In-App Purchases: Pricing and Players’ Trust


Rhett and Evan take a closer look at the dos and don’ts when it comes to IAP pricing and what affect this can have on the player’s trust.

Q: What is most common mistake you see in IAP pricing or merchandising, and what are some ways to fix it?

Rhett:  I see quite a few developers treat the design of the IAP storefront as an afterthought. Strange, considering it is the only revenue source (after ads) in free-to-play games. I recommend adding the ability to message sales and add tags to specific IAPs. Also, be sure to follow industry best practice pricing:

Evan: There have been numerous studies that support the idea that price may influence demand. If you’ve put the work into getting your game to look great, don’t offer any IAPs priced at tier one. The app store has matured to a point where top-shelf free-to-play games don’t have any IAPs short of tier five, and charging any less could hurt your overall monetization.

Fuse talks a lot about the player trust side of the IAP equation:

Q: What are some examples of what not to do, that erode players’ trust?

Rhett: IAPs that have no apparent value to your customers can be confusing. Say a valuable in-game widget costs 200 coins, your 4.99 IAP gives 150 coins and your 9.99 IAP give 300 coins. By not offering a relevant IAP, you are creating mental barriers to conversion.

Evan: A player that spends all their premium currency at once has fewer opportunities to feel the value of their IAP than a player who can space out their spending. Especially in the early stages of progression, make sure to avoid opportunities for players to spend all their premium currency at once.  Single big-ticket purchases are more to likely result in a loss of perceived value and repeat business.

Q: How do you structure an IAP to gain players’ trust? 

Rhett: In the above situation, I would set my 4.99 IAP at 200 coins. That way, the player can see a direct connection between buying the IAP and improving their experience in game.

Evan: The best way to demonstrate value in your IAPs is by having them alleviate more than one pain point, or solve more than one problem. If a single purchase can result in multiple pleasure points, your players will be less likely to experience buyer’s remorse and will feel they have made a sound, intelligent purchase.

Diana Aquino
Creator, Problem Solver, Professional Shopper.

Contact her on Twitter @diana__aquino