The Mobile Games arena is far more challenging than ever with only a few titles dominating the top of the charts. The usual suspects have owned the top slots in the Free 2 Play category over the past several years. This makes it even more important for developers and publishers, who attempt to break through and monetize smartly/find new markets, to remain competitive and profitable. The good news, in case you haven’t already discovered, is that there are new opportunities to generate revenue for your games. With this in mind, how do you effectively monetize your Android games outside of Google Play or Amazon?
A new and ancillary market is emerging and growing where developers/publishers can make money from games in Local Subscription Stores. These Subscription Stores are usually run in concert with Carriers in markets such as Mexico, Brazil, India, Russia, Indonesia, and Colombia. Stores offer a carefully curated and diverse selection of high quality games for a fixed weekly or monthly fee. No Ads, no IAPs and all payments are managed via consumers phone bills.
(Image used with permission from the “Life Beyond Google Play:
Alternative Distribution Channels for Android Games,” Gamasutra article)
So, how can developers and publishers reach these Subscription Stores effectively? We propose through a 3rd party dedicated and fluent in managing that type of business. Such a party in the image above would be the Content Aggregator, or as we like to define it a Global Subscription Network. Generally speaking, your goals should align with a Global Subscription Network which include generating revenue, expanding consumer bases and extending brands. If your company has been contacted by a Global Subscription Network, pause and listen to what they have to offer.
WHAT ARE MOBILE SUBSCRIPTION STORES AND WHAT DO THEY OFFER?
Subscription Stores represent an ancillary market for mobile Android games that are typically driven in partnership with Mobile Carriers where a small offering (averaging around 1,000) of high quality games (and sometimes non-game apps) are curated for consumers. They only accept games that meet certain requisites with respect to Ratings, Installs, and overall game quality. End-users pay, usually via their phone bill, per week or month to get full access to all the store has to offer.
This is an emerging market for top rated games, growing exponentially year over year, primarily in developing territories and have become a solid ancillary revenue path for developers and publishers.
As an example for titles Perpetuum Media publishes, single games can generate over $25K USD per month and this number is growing.
Our experience is that Stores have become prevalent in emerging territories where consumers likely don’t possess credit cards. Currently, this makes the market largely reliant upon Carrier billing to enable consumers and discovery within Subscription Stores. This as a path to monetize players other than the traditional Whales, Dolphins, and Minnows. Our sense is this market will continue to grow and flourish as Subscription Stores gain traction and also become independent from Carriers further down the line.
WHAT ROLE DOES A GLOBAL SUBSCRIPTION NETWORK PLAY?
A Global Subscription Network is in all effect an extension of your company’s publishing business. Because there are many pieces to manage within this distribution puzzle, it’s far more cost effective for developers and publishers to work with a Global Subscription Network. It’s too time consuming to create the necessary relationships and cost ineffective preparing games to deploy in this global market. In addition, developers and publishers typically don’t have the portfolio to leverage feature placement and promotions along with proper life cycle management.
A strong Global Subscription Network will have built the requisite relationships with multiple Local Subscription Stores and have a turnkey process for seamless deployment of your game. Note, the best in class Global Subscription Networks won’t ask developers and publishers to spend any development time preparing games for Stores.
“The key for us was absolutely no development effort required combined with a solid revenue opportunity. Perpetuum Media handled the entire process and we couldn't be more thrilled with the results”...Agust Milani, CEO @ Play365
WHY SHOULD DEVELOPERS AND/OR PUBLISHERS CONSIDER SUBSCRIPTION STORES VIA GLOBAL SUBSCRIPTION NETWORKS?
In the filmed entertainment industry, each ancillary market that emerged has added to the Top/Bottom line with respect to profitability. Not ironically, not all were early adopters as some were tentative to reap the benefits of emerging distribution and financial opportunities. Now, some movies don’t generate a profit until they hit ancillary markets such as Pay Per View and/or DVD. Netflix, once a simple conduit to “Syndicated TV”, is now a platform where content is launched. We’ve learned the movie business is truly “zero sum” consumption where consumers may watch a film in the theater yet are likely to rent and/or own said content via another medium. By making films available on multiple mediums each with unique ATTRIBUTES tied to consumers, movie studios expanded their consumer based, extended their brands, and increased their return on investment.
The mobile games industry, given the exponential growth of the smartphone installed base and the maturity of that business, now offers similar opportunities. There are clear and definite paths to make money for Android games that are beyond the traditional way. Subscription Stores are a perfect example. While it’s important to tap the obvious channels and markets, Subscription Stores now offer a new opportunity to drive revenue.
The most important take-away is that these Stores offer supplementary revenue and reach that’s complimentary to your existing channels….and they are growing fast!
WHAT SHOULD DEVELOPERS AND/OR PUBLISHERS BE LOOKING FOR IN A GLOBAL SUBSCRIPTION NETWORK AND WHAT IS THEIR VALUE-ADD PROPOSITION WITH RESPECT TO SUBSCRIPTION STORES?
A strong Global Subscription Network, over time, will have built and enabled quick and easily navigated paths to multiple Subscription Stores. It’s a strategic imperative that your chosen partner has strong relationships with Stores. This strength should be coupled with a portfolio of content that translates into being a “top grossing provider”. While it’s possible for an Indie game developer/publisher to potentially manage, this comes with the necessary overhead to play as a “small fish in a big lake”. A best of class Global Subscription Network should be able to guarantee their clients’ games get premier placement and promotions. A Global Subscription Network that has built “scale” can leverage opportunities with a Subscription Store.
Key value-add services that developers and publishers should expect from a Global Subscription Network include:
Ensures “No Development Work or Investment” required to deploy games
Life-Cycle mgmt, deployment, placement, promotions, marketing, technical support & solutions
Deliver guaranteed premium placement and promotional opportunities on Local Subscription Stores
Offer proprietary technology that can increase discoverability, retention, and revenue
Proven “Retention techniques” that extend the life-cycle of a game and increase revenue
FunCoins™ enables IAP management in Free 2 Play games, ensuring a balanced game experience and encourages player retention.*
* Recently launched, Perpetuum Media’s proprietary technology FunCoins™, enables IAP to function within Subscription Stores. FunCoins™ differentiate Free 2 Play games from other Global Subscription Networks and actively supports “Retention” and “Discovery”. Find out more about FunCoins™ here.
SUBSCRIPTION STORES: KEY DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER TAKE-AWAYS
So think of your Global Subscription Networks as providing incremental or “found money” for developers. This is done by integrating the developer’s latest Google Play build into the Subscription stores format and providing life-cycle marketing for your game while leveraging relationships to ensure feature placement.
As most mobile game developers can attest, being featured on the Google Play storefront can make or break a title. A great Global Subscription Network leverages Subscription Stores, provides premium promotion and placement for their clients, and doesn’t require developers/publishers to incur additional development work or expense.
In short, look for a partner that can provide a turnkey experience while generating incremental revenue, expanding your consumer base and extending your brand!