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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 22, 2011


Consumable items top in-app game purchases

A new report from Flurry Analytics reveals that over two-thirds of all items purchased in iOS and Android 'freemium' game apps are consumables with premium virtual currency being the top buy.

by Helen Leggatt

flurry logo.jpgMany game apps today are given away but charge a premium for advanced features, functionality, or related products and services. This is referred to as the "freemium" model. The challenge for developers of freemium game apps is that they must hook in players and keep them engaged by constantly developing and adding new levels and characters to their games.

According to Flurry just 0.5% to 6% of mobile game app players spend money in free games, with the spend level dependent on the quality and dynamics of the game. However, while the vast number of players are currently not spending within free gaming apps, the small number that do can end up spending considerably more than those who bought the game upfront.

"Since you gave away the game for free, your 'heavy spender' group can be sizable," writes Flurry's Jeferson Valadares on the company's blog. "With games often occupying more than 75% of all top 100 grossing apps in the App Store, [the freemium concept is] the single most dominating business model in the mobile apps industry today."

Flurry's most recent research delves into what game players are shelling out for. It found that consumables, items that help a player advance in a game but once used are gone, are by far the most popular accounting for over two-thirds (68%) of in-game items purchased.

The most popular consumable purchased is "premium" virtual currency. In the main it's used to enable faster progress through a game by bypassing a lot of the effort of normal gameplay or "grind".

"Premium currency can be spent in a number of ways to accelerate progression in a given game, including converting it into "grind" currency, the primary currency that consumers accrue and use through normal gameplay (a.k.a. the "grind")," explains Flurry on its blog.

"Premium currency, which also allows consumers to purchase special items that cannot typically be acquired with regular "grind" currency, is said to "alleviate the grind" (i.e., allow a user to advance faster in a game). Games that are designed with consumable items in mind tend to monetize very well. For developers, this offers the best ROI on game development resources."

Meanwhile 30% buy "durable" goods, items that continue to be of use after purchase such as buildings or armor, and only a small percentage (2%) buy items their personalize their avatars or gaming experience.






Tags: game app, in-app purchase, mobile app, mobile game, virtual currency, virtual goods








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