetization. Just like its name suggests, a “remove ads” subscription allows users to pay a fee and get rid of in-game ads.

Some games make this subscription limited to, for example, one month. In other games, it is a one-time purchase that permanently removes ads.


VIP Subscription

A VIP subscription offers players a set of exclusive benefits for some time. For example, you can bundle up daily rewards, ad removal, a stash of currency, etc. All the things you believe will make your players feel special and valued.

Mixed Model

To monetize a game, you don’t have to rely on a single monetization model; you can use more of them simultaneously. This means you can combine all three models mentioned above. This kind of model is frequently called a hybrid monetization model.

Every mobile game monetization model leverages a group of players. In-app purchases cover the payers, and in-app ads leverage the non-payers. Subscriptions should cover engaged, highly valuable players. When combining models, one of them should be the main one. This model should be the center of the monetization strategy and the primary revenue stream. Others should only work as an addition to it.

Hybrid monetization helps developers tap into multiple revenue streams. As a result, the game should be able to monetize more players.

What Is The Best Model for Game Monetization?

When picking out a monetization model, you need to consider your game’s genre. Different genres call for different monetization approaches. For example, hyper-casual games almost always rely on ad monetization.

This is because players play these games to kill time and to have some fun. They don’t stick around long in such games. For this reason, hyper-casual developers throw ads at users to make money off them ASAP. For such a game, in-app purchases simply don’t make sense.

On the other hand, hardcore and mid-core games almost always rely on in-app purchases. These games have more content to offer, and players tend to play them for longer. As a result, there is a better chance that players will spend money on these games.

On top of this, you should also consider your competitors. Your biggest competitors are the games within your genre. You should pay special attention to successful games that are similar to yours. Simply play these games and consider how you feel about them as a player.

By analyzing the competitors’ monetization strategies, you should get an idea of what could work for your game. In the next and final part of this series, we’ll be looking at some tips on how to avoid monetization pitfalls. We’ll see you there!