Currently, a shift is happening in the mobile and social gaming experience away from making money by having would-be players download games (a one time purchase) towards keeping them on in a continuing social experience. In this way, a game can be “sold” for free and then customers can enhance their gaming and social experience by paying small amounts of money for virtual items or services.
As a result, game developers for these social platforms might have a great game that’s popular, but don’t have the facilities necessary to monetize the game internally.
Enter Applicasa, a backend-as-a-service company, who expect that game developers would like an easy way to generate revenue from their games. Right now, Applicasa is seeking developers to join the beta of their product and see how it can affect their ability to produce and present games in the mobile and social venues.
The free-to-play market is full of a multitude of games and vendors, and most of what’s understood as the the market exists on the PC with MMO games—however, games such as released by Zynga also fall into this category. By now, most people are aware of how powerful Facebook games can be for mobile and social experiences—especially looking at the extreme popularity of Farmville and others. However, even with networks such as Valve and Facebook enabling a mobile experience, few game developers have the in-house capability to easily monetize their games.
Applicasa seeks to ease the attachment of such monetization by offering these services:
A custom virtual store that would permit players to enter into and purchase items—including a way for them to buy an in-game currency to purchase items. A virtual goods management interface allowing the easy development, addition, pricing, and presentation of items for the players from virtual swords, buffs to experience, and even services in-game. Currency maintenance and economy regulation, already a huge part of any free-to-play games where currencies can be traded between players or for virtual goods with changing values—understanding players’ interest in the goods could lead to needs to balance goods to prices.
The Applicasa backend also enables developers to easily create promotions that are segmented for particular players of their game. This business logic side to the backend enables a general or a granular marketing strategy permitting the developers to pay attention to making their game and not needing to worry about how they’ll write the marketing strategy into their code.
For example, it’s possible to set up special promotions that only appear to new players—offering discounts on newbie items that would entice some first time buys. Alternatively, it’s also possible to track small spenders who often throw out money for aesthetic items, especially seasonal, and offer them seasonal bundles when they come into the shop in order to get them to spend more money (for more virtual goods.) Or to detect when a player constantly purchases the same type of item, such as a boost or a boon, and offer them a bulk discount on it to help widen their play experience.
I spoke with Applicasa co-founder and COO, Tzvi Kopetz about the product and he brought up that the application has both iOS and Android support and that such a monetization backend should open up a groundswell for indie developers. The big ticket social games have already been reaching out into mobile, but smaller outfits don’t always have the necessary departments to take full advantage of revenue streams.
Adding Applicasa to a social game would give the advantage of a powerful monetization engine without the need for a department dedicated to its development and maintenance.
Which, of course, leaves more time for developers to think about how they want to code their game; thus keep balance for their players and give their customers an excellent experience.
If you happen to be a developer seeking to make a social-mobile game and need a monetization engine: look to Applicasa and enter the beta. The SDK is already available for intrepid enterprises and it looks like they’ve got a niche that should be making waves soon.