The most annoying thing I and many others encounter while playing mobile games are micro-transactions. Like leprosy, this economic plague has totally reshaped the landscape of gaming…and not for the better. How many times have you seen a window pop up asking if you want to buy a boost, or finding out that the only way to complete the game is to purchase some ridiculous power up? Not only are these tactics cheap and deceiving, but also they pull the player completely out of the world they have immersed themselves in.
However, I think I have a solution for it. Nothing major, nothing groundbreaking, and nothing that will help an indie game developer strike it rich. However, I think it is a good strategy for two reasons. 1)It doesn’t interrupt or disturb the general gameplay. 2)It helps promote an aesthetic vision that all developers should incorporate into the overall gestalt of their games.
The idea came to me while playing Monument Valley. After completing the first level, I noticed that instead of returning to the overworld map, the game provided me with the choice to take a screenshot of the level and post it to a social media site. Because the game is so atmospheric and beautiful, I actually did this and posted it to my Facebook. For unknown reasons, I felt compelled to do this; as if sharing this artistic image would articulate something about me, and my personality, that I wanted people to know.
After returning to the overmap menu, I realized how genius the idea was. Such a strategy has the players work for the game. The player essentially becomes a marketer; by uploading an image to their Facebook , Instagram, or Twitter they help spread the visibility of your game. Furthermore, this creates the possibility for people to ask the holy grail of questions: “what game is that and where can I get it?”
But how do you monetize this, you might ask?
Simple. Just like the long-forgotten, but somewhat nostalgia inducing disposable cameras, the screenshot opportunity will be limited (I leave how many up to you). After, let’s say, the 10th screenshot you can purchase more “film” in order to capture your progress. This type of transaction does not interfere with the game at all, and implicitly encourages the developers to strive for an excellent art direction. Like League of Legends or Team Fortress 2, this is purely aesthetics and in no way disturbs the gameplay. Additionally, you could introduce certain filter effects, stickers, or the like to enhance the experience.
Now while this might not make you rich, this could provide a source of revenue as well as help create a buzz around your game. And, after all, who could ask for more!