How to Monetize Your Game With a Backend (Part 2)

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Alexander Bergendahl6 min read
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A few weeks ago we went over the basics of what backends are, what you can do with them, and what kinds of monetization strategies are possible when using a backend-as-a-service.

This time, we want to take this topic a step further. Now, we’re going to chat about everything else your backend can do, and how to get your monetization right.

Let’s dive back in.

Quick recap from our last blog

If you missed our last article (or just want to brush up on your reading), you can check it out here. But here’s the TL;DR breakdown:

Your backend can handle all kinds of monetization types, including:

  • Hard and soft currencies
  • Cosmetics
  • Loot boxes
  • Upgrades
  • Season passes and battle passes
  • Subscriptions
  • Opt-in events
  • DLC

And your backend matters here. They provide the ecosystem that lets your monetization both function and thrive.

We’ve gone into a lot more details about each point in our previous article. If you’re unclear about anything, we recommend you go back and check it out. If not, then let’s carry on with just how your backend can help monetize your game.

Backends can manage payment systems and security

A quality BaaS will also manage the likes of payment systems and security, multiple currencies, and the delivery of purchased goods. And that’s not just about making sure the player gets what they paid for. A quality backend equally tracks user inventory and purchase history to make sure players continue to have access to their treasured purchase inventory.

And when it comes to refunds or providing individual players with direct support, again your backend will handle things for you. Additionally, backends can capably prevent attempts to cheat or manipulate your monetization model. And if you want to make sure your subscription offering runs smoothly, it is your backend that will do the hard work for you.

We know most aspiring developers don’t likely get filled with excitement about managing payments or handling refunds. We won’t even take offense if you consider those elements ‘boring’. At LootLocker we’re full of enthusiasm for the power of backends – and we take great pleasure knowing that our BaaS offering lets developers get on with what they do adore – designing and building the games of their dreams.

When it comes to monetizations, backends should give you complete control while taking the legwork out of the practicalities of bringing in revenues. A BaaS covers that so you don’t have to.

What about everything else that backends do? Why does that matter here?

A great question! As mentioned above, backends also let you deliver quality live-ops through the likes of hosting in-game events, updating or adding content, and hosting online multiplayer. For all the talk of the monetization model you go with, it’s the game itself that is what players ultimately pay for – and increasingly online elements matter most there. Keep your game updated and maintained, and you keep retaining and monetizing. As such, you can think of one function of a backend as being the bridge that links your game’s online existence with its monetization. A BaaS like LootLocker lets you plot your live-ops and monetization as a single process.

Which brings us to the golden rule of monetization. If it is to succeed while retaining players, it must be truly integrated into the game itself. Which is where backends and BaaS can really help you.

Doing monetization right

Meaningful monetization is a fine art. But there are a few key ideas that can help you get the balancing of your monetization model right from the off.

  • Keep it fair – You need to make a living, but if players feel they are not getting a good deal for their investment, they may soon leave your game, ending the monetizating relationship. Deliberately misleading or predatory methods, meanwhile, are quite possibly illegal, absolutely unfair, will not be popular, and could bring on a PR disaster that may undermine not just your game but your studio and professional reputation.
  • Avoid pay-to-win – Also in the spirit of fairness, if the monetization of your game boils down to ‘pay more to perform better’ players will be put off in large numbers, especially in multiplayer games. Beyond making a game an uneven playing field, it can even be degrading to players with less disposable income.
  • Keep it clear – Make the fact that real money can be spent – or is being spent – explicitly clear on app stores and in the game. That is no more important than in the case of games aimed at or played by children.
  • Check local laws – Increasingly laws are being implemented around the world to require certain transparency of monetizable features, and particularly loot boxes. Make sure you are well aware of such laws, or speak to your BaaS team to see how the backend can help you be compliant with any legal requirements.
  • Let players authenticate – This may sound obvious, but it’s easily missed. If your player is not automatically logged into an account and authenticated when they boot up your game each time, let them manually authenticate. Indeed, you can provide a manual authentication option regardless, in case the automated process fails at any time. This is vital to maintaining player purchases and so on – but again, your BaaS partner should be able to help here.

An endnote for the beginning

As with harnessing the many advantages a quality backend brings more broadly, picking and crafting your monetization model as early as possible in the game’s design is key. That’s also true of integrating it with your backend (ideally with the guidance of your BaaS provider).

We’d recommend you choose LootLocker, of course. We’ve created a fully featured and highly complementary suite of out-of-the-box game systems, backend services, and live ops tools. Together they will lift the potential of your game as both a creative work and commercial endeavour – regardless of its genre, theme, live strategy, engine, release platform – or monetization model

Do get in touch if you have any questions about LootLocker or BaaS in general. As you might be able to tell by now, we love to talk about backends!

This was originally posted on the GameAnalytics Blog

Hero image by Supercell

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