Games as Service: Everything You Need to Know

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It’s not surprising that video games today give players the chance to buy extra content, loot boxes, skins, DLC, or expansion packs. It is normal for players to see messages encouraging them to buy additional content after buying a game at full price.  

Just like software as a service (SaaS), Games as a service (GaaS) represents a revenue model in which games are monetized after they’re released. Video games act as services in the form that extra content is released after the game is launched. That’s because games are continuously patched, updated, and new content is offered to the players.  This model exists in different forms, including game subscription, gaming on-demand, and low-cost purchases that represent additional content in the game.  So, here is everything you need to know about games as service (GaaS)

How GaaS work 

In simple words, games as a service is a business model that allows a company to monetize a game after it has been released. Alternatively, it can be defined as a continuous revenue stream for a free-to-play game. 

Many thanks to microtransactions and developers for making money from players willing to spend on game accessories and special features. Certainly, a game that uses the GaaS model ultimately generates revenue from microtransactions, making it free and more enticing. 

As a business model, GaaS serves two audiences:

  • The player who is willing to pay to play through microtransactions
  • The player who is willing to pay to play through a monthly subscription.  

Game developers and publishers need to keep their audiences happy. This is because monthly subscribers help pay for the remote server’s costs and overhead costs related to production. People who pay through microtransaction provide publishers and developers with extra reason and revenue for adding those must-haves into the game to further entice loyalty.  

How marketers can benefit from GaaS

As a marketer, you need to think strategically about your objectives and start with the main goal. Identify your potential audience and turn them into repeat customers. It’s all about creating the right message for the right audience and deliver it on time. 

Once you’ve outlined your objectives, the next step is to identify the billing or subscription model that makes sense for your audience. So, the following are available billing options that can make the most sense for your audience:

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Flat billing

This kind of subscription charges the customer a flat rate every week, month, or year. For example, shadow players can choose between purchasing the entry-level shadow boost at $12 per month, shadow ultra for $25 a month, or shadow infinite for $40 a month. Each alternative has different features and upgrades. This new subscription alternative allows players to choose the pricing level that suits their gaming style. 

Tiered billing 

Tiered billing charges the customer based on a unit range. For example, a Fortnite battle royal player can purchase the battle pass. It only costs $9.50 in V-bucks. With this pass, you can buy your way into each new tier. 

Both billing options have different benefits. For example, flat billing confirms a long-term investment from the player. Also, it encourages retentions and allows developers to build their communities with confirmed numbers.    

With tiered billing, players are not locked into a monthly fee and are allowed to pay into a tier or level within several games instead of just one. 

Other ways to monetize with the GaaS model

In-app purchases 

There is a reason why microtransactions are so popular for both developers and players. With the in-app process, players can buy the exact content they want, and developers can grow income and demand. This means that gamers will stay loyal and more involved in playing the game. 

In-game advertising

When it comes to advertising, it’s all about quality and quantity. Both ads and formats should be innovative, informative, and engaging. Additionally, they should not be disruptive to the gameplay experience. Although interstitial ads are common, they usually cover the interface of an app, and some gamers think they’re annoying.

Think about rewarded videos as users are rewarded for watching full-screen ads in exchange for app rewards. For 2021, the trend is about smarter and playable ads so consider this while thinking about in-game advertising. 

Seasonal digital pass   

This option works perfectly if the gamer is fully committed to on particular game. Through the seasonal digital pass, instead of paying for each add-on separately, gamers can pay an upfront fee that they can dip into over the year. Games offer ultimate content and features to seasonal digital pass holders, which is another perfect way to build loyalty. 

Good customer relationship management keeps users engaged.

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Although it might be luring to try and capture customers within the first month, a player’s attention span is a valuable commodity that should be captured within the first hours of signing up. As of January 2021, there are about three billion gamers around the world. Everyone is appealed with the form of entertainment. Due to the cloud gaming nature, it’s no longer enough to publish a game and say “am done” the commitment is daily because this is how often customers are playing games. 

You’ll encounter various diagrams that visualize “customer lifecycle,” but it has been broken down into important questions that a marketer should answer for engaging CRM: 

Why would a player want my game?

The first hours are the most important. Whether the gamer stumbled on your game through the app store or advertising, their experience begins here. Fancy graphics, logos, and bells won’t lead to a download. Ensure that your app store listing provides the best balance of interesting, minimal text to describe the game and highlight the USPs.

How does this game look to a first-time user?

The player is convinced to download your game. What do they see on the first open? In this way, you leave the player underwhelmed. Is there any possibility that the first-time user could be confused? Is the jump from various levels complicated to confuse the player?

Ensure to give tutorials and clear instructions on performing basic moves and allow users to access these tutorials.  

How am I going to make money from each player?

For free-to-play games, you’ll depend on microtransactions for revenue. This doesn’t mean you should economize on personalization or bonus features to emphasize the ongoing of your game.  Even with microtransactions, gamers don’t want to continuously pull out their wallets whenever they want to advance to the next level. 

Does this ad make sense in my game?

The gamers are always aware that ads will appear within the game. However, keep in mind that gamers don’t want to be interrupted by ads. Make sure that ads placement doesn’t lead to player annoyance and abandonment.

The bottom line 

Every game released by the game as a service is quality and engaging. The model has a vast benefit and contributes to the growth of the gaming industry. 

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