In-App purchases for iPhone games are extra content or subscriptions that enhance the users gaming experience. This can be currency, extra health, extra ammunition, extra guns, extra lives, new levels, etc. Apple breaks these down into four different categories: consumable, non-consumable, non-renewing subscriptions, and auto-renewing subscriptions. The items mentioned above are consumable purchases. Non-consumable purchases are items that are bought one time, such as the upgrade to a pro edition of a game or even unlocking hints and extra characters. Non-renewing subscriptions are items that are purchases for a fixed period of time while auto-renewing subscriptions are items bought for a specific subscription period that are automatically renewed. Auto-renewing subscriptions are items such as Netflix and Hulu.
Application developers can specifically sell 4 types of services: content, functionality, services and subscriptions. The items you sell must be something you develop, not world-wide goods and services. The content must be available on all devices for a registered user, virtual currency may be used so long as it is used in the app and there is no time limit on its use, the content is appropriate, and cross application usage is not available.
There are several ways to increase the amount of in-app purchases that take place in your game. Some of the tips you may want to focus on are outlined below. Use these as you think about your iOS game development plan.
- Freemium Business Model
One business model that is popular among game developers is the ‘freemium’ model. You will develop two versions of the game: one lite version and one pro version. Most users will choose to start with the lite version, which is free. This allows them to try the game to determine if it is something they are willing to pay for. If it is, they are able to buy the pro version through the lite version.
Another way to go about this is to create the free version and continually provide in-app purchases that will increase the functionality and content of the game. Therefore, instead of providing a new version of the game, the user just purchases upgrades along the way.
- Removable Ad Option
One of the ways you can attract some quick revenue through an in-app purchase is to allow ads on your game, but provide an in-app purchase that removes the ads. A large portion of the users will spend the money to remove the ads to enhance their gaming experience. The distraction of ads can be annoying. You can also provide a pro version of the game that removes the pesky ads.
- Increase the Difficulty of the Game
Throughout the longevity of the game make sure you add some increasingly difficult levels that cause a user to spend a little bit more time than normal to pass the level. Some diehards will commit the time it takes to beat the level. However, by providing hints, extra lives and better weapons for purchase many users will spend the money to buy them in an effort to help pass the level and move on.
- Provide Offers
Throughout the day provide the users with an option to buy items for their game at a discounted price. This makes it seem like they are getting a great deal and a sense of urgency to buy it right then. Provide a countdown clock that shows how much time until the offer will expire. This will get users buying items when they normally would not think about buying.
- Give Away
Another option that seems to generate positive feedback is to give away a free life or free coins when the user logs into play their game. This makes them want to play the game more often because they will get more free lives. The more they play, the better the opportunity for purchasing in-app extras.
- Purchase Recommendations
Provide users with a list of purchase recommendations prior to each level. They may need a better gun than they currently have, more coins to get through the level, or any number of other items. By providing a user with recommendations you increase your chance of in-app purchases.
There are a number of other tips that will help generate in-app purchases, but these 6 will get you started. Think about purchases from the users prospective and provide options without being too cumbersome and overbearing.