Why mobile game developers can’t afford to miss cross-platform opportunities (VB Live)
Presented by Xsolla
Join VB’s Dean Takahashi and a panel of pros in this VB Live event to learn how developers of all sizes can not only sell their content directly to players, but also expand into regions where credit cards are not the primary payment method, and reduce their overhead costs. , improve UA and findability and more.
The mobile games market was built on the shoulders of two major app stores, but those dynamics are irrevocably changing. Publishers have significantly more choice and more control over their audience, their marketing and their payments, from the payment methods they choose to how much they get paid.
“Whether it’s payments outside the app stores, or NFTs and blockchain, the industry and the creative people who work in them have already evolved beyond these platforms,” said Miikka Luotio, director of business development Europe. “They’re coming up with new business models, better ways to entertain their players, and innovative ways to make their players money.”
How the mobile landscape is changing
It started with the legal battle between Apple and Epic, which loosened the App Store’s grip on developers’ profits. Developers are now allowed to send their users to other payment systems. That way, developers bypass the App Store’s 30% commission and offer their players better prices, more ways to pay, and better user experiences.
“With the latest regulations, people started asking questions,” Luotio says. “Is this really good for free trade, to have such a limited set of options controlled by two companies?”
It has become a worldwide question. Legal challenges to the dominance of the two app stores have recently come from Korea, the Netherlands and regulatory parties across Europe. Now the snowball has started rolling down the hill, and the momentum is there, Luotio says.
Many countries see app store rules as restrictions on their local businesses. And as the payment conversation progresses, it becomes clear that many audiences are lagging behind as these major platforms don’t offer local payment methods.
“Publishers need to offer their audiences choices, and even governments and their regulators are realizing this,” he says. “That means it’s time to democratize parts of those restrictions, giving publishers and individual companies more options. In the mobile games community, the people I speak to are excited about the implications of this larger conversation.”
This wave of change is a major opportunity for mobile game publishers. It’s easier than ever for developers to break free from the app store and implement cross-platform functionality, own their customer base, develop customer relationships directly with their players, and monetize in whole new ways.
New revenue opportunities for publishers
Just being able to offer a wider variety of payment methods has unlocked significant new revenue streams for mobile game developers. Many of the major global markets, including Asia, Russia, Latin America, India and China, have huge customer bases who do not have access to international credit cards or international e-wallets such as Paypal.
“It’s important for businesses to understand that monetization in these emerging regions isn’t great because they haven’t been able to cover the payment methods that the majority of people in those regions and countries want to use,” he said. luotio. “We want to make publishers aware of what they’ve been missing and what could be the growth they could tap into as they move beyond the app platforms.”
Because so many customers have only been able to use local payment methods, they have been disregarded. For example, Xsolla found that offering local payment methods in areas like Latin America and South Korea could increase the payment reach of the market by as much as 60%.
Owning the relationship with players and their data
But while some rules have been relaxed in the app stores, privacy restrictions have tightened, significantly reducing direct performance marketing options and making it much less profitable. But those same rules don’t exist on the internet in the same way.
“There’s a little more freedom in how you handle user acquisition for a web store, browser game, or PC version, and you can track much more closely,” Luotio said. “You can attribute the players you acquire through various social networks that run user acquisition campaigns.”
Customer relationship management, which is increasingly important for free-to-play games on any platform, is much more effective when you own your players. When you move beyond the app stores, you no longer have to rely on those platforms to host your user accounts. You have your own user account system and access to that data makes understanding and accommodating your most valuable players more flexible.
“Publishers realize it’s not just about new players,” he says. “It’s about finding the best ways to cater to your existing, most loyal players, and give them what they want in a highly customized way. If you manage the community and are not hindered by intermediate platforms, you can take better care of your top players.”
An Xsolla partner with a very popular mobile game launched an online store to target their most valuable players, with special offers for loyal fans. The news started to spread that there was a new destination to land more compelling value-added offers, and it snowed, to the point where the publisher was making more money from the web store than the mobile platform, says Luotio. .
“We’re definitely seeing similar results elsewhere,” he says. “In any case, the special offer webshop approach so far has always been a positive return on investment, from all our partners, especially for games that have been on the market for a while, have reached a certain scale and have a core have audience.”
Best Practices for Commercial Growth
The best method for games starting to scale is to run a pilot test to see how your community would react if you allowed them to monetize outside of the app stores.
“Doing a proof of concept is something that, especially for large-scale games, can help you grow again,” he says. “If your gaming revenue has dropped a bit, try a proof of concept, especially targeting those markets you haven’t reached before with different payment methods.”
He found that the markets that make a big difference are Latin America, South Korea, Russia and China.
Second, if you take steps to break free from the app stores, he warns that you still need to make sure you maintain good relationships with the platforms, as you will still gain a lot from appearing in the app store.
“The most important thing is to provide value that doesn’t conflict with the existing options you have within the mobile game itself,” he says. “You have to come up with offers that complement what you’re already selling right in the game. Create new, unique offers, bundles of things you can buy in the mobile game that offer a more affordable offer.”
If you want to learn more about how to take advantage of new revenue streams, break free from the app stores and find new ways to monetize your players, don’t miss this VB Live event!
You will learn:
How to break away from the mobile app storeBest practices for commercial growthHow mobile developers can achieve revenue goalsReal-world case studies of successful mobile game developers and publishers
Michael Carter, CEO, PlaycoTaewon Yun, Chief Business Officer, Super Evil MegacorpTugay Alyıldız, Co-Founder, CEO, Veloxia Technology Miikka Luotio, Director of Business Development, Europe, XsollaDean Takahashi, Lead Writer, GamesBeat (Moderator)