Game monetization is as old as game development, dating all the way back to PC and console games, before mobile technology came along. Once upon a time, monetization was simple. You produced a game, set a price, and shipped our discs to distributors and retailers. Customers paid for the game, and that was that.

Today, things are dramatically different. You have paid apps, freemium apps, in-app purchases, rewarded video ads, and a great many other monetization methods to choose from. What are the game monetization trends that will shape 2018 and 2019?

More Focus on Existing Users

In the past, game developers have focused on getting more users – growing their user base was one of the primary metrics of success. That is changing today, and will continue to do so. The driver here is the realization that it costs much less to keep an existing user than it does to engage a new user, and that an existing user base can be profitable for a long period of time with the right monetization methods, coupled with a good strategy to keep new content rolling out within the game.

Real Time Auction Mediation

In the past, the traditional waterfall method was the primary option with mediation platforms. That is beginning to change today, and will continue to evolve throughout 2018 and into 2019. More mediation platforms are moving to a real-time auction method, rather than relying on the increasingly outmoded waterfall method. This helps to level the playing field by ensuring that all bids are made at the same time for the same impression.

Reward Video Ads

Reward video ads are not new, but they are becoming more and more important. This is due to the shift in monetization to on where the primary focus is on user engagement (give us your eyes and attention) rather than on direct payment from end users. You might be more familiar with this as “value exchange advertising”, which is nothing more than a system in which both parties receive something of value from the other. Money may or may not be involved at all. Look for this trend to move beyond the world of gaming, as well, becoming one of the primary drivers of profitability for mobile apps of all kinds.

More Brand Interest

Finally, be prepared for the surge in brand interest in games. Mobile publishers have become creators of premium content today, and brands have finally caught on to the fact that mobile games are here to stay. They will increasingly focus their advertising dollars on buying virtual space within games that tie into their industry. For instance, sports-related companies are increasingly focusing on building a brand presence within e-sports titles. The same will be true for other companies, with virtual branding within mobile games becoming as important as branding in the physical world, or on a company’s website.

There you have them – some of the most important trends in game monetization for 2018 and into 2019.

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