5 Unique Mobile Gaming App Monetization Strategies
Developer: Halfbrick Studios
After launching in the summer of 2012, Fruit Ninja quickly found a happy medium betweenmonetizing their free and paid applications. Through their work with Mobclix, a former mobile advertising network, the app brought in $400,00 per month on ads from their free app. Furthermore, around $600,00 per month was brought in from paid version downloads and in-app purchases. Two years after initial launch, Fruit Ninja had been downloaded around 300 million times and approximately 1.5 trillion pieces of fruit had been sliced.
Clash of Clans
According to App Annie, Clash of Clans was the most profitable game in the world in 2013 and 2014. For an app that brings in $5 million per day, Supercell must have loaded the application with advertisements, right? Wrong. Clash of Clans offers a unique user experience without any ads. Operated as a freemium model, this app brings in the majority of its revenue through in-game rewards known as gems. Gems are shortcuts to gain power quickly. They can be used to accelerate the speed of collecting resources, complete construction instantly, improve the level of an army, and more.
In April of 2012, King initially launched Candy Crush for gaming on Facebook and after much success, it was launched on iOS and Android just seven months later. Within a year, Candy Crush had quickly taken over Facebook’s top played game, FarmVille 2, and became 2013’s most downloaded app. 2.3% of players that paid for an in-game boost generated 1.04 billion dollars in the second half of 2013 alone.
The original Angry Birds app underwent two different launches. On iOS, Angry Birds launched with a price of .99 cents and all updates were available for free. It was launched simultaneously on Android as a free app on an ad-based model. Within ten months, the paid iOS version produced 12 million downloads while the free Android app produced 30 million downloads. Two years after the release, Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka shed more light on the growth of Angry Birds, “We serve 10 billion ad impressions every month already. We are the biggest mobile ad publisher on the planet already.”
Developer: Hipster Whale
Crossy Road’s entertaining gameplay, modest in-app purchases, and optional in-app ads driven by the Unity engine uniquely combined to produce $10 million in the first 90 days of its release. In this freemium model, $3 of the $10 million came from the Unity engine video ads. Hipster Whale’s cofounder Matt Hall provided great depth on the thinking behind their decisions, “Crossy Road was an experiment to see what happens when a free to play game puts the player first. Integrating Unity Ads was very easy and players can choose to watch video ads to earn in-game rewards if they want to. Crossing $3 million dollars proves that this kind of advertising can be financially successful and also provide the best possible user experience.”