What is wrong with top mobile battlers? Part I

iINCYMO
15.02.2022
10 min.

About the Party Battler genre

In 2014 Heroes Charge and Summoners Wars asserted themselves on the market. From that moment started the era of battlers. These were the games that set the bar for them.

The gameplay in these games can usually be subdivided into two categories: combat (the nominal core gameplay, which determines how much experience and resources, as well as new heroes/shards/maps, the party gains) and team management (which consists of roster management and leveling up).

Combat can be either real-time or turn-based, can proceed with or without the player’s involvement. It’s not all that important as, after the first few days, the thing that invariably ends up being front and center in these games is character management and leveling.

Back in 2015, a financial turnover of $10 million per month from a game seemed a fairy tale. Today any of the TOP-3 USA games make $10 million a month on the global market. Raid Shadow Legends makes over $20 million.

Currently, on this market, there are no Chinese, Japanese, or Korean battlers in the TOP-3. Americans prefer previously known and easily understandable game universes such as Star Wars or superheroes.

Should you ask a battler game designer why energy replenishment is usually done by 60/120s and why entering combat costs 6 energy points, not everyone will be able to provide you with an answer. There are many such “inherited” decisions, including ones on approaches towards monetization.

In our opinion, Raid Shadow Legends, Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes, and Marvel Strike Force use many monetization methods seen in almost all the other battlers, yet there’s still room for optimization. Let’s take a closer look.

How battlers monetize their audience

Any big studio with a battler game bringing in money collects reports on user expenditure patterns. With, of course, various filters by audience, spending, time in-game. We’ve put in our time analyzing it all to share with you now:

  • 30-55% from energy sales.

Energy is one of the main purchase funnels as it gets expended in battles in various gameplay modes, without which heroes can not be upgraded. Energy gets replenished with time, but if a player wants to level up fast and play non-stop, they have to pay.

  • 20-40% from character improvement sales.

When it comes to buying characters, a big portion of sales within the funnel derives from how exactly the player gets said characters. Usually, heroes (or shards of them used to then create one whole character) “drop” from chests. The chances of getting a strong character are significantly less than a weaker one. So if a player wants a strong roster they’ll have to spend a lot of money on chests. In general, this monetization model is called a gacha.

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