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27 Feb 2014

App Monetization: Half of Mobile Game Revenue Comes From Less Than 1% of Players

A recent mobile app monetization report from the analytics and app testing firm Swrve revealed that in the month of January 2014, half of the free-to-play games’ in-app purchases were generated from 0.15% of players and only 1.5% percent of F2P gamers in the Swrve network spent actual money.

Swrve Mobile Monetization Report Chart Image

Swrve Chart

The surprising data not only proves that players can enjoy an app and progress without spending anything but it also shows that it’s the big spenders or ‘whales’ referenced in the industry that is keeping the app ecosystem booming.

The chart to the right displays the top 10% of that 1.5% of paying players and depicts the increase in revenue from the month.

The Role of the Mighty Gaming ‘Whales’

whale Image Whales (aka big spenders) are seldom discussed openly in the industry but they are the reason app monetization and the free-to-play model works. It’s that select group of determined gamers that are willing to pay for an edge in the game that make a huge impact on the industry. For success it’s important to deliver a quality game that players will want to continuously play.

Although some gaming studios aggressively target big spenders in their app monetization strategy it’s not necessary for generating revenue. People will only invest in what they think is worth investing in. Scopely the studio behind F2P app Skee Ball Arcade, CEO Walter Driver had this to say, “We want to provide people with an experience they love so much that they’d spend money to have a deeper experience.”

Similar to a broken record, the top developers, publishers, and industry leaders are repeating the same thing, ‘gameplay.’ It’s the quality gaming experience that a player has that dictates whether or not they’ll tweet to their friends about your app, buy power-ups or gear or continue to play long-term. Focusing on making a fun entertaining game will ultimately lead to the whales and success.


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