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It’s hard to imagine that massively popular mobile game companies anticipated how popular game titles would become for both casual and dedicated users.

The mobile platform allows players to pass long stretches of time with exciting and addictive software titles. Gamers can simply pull out a smartphone or tablet during a long commute, wait in line, or delay in a doctor’s waiting room. But with so many video game companies providing their apps for free, how are they able to make a profit?

Here are five sales secrets that these companies understand thoroughly.

1. Item upgrades

Imagine playing the next thrilling first person shooter or strategy game, and then learning you can upgrade your weapons for just a few cents. What if special items could boost your score and allow you to outrank your peers in a game tied to your social networks?

Many “freemium” apps allow players to enjoy game play for free, but require a payment for superior items and upgrades. When gamers become emotionally invested in a title and wish to dedicate their time to improving scores, they accept the value in reasonably priced item upgrades.

2. World expansions

Players can get even further enjoyment out of a game by accessing additional levels and digital content. Users who pay for this access may gain better character powers, items, and storylines that the free levels do not provide. Game companies like Playfirst, Inc, uses the world expansion strategy in their hit game, Diner Dash.

For less than a dollar, gamers are able to unlock new worlds and puzzles, as they strive to keep up with restaurant visitors who want their food right away. App companies generate hype around new releases, so loyal mobile gamers invest in expansions, eager to experience added material.

3. Digital currencies

In-game currencies have created a robust economic environment in MMORPGs and platform games for years. Now they play a major role in mobile app revenue streams.

Many gamers wish to purchase digital upgrades or exclusive items they wouldn’t normally receive during regular gameplay. These can provide enhancements to a character’s look or performance. As players strive to outrank their peers, they may wish to purchase digital currency from app companies.

4. Merchandise

The Angry Birds franchise is not limited to its numerous spin-off app titles. A huge market has sprung up around Angry Birds stuffed animals, action figures, T-shirts, hats, and other products.

Successful mobile gaming companies can expand to merchandise sales. Fans are eager to purchase apparel, household items, and other products branded with recognizable characters from your game. This is why mobile game companies strive to create memorable storylines, vivid graphics, and enjoyable characters. Once they can venture into fan merchandise, there is no limit to the revenue they can generate.

5. Other media entertainment

Some games become so popular that movie companies turn them into feature films. Other games may become well known for their soundtracks, leading to increased sales from MP3 downloads. Viral videos and extra scenes can be sold through digital marketplaces.

Free content can also provide app companies with revenue streams from online advertising. Additional media entertainment can serve two purposes: it generates hype around a free mobile game app and it brings in additional profits.

Game developers understand that an app can be given to customers for free, because profits are easily garnered via other avenues. In-game purchases such as digital currencies, upgrades, and world expansions are usually inexpensive and sold to a broad array of gamers.

Viral media can increase advertising revenue, and branded merchandise can become an enormous industry. As long as we rely on smartphones and tablets to alleviate boredom, the hype surrounding mobile gaming is here to stay.


The author Justin

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