Xsolla’s Andrey Kalugin talks web shops tips to get users out of mobile “jail” | Pocket

“Whales don’t want to save money,” said Xsolla regional director Andrey Kalugin.

He shared this insight among his many key learnings from 150 web shop launches, and revealed the tips and tricks to moving players away from mobile “jail” during his presentation at the Dubai GameExpo Summit 2023 powered by PG Connects. 

(Make sure you’re part of our next event and take advantage of a limited 30% off offer which ends tonight!)

Among his tips, he discussed a threefold strategy to breaking mobile gamers’ habit of paying in-game; in Kalugin’s experience, this can be achieved through messaging, incentives, and reduced friction.

Making more money

“There is no reason to launch a web shop if you’re just launching your product,” Kalugin advised.

But provided a game is established with paying players and has the audience for a web shop, they do offer “an additional revenue stream with a higher margin”. Importantly, Kalugin suggested viewing them “not as a substitution of a standard, well established channel, but as an extension to what already exists”.

He noted that players are spending less since the pandemic and that national regulators are putting increasing pressure on platforms, so it’s an important time to consider other revenue streams. In Xsolla’s case, the best-performing web shops have seen up to 40% of paying users migrating from in-app to an external site and up to 20% more purchases overall. The high-end repeat purchases a dev should expect from one user on a web shop is five times on average.

Kalugin also acknowledged that it’s easier to pay within an application but thinking about business goals, improving cost structures and profitability should be high priority.

But in summary, if done well, a web shop can evidently improve revenues while avoiding the high app store fees from Apple and Google, leading to stronger profit margins for developers. The doing it well is the hard part, of course, as many gamers feel more secure staying in-game for their purchases. Hence the emphasis on giving them better deals via the web shop.

“Our mission with this solution is to create two different concepts: Mobile is where I play and web is where I pay,” Kalugin said. “Moving users from mobile jail to web shop is a key way to increase profitability.”

Whales don’t need your discounts

Kalugin suggested the first thing a game maker should do is alert players to their web shop’s existence and its better value, reinforcing this through in-game messaging. Next, that value on the web shop needs to be made “hyper clear” to players, as this is “the top thing that motivates gamers to switch their behaviour pattern”.
Reducing frictions is important too, meaning transactions should be made as easy and seamless as possible to compete with the simplicity of paying in-game.

“Web shops work very well for those gamers who already spend a lot,” Kalugin added, noting that Whales should be the “primary audience” of the shop. He continued: “We don’t want to give them any discounts – we can just give them better value on the web shop.”

For other players, he advised offering a great-value bundle with limited availability, giving as much incentive as possible for a player to make their first purchase on the web shop. Another tactic is offering daily rewards in-game for logging into the web shop to keep them returning there, where they are likely to see other ongoing offers.

Notably, gamers playing core games are “easier to switch to the web shop” in Xsolla’s experience, because they’re typically more engaged with the title and make more purchases already.

Be part of our next event!

After a triumphant first year in 2023, The Dubai GameExpo Summit powered by PG Connects returns on May 1st to 2nd, 2024 alongside the Dubai Esports and Games Festival at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The summit will feature more than 100 renowned games industry speakers from all over the globe delivering insightful talks, panels and seminars across a number of themed tracks.

There will be extensive networking opportunities for anyone looking to get established in the region, whether you’re a developer looking for a local publisher, or interested in exporting a hot new game from MENA to find a global audience.

Tickets are on sale now!

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