Premium currency banks in TOP games
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
Questions that frequently occur at the stage of developing or supporting free-2-play games are: how should the premium currency purchase window look like and how should the discounts work? We've used the Playliner Platform to find and analyze screenshots of banks (currency stores) with premium currency purchase offers from US top 150 highest grossing mobile games.
Number of articles in the bank
By articles we mean the number of possible premium currency packs offered in the bank. The diagram shows the percentage of games with a specific amount of articles offered.
As evident from the diagram, most developers settle with 5-6 articles, making it possible for every audience to purchase the currency. Other options are more of an exception than a rule. Movie Star Planet is worth a separate notice: it offers as many as 12 articles.
First article price
Here is how the games are divided by first article price.
The low price threshold means a purchase can be made without much hesitating.
2nd-6th articles price
Let us analyze the cost of the further articles.
It doesn’t matter if the price of the first article is $0.99 or $1.99; the second article usually costs the same $4.99. Interestingly, the most common prices of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 coincide with the denominations of dollar bills.
$100 is the maximum sum for premium currency purchase in most of the games. However, in a certain top-ranking game (Knights & Dragons) it's possible to buy $1650 worth of gems!
There must be some reasoning behind this:
Knights & Dragons
The more the player spends, the better advantage they have when buying premium currency. Let's count the advantages of articles 2-5 compared to article 1. For example, in 9% of the games the second article is 1.1 times more profitable than the first one. This means that $1 from the second article can buy you 1.1 times more premium currency than $1 from the first one. The charts below show the distribution of the advantages articles 2-6 offer over article 1.
The higher the price of an article, the better pronounced the advantage.
Purchase window design
Let's examine a couple of elements that we believe could come in useful in a premium currency bank.
First purchase reward
This feature is not often encountered, but it exists. The first purchase bonus is displayed directly in the premium currency purchase window. Candy Crush is one of the games where it appears, although for some reason not a lot of developers favor this feature. Another game that uses it is Zombie Evil:
The most frequent type of the first purchase reward is providing more premium currency for the price (the Age of Ships game):
Icons: SALE, Most Popular, Best Value
These icons are standard for most purchase windows.
Diamond Digger Saga
Currency purchase extended in time
This one is a new trend. New games containing this premium currency purchase option appear all the time. This is because this scheme not only increases monetization, but at the same time improves player retention. The player is offered a possibility to receive premium currency every day during a certain period. For example, in Heroes Charge:
Starting with the most expensive articles
Some developers display the most expensive purchase at the top of the list. A controversial solution, but one used by 22% developers from our statistical sample.
Modern of War
Thanks for the attention!