Mobile game developers are constantly innovating and finding new ways to bring their players value, with player ownership being the most recent - a feature of Play & Own (P&O) that enables players to own the in-game assets they purchase or are awarded. This provides a boost in value for players and enables developers to generate more revenue through royalties.
But, there are a few sticky misconceptions around P&O that need debunking - among them, the widely held idea that players just don’t want it in their games. So to find out, we asked 3,047 mobile gamers in a recent survey how they felt about player ownership and how it would affect their relationship to the games they play. Here’s what they had to say.
1. 62% of players said they’d like to play a game that gave them ownership of their game items
Gaming and collectibles have always gone hand-in-hand. Whether it’s figurines, posters, special edition consoles, or high scores - gamers love to collect. Case in point, a majority of mobile gamers, nearly 60%, said they owned at least one physical gaming collectible. But, the collectibles players are awarded or purchase in-game have never been able to meet the criteria to truly be considered collectibles. This is because players don’t actually own the items they collect in-game, developers do.
Player ownership changes this dynamic, enabling gamers to own the digital assets they collect. By storing users' digital items in a secure and removed database and providing them with a one-of-a-kind digital receipt, gamers’ in-game digital assets can be persistent and unique - in other words, collectible. We asked mobile gamers if they’d be more likely to play a game if it gave them this ownership over their in-game items: 62% said yes.
Takeaway: Gamers want player ownership in their games, it means they get to own and collect digital assets from the games they love. The ‘why’ is not a mystery. Player ownership is all upside, adding more value to games for gamers and allowing them to fully own their in-game items, turning them into digital collectibles and assets.
2. 63% of players said they would purchase a game item if it could be used in more than one game
Player ownership lets gamers use the same asset across multiple titles. As long as the games being played are player ownership-enabled and the gamer has the item in their wallet, it can be integrated.
Players commonly consider value for money when deciding to purchase an in-game item and often skip IAPs - it’s well-known that only roughly 3% of mobile gamers make IAP. But, we found that if gamers are offered the ability to use those same items across multiple titles, interest jumps exponentially: we asked mobile gamers if they would purchase an in-game item if it could be used in more than one game, 63% said yes. That’s an increase in interest of 2000%, proving that there’s a lot more revenue to be generated if the value exchange makes sense to gamers.
Takeaway: The trick to unlocking a huge appetite for IAP is to offer new and quantifiable value to gamers. Just by allowing gamers to use their in-game items across multiple titles, the market transforms - it goes from being about hooking a small percentage of users to supplying the majority.
3. 55% of players want to be able to trade their assets
Aside from letting players actually own their in-game assets and enabling them to use them across multiple titles, player ownership offers another major benefit: tradability. Through secondary markets and player ownership infrastructures, assets gamers own can be traded, rented, sold, or bought.
What this means for gamers is a way to get even more value from their in-game assets. With player ownership, gamers are able to trade in assets they no longer need for those they do - potentially earning a profit in the process. When we asked players if they’d be willing to pay more for game items with this functionality, 55% said yes. And of that 55%, 13% say they’d be willing to pay a lot more.
Takeaway: Not only do we see that gamers want to own tradable in-game assets, but they’re even willing to pay more for that functionality - proving that tradability is more than an added value for gamers, it’s an incentive.
4. 51% of players said they would play longer if they owned the assets they were being awarded
Being able to own and trade their in-game items transforms them from expenses to assets for gamers. And it’s not just the financial relationship that changes, but also the emotional and time investment that gamers make. Confirming this, 45% of mobile gamers said that owning their in-game items would give them a stronger emotional connection to the games they play.
What this translates to is more time in-game - 51% of mobile gamers said that they would stay and play longer in a game if they could own the items they were being awarded.
Takeaway: LTV is one of the most important measures of a game’s success, and one of the hardest to impact. Player ownership motivates users to play longer and to become more invested in the games they play, giving developers more chances to convert gamers into buyers and increasing the LTV of your games.
We asked mobile gamers what they think about player ownership and the different value propositions it provides. The answer we got back was categorical: mobile gamers want player ownership - from just having the ability to own their assets themselves, to tradability, interoperability, and beyond.
Want to find out how you can use player ownership to add value to your games? Astra is a one-stop shop solution for your player ownership gametech stack. Contact us to learn more.