Report: Half of Strategy Game Spenders Make Purchase in First Session

A report from deltaDNA measured the effect genre has on the performance of free-to-play mobile games.

Game analytics and personalization platform deltaDNA has released new data, measuring the performance of free-to-play mobile games across four major genres. The data measured over 1,000 games, with a ‘fairly even’ split of iOS and Android titles, and found striking differences between genres when examining key performance indicators (KPIs) like retention and user conversion rates.

For the purpose of its study, deltaDNA separated mobile games into four major categories: Action (FPS, RPG), Strategy (RTS, Collectible Card, etc.), Puzzle (Match-3, Hidden Object, Quiz) and Social Casino (Slots, Poker, etc.). It measured these games across six major KPIs, and found while all four categories had a fairly similar day one retention rate, further retention rates were higher for more casual game types.

To be specific, Action and Strategy games had a day one retention rate of 29 percent and 30 percent, respectively. By day seven, this number had dropped to eight percent and nine percent, respectively. When compared to Puzzle and Social Casino titles, their day one retention is lower, at 27 percent and 24 percent, respectively, but they hold onto users longer, with a seven day retention rate of 11 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

When it comes to initial in-app purchases, however, Strategy games are by far the most successful, with 50 percent of a game’s spenders making a purchase in their first session. For other genres, only 32 percent to 36 percent of spenders make a purchase in their first session. deltaDNA attributes this to the inclusion of multiple progress blockers in many Strategy titles, which force players to either wait to continue, or pay real money.

Strategy games were also shown to have the highest average revenue per player, at $1.80, during the measured 60-day window. Action games followed at $1.40, while Social Casino and Puzzle games measured at $0.90 and $0.61, respectively.

On its blog, deltaDNA challenged developers to look for missed opportunities relating to these stats:

Mid-to-hardcore Action and Strategy games aim to get players engaged and spending big early, while more casual games take a long-term view towards player management. These characteristics may be innate to these genres, but it is worth considering if this highlights a missed opportunity; should casual games do more to win over players early with better on-boarding, front-loaded content and a smoother difficulty curve? Likewise, could Action and Strategy games retain players longer with the frequent content updates, player relationship management (PRM) and social aspects commonly found in casual games?

Readers: How often do you spend money within a game?

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