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I want to revisit a point I made earlier about ARPU. ARPU is the best indicator of how well your game design encourages users to purchase in game content when it isn’t required. Think about this carefully – users are choosing to spend more money on your game when it isn’t required. So how do you achieve this?

1. Design Functionality


A core question you have to look at it “is what I’m trying to monetize valuable?” (For consistency we’re going to stick with MTX items). Let’s take a look at Dead Space 3’s attempt at adding microtransactions into their game design. Essentially, the concept was “ammo is rare – purchase some if you need more”. I loved this franchise, and I constantly found myself struggling to find ammo when facing a set of enemies, but the base flaw in this assumption (Users will see ammo as valuable) was moot because of how common it was to find it elsewhere in the game. How likely are you to enjoy highway robbery of something constantly thrown at you when you face a immediate shortage? Paying for something which regularly you might have access is a terrible way to try and create perceived value. By lowering the difficulty, you can find yourself able to smash through the level or sequence without having to shell out anything!


The goal needs to be about (I’ve said this so many times about MTX) creating perceived value. Examples of what this looks like?

– Something that is completely unique and distinct only attainable by MTX

– Content that doesn’t impair the core functionality of the game

– Suits the overall design and concept of the game

Every game I’ve ever worked on has required a distinct strategy for MTX. This is the farthest thing from a white label solution because it requires the entire concept to resonate the value of what you’re trying to MTX.

In League of Legends, skins offer the user the ability to customize the visual experience they have experienced hundreds of times against people who are visually skinned the exact same as them. Offering a personal different visual experience is what users are willing to pay massive amounts for. This is perfect synergy of game design that promotes the MTX strategy.


Take some time to consider what your game experience offers in the short and long term for users. What are they likely going to welcome and be glad to purchase to enhance their experience?


2. Optimize Sale’s Figures

Remember, if you are selling 100 gems for 10 dollars you are putting a specific value on what those gems are worth. Virtual currency or items are an incredibly easy variable to optimize maximum value for and it’s done through multivariate testing and with linear distribution analysis. Here’s an example

Say you have an in game sword you are selling for $10 regularly and each day you sell 75 swords for a total of $750. Using multivariate testing software for your game, try having users tested on a range of price points. Let’s pretend we do this and receive the following data.

Price # of Sales
 $    10.00                  675
 $       9.00                  828
 $       8.00                  945
 $       7.00              1,134
 $       6.00              1,260
 $       5.00              1,476

You now have a coordinates that give you a simple revenue yield for each price.

Price # of Sales Revenue
 $    10.00                  675  $  6,750.00
 $       9.00                  828  $  7,452.00
 $       8.00                  945  $  7,560.00
 $       7.00              1,134  $  7,938.00
 $       6.00              1,260  $  7,560.00
 $       5.00              1,476  $  7,380.00

Really basic stuff here for easy wins in revenue growth.

The order of operations for this is really important. It’s useless to optimize a strategy you will be changing. Once you’ve found a really compatible MTX strategy for your game, THEN consider doing linear regression analysis.

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