How to Add Energy Mechanics
Adding energy mechanics to your game is one of the simplest yet highly effective ways to monetize it. Games like Candy Crush Saga, CSR Racing, Real Racing 3, Blood and Glory and many others have been using it successfully. The idea is simple:
- Limit session time by having the user consume energy in regular gameplay
- Replenish Energy over time
The term energy is used here but depending on the game it could be things like life points or fuel. The design needs to tell a story about why these are being consumed and why are they being replenished over time.
The beauty of this model is that it’s widely applicable. You can add this limitation to almost any design. Even ones that are usually harder to monetize like casual and puzzle games. Note that this is a restrictive mechanics and as such it can be annoying to some users. The trick is in balancing and creating a narrative that makes sense to users.
Let’s see why adding an energy mechanics can be affective despite it’s simplicity:
- Users finish playing while still having appetite for more – there are more chances they will come back.
- Your users now have a reason to pay to remove the limitation
- You can use the energy as an incentive for user to take desirable actions like sharing or ad viewing
This method can be used alongside other monetization and engagement mechanisms. If you are building a new development you should really invest time and thought into creating an in-game economy that doesn’t relay on this trick. You can then add it or not but that’s not the core of the monetization. If you already have a game that is live and not monetizing very well, I would consider adding that on top.
The Downside of Using Energy Mechanics
There are pretty significant negative aspects to using Energy based mechanics. Players don’t appreciate it. This is an understatement, they hate it. You can slightly reduce that by allowing the users to earn coins in return for favorable social activities. In addition, you should fine tune the limitation to make sure it doesn’t happen to early.