How to gain a competitive advantage with your in-game store
December 2, 2020

With the constant industry innovation, video game development is now both more accessible and more challenging than ever before. As a developer, how can you sustain your players’ desire for novelty in this competitive landscape while generating enough revenue to keep the lights on? You can add an in-game store.

We’ve put together a short guide covering the benefits of incorporating an in-game economy and highlighting the differences of the integration between two different business models, namely free-to-play and premium games. Our first focus is on the reasons why an in-game store works well, and later we will showcase implementation best practices.

What are the benefits of implementing an in-game store?

Simply put, an in-game store is an avenue to help you increase the longevity of your game. With it, you can offer a variety of digital items to your players right when they’re most engaged: while they’re actively enjoying your game. You can add and sell any variety of virtual goods, such as cosmetics for characters or weapons, exclusive store-only items, XP boosters, season passes, subscription plans, bundles, virtual currencies and muchmore. 

The in-game store can become a hub of sorts for your players, through which you can give them access to exclusive in-game items and even understand what kind of content your players enjoy the most so you can keep building to their needs. By introducing this type of in-game economy, you will be able to boost engagement with both your casual fans and your most dedicated players. You can give them the opportunity to immediately obtain extra content in-game, without having to exit to and deal with another platform for purchases. 

More importantly, an in-game store is a means for developers to keep making money long after launch, which is naturally a valid goal for any game studio. Especially for games as a service MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV, or BRs like Fortnite and Apex Legends audiences expect titles to be supported for a long time, which can be a daunting task. Revenue generated from an in-game store can be one way to secure such long-term funding. 

Three things to consider when you integrate an in-game store.

  1. Your in-game store will affect every aspect of your game. Think about its implementation early on in your development process, maybe even at the concept stage. Everything you decide about your in-game economy will influence not only how players interact with the store but also with the content provided and how it functions in the overall game mechanics.
  2. Include content that makes sense for your team’s available resources and your game’s business model. If your team or development resources are small, you should stick to easier things that you can add to your game, such as cosmetics for characters or weapon variants. And if your game is a free-to-play multiplayer, make sure the items available for sale do not give paying players an unfair advantage. 
  3. Listen to your players because they are your ultimate customers. Every in-game store shopper is different. Some people may be interested in buying items that allow them to progress faster through the gameplay. Others may want to visually express themselves or stand out from the crowd in a game with cosmetic items or emotes. With enough repeat purchases, you’ll be able to figure out what new content and virtual goods your player‘s enjoy the most.

Want to learn more about in-game stores? 

We encourage you to download and read our eBook, “Why Your Next Release Needs An In-Game Store.” In it, we explain how to approach integrating an in-game economy for both free-to-play and premium titles, outline the reasons players might choose to purchase items from your store, and highlight the benefits of utilizing a player-centered design philosophy. 

You can also contact us for more information, or sign up for a free Xsolla Publisher Account to explore how easily you can integrate an in-game store into your game.

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