You play and pay… to become strong!

So, you play your favorite games in your devices for free without any expenditures in your hard-earned money. But how about on those people who do in-app purchases with their favorite games that they were playing? Basically, they shell out their money in order to buy something like limited costumes, monthly passes, stocking and topping up their virtual in-game currencies, and many more. So then, those are the things that each people do when they play their favorite free-to-play video games online.

In this topic, I am going to talk about players or people who do in-app purchases in their games that they are playing right now.

CONTENTS
  1. Pre-Blog Post Research and Study
  2. Payment Methods
  3. Results of the Questionnaire
  4. Summary and Conclusion
PRE-BLOG POST RESEARCH AND STUDY

Before I make this blog post, I tried doing a research and study first.

a. Questionnaire by Using Google Forms

The first step I did is that I made a questionnaire or survey using Google Forms. I ask every respondent some questions, such as on what are the games that they are playing, asking them if they do in-app purchases or just being stuck being an F2P (free-to-play) player, how much money that they had spent, and many others. The questionnaire that I did is just simple and minimal. If a respondent answers if he or she is doing in-app purchases, he or she answers a different set of questions and choices in the questionnaire. Otherwise, a different set of questions and choices shall appear if he or she chooses the other answer. That questionnaire was made since November 21 last month.

b. Related Researches by other Researchers and Bloggers

Alternative Revenues: A Quantitative Study on In App Purchases

Link Here. Click or Tap to View (Opens new tab or window)

Researched by: John X. Qiu, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, 2014

This research study was conducted to see the effects of in-app purchases (IAPs) by people who make them, as well as other gaming companies that gain income or revenue to keep their smartphone and online video games alive. It is also stated in the study that people pay for the game not only because they want to enjoy more of its premium features. They pay basically in order to support it, and to make the developers use that money in order to create more features in the game to make its lifespan a little bit longer.

30 Essential Stats On In-App Purchases And Monetization

Link Here. Click or Tap to View (Opens new tab or window)

Researched by: Mary Kearl, Braze Magazine, July 28, 2016

This research was more on statistical data and polls. It shows the bar graphs of comparisons on how many people are doing IAPs, as well as how much money they had spent, and as well as on how many people are playing or using per platform (iOS and Android). Since 2017, it has been projected with the amount of IAPs made has been amounted for at least 37 billion USD. For the amount of IAPs made per user per app, it has been averaged with an amount of 1.08 and 0.43 USD, iOS and Android, respectively. Also, it is mentioned in the study that the players in Asia region are likely spending more money than in any other countries, like North America, which is placed in 2nd behind Asia region.

PAYMENT METHODS

So how people do in-app purchases (IAPs) in their favorite free-to-play online video games that they are playing? Basically, there are types of payment methods, or in other words, ways on how to pay for your purchases.

1. Debit or Credit Cards

Basically, you shall have to enter your payment information if you have an existing bank account (debit or ATM cards), or even credit cards in order to make IAPs online. There is an option to do that, and you shall have to go to your respective accounts (Apple ID for iOS and Google Account for Android) and go and input your payment info there. But then, the usage of these mentioned bank account cards (credit and debit cards) must be compatible with your account’s region or country. For example, if your Apple ID is locked in Japan region, then you should use a bank account that is associating also within Japan region only. Otherwise, your purchase will not be successful or not to be validated. Just remember to keep in mind that the usage of these bank accounts can only be used on your app store accounts per region. If you are living in Philippines, for example, then you should use a bank account that is also within Philippines only, and if your app store account is locked within Philippines country only.

2. App Store Credits

Basically, if you don’t have a valid payment method, or if you don’t have a bank account, then this second type of payment method shall be for you. And that is the usage of the app store credits.

App store credits are only exclusive in your respective app store accounts, and they serve as your ‘prepaid’ money. You can top them up by buying ‘gift cards’, which can be purchased from some game stores, online shopping, and by redeeming its code online via some online game store channels. You can top-up your app store credits by redeeming codes via these ‘gift cards’ that you had purchased, and some codes that you had purchased online via game stores.

There is an event in which you found your favorite game to play. But then, it’s only available in Japan. So when you successfully get that game, you can play it for free. However, you can’t do IAPs (in-app purchases) with that game that you are playing, because the payment method that you had used isn’t compatible with the game’s region, which is Japanese (Japanese Yen). So the only way to make IAPs with that game locked in Japan is that you must top-up your app store account (assuming it is set to Japan region) with some app store credits. If your app store account is set to Japan region, you can’t redeem app store credits in the gift cards from another country or region.

Where to get some app store credits? The answer is by browsing and shopping online. There are many online game stores that sell app store credits for iOS and Android systems. To name my discovered online game store, you can check out G2A.com. Basically, that online game store sells various games, ranging from physical to digital copies, and to mention it again, virtual gift card codes for various platforms, not just for iOS and Android (to name, PS Store and Steam Wallet Credits).

RESULTS OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE

Last November 21, 2020, I had conducted a survey or questionnaire, as stated in the early paragraphs. By conducting this survey or questionnaire, I had shared the Google Forms shortlink via my Facebook Page, Inori-D Station. As of December 4, 2020, I had closed the questionnaire due to the fact that I had gathered enough respondent answers. For the explanation results, please continue reading below!

Please enter your full name (or pen name to keep yourself confidential)

As usual, what is my questionnaire without asking for a respondent’s name? There are total of 69 different respondents who answered.

Do you do in-app purchases in some games that you are playing? Or you stuck in free-to-play status?

This question asks respondents each if they are playing the game for free (F2P/free-to-play) or they do IAPs on the games that they are playing.

So far, based from the first question field above about the number of respondents answered, 66.7% (46 people) answered that they do IAPs in the games that they are playing, while 33.3% (23 people) answered otherwise that they do not.

What games are you playing? (Check all that apply)

This question field asks every respondent to give at least one online video game that they are currently playing. Since that there are lots of selection of good smartphone and PC online video games there, the ‘Others’ field allows the respondents to give a particular online game that they are playing, in which it is not included in the lists of my choices given.

So far, the choices are:

  1. BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! (29)
  2. Fate/Grand Order (8)
  3. Grand Chase: Dimensional Chaser (3)
  4. The Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage (9)
  5. LoveLive! School Idol Festival and ALL STARS (63)
  6. Princess Connect! Re:Dive (6)
  7. Revue Starlight Re LIVE (13)
  8. ROCKMAN X DiVE (2)
  9. Others (36)

Out of the given game choices mentioned, most of the respondents answered LoveLive! School Idol Festival (and ALL STARS), followed by BanG Dream!, and then Revue Starlight Re LIVE. People who answered ‘Others’ means that they play other games, aside from the given games choices above. Other games which are not included are mostly the games that are not common, or rarely seen. And for others, this shall include games like Arknights, Azur Lane, Mobile Legends, and Genshin Impact.

I do in-app purchases! (For respondents who answered they do in-app purchases)

This set of questions is for people or respondents who answered the question if they do IAPs.

a. What is your reason why you do in-app purchases?

Only 46 people who responded in this question. The choices are:

  1. I want to become stronger… and famous in the game! (0)
  2. To speed up my progress in order to pass harder stages! (9)
  3. Gacha Luck (24)
  4. Others (13)

There are no people who answered the first choice. The second choice was answered by 9 people saying that they do IAPs in order to buy powerful items and characters, just in order to pass difficult stages in the game. Or in short, they are in ‘Pay to Win’ status. The third choice has 24 responses, in which it has the most number of responses. The people who answered the Gacha Luck means that they were desperate to get that favorite character or ‘waifu’ in their stable, just in order to have it, and at the same time, to win in some matches (also due to the fact that they want to draw more from the Gacha until they get it).

The people who answered Others means that they have other reasons, aside from the given first choices above. Other reasons, such as they do IAPs because of promo premium packs that are cheaper than usual (bargain prices), and they want to help and support video game creators.

b. What is your estimated amount of expenditures of your money for your in-app purchases per month?

Basically, it is a question that asks respondents each of how much they had spent money in doing IAPs in the games that they are playing per month.

This statistical data is well mixed. In fact, players are spending their money differently on some games that they are playing.

5 of them answered that they spent less than 100 PHP (approx. 2 USD). 16 people who answered that they had spent 100 to 500 PHP (approx. 2 – 10 USD) per month. Meanwhile, 13 of them answered that they had spent around 501 to 1,500 PHP (approx. 10 – 32 USD) per month. And then, for people who spent 1,501 PHP to 3,300 PHP (approx. 32 – 70USD) per month, only 9 people answered. Finally, the people who spent more than 3,300 PHP (approx. 70 USD or more) are the only three people who answered it.

In my observation, they only go for the price in which they can really handle their budget, and at the same time, affordable for their monthly earnings and allowances. So then, if that item is really worth it, then they go for the flow.

c. What kinds of items do you usually buy in the game that you are playing?

This field asks multiple choices from respondents. It also asks of what kind of in-game items that they are buying, given that they had done IAPs. The choices are:

  1. Gems, Diamonds, or other in-game virtual currencies. (28)
  2. Premium Packs or Set Bundles (25)
  3. In-Game Items and Equipment (8)
  4. Bargain Items (from the three choices above) (16)
  5. Others (8)

So far, a lot of people answered that they buy in-game virtual currencies to top-up their accounts. To be followed by the second choice, they buy Premium Packs or Set Bundles, and that one contains items like in-game virtual currencies in bonus amounts, items like UR and above Scouting Tickets (for example), and some other freebies like crafting items. As usual, items and other equipment are of a less priority (least number of answers), but then they serve as Pay-to-Win essentials. Meanwhile, the Bargain Items is just basically the three choices above, and can be answered with the first up to third choices.

So far, only eight have answered ‘Others’, as they have various reasons, such as they do IAPs because they pay monthly for the premium subscription, or what we call the ‘Member’s Pass’. Member’s Pass is something of a ‘VIP’ beneficial subscription, in which players can obtain bonus items every day per month by logging in, and by giving them other benefits, such as Bonus EXP and perks like unlimited ‘Skip Function’ usage, in some games.

d. Gacha Luck (for respondents only who answered ‘Gacha Luck’ in the reason why they do IAPs)

This question asks respondents if their IAP expenditures are totally worth it with their hard-earned money, assuming if they fail to get their favorite rate-up character in their first try in the Gacha draw.

50 percent of people said that their expenditures are totally worth enough. While only 12.5 percent said that it is totally not worth it because they spend a lot and their character appeared after a lot of tries, the people said that they knew it is either worth it or not worth it, and they answered about 37.5 percent.

Limited Box Scouting, or the 100-member Scouting Box, is the type of Scouting Box in LoveLive! School Idol Festival. This type of Scouting Box is my favorite, since you can do Scouting a limited number of times, probably 100 times. You shall be needing at least 455 Love Gems, or 100 Scouting (Green) Tickets to consume everything in the box, and to guarantee yourself a UR member! Basically, spending less resources, your Love Gems and Tickets, mean you are very lucky, and not if you spend all of your recommended amount of resources!

Especially if the featured Gacha requires you to draw or scout a number of times to guarantee yourself a UR, or some kind, you shall be needing a certain amount of virtual currencies, or other items to do it. So then, the less you draw, the more that you are lucky, and the few of your money you had spent is.

I am Still a Free-to-Play Player! (For respondents who answered they are still playing the game for free)

This set of question only appears if a respondent answered that he or she is playing the game for free, or in Free-to-Play status.

The choices of the answers are given below:

  1. Spend it to get some items and characters right away! (0)
  2. Save it for future use, or if you are waiting for a good or beautiful character to come out! (21)
  3. You spend it, but you budget! (2)

No other people answered the first given choice above. The second choice has the most number of choices, which is 23, while the last one got 2.

People who answered the second choice said that they are saving their virtual currencies for future use. And they are saving it further if in case a more beautiful and powerful character comes out suddenly without warning. The last one is just reasonable. They spend only if they really have to, but then they budget! They budget, in the sense that they only use up their stored virtual currencies, because they really need it. At the same time, they budget because not only they moderate themselves, but to save up further and to plan their expenditures ahead of time (which is basically almost the same as above second choice). The only difference is that the third choice is more of an ‘impulse’ draw or scout, in the sense that you do it if you really have to, in order to survive in some situations, such as surviving and defending your score rank in the rankings leaderboard.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Based from the results above, it is observed that most people that I had asked are playing ‘Gacha Luck’-based online games, in which a player draws a random item or character based on his or her luck or chance. Playing these kind of games are somehow a new and longtime trend, and it shall test a player whether he or she can successfully draw an ultra-rare, legendary, or powerful character by himself or herself, among the thousands of players online worldwide. And finally, most of them answered that their expenditures are somewhat worthy, after attempting for their luck for the first time.

For players that are playing the game for free, without any expenditures, they mostly save their virtual currencies whenever they can, and they use them whenever a new character pops out. There are others that may do spend them, however, they do budget not only because they want to moderate themselves. They spend and budget because they are carefully planning their strategy, such as strengthening their characters and other resources. And finally, they plan their strategies on their projected expenditures of their virtual currencies, as well as projecting on how many of them can be saved, just before the time when a certain character comes out in the woods.

Also, it is noted that they only do in-app purchases (or IAPs) at the monthly budget spending range of at least 500 PHP (approx. 10 USD or more), which is found to be the ideal amount. And also, it is noted that they do it in order to afford the ‘monthly pass’, ‘VIP’, or something equivalent, just in order to get more exclusive items and characters, and to speed things up, including his or her progress in the game.

It is indeed concluded that they do IAPs or in-app purchases of the games that they are playing, given that they are aftering for something important. Important things, such as acquiring a powerful, yet cute and beautiful character from the Gacha draws and scouts, are one of the highlights of when and why people do IAPs for these.

The End

And that’s it for this research post for today! That was pretty long, but worth it! I hope that you had enjoyed reading this post topic! And to people who answered my questionnaire last month, thank you very much for your cooperation! I might do something like this in future.

Thank you and cheers! See you in the next topic!