Studies show that over 260 million mobile game players are out of reach of the App Store. But with the lawsuits from Apple and Epic affecting the mobile games industry and monetization at large, new opportunities for monetization outside the App Store are opening up.
To talk about how mobile developers can take advantage of these new opportunities, GamesBeat Summit floored Anthony Mendoza, Director of Business Development, Global, and Hannah Zhang, Business Development Manager, USA, both at XSola.
Mendoza opened up by talking about the three key components of this new freedom from the App Store. The first is that players can now use online payment methods to purchase in-game items and currency and top up their accounts. Another important opportunity is that developers can now do marketing directly to players, to drive traffic to a branded web shop for purchase. The third key component is that of a branded web shop, which represents a new way for developers to own the entire user experience. And it looks like it could become a global trend.
“Apple may eventually lift the restriction and allow developers to offer alternative payment options for their users in more regions,” Zhang said. “Developers are more aware of their options by encouraging their users to pay directly and avoid the platform fees of Apple and Google.”
Reaching 260 million new players
The increased restrictions also mean that developers now have a way to access new, untapped markets – the 260 million players who can’t use the App Store because they have no way to pay for their purchases. (Because credit cards are not the standard form of payment in their countries). When game developers can offer alternative, local methods of payment through companies like Xsolla, they can increase conversions and generate new revenue, and create a worldwide community.
Xsolla offers a wide range of local and alternative payment methods worldwide – 99-plus in the United States (a 10% increase in available payment methods), 300-plus (+40%) in Europe, and 200-plus in China and Asia (60% increase in South Korea, about 90% in China).
In Asia, including China and South Korea, Apple provides credit card payment methods for most users, but in China, 54% of payment transactions are actually via methods such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. In South Korea, many users rely on local credit card payments such as KakaoPay, Toss and Payko.
In Central and Latin America, Mexico has about 50 million players, and Brazil has about 75 million – and 50% of those players use local credit card brands. Boleto flash accounts make up about 15% of the market, while an up-and-coming instant payment method called PIX is gaining traction. In the US, most of the untapped market comes from things like game store gift cards.
“One of the biggest draws to all of this is being the owner of your own community,” Mendoza said, “which is huge for marketing purposes.”
For example, a game developer or publisher might collect email addresses via a confirmed purchase or initiated purchase in a web shop, then target campaigns and ads to those email addresses to maximize profits. .
“You own the data. You own your ecosystem. You can have direct marketing and direct engagement with these players that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do on the Apple and Google platforms.” “There’s a big fascination with marketing campaigns, being able to communicate with your users and your gamers on a more intimate level.”
In addition to marketing campaigns, the Web shop also provides other benefits and value propositions, Zhang said. For example, Xsolla’s Web Shop is a white label digital store for developers and publishers to sell subscriptions, in-game items, and currency directly to their users from their own customizable branded website. The storefront becomes part of the community because it provides a way to distribute games as well as update features, news, and leaderboards.
Independent Webstores also get around Apple’s $99.99 restriction on user package price. XSola partner Playstudios offers a VIP page to connect whales with exclusive mobile item content. Similarly, Scopely has built a web store outside of its mobile games to sell exclusive bundles and packages to its high-LTV group and whales.
“You make your users and your community feel special by allowing this alternative ecosystem to talk to each other and buy things,” Mendoza said. “That is where you build trust in your community and your gamers. That’s where you’ll generate loyalty, and loyalty means money in the mobile game industry.”
Complete the entire session on Demand here.