Many free-to-play games typically see just one-to-20 per cent of their userbase investing money into the title, EA’s Play4Free VP has said.
Speaking at the London Games Conference 2012, Sean Decker said that to keep a healthy user monetisation retention rate, developers must make the first purchase as easy as possible.
He explained that once someone had spent $1, they were three times more likely as other users to spend more money.
“Make the very first purchase as easy as possible. Too many developers look at this and decide it's back-end stuff,” said Decker.
“It needs to be very simple. The amount of money they put into the game at the very beginning is not very relevant. What matters is that your players are telling you that your game is valuable, and one they think is worth spending more money on.”
He added that developers must also make sure they are offering something of value to the customer, but must not then imbalance the game for those who don't pay.
Decker said that if users can become too powerful through making in-app purchases, it would “destroy your game”, and make people want to leave.
The Play4Free VP also gave advice on how to further monetise free-to-play users, stating the most important thing for devs is to use data they have received and “mine it to death”.
“Understand what you customers want, when they want it, what type of offer they want and slice it by demographics,” he said.
Decker provided Battlefield Heroes as an example of how to tailor the same title for different demographics, and stated that Brazilian customers of the game had wanted something very different to its German consumers, which EA was able to use to its advantage in increasing monetisation amongst users.
For further monetisation tips on free-to-play games, you can read more comments from Sean Decker at LGC here.