Committed free-to-play gamers, or those who play a virtual goods-based title more than 50 times, often account for more than 90 percent of a game's total revenue, according to study from GameStop-owned web game portal Kongregate.
The site argues that the key to monetizing microtransactions-based online games is to manage the "end-game" of a title, or aspects essential to long-term players, such as guilds or elements that affect player-versus-player mechanics.
"Too many titles introduce monetization elements without the end-game in mind," says Kongregate COO Emily Greer. "Players often tune out these advances, primarily because they have little long-term value to the user or the player is not yet connected to the game."
Kongregate reviewed more than 150 virtual goods-based games on its service as part of its study. Its results may differ from other platforms, as the site has traditionally positioned itself as one serving core social gamers, with titles targeting that audience.
The portal found that early stage players, or those who have played a title less than ten times, do make purchases. But while 30 percent of early stage players buy an item in multiplayer games, they accounted for only 3 percent of total revenue on average.
Devoted players typically account for only 2 to 10 percent of a game's total userbase, but the average revenue per user for that group is 3,000 percent higher on average compared to early stage players.
"Your committed players will provide you with the bulk of the games lifetime value," adds Greer.