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  • Writer's pictureJefrey Gomez

Google's Guide On How to Succeed in the Asian Gaming Market

With the rapid evolution that the Asian gaming industry has seen over the last decade, developers find it increasingly challenging to provide their users with immersive storylines and complex gameplay. The enhanced purchasing power of gamers across the region has meant that they are willing to invest more time and money than ever to satiate their thirst for competition, challenge and community, especially in the wake of COVID19.

While early PC games required gamers to invest in high-end hardware, mobile gaming has made gaming much more accessible. This has allowed gamers to try various monetization models. However, choosing the right monetization model in Asia is crucial to reach different gamers and drive revenue.

But don’t worry, Google has it sorted for you. With the third installment of its series on Asia’s gaming market, Google will provide you with ample insights into some of the most successful revenue models in Asia and what you can do to keep your gamers loyal and engaged.

Here are the major highlights of the report.

The Most Commonly Used Models in Asia

There are three main models used by developers in Asia.

1. F2P

This is Asia’s most successful model for mobile games and provides users with free access to a significant portion of the game. The revenue is generated by the users who choose to pay for access to the remaining portion of the game.

F2P games made up 80% of all digital games revenue and 98.5% of all mobile games revenue in 2019. In fact, all the top 100 highest grossing mobile games in Asia were F2P.

2. Premium

The premium model requires gamers to pay a one-time fee to access the game after which they can purchase additional downloadable content to continue with new storylines and updates.

This model has found relatively more traction in console-heavy markets like Japan, where gamers are inclined to pay higher prices.

3. Subscription

Under the subscription model, gamers pay a monthly fee to access an individual or selection of games. The subscription model is currently more popular on PC than mobile or console and accounts for more than 10% of all digital PC game revenue.

How Developers Drive Revenue in Asia Through the F2P Model

Asia’s huge and fast-growing audience of mobile gamers provides a fertile ground to F2P games. As more F2P models continue evolving, developers can drive revenue in multiple ways without disrupting the gamers’ experience.

Some of the most widely-used tactics in F2P games are as follows.

In-app Purchases (IAP)

IAP is the most popular and successful model among F2P games in Asia. In 2019, Asia’s 1.2 billion gamers generated a revenue of $39.4 and the top 10 grossing games used a F2P model with IAP. Some of the most commonly used ways to implement IAP are as follows.

1. Pay-to-Win

Pay-to-Win gives players an advantage, like player enhancement or faster rewards, and are therefore, more popular among gamers motivated by competition. One in every four gamers in China, Japan, India, and South Korea said that they had paid for special equipment to gain competitive advantage.

2. Play-to-Win

The Play-to-Win model rewards gamers with items that they can show off like players skin or announcements. Like Pay-to-Win, even Play-to-Win is highly popular in Asia as it doesn’t give anyone an unfair advantage of leveling up by paying more.

3. Gacha

The Gacha model is preferred by gamers who seek to complete a character or item sets by purchasing “rolls”. However, it’s less effective in casual games where players aren’t too inclined toward aggressive monetization.

4. Battle Pass

Battle passes are used both in F2P and Premium games and require players to pay a fixed amount for additional benefits, boosts, or rewards.

More than 50 of the top 200 grossing mobile games in China use a battle pass to drive additional revenue. For instance, PUBG Mobile has gained enormously after launching its Royale Pass.

In-game Ads

In-game ads are mostly used in puzzle and strategy games and they require players to only spend time, and not money.

Since they reduce the gap between spenders and non-spenders, they have become the biggest sources of revenue for game developers in India and Southeast Asia.

Hybrid Monetization

A hybrid model is a combination of in-game ads and in-app purchases. It allows the developers the flexibility to engage a wide player base based on their preferences. They can choose whether they want to play for free with occasional ads or pay for an upgraded in-game experience.

How You Can Pick the Right Monetization Model

As the Asian gaming industry continues evolving, you should try monetizing in a way that doesn’t disrupt the users’ experience. You should consider the following points while choosing the right model for your game.

Begin with Your Core Audience

Although the F2P model is most widely used in Asia, the premium model can work wonders in console-heavy countries where gamers are comfortable paying a higher cost. While this may drive away casual gamers, it may appeal to gamers who want to level up quickly.

Try the Hybrid Model

With COVID19 impacting the number of brands investing in mobile game ads, you can fill the revenue gap by trying new combinations of IAP and in-game ads. This may also help you reach a larger audience.

Create More Dynamic Experiences

Innovation in monetization leads to innovation in development. Invest more in creating engaging and immersive titles for players to enjoy in short, casual sessions or longer, in-depth sessions.

To delve deeper into the report for a more sound understanding on game monetizing in Asia, download the full report here.


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