Tech Seriousmenu

Pay to Play Mobile Games

Understanding the Economy of Pay-to-Play Mobile Games

There's a new way to take advantage of the mobile Internet goldmine, and it involves playful interaction on smartphones and tablets. Advertising and in-app purchasing are two strategies used by developers of mobile apps to make money from their game titles, but these two techniques are sometimes considered to be annoying, which is why Pay-to-Play mobile games are emerging as sensible options.

Revenue Models in Mobile Gaming

Two of the most common methods to earn money from mobile games these days are the "freemium" and Pay-to-Play models. A third method, advertising, is more traditional and is being phased out because some users consider it to be annoying. To a certain extent, the constant display of ads in mobile games resembles the "nagware" revenue model of the Golden Age of desktop computing.

The freemium model lends itself to both in-app purchasing and Pay-to-Play situations. This model implies a free install on a smartphone or tablet, but players should expect that at some point they will be asked to pay cash to expand the gaming experience by accessing deeper levels or purchasing items that will enhance their performance.

The cash purchases made within mobile games are often called micro-transactions, and they are a multimillion dollar industry that has come under fire for being annoying and somewhat abusive. The argument against freemium is that unethical developers may take advantage of the addictive features of their games to entice players to keep up their micro-transactions, which can add up to hundreds of dollars each year.

Is the Pay-to-Play Model Better?

A new way of presenting mobile games to players happens to be a take on a traditional method of selling video games. The idea consists of developing quality game titles that players are convinced they must pay for in order to play them.

In essence, the Pay-to-Play model may include a brief, playable demo that users can install on their mobile devices for free. They may run into advertising or marketing of the game in the form of banners, video features and comments from other players who share their experiences on social media. The goal is to sell a premium title that players will have to pay for only once.

In mobile gaming, Pay-to-Play does not have to be a recurring model. In console gaming, downloable content (DLC) tends to augment the game experience and it is usually not free; however, DLC rarely nags players or hustles them for more cash. In the end, Pay-to-Play can be a more ethical revenue model for developers of mobile games.

Phone and Tablet