10 Reasons Your Game Monetization Is Not as Effective as It Could Be

April 10, 2023
April 11, 2023

The video game industry generates $197 billion in revenue every year. However, only about half the games on the popular Steam platform make more than $5,000. If your game is not reaching your revenue goals, your game monetization strategy could be to blame. Identifying the reasons your monetization strategy is not as effective as it could be is a good place to start.

Key Takeaways:

  • The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar opportunity. However, most games capture only a small share of the total revenue. Identifying problems with your monetization strategy can help you boost your game’s profitability.
  • To succeed, you must account for monetization throughout all phases of the development cycle.
  • While players expect games to have monetization features, balancing these features and ensuring they add value to your game is critical for retention.
  • There are many monetization strategies to choose from, but not all of them work for every game.
  • Be upfront with players about monetization features and ensure you are offering enough value to justify the spend.

1. Poorly Planned Game Monetization Strategy

Many developers think they should focus on building a great game and then figure out how to make money off it. However, this approach can set you up for failure. Instead, think about monetization for your game from the earliest development phases and choose your primary monetization model when you start building your game.

Choosing a model at the start allows you to design your game to work with your model, rather than having to go back and make adjustments later in the process. Setting and tracking your  key performance indicators for monetization early on will help you assess how well your monetization strategy is performing.

2. Unbalanced Game Monetization Model

Players expect to encounter monetization features and will generally tolerate them as long as these features do not ruin the gameplay experience. A bad monetization strategy can lead to player frustration, which may cause players to quit.

It is important to strike a balance between giving away so much that players have no motivation to spend money and putting so many resources behind paywalls that players get frustrated and stop playing. Purchases should add value, but players should still be able to progress without spending money.

3. Non-Transparent Game Monetization Strategy

Players do not like to feel like developers tricked them into buying something. Tell players what your monetization models are in the listings for your games. When players know to expect features, such as in-app purchases or ads, they are more likely to be receptive to encountering those features in your game.

4. Wrong Game Monetization Model

No monetization model is a good fit for every game. Consider your game’s genre and the type of players it will likely attract. For example, players tend to play casual games for short periods and do not usually play long enough to want to make an in-game purchase. For these types of games, ads may make more sense.

Longer and more difficult games may attract more hardcore players who value progress and tend to play for longer periods. These games may benefit more from in-app purchases. Study the monetization strategies of your most successful competitors. These strategies are likely to also work for your game.

Chart comparing the most popular game monetization methods of 2021

5. Poor Player Engagement

The longer players play your game, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Keeping your players is critical for a successful monetization strategy. Building an engaging game through techniques such as social features, push notifications, daily rewards, and in-game events is the key to improving player retention.

6. Untested Game Monetization Features

Just like any other feature in your game, your monetization features may not work as intended due to coding errors or poor design decisions. Releasing your game with poorly functioning monetization features is a sure way to kill the profitability of your game.

Begin A/B testing in the beta phase of your development process. Identify what does and does not work and adjust your features accordingly. If you cannot get a feature to work how you want, remove it from the game.

7. Pay-To-Win Model

Many players strongly dislike games that force them to make a purchase to fully access the game or that give players who pay real-world money a competitive advantage. Purchases should be a bonus that enhances the gameplay experience, not a requirement to complete the game.

8. Incorrect Ad Choices

Most players do not like to watch ads. However, they will tolerate ads as a game monetization feature if you choose the ads correctly.

Utilize testing and user feedback to ensure that you are not displaying ads too frequently and that the quality of your ads is sufficient to avoid degrading the gameplay experience. Choose an ad format and network that is a good fit for your game and the type of people who play it.

Consider incorporating rewarded ads. Players tend to perceive these ads more positively because they get something for watching them and these types of ads often have better click-through rates than other types of ads.

Player in a first-person shooter encountering an in-game advertisement

9. Bad Pricing Strategy

Price plays a big role in players’ decisions about making in-game purchases. Offer a mix of price points and consider implementing time-limited offers and bundles to motivate price-sensitive players to purchase.

10. Low-Value Game Monetization Features

Studying your competition can point you toward monetization strategies that are likely to succeed. However, avoid mimicking the competition too closely.

You need to offer players something they cannot get anywhere else. Ideally, in-app purchases should make your game more fun. Aim to surprise and delight. Make your offerings so appealing and unique that players want to share them with others.

How Sonamine Can Help With Game Monetization

Sonamine can help you with every aspect of your game monetization strategy. We provide hands-on help with planning and executing day-to-day campaigns to improve engagement, monetization, and retention. Contact us to get started.

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