Designing out the in-game store is a harder task than one will can originally assume. The hardest decision a product manager is to make is the price points for their Hard Currency and if you’re offering Soft Currency in your store, this as well.
Accounting for Inflation
For any rpg game, these games are usually content driven thus peppering hard currency and the constant in-flow of soft currency is inevitably going to break your currency. Simple economics suggests that the more you print money and ingested into the system, the more the currency will devalue. (Inflation)
Time value of money. The time value of money is an idea that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow due to inflation or its buying capacity. The value of a dollar changes dramatically depending upon when you get it and what you do with it. Say you have $100 today.
The buying power of today’s HC / SC will be worth more than the buying power of tomorrow. As your game scales, a lot of designers don’t take into account the scaling of the actual soft of hard currency offerings in the store for tomorrow. How one balances this concept is difficult for any economist (In real life too). Below are the best practices for designing out your store.
A) Set your ARPU Bar high (enough)
What this means is that, for every consumer that purchases a product in your app, the bar is set at the lower price point you set it at.
If you set your lowest price point at $4.99, that means ARRPU starts at $4.99.
The psychology around this is that you can assume from your 2% what is the maximum minimum value they are willing to spend on your game.
B) Purchasing experience
$.99 / $1.99 / $2.99 / $4.99
Data doesn’t necessarily show that players are more willing to purchase $0.99 versus $4.99 or make the choice if a $0,99 price point doesn’t exist. One thing that is analyze is what type of player experience a user will have if he or she purchases a $0.99 product and a $4.99 product. Most of the time, people who purchase a $0.99 product can’t really purchase anything or a limited amount of stuff in the game, which negatively affects the purchasing experience. This is not good for repeat customers therefore making sure that your product offering and the players purchased experience is managed is highly recommended
Returning Consumers > New Consumers
C) Value added product points
You lowest price point should be set as the base. The more expensive the product it’s important that you add more value to the product.
500 Gems for $4.99
1250 Gems for $9.99 (25% Value Added)
By doing this its easier for players to see that the more you buy the more you get.
D) Easy Math
Sometimes the design team just uses an algorithm to calculate the price points for each product offering in the store and this may not be the best approach due to the complexity of the math involved.
Users generally want to know how much value they are getting with their game. Lets compare the following store offerings.
E) Value added sales vs Discounted Sales
Value added sales is a sale where you add more to the content of the product and not the price whereas a discount is the opposite where you discount the price of the product and not the content.
To start, never run a discounted sale unless its completely necessary. Discounting your product too many times will make the new price point of your product the discounted price instead of the original. This is because players will only purchase when the product gets discounted.
Discounted Sales usually maintain the in-game hard currency economy all while affecting your revenue whereas Value added sales increase your potential revenue but inflate your hard currency economy.
Value added sales are a lot more easier to work with as adding more Hard Currency sinks can help mitigate the inflation whereas the over abuse of discounted sales can severely hurt your revenue in the long run.
Think of actually buying anything at full price at the GAP or Old Navy. These clothing companies have ran so many discounted sales that customer just don’t purchase anything in the store unless its on sale, which is the new normal for these brands.