Mobile Gaming Report: Whaling Required

By: Max Metzler

Mobile game marketing company Swrve has released a report confirming a bit of prevailing wisdom in the Free-to-Play sector: you’re going to get most of your money from a very small number of paying players.

Via DeviantArt - xXEternal-twilightXx

Mobile developers may owe their “whales” a hug.

The report, which can be obtained for free here, found that around 50% of F2P games’ revenue comes from 0.15% of players, the “whales.” ┬áThe report puts figures to what many already knew, that mobile games, in one way or another, need to cater to this outsized-spending group of players.

GBL devotees will no doubt remember the 2013 conference’s digital distribution panel, which noted that some mobile games see whales paying $20-50,000 over the life of a game. See Digital Distribution and Games as a Service, 16 SMU Sci. & Tech. L.R. 25 (2013). Developers can respond to this trend in several different ways: Should they go all out to ensure the whales can get what they want, risking their installed base? Should they try instead to smooth the payments distribution by getting “free riding” users to pay in? Both approaches are certainly valid, and each presents its own additional problems. ┬áTell us what you think in the comments.


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