This report doesn’t look good for mobile free-to-play gaming

Swrve report states that 2.2 per cent of free-to-play users pay regularly; 46 per cent of revenue comes from 0.22 per cent of player base

Not every free-to-play game can be as skillful at drawing people like Puzzle & Dragon and Brave Frontier. Image credit: Gumi

Not every free-to-play game can be as skillful at drawing people as Puzzle & Dragon and Brave Frontier. Image credit: Gumi

As if it’s not challenging enough to justify the free-to-play model for most mobile games in the market, along comes a recent Swrve report that seems to paint a bleaker picture.

According to Re/code, the analysis tracks the habits of 10 million new players on 30 games within a course of 90 days. The results? Turns out that only 2.2 per cent of those players spent money on in-app purchases. 46 per cent of that revenue came from just 10 per cent of that small group, or 0.22 per cent to be precise.

The report stated that developers and publishers might be struggling to retain players after a free-to-play title debut. Two-thirds of the group quit playing within a day of downloading them. 53 per cent of those users would spend money within the first seven days after the initial download.

Swrve CEO Hugh Reynolds said that the recent report was to advise developers to keep their users engaged to their games post-download rather than worry too much on bumping up their game’s download count. This means tweaking a tutorial section of a F2P mobile game so that it’s intuitive for newer players. “Watch what people do, not what they say.[…] As consumers, we’re all weary of this billboard-style communication.”

On the flip side, DeNA Head of European Game Studios and Scattered Entertainment General Manager Ben Cousins remarked on Twitter that the numbers above aren’t surprising in the least.

We have contacted Swrve to understand if these numbers are solely within USA and European countries, or are worldwide. In the meantime, what say you, Southeast Asian developers and frequent mobile users?

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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