Publication: The Many Faces of Monetisation: Understanding the Diversity and Extremity of Player Spending in Mobile Games via Massive-scale Transactional Analysis
I have a new paper out, published in the new ACM Games journal! It's about in-app purchases in mobile games so it might be of some interest to people who play or make these sorts of games.
Our paper, “The Many Faces of Monetisation: Understanding the Diversity and Extremity of Player Spending in Mobile Games via Massive-scale Transactional Analysis” uses our world-first access to Unity Analytics' in app purchase data to understand how people spend in mobile games. We have roughly 2 years of data, $4.7B of in-game spending across 69m players of 2873 mobile games, and we look at the clusters of types of revenue distribution.
What do you find when you look at billions of dollars of in-app purchases? Certainly more nuance than “minnows” and “whales”. We found 4 clusters of types of spend profiles in games. Uniform: spending is distributed equally across players; Sub-pareto: more unequal but not at top Quasi-pareto: the most populous cluster, where all percentiles of spenders contribute but higher perc. are more monetised; and Hyper-pareto: majority of revenue is generated by a small proprotion of high spending gamers. These tend to be most profitable too.
We also found when looking at the top 1% of spenders in each game that there are significant patterns of spend of these across the clusters. Top 1% in Uniform spend $19 in their lifetimes. Sub-Pareto: $138. Quasi-Pareto, $660, and Hyper-Pareto over $1700 on average.
Unsurprisingly social casino games bring in the most revenue and have the highest concentration of high spenders; in fact the more a game relies on its top 1% for revenue generation, the more these individuals tend to spend. Also, we find some games bring in ridonkulous amounts of money, and some players spend ridonkulous amounts of cash on some games. “Ridonkulous” is a new technical term I just coined for how astonished I was at the amounts involved.
Anyway, you can read the paper here: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3582927#d14190406e1 If 30 pages of stats is a bit much, you can read a shorter version with all the take home messages here: https://liedra.net/misc/The_Many_Faces_of_Monetisation_WhitePaper7.pdf
Citation: Zendle, D., Flick, C., Deterding, S., Cutting, J., Gordon-Petrovskaya, E.and Drachen, A., (2023) The Many Faces of Monetisation: Understanding the Diversity and Extremity of Player Spending in Mobile Games via Massive-scale Transactional Analysis. ACM Games: Research and Practice, 1 (1) pp. 1–28