We believe that trigger points when gamers will start buying the merch can be determined by these four factors:

  1. Game triggers. Every game has it's own game triggers. We used the Octalysis framework to determine those;

  2. Game monetization events. Based on game triggers, we created a list of game monetization events that could increase purchase intent;

  3. User drop-off rates. We filter out loyal gamers by analyzing user drop-off rates, to offer game merchandise to the most determine audience;

  4. Applying game monetization events to the existing game reward system, to sell merchandise at the emotionally right time.


Here are more details on how we define and measure each of the trigger points:

1. Game triggers

Octalysis Gamification Framework

To determine the motivation and emotional state we used the theory of Octalysis Gamification Framework by Yy-Kai Chou.

These are the key game triggers of gamification we are looking for, with some ideas and examples. We will create a separate article on that. 

  • Meaning. For example supporting game on Kickstarter; or get game swag to get rid of advertising in the mobile game;
  • Empowerment. Get game combo pack for $49 and get branded game merch as a reward; Show off the collection of merch gamer will get if he unlocks all milestones;
  • Social influence. Bragging rights - celebrate and show your leadership; Get game swag to show leadership to your peers;
  • Unpredictability. Easter eggs - hidden game merchandise elements through the narrative of the story; Sudden or random rewards /unlocks to boost players skills;
  • Avoidance. Limited edition game shirts; Earned game collectibles or exclusive game merch offer will be lost if no action is taken;
  • Scarcity. Get this exclusive hoodie now, or it will disappear forever; Use 60 seconds countdown to force emotional decision making;
  • Ownership. Get your own game character on game swag; Exchange game points to earn game swag;
  • Accomplishments. Leaderboards, badges, boss fights as triggers to celebrate wins and reward most successful players. 


2.  List of game monetization events

We used the Octalysis framework for some key customers. We saw that the same game triggers repeat from one game to another. So we started mixing game triggers with product offering to increase the purchase intent.

For example, we used Unpredictability, with Scarcity, to get scenario when "gamer unlocked sudden merchandise reward and has 60 seconds to make a decision". Eventually, we created a list of game monetization events - http://themonetizr.com/events where all game triggers and product triggers are grouped into 3 groups: Mastery, Narrative, and Creativity.


3. User drop-off rates to determine loyal users

We look at games user drop-off analytics by level, to determine at which level masses drop off. And on which levels we can reward loyal gamers for their determination.

User drop-off rates to determine loyal users

Focus on loyal users

We focus our attention on "dolphins" and "whales", starting offering more affordable products like stickers at early levels 3-9 (based on example), progressing with more advanced triggers and products from level 18+.

4. Applying game monetization events to existing game reward system

We apply a list of game monetization ideas to the existing game reward system. For larger customers, the reward and achievement system is documented. For smaller studios, we try to outline it by talking to game developers directly.

For strategic type games, we apply ideas of Mastery and Narrative, for family puzzle games Creativity and Narrative. In addition to that, we filter rewards and gamers by demographics, thus offering products that would more likely be purchased for such gamer group.

Based on the study "The Data Behind Mobile Rewards, IPG 2014", rewards after level completion increase purchase intent by 82%.

Rewards are the most preferred form of marketing. 

Of users surveyed, 42% found rewards to be very acceptable, and 42% found rewards to be somewhat acceptable.

As a result, we have determined what game events drive emotions and create a list of monetization ideas that would reward the most determined gamers, at the highest peak of emotions and at the right accomplishments.