Amazon: Get gamers playing more often, not longer, to succeed in free-to-play

Amazon: Get gamers playing more often, not longer, to succeed in free-to-play
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

October 10th 2013 at 11:30AM

F2P Summit: More than a third of paid players still spend after one month in top grossing apps

Retail giant and Kindle Fire creator Amazon has shared research that shows it is the number of sessions, not the average length of time spent in-game, that affects whether gamers will spend on free-to-play titles.

The study was discussed by head of content acquisition and mobile initiatives Daniel Winner during today's F2P Summit in London.

Using the firm's Cohort Analysis, which tracks customer behaviour over time, Amazon compared spending activity in the Top 50 Grossing apps and the rest of the Freemium titles sold through its Amazon App Store.

While there was a marginal difference between the average time spent playing the Top Grossing games and the other Freemium apps, the Top Grossing were ahead of the rest when it came to number of sessions played.

"It's not about increasing the stickiness of sessions, because that's similar between the two categories," Winner explained. "It's the number of sessions that is the key determining factor in terms of overall time spent in-game.

"If you can increase the number of times your customer comes back, that's the key to driving revenue."

Winner also revealed that the number of customers spending money in freemium titles is on the rise, 55 per cent up since 2012 among Amazon customers.

And users are inclined to pay more for in-game items as time passes. Over the first month of Amazon's study, the average selling price of in-app items sold rose by 60 per cent.

Also interesting was the fact that after just three days, the decline in the number of players spending on in-app purchases flattened out, showing that it is possible to generate consistent revenue over more than a month.

Winner concluded with three strategies that will help developers improve the success of their app.

Firstly, it is important to engage customers early. 18 per cent of customers that will spend money in-game will do so on the first day.

Secondly, keep them in the game. 44 per cent of repeat purchases happen within one hour of the previous purchase.

Finally, give players a reason to come back. 56 per cent of purchases were repeat purchases. And while 62 pet cent of revenue is generated in the first day, a not-too-shabby 35 per cent is generated in the first month, indicating you can monetise customers over a long period of time.