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Hey, game developers: Adding chat can help revenues soar

8/01/2015 by Sharon Shahzad


You probably know the game Quizup. The trivia app had a huge run in 2013, reaching and staying at the top of the charts for months. Download volume and engagement was  through the roof. But like most games, use eventually fell off — people left to go do other things when the novelty wore off. So the Quizup developer Plain Vanilla integrated chat, and it discovered something very interesting. It not only found that people stayed in the app longer because they were chatting with other users, but it also saw session frequency and games per session increase as well.

This critical insight is one that all game developers should consider when trying to improve engagement and monetization. Here’s why.

When it comes to making money from your game, you have three basic options. You can sell it for set price (be it $1, $2, $5, and so on). You can sell virtual goods for similar prices. Or you can run ads. I guess you do have a fourth way — get a huge player base, make no money, sell for $300 million, and then fall off the face of the earth (you all remember the story of Draw Something).

Assuming that your game doesn’t have Zynga coming around to buy it any time soon, you’re probably in one of the first three buckets. Or maybe you’ve tried all of them. For most app developers, you’ve likely found that none of them work all that great.

The bulk of apps choose Option 3, and some make a nice return on ads. But if you are one of the million-plus apps that have enough users to keep it in the app stores, but not enough to make significant revenue from these people, you’re probably kinda bummed — and frustrated, too.

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