How Team Battler games make money. Part IV
More loot boxes
Gacha and loot boxes are at the core of where battle games carved their niche. However, there are ongoing discussions on the ethics of these mechanics, with new laws introduced globally to regulate them. The latest battle games no longer use loot boxes as they are; now they employ various alternatives such as crystals, summons, stamps, scrolls – essentially anything, as long as it isn’t referred to as ‘chests.’
Other Sales Mechanics
Some games opt to bombard players with sales windows. For instance, Raid Shadow Legends might present up to 10 pop-up sales windows upon entering the game. Other games may display just one window or none at all. These are two distinct approaches to handling sales. Sometimes, games incorporate subtler sales tactics, with masked decisions concerning pricing that appeal to human needs or vices.
In Hero Wars, newcomers are offered the chance to earn hero souls through their activity; players engage in the game and receive rewards in return. They can quickly understand this is a way to obtain and improve heroes to their maximum potential. While other heroes are obtained randomly from loot boxes, here, it’s a consecutive and deliberate progression towards a specific hero.
However, there’s a catch — the cost of purchasing energy increases, and you need to pay to upgrade this hero to the maximum level. But missed profit is still missed profit.
Raid Shadow Legends doesn’t overwhelm the player with ‘buy X currency’ offers, where the multiplier can vary widely. However, the developers have a clear understanding that some players will only purchase currency when it’s offered at the best rate. This kind of sales strategy is a win-win situation. Yes, the rates are most favorable for the player, but in return, it increases the chance that the payer won’t leave. Additionally, the offer can be extended for smaller spenders, but there’s no need to keep it for the whales and dolphins. They’ll buy what they need anyway. The game also hides the currency purchase option in the farthest corner, within the ‘bank’ section, and it’s not immediately visible.
Dislyte, on the other hand, combines the currency purchase section with daily currency bundles. The precise results of this decision can only be determined after conducting an A/B test. However, it’s essential to pay attention to color schemes and visual elements. Take a look at how easily the ‘IN TOTAL 3300’ banner reads.
A similar promotion in AFK Arena 2021.
2023 version. You can see the addition of chests and an increase in total rewards. What’s particularly interesting for the player is that seeing something locked piques their curiosity and motivates them to click to find out what’s inside. The player has already invested a certain effort, they’re interested, which leads to additional purchases.
Sometimes, you can come across promos in which the player needs to “choose” what they want to buy. In reality, there is a fixed list for each slot. Not all games allow to pick duplicate rewards. The example from AFK Arena is worth special attention. When a player enters this interface, the prices are not immediately noticeable; they tend to blend in. Typically, prices are indicated on buttons rather than tucked away in ribbons. The player can assemble the first set for free. When they put together the second one, the price becomes visible. This, once again, illustrates the issue of sunk costs.
In games with duplicate heroes, there is a limit on the number of heroes; said limit can be increased for currency. While this might not be as noticeable as in survival games, these small expenses can add up, and players often lose track of where all their paid and free currency goes. The screenshot is from Raid Shadow Legends, but this practice is quite common.
Raid Shadow Legends has a unique mechanic adapted from various strategy games. Players can use currency to upgrade a building that produces that same currency. This is another example of a missed opportunity for players. Players understand that spending currency will eventually yield more, but the payback period for each level of upgrade is 100 days. Most players won’t play for 100 days, let alone 300. To make these upgrades, they need to spend currency, which they have to buy or accumulate.