There are a few different ways to get paid for a gaming app, and many more ways to continue making money. Some games are free with microtransactions while others have an upfront cost...and more microtransactions. A strange few are able to pull off having a subscription fee, but they rely on a combination of success and game play necessity in some cases. Here's a look at how such games can thrive, along with ways to bring similar profits to your app.

Subscriptions Mean Continued Content

If you want players to subscribe to a game, there needs to be enough game content to be worth the subscription or there can't be any other game that scratches the same itch as far as game engagement goes.

In most cases, a modern game that asks for a subscription will give some sort of bonus or augment to a microtransaction shop or cash shop. A mobile game that requires a subscription to play at all is unheard of in the successful tier of games, and even non-mobile games such as World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn have some sort of trial or low level game play option for people who don't subscribe.

As far as mobile games, the issue is one of overwhelming choice. Why would someone get into your game and pay a subscription when there are so many other games out there for free? Even if you stumbled upon a novel gaming idea, many people will avoid your game on principle. It will take a lucky streak of dedicated, early players to succeed before someone clones your game idea and makes a free, efficient payment model version to steal your potential profits.

Implementing Subscriptions In Mobile Games

The microtransaction bonus option is probably the best bet if you think that your game is worth subscriptions, or if you'd like to test the waters with what players will buy.

The concept is simple: most cash shop games already allow players to buy a cash shop-only currency in order to buy special items. Give them a discount on cash shop currency for paying a subscription and calculate your earnings.

There needs to be some financial planning before deciding on prices and discounts. How much will the cash shop items cost, and how useful are the items in the game? Next, how steep is the discount? The question is simple for one-time purchases that have no game play effect--such as with cosmetic items, including clothing and alternative appearances for weapons--but more difficult if the items have an effect on the economy.

Part of a game's longevity--especially online, social games--is having a thriving game economy. Such games have players who are not only interested in slaying dragons, solving puzzles, healing allies, or destroying each other, but buying and selling items to keep up profit margins and to make money from people who don't feel like doing the content repeatedly (called farming in many games).

Contact an app development professional, such as at Appetizer Mobile LLC, to discuss not only how to implement a subscription service, but to map out how microtransactions would affect your game's community and potential earnings.