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All of the best games in life are free -- or at least it would seem that’s the mantra being repeated in the boardrooms and basement boardrooms of many startup app developers who really want to see their game hit it big. Forget about paying too much up front for an app, all of the top grossing apps on the Apple Store as well as in the Android Marketplace are all free to install.

Making money and increasing app revenue through micropayment strategies

The rule in the mobile market nowadays really is: attract enough views and have a quality product and hopefully enough of those folks will stick around. There are a few ways to ensure app success in general philosophies or approaches towards development:

  • Intuitive: The game must be intuitive, that is, easy to learn and perhaps more difficult to master. All of the great games are easy to play and to enjoy. This is of paramount importance with the largely bite-sized gaming portions offered by mobile markets.
  • Incentivized: Indie games like minecraft or Terraria or even more social games such as Mafia Wars or World of Warcraft all rely on one premise -- there’s always just one more upgrade to be had, no matter how powerful you might think yourself to be. Also known as the “carrot and the stick” philosophy or, more negatively, a level treadmill or a grind, these gameplay aspects drive repeat business and hours played. These two metrics will be necessary correlatives to payments.
  • Importance of art: Graphics play a huge role nowadays. Aesthetics will make or break most games looking to appeal to a popular audience. This is not to say that the text adventure can’t make it, or that all mobile games push the graphical envelope; rather, a polished graphics and tileset will go a very long way towards success.

Which marketplace is better, the Apple Store or the Android Marketplace?

Why choose? Almost all mobile developers nowadays cross-list their apps on both stories. Games like Angry Birds and the eleventy-thousand spin-offs and derivatives are promoted heavily across these platforms as well as on traditional PC markets.

Micropayment strategies which incorporate the above three philosophies and which start paying attention to genre communities which are also idiosyncratic sources of revenue (retrogamers, for example, will flock to games with a pixelated palette and chiptune soundscapes) as “voting blocs” whom vote with their wallets and need to be approached and persuaded. From startup to supercorp, all personnel in the mobile gaming or app market need to understand these principles.

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