Here’s something any would-be game developer who wants to find a good monetization strategy needs to know. The psychology of gaming is weird. I have a friend who hates to pay for games. Her favorite kind of games are the freemium ones that make their money off of in-app purchases. Basically, you can play the whole game without ever paying a dime, but you can advance much more quickly if you are willing to spend money for better in-app gear or extra lives.
My friend makes a special point of persevering past really difficult boss levels with low-end gear or putting in extra hours to gain experience points when she could have bought an experience multiplier for just a few dollars. In her mind, she’s beating not only the game itself but also, at a meta-level, the economic rules underpinning how games are distributed.
Like I said, the psychology of gaming is weird. Game and app developers learned long ago that people don’t like to spend money on digital content, even when it’s only a couple of bucks. A price tag can even be a drag on download numbers. So instead of charging for games, developers discovered they could make more money by monetizing games through ads or in-app purchases. Someone who doesn’t want to pay $2 for a game might all-the-same be willing to pay $20 or more for in-app content once they have invested several hours in gameplay. But for people like my friend, that model doesn’t work.
Which is why Playtem’s monetization strategy is really interesting. The platform, currently available for Unity games deployed to UWP, iOS and Android, combines both ads and in-app purchases.
In-app purchases are successful because they provide a low barrier to entry for the user, and typically generate additional revenue when the player is enjoying the game the most. Native Ads are successful because they underwrite a player’s fun and generate click-throughs for the advertiser. Playtem combines the two models at key satisfaction moments in a game, like the completion of a level, by allowing an advertiser to reward players with free in-app content.
The visual style of the ad-funded in-app content is integrated into the natural style of the game to provide a continuous experience and also a sense that the ads are an organic outgrowth of the game. Because the ads only appear at intermittent gameplay moments when the player is most attentive, advertisers get the maximum benefit from these ads. Game developers, in turn, avoid negative comments about overly intrusive ads.
To make the ad experience even smoother, the player is not required to do anything to receive the free content. There will be an advertiser link in the ad itself, but the player gets the reward whether he clicks on it or not.
Configuration and code for Playtem ads
To set up your Unity game to use Playtem ads, you just need to do the following steps…
- Add the Unity package to your game.
- Contact Playtem to get an API key and provide samples of your game’s visual style.
- Configure your app to support the Playtem platform.
- Add the appropriate code.
You want to make sure that your app is configured to use the .NET scripting backend and not IL2CPP (.NET is the default).
You also need to configure your app capabilities, in the Publishing Settings tab in Unity, to include InternetClient, InternetClientServer and PrivateNetworkClientServer.
The Playtem API has only four events that need to be handled. At appropriate moments in your game, you will create an instance of the PlaytemNetwork class, set up your event handlers, and then call the TryToLoadAd method.
// initialize object
PlaytemNetwork playtemNetwork = new PlaytemNetwork(_apiKeyString, _userIdString);
// set up event handlers
playtemNetwork.OnAdLoaded = delegate ()
// if we successfully downloaded an ad, show it
playtemNetwork.OnAdLoadingFailed = delegate (string message)
// handle failure to load
playtemNetwork.OnRewarded = delegate (string message)
// additional code for in-app purchase reward
playtemNetwork.OnAdClosed = delegate ()
// continue game after ad closed
// start grabbing an ad from the Playtem network
Casual gaming on devices is constantly changing, and developers are always trying to find the best model for making a good income off of their games. Playtem’s model offers a unique way to do this that improves the app experience for the gamer as well as the game developer. Learn more by checking out Playtem’s demo and their documentation for developers.