Monetizing Your Browser Based Game Via Subscriptions

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Expand your mobile game business to PC and web to reach new players.

The state of the industry

As the world around us changes, home and mobile entertainment is top of mind to consumers. The video game industry is thriving and thanks to trailblazers like Poker, FarmVille, and Mafia Wars, browser-based games are the new normal for community building and social networking.

Technical shifts specific to browser-based game development signals further opportunity:  Adobe fully releases its Flash stranglehold on game development as of December 31, 2020. HTML5 has picked up the slack and with the added benefit of protecting intellectual property, has quickly morphed into the industry’s development standard.

Reinvigorated by technology advancements and unexpected social changes, the $165 billion global video game market is predicted to hit a valuation of $180 billion by 2021, and according to Juniper Research will skyrocket to above $200 billion in 2023.

This rising tide of consumers playing games at home and on-the-go has created a boom for browser-based studios and publishers. Still, as part of a historically free-to-play genre, how can you most effectively monetize your experience with players? What do you gain by shifting your HTML5, mobile, or indie-game to a pay-to-play model?

Why monetize with subscriptions

You’ve earned it. The effort you put into creating, distributing,  and promoting your game has value. Your game is your business and you deserve to make a living from your craft. Many revenue generation solutions are available, but the one that monetizes with the most predictability and stability is Subscriptions.

Consumers need assurance. For your players, a tiered subscription plan that includes an affordable entry price can mitigate their fear of long-term commitment and show your mindfulness of today’s strained consumer wallet.

Risk management is smart. Adding subscriptions to your revenue plan improves your earning potential. Monthly plans stabilize your income by gaining and retaining loyal paying players. Multiple revenue streams is a smart layer of risk management empowering you to better predict your income in a given month or even a year.

Customer connection is key. Knowing what your players want and being able to create content that satisfies them is a win-win. Subscriptions provide you with meaningful data by tracking which feature bundles are more popular, which pricing model works, and which promotions amp up customer acquisition.

What makes subscriptions work

Xsolla’s F2P partners can tell you from experience that subscriptions, combined with other monetization methods –  like pre-orders – are an effective addition to their studios’ business models. But how does browser-based gaming convert a historically free-play audience into a paying community of loyal gamers?

  • The foundation of Flash games created expectations of free play for past generations, but a free limited-trial promotion can entice today’s gamers to take a leap of faith. Xsolla Subscriptions’ Promotions feature lets you activate a VIP trial with access to all the benefits, perks, and extras of the full game in a limited version. It’s an effective way to tease premium, subscriber-only features.
  • After getting a taste of your game, a simple tiered pricing plan makes it easy for new players to jump on board. Three levels of membership – Bronze, Silver, and Gold – offers quick price comparison shopping without overwhelming the customer into analysis paralysis.
  • Beyond an affordable entry tier, premium membership levels dangle the promise of something bigger, better, and more valuable to strive for. The opportunity to level up their experience reinforces the gamer’s desire to keep playing, improve their skills, and stay engaged.
  • Pairing subscriptions with other forms of monetization reduces overall risk and amplifies long-term earning potential. Here are two ideas for  consideration:

If your game economy supports microtransactions, consider the potential benefits from an In-Game Store. According to media measurement giant Nielsen’s division SuperData, subscribed players spend twice as much on in-game content than non-subscribers.

For indie developers, the pre-release window is a prime opportunity to build game awareness and launch funding efforts. Adding Pre-Orders to your revenue plan can grow a foundational base of players already primed for opportunities to level up their experience with premium perks.

These are just a few ideas for boosting revenue and stabilizing your business model. Specific plan features, perks, or pricing is based on your game’s unique experience and economy. Xsolla can help you hone in on details that work best for you and your customers.

How to plan for subscriptions

First, evaluate your game. Being able to explain your game’s specific experience will help you and your chosen partner define your subscription program details.  thinking about your game’s economy will help you pair Subscriptions with other forms of monetization.

Next, examine audience behavior and statistics. What will motivate them to try, buy, and level up their subscription? Understanding what has value to your customers will help you choose what to include in each membership tier.

Finally, seek out expert resources. Product analysis and business model research are in your hands, but implementation and integration most often require a partner. This is where Xsolla can help.

Whichever monetization solution you implement, consider how Xsolla’s expertise can help you boost revenue and turn new gamers into loyal super-players.

Including subscriptions in your browser-based game’s revenue model benefits you and your players. The subscription establishes a kind of social agreement between gamer and developer: Loyal subscribers offer a predictable, steady flow of revenue in exchange for real value, enjoyment of access to great content, and opportunities to step up to bigger and better enhancements.

How to get started

Start by reading how to design an effective subscription program and get quick data-driven advice on how to structure subscription plans, keep players happy, and keep the lights on.

Xsolla’s Subscriptions One-Pager will help you consider these key steps to getting started:

  • What to include in a browser-based game subscription plan
  • Which in-game items/extras players want most
  • How to design a fair and profitable price structure
  • The easiest way to manage recurring payments

Download our One-Pager

Partner with Xsolla

We know that changing your marketing plan and boosting revenue doesn’t happen overnight. There are questions to ask yourself and details to understand. That’s why the benefits of teaming up with a partner like Xsolla are invaluable.

As an Xsolla Partner with access to our exclusive Publisher Account platform, we take care of your entire Monetization program development and implementation while you focus on what you do best – creating great games.

Convert Players to Subscribers

We know the unique needs of cloud game revenue generation and player retention, and how to turn casual gamers into loyal subscribers. We’ll show you how to:

Decide which plan is right for your players

Define a turn-key solution for managing recurring revenue streams

Prevent subscription churn

Keep evolving and upgrading your plan features

When you subscribe to our Publisher Account platform, we take care of the Subscriptions program development and implementation while you focus on game development. Our main goal is to boost your business.

New to Xsolla? Get started by setting up a Publisher Account.


Already an Xsolla client? Contact your Xsolla Account Manager to take your revenue to the next level.


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