If you have been following this blog, you already know that I’m a big supporter of adding consumables in mobile games. 80% of the revenue in the app stores is driven by consumables. It’s a great way to engage users with your game economy and it’s pretty much the only way you can get whales in your game. If your game is already designed and you want to add consumables, here are 3 quick ways to do that.
Renting lifetime virtual goods
If you already designed lifetime upgrades in your game, a really quick way to change them into consumables is allowing users to rent them. Let’s say you designed different cars in your game. Make the top car a direct purchase – sell them for $5 or even $10 dollars each but allow users to rent them. More specifically, let’s say that with a regular car your players earn 1,000 racebucks (or some other in-game currency you came up with) and with the premium car your players would earn 2,000 racebucks. You should rent the better car for about 1,000 racebucks to keep your game balanced. Your players will end up in the same place but with a much better story to tell.
Adding energy or life in your game
Energy mechanics are applicable to almost any game and can be easily added without changing the visual aspects of the game. The concept is simple, you give users some energy, fuel or life points and instead of starting every session fully stacked the game remembers how much energy you have left from the previous session. The magic number here is 10. You want to be shooting for 10 sessions of game play before the user runs out and then allow the user to replenish by waiting or buying some extra.
Wait! Isn’t energy mechanic evil? Well, Not necessarily. It depends how you implement it. Yes, all energy mechanics include some waiting but the trick is not being too aggressive with that. You can also sell energy or life for in-game currency and simply use it as a mechanism to introduce users to the buying experience rather than trying to squeeze a buck or two every time the
user runs out.
Adding logistics – ammo to weapons, fuel for cars, food for pets
One of the easy ways to add consumables to a game with lifetime goods is to make it more real by adding logistics. It’s usually pretty easy to justify the narrative and the visual implementation might just be a floating indicator of how much you have left. Logistics for weapons is usually ammunition, for people or pets it can be food, for buildings it’s wood and blocks and for cars it can be fuel. It’s pretty easy to find the comparable in the real world and leverage that for some ideas about adding logistics.