Time blockers; we’ve all come across them, from the gradually refilling lives of Candy Crush to the building timers in Clash of Clans. They’ve come to be accepted as a staple of mobile F2P games. But, what effect do these have on the LTV of your players?
We advocate the use of premium and grind currency within games. Grind currency is more easily obtainable and helps with standard progress, while premium currency is used for making faster progress and with customization.
Games that use time blockers, like CSR Racing, tend to gift premium currency early in the game and charge premium currency to lift the time blocks that are implemented. Often, upon the first session of a new day, the credits required to play the game are re-filled, but they quickly deplete.
When a new player first starts the game, they are required to obtain the habit of making fast, positive, progress, thereby spending the premium currency they have been gifted. Premium currency is usually gifted throughout the game as a reward from progress, but at a low rate so, as they become fully engaged with the game, they need to purchase more premium currency to continue as they were.
Our experience shows that the key to successful Player Relationship Management is positivity. Monetization in F2P should be a pleasurable experience and an aspirational one. Players should want to monetize, not feel forced into it, or do it to avoid frustration. When you monetize positively, players are far more likely to want to spend, as well as wanting to continue playing.
Angry Shark is a game that succeeds in this approach. One of the in-app purchases available is the Great White shark or, better yet, the Megalodon; a gigantic prehistoric shark that’s incredibly powerful. It is fun to play, and it looks really cool, giving players an item of real worth for their money.
When players purchase the any of the in-game sharks, they’re available in their game permanently, which is another benefit over monetizing through time blockers. Players know that the time blockers are going to exist throughout their whole gameplay, so they may be deterred from paying to speed one thing up when they know that an even longer wait will be just around the corner, or worse, they may give up on the game altogether. If you are going to use blockers in your game, then they must be applied consistently from the start. If a blocker is suddenly implemented or unfairly increased during the game, then it adds a sense of uncertainty to players and it taints game loyalty. Conversely, gifting players an extra tank of fuel or set of credits, while they still hold premium currency can have a positive effect on engagement.
Monetization also works better when players are offered aspirational items, such as a new outfit for your character or a statue for your town. In social games, players get the chance to show these off to their friends and to other players and so they provide much more value for the player.
So, how do time blockers affect LTV? While they can be a useful mechanic in your game, over-relying on them in order to force your players to monetize will only frustrate them and cause them to leave your game. It’s a much better option to monetize positively with high-value, permanent items that your players will want to own.