5 Ways This Multiplayer Mobile Game Hopes to Transform From F2P to Moneymaker

Insights & Best Practices

November 24, 2015


min read

Free-to-play titles have overtaken the mobile gaming industry. Why? Because they make developers and publishers a ton of money.Contributing to the cash-cow is the rise of multiplayer F2P titles. According to data site App Annie, city-building and resource management games like Clash of Clans, Game of War and Monster Strike have been able to monetize players extremely well. These games were built to last, allowing a deeper commitment over time, which can encourage downloaders to become paying players.If you're an indie developer, though, how do you translate this type of success?typically from large publishers with plenty of resources?to your own free-to-play multiplayer game?"By building a community of players as early as possible," says Ron Carmel, developer of multiplayer game Subterfuge. "It will help you improve the game, it will help with PR down the line, and, if your game is awful, then it's better to find out about it sooner than later."One way to build the community Carmel is so keen on is to use a product like Testflight in order create your own beta teams before launch or utilize social channels by offering preview content on Facebook and Twitter.[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1822"]


Image via Subterfuge[/caption]While Subterfuge has just released on iOS and Android, the team is already looking for ways to transition from a game that's simply downloaded for free to one that, like the big names mentioned above, is a big monetizer.Here's a breakdown of what Carmel and his team are envisioning:

1. Advertising-supported free play

Watching a video to unlock a level or tool is a common strategy among mobile games as of late. As such, Subterfuge is considering offering players a reward where video watching would unlock the use of an in-game item for a limited time. This would allow non-paying players to participate in the game in a more meaningful way, perhaps encouraging them to buy-in.

2. Loyalty badges

Some players have already told the Subterfuge team that they love the game so much they'd like more ways to support it monetarily. Because of this feedback, the team is considering a badge that could be purchased and displayed prominently on a player?s screen. This would provide players with a way to brag, as well as a way to display to other players that they are supporting a game they love.

3. Paid tournaments

Creating monthly and annual tournaments is a fun way to engage gamers who have a competitive streak. In-app purchases to enter tournaments would be an ongoing stream of revenue for a multiplayer free-to-play game. The Subterfuge team has already seen players independently organize tournaments to add an extra layer of meta-game to each match, so they know there is an obvious appetite for this type of gameplay.[caption id="attachment_12934" align="aligncenter" width="900"]

vain glory compressed

Image via Super Evil Megacorp[/caption]

4. Premium alternative art

Allowing players to purchase skins and other items that let them customize their experience?either with avatars or in-game art?is another way to reward loyal players and monetize. Vainglory, a massively online battle arena (MOBA) title from developer Super Evil Megacorp, does this in extremely smart way: they offer a direct monetary purchase for hero skins, as well as a way to earn in-game currency to purchase the skins. That way, players who haven't yet made a purchase are incentivized to make future monetary investments, while those who do invest get the instant gratification of an art asset. Subterfuge may employ a similar model.

5. Gifting loyalty rewards

The Subterfuge team is also considering this innovative idea: Allow players to purchase rewards for other players. This kind of purchase would monetize those players who want to show their support of others within the game, binding the community more closely together as well as emphasizing values of cooperation and positivity.