原作者：Mark Robinson 译者：Vivian Xue
It’s been an incredible decade for mobile games. In just ten years, the mobile phone has become the most popular games console in the world, delivering $70 billion of the games industry’s total $138 billion in revenues.
Mobile’s rise to prominence has been remarkable, but incredibly – this is just the beginning. Research firm Newzoo predicts that mobile games spending will rise by more than 25 per cent in the next year alone. With the eSports boom yet to really take off on mobile and trends like augmented reality (AR) gaming set to take off, it’s safe to say that the only way is up for mobile game revenues.
So, aside from the latest trends, what exactly is driving growth in mobile games and how have monetization models evolved in recent years?
The player experience is key
It sounds obvious, but the current popularity of mobile games owes much to the vast improvements that have been made around delivering an engaging player experience.
Even five years ago, Free-to-Play (F2P) mobile games were often ruined by highly intrusive ads and infuriating monetisation mechanics. This meant that around 60 per cent of players would never return after their first session, while only 1 per cent would actually spend any money. But that’s now changing.
Games publishers and developers have become a lot more sophisticated in how they engage players. Granular targeting and personalisation techniques are now commonplace, while developers are now much more adept at balancing the player experience with ads and In-App Purchases (IAP).
Shifting business models
To help understand how game monetisation models have changed in recent years, we recently analyzed data from over 800 million unique users and 2500 games, extending back from January 2016 to the present day.
From this, it became clear that there has been a significant shift in the core business model in F2P games. Where F2P games used to rely on the small percentage of whales or power spenders to drive the majority of the revenue, games now have a much higher number of casual spenders alongside the whales, and this is creating much more balanced monetisation.
For example, in the last three years, the percentage of paying players per game in North America has increased by a third to 4.02per cent and a fifth to 2.43 per centin Europe.
There have also been some significant monetisation shifts within specific game genres. For example, ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User) within strategy games has soared by 199.99 per cent to $0.21, while in casino games ARPDAU has risen 41.66 per cent and in puzzle games by 25 per cent.
But it’s not all good news. Action games, in general, have plummeted in recent years with ARPDAU falling by 52.38 per centto $.0.10.
While mobile games players are now spending in higher numbers than ever before, the amount they are spending has fallen slightly. On iOS, the Lifetime Value of a player has decreased by 6.58 per cent to $29.07, while the average Android player is spending 17.69per cent less at $24.37.
Overall, the data reveals a trend towards a more balanced monetisation model in games, one that is a lot healthier for developers as it moves away from having to rely on a small number of whales to deliver the bulk of the revenue.
Free-to-Play spending becoming less stigmatized
Despite the meteoric rise of mobile games, it’s still only 2-3 per cent of players that actually spend money. A key reason for this is the way that many F2P games choose to monetise.
Models which rely on blockers and pinch points to encourage players to spend can often annoy and frustrate them. However, developers are learning how to better integrate monetisation mechanics into F2P games so that the player experience is preserved and spending money becomes something players want to – rather than have to – do to continue playing.
While the revenue figures generated by mobile games are eye-popping, it’s important to remember that the F2P mobile games space is still in its infancy.
Game makers are still on a journey to understanding how best to combine a great player experience with the mechanics for making money, but what’s clear from our data is that progress is undoubtedly being made.
This success of Fortnite on mobile is a testament to this new thinking. The game has achieved record-breaking revenues by taking a completely innovative approach to driving monetisation and long-term engagement through cosmetic items that offer no competitive edge.
So, as spending money in F2P games becomes less stigmatized, we are likely to see mobile gaming continue to grow and ultimately dwarf console.（source：Gameughs）