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The Free to Play Gaming Market

Every year the market changes. What worked before might not work again and what seemed like a blue ocean can all of a sudden become crowded. It’s crucial to take a good look at what others are doing in the market – particularly those enjoying some level of success.

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Surveying the market to see what’s working and what the most popular trends undoubtedly helps you to position your game for success. Of note: certain genres are a good fit for free to play game design, whilst others perform poorly. Some genres give strong metrics in one area, and weaker in others. Knowing how your genre and your competition succeed, what their keys to success are imperative to surviving in this market.

The Free to Play Gaming Market

Source: Pocket Philospopher

Every sub-genre in games has a vastly different method of defining success. What made “Subway Surfers” a success is very different from what makes “Game of War” a success. Understanding the differences and how to succeed is imperative.

For example, with Subway Surfers, the game survives off of amazing retention (from having a very widely appealing game), but also because the game was launched pre-2012 when marketing costs far less. The game has survived as long as it has, mostly on the back of near free user acquisition, and now, having created, a long-lasting recognizable brand on mobile.

Continuing to secure feature spots from Apple and word of mouth from their fanbase, Subway Surfers can survive despite the game having a low LTV per user – its CPI is low enough that this isn’t an issue. Anyone looking to copy this formula will find it incredibly difficult – the market is far trickier than it was before infinite runners. In the current era you’d need to adopt the Spiderman Infinite route; not only have a great core infinite runner but also have a brand and deeper mechanics alongside it.

Understanding the market and audience that you’re going after is imperative if you are to secure a lasting position within it. If you don’t do your research you could be working on a game that has no chance of success.

Check out the links below for the best tips we could find on how to keep an eye on the market.

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Big Fish, Small Pond: Surviving in a Maturing Market
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Title Source Complexity
The App Market App Annie
Surviving in a Maturing Market Mobile Free to Play
How to evaluate a paid iPhone App Idea Tony Wright
Which app store markets are most similar Metaps
After the Gold Rush: Competing in today’s AppStore Mobile Free to Play
The Strange Attractor Game Maker
Using Free AppAnnie Data to Optimize your Next Game Eric Seufert
Mobile Gaming Trends Game Makers
Valve Economics - STEAM’s economist on gaming Yanis Varoufakis
The Chinese Market Game Maker

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