At SOOMLA, we constantly look at how users interact with virtual economies, what makes them buy virtual goods and what gets them engaged with ingame shopping experiences. Later on, we try to compile it into actionable advice we can give the developers in our community. One of the things we realized is that games that have no characters are much harder to monetize through In-App Purchases.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I’m using the word ‘character’ in a broader sense here. A car, a tank, a spaceship can also be a character for this purpose. Basically, any type of embodiment.
Games with characters increase emotional connection
Getting users invested in customizations and upgrades
Waiting mechanics done right
Retention leads to monetization
At scale – characters create intellectual property
Let’s assume your design does become the next hit. Fun thought ha? Let’s play with it for a second. Having a cute creature, animal, monster or something else the users can identify with can be a very good base for merchandising, licensing rights or for creating sequels. Most likely, your first game will not be optimal in terms of monetization but at least you created an asset you can work with for your next.