Subscription in Free-to-play Games

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Teis Anker Mikkelsen (CEO & Co-founder at Multiscription/Unleashd) shares insights about the subscription model for games and the mindset required for a successful implementation. He talks about the right time in the player lifecycle to introduce a subscription and gives several (theoretical) examples of implementation.

Source:
Subscription in Free-to-play Games
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Webinar
Publication date:
August 3, 2021
Added to the Vault on:
June 16, 2021
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💎 #
1

The future of monetization will be a mix between ads, IAP and subscription.

02:34
💎 #
2

Subscriptions are about building a relationship with the player. Premium is a single transaction, F2P is a series of transactions and subscription is a relationship.

05:58
💎 #
3

Choose carefully the moment in the lifecycle where you introduce the subscription. Don’t try to push it during the first few days, but rather when players have become engaged and when it’s relevant.

07:38
💎 #
4

To convert users, find subscription benefits that give immediate value to the users (not something far down the road): focus on elements that they can instantly access, and quickly unwrap/enjoy. Think unblocking access, instant gifts, library or collection access. Example: Paint.ly.

09:18
💎 #
5

Your subscription should also provide recurring value by giving ongoing benefits every time the user goes through the core loop. Think bonuses of currency/XP/consumables that are clearly visible, optional yet non-critical goals/quests/challenges and daily allowance of consumables. Example: Tootsie POP.

12:10
💎 #
6

Still make sure that your subscribers get benefits from watching the rewarded videos, maybe even more benefits than your non-subscribers. It’s part of building a relationship.

16:07
💎 #
7

Support retention by using subscription benefits that allow the user to experience depth and get added value during long-term play. Think progression assists towards a larger goal, collection options, piggy banks or war bonds or things that improve “quality of life” when playing (less grind). Example: Zoo Craft.

17:07
💎 #
8

It’s imperative to constantly remind your subscribed players that you’re giving them benefits. Example: if you give 10% extra XP -> mention it each time they get it.

17:39
💎 #
9

To go beyond retention and make subscribers passionate about your game, continue providing recurring value by giving “deeper” ongoing benefits and status that make users even more committed to the game. Think deep competitive features extending the metagame, social and community features (e.g. Clan building), avenues of personal expression, VIP status, etc. Example: Heroes of Warland.

20:13
💎 #
10

Use different drivers at different times: think about what is relevant to players right now.
Make subscribers feel special.

22:10
💎 #
11

The subscription offering doesn’t necessarily have to be about buying a subscription to an individual game. Maybe it comes complimentary as part of another subscription, a phone service, internet provider. That’s very common in some regions.

27:48
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💎 #
1

The future of monetization will be a mix between ads, IAP and subscription.

02:34
💎 #
2

Subscriptions are about building a relationship with the player. Premium is a single transaction, F2P is a series of transactions and subscription is a relationship.

05:58
💎 #
3

Choose carefully the moment in the lifecycle where you introduce the subscription. Don’t try to push it during the first few days, but rather when players have become engaged and when it’s relevant.

07:38
💎 #
4

To convert users, find subscription benefits that give immediate value to the users (not something far down the road): focus on elements that they can instantly access, and quickly unwrap/enjoy. Think unblocking access, instant gifts, library or collection access. Example: Paint.ly.

09:18
💎 #
5

Your subscription should also provide recurring value by giving ongoing benefits every time the user goes through the core loop. Think bonuses of currency/XP/consumables that are clearly visible, optional yet non-critical goals/quests/challenges and daily allowance of consumables. Example: Tootsie POP.

12:10
💎 #
6

Still make sure that your subscribers get benefits from watching the rewarded videos, maybe even more benefits than your non-subscribers. It’s part of building a relationship.

16:07
💎 #
7

Support retention by using subscription benefits that allow the user to experience depth and get added value during long-term play. Think progression assists towards a larger goal, collection options, piggy banks or war bonds or things that improve “quality of life” when playing (less grind). Example: Zoo Craft.

17:07
💎 #
8

It’s imperative to constantly remind your subscribed players that you’re giving them benefits. Example: if you give 10% extra XP -> mention it each time they get it.

17:39
💎 #
9

To go beyond retention and make subscribers passionate about your game, continue providing recurring value by giving “deeper” ongoing benefits and status that make users even more committed to the game. Think deep competitive features extending the metagame, social and community features (e.g. Clan building), avenues of personal expression, VIP status, etc. Example: Heroes of Warland.

20:13
💎 #
10

Use different drivers at different times: think about what is relevant to players right now.
Make subscribers feel special.

22:10
💎 #
11

The subscription offering doesn’t necessarily have to be about buying a subscription to an individual game. Maybe it comes complimentary as part of another subscription, a phone service, internet provider. That’s very common in some regions.

27:48
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💎 #
1

The future of monetization will be a mix between ads, IAP and subscription.

02:34
💎 #
2

Subscriptions are about building a relationship with the player. Premium is a single transaction, F2P is a series of transactions and subscription is a relationship.

05:58
💎 #
3

Choose carefully the moment in the lifecycle where you introduce the subscription. Don’t try to push it during the first few days, but rather when players have become engaged and when it’s relevant.

07:38
💎 #
4

To convert users, find subscription benefits that give immediate value to the users (not something far down the road): focus on elements that they can instantly access, and quickly unwrap/enjoy. Think unblocking access, instant gifts, library or collection access. Example: Paint.ly.

09:18
💎 #
5

Your subscription should also provide recurring value by giving ongoing benefits every time the user goes through the core loop. Think bonuses of currency/XP/consumables that are clearly visible, optional yet non-critical goals/quests/challenges and daily allowance of consumables. Example: Tootsie POP.

12:10
💎 #
6

Still make sure that your subscribers get benefits from watching the rewarded videos, maybe even more benefits than your non-subscribers. It’s part of building a relationship.

16:07
💎 #
7

Support retention by using subscription benefits that allow the user to experience depth and get added value during long-term play. Think progression assists towards a larger goal, collection options, piggy banks or war bonds or things that improve “quality of life” when playing (less grind). Example: Zoo Craft.

17:07
💎 #
8

It’s imperative to constantly remind your subscribed players that you’re giving them benefits. Example: if you give 10% extra XP -> mention it each time they get it.

17:39
💎 #
9

To go beyond retention and make subscribers passionate about your game, continue providing recurring value by giving “deeper” ongoing benefits and status that make users even more committed to the game. Think deep competitive features extending the metagame, social and community features (e.g. Clan building), avenues of personal expression, VIP status, etc. Example: Heroes of Warland.

20:13
💎 #
10

Use different drivers at different times: think about what is relevant to players right now.
Make subscribers feel special.

22:10
💎 #
11

The subscription offering doesn’t necessarily have to be about buying a subscription to an individual game. Maybe it comes complimentary as part of another subscription, a phone service, internet provider. That’s very common in some regions.

27:48
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[💎@02:34] The future of monetization will be a mix between ads, IAP and subscription

How to successfully implement a subscription model into your F2P game?

[💎@05:58] Subscriptions are about building a relationship with the player. Premium is a single transaction, F2P is a series of transactions and subscription is a relationship.

In the past developers already had to learn how to go from paid apps to giving a game for free and monetizing later (F2P), and now comes another adjustment.

[💎@07:38] Choose carefully the moment in the lifecycle where you introduce the subscription. Don’t try to push it during the first few days, but rather when players have become engaged and when it’s relevant.

The concept here is still to keep the game free to play, and also to keep other monetization mechanics than just subscriptions.

Convert

[💎@09:18] To convert users, find subscription benefits that give immediate value to the users (not something far down the road): focus on elements that they can instantly access, and quickly unwrap/enjoy. Think unblocking access, instant gifts, library or collection access. Example: Paint.ly.

Paint.ly on the App Store

Engage

Subscription increases engagement, but you still need a game design that encourages that.

[💎@12:10] Your subscription should also provide recurring value by giving ongoing benefits every time the user goes through the core loop. Think bonuses of currency/XP/consumables that are clearly visible, optional yet non-critical goals/quests/challenges and daily allowance of consumables. Example: Tootsie POP.

Tootsie POP on the App Store

Retain

You’ve built trust, now you need to continue delivering value to players. They’ve invested time into the game, they want to feel like they’re getting something back.

[💎@16:07] Still make sure that your subscribers get benefits from watching the rewarded videos, maybe even more benefits than your non-subscribers. It’s part of building a relationship.

[💎@17:07] Support retention by using subscription benefits that allow the user to experience depth and get added value during long-term play. Think progression assists towards a larger goal, collection options, piggy banks or war bonds or things that improve “quality of life” when playing (less grind). Example: Zoo Craft.

Zoo Craft on the App Store

[💎@17:39] It’s imperative to constantly remind your subscribed players that you’re giving them benefits. Example: if you give 10% extra XP -> mention it each time they get it.

Make them passionate

[💎@20:13] To go beyond retention and make subscribers passionate about your game, continue providing recurring value by giving “deeper” ongoing benefits and status that make users even more committed to the game. Think deep competitive features extending the metagame, social and community features (e.g. Clan building), avenues of personal expression, VIP status, etc. Example: Heroes of Warland.

Heroes of Warland on the App Store

Building that exclusive relationship with subscribers can also allow you to get more quality and thorough feedback: include them in your betas, etc.

[💎@22:10] Use different drivers at different times: think about what is relevant to players right now.

Make subscribers feel special.

Q&A

How long does it take to switch from IAP to subscription?

It depends on your content pipeline. It takes a mindset shift to go into thinking about benefits: you need to have the technology, but the real challenge is to think about the features to paywall (e.g. clan, multiplayer, specific levels, etc.)

Regions with more players willing to purchase IAPs, regions better for ad monetization, etc. What about subscriptions?

Gaming industry is behind movies, apps, etc. when it comes to subscriptions. Superdata released a report on subscriptions (some insights here - I couldn’t find the actual report) and most regions prefer subscriptions (it’s a norm in the US, and only one region was like 50/50).

[💎@27:48] The subscription offering doesn’t necessarily have to be about buying a subscription to an individual game. Maybe it comes complimentary as part of another subscription, a phone service, internet provider. That’s very common in some regions.


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Upgrade Your Plan

[💎@02:34] The future of monetization will be a mix between ads, IAP and subscription

How to successfully implement a subscription model into your F2P game?

[💎@05:58] Subscriptions are about building a relationship with the player. Premium is a single transaction, F2P is a series of transactions and subscription is a relationship.

In the past developers already had to learn how to go from paid apps to giving a game for free and monetizing later (F2P), and now comes another adjustment.

[💎@07:38] Choose carefully the moment in the lifecycle where you introduce the subscription. Don’t try to push it during the first few days, but rather when players have become engaged and when it’s relevant.

The concept here is still to keep the game free to play, and also to keep other monetization mechanics than just subscriptions.

Convert

[💎@09:18] To convert users, find subscription benefits that give immediate value to the users (not something far down the road): focus on elements that they can instantly access, and quickly unwrap/enjoy. Think unblocking access, instant gifts, library or collection access. Example: Paint.ly.

Paint.ly on the App Store

Engage

Subscription increases engagement, but you still need a game design that encourages that.

[💎@12:10] Your subscription should also provide recurring value by giving ongoing benefits every time the user goes through the core loop. Think bonuses of currency/XP/consumables that are clearly visible, optional yet non-critical goals/quests/challenges and daily allowance of consumables. Example: Tootsie POP.

Tootsie POP on the App Store

Retain

You’ve built trust, now you need to continue delivering value to players. They’ve invested time into the game, they want to feel like they’re getting something back.

[💎@16:07] Still make sure that your subscribers get benefits from watching the rewarded videos, maybe even more benefits than your non-subscribers. It’s part of building a relationship.

[💎@17:07] Support retention by using subscription benefits that allow the user to experience depth and get added value during long-term play. Think progression assists towards a larger goal, collection options, piggy banks or war bonds or things that improve “quality of life” when playing (less grind). Example: Zoo Craft.

Zoo Craft on the App Store

[💎@17:39] It’s imperative to constantly remind your subscribed players that you’re giving them benefits. Example: if you give 10% extra XP -> mention it each time they get it.

Make them passionate

[💎@20:13] To go beyond retention and make subscribers passionate about your game, continue providing recurring value by giving “deeper” ongoing benefits and status that make users even more committed to the game. Think deep competitive features extending the metagame, social and community features (e.g. Clan building), avenues of personal expression, VIP status, etc. Example: Heroes of Warland.

Heroes of Warland on the App Store

Building that exclusive relationship with subscribers can also allow you to get more quality and thorough feedback: include them in your betas, etc.

[💎@22:10] Use different drivers at different times: think about what is relevant to players right now.

Make subscribers feel special.

Q&A

How long does it take to switch from IAP to subscription?

It depends on your content pipeline. It takes a mindset shift to go into thinking about benefits: you need to have the technology, but the real challenge is to think about the features to paywall (e.g. clan, multiplayer, specific levels, etc.)

Regions with more players willing to purchase IAPs, regions better for ad monetization, etc. What about subscriptions?

Gaming industry is behind movies, apps, etc. when it comes to subscriptions. Superdata released a report on subscriptions (some insights here - I couldn’t find the actual report) and most regions prefer subscriptions (it’s a norm in the US, and only one region was like 50/50).

[💎@27:48] The subscription offering doesn’t necessarily have to be about buying a subscription to an individual game. Maybe it comes complimentary as part of another subscription, a phone service, internet provider. That’s very common in some regions.


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

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↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
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[💎@02:34] The future of monetization will be a mix between ads, IAP and subscription

How to successfully implement a subscription model into your F2P game?

[💎@05:58] Subscriptions are about building a relationship with the player. Premium is a single transaction, F2P is a series of transactions and subscription is a relationship.

In the past developers already had to learn how to go from paid apps to giving a game for free and monetizing later (F2P), and now comes another adjustment.

[💎@07:38] Choose carefully the moment in the lifecycle where you introduce the subscription. Don’t try to push it during the first few days, but rather when players have become engaged and when it’s relevant.

The concept here is still to keep the game free to play, and also to keep other monetization mechanics than just subscriptions.

Convert

[💎@09:18] To convert users, find subscription benefits that give immediate value to the users (not something far down the road): focus on elements that they can instantly access, and quickly unwrap/enjoy. Think unblocking access, instant gifts, library or collection access. Example: Paint.ly.

Paint.ly on the App Store

Engage

Subscription increases engagement, but you still need a game design that encourages that.

[💎@12:10] Your subscription should also provide recurring value by giving ongoing benefits every time the user goes through the core loop. Think bonuses of currency/XP/consumables that are clearly visible, optional yet non-critical goals/quests/challenges and daily allowance of consumables. Example: Tootsie POP.

Tootsie POP on the App Store

Retain

You’ve built trust, now you need to continue delivering value to players. They’ve invested time into the game, they want to feel like they’re getting something back.

[💎@16:07] Still make sure that your subscribers get benefits from watching the rewarded videos, maybe even more benefits than your non-subscribers. It’s part of building a relationship.

[💎@17:07] Support retention by using subscription benefits that allow the user to experience depth and get added value during long-term play. Think progression assists towards a larger goal, collection options, piggy banks or war bonds or things that improve “quality of life” when playing (less grind). Example: Zoo Craft.

Zoo Craft on the App Store

[💎@17:39] It’s imperative to constantly remind your subscribed players that you’re giving them benefits. Example: if you give 10% extra XP -> mention it each time they get it.

Make them passionate

[💎@20:13] To go beyond retention and make subscribers passionate about your game, continue providing recurring value by giving “deeper” ongoing benefits and status that make users even more committed to the game. Think deep competitive features extending the metagame, social and community features (e.g. Clan building), avenues of personal expression, VIP status, etc. Example: Heroes of Warland.

Heroes of Warland on the App Store

Building that exclusive relationship with subscribers can also allow you to get more quality and thorough feedback: include them in your betas, etc.

[💎@22:10] Use different drivers at different times: think about what is relevant to players right now.

Make subscribers feel special.

Q&A

How long does it take to switch from IAP to subscription?

It depends on your content pipeline. It takes a mindset shift to go into thinking about benefits: you need to have the technology, but the real challenge is to think about the features to paywall (e.g. clan, multiplayer, specific levels, etc.)

Regions with more players willing to purchase IAPs, regions better for ad monetization, etc. What about subscriptions?

Gaming industry is behind movies, apps, etc. when it comes to subscriptions. Superdata released a report on subscriptions (some insights here - I couldn’t find the actual report) and most regions prefer subscriptions (it’s a norm in the US, and only one region was like 50/50).

[💎@27:48] The subscription offering doesn’t necessarily have to be about buying a subscription to an individual game. Maybe it comes complimentary as part of another subscription, a phone service, internet provider. That’s very common in some regions.