Presented by Xsolla

Video gameplay rose to new levels in the quarantine. As we reset, the question becomes: How do you retain your new and loyal users, and keep them happy? Don’t miss this VB Live event featuring VB’s Dean Takahashi and others to learn how subscriptions are the key to earning valuable player loyalty.

Register here for free.

2020 has been a challenging year. To cope, and even thrive at home, consumers have turned to media at home – especially video games. And there’s more audience expansion than ever before in every category. The demographics are getting older, and more women than ever are starting to spend more time gaming, thanks to casual games like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans and more.

Gamers in every category are not only spending more screen time and getting better at their video game experiences, but they’re looking for more — more access, more opportunity, more in-game items, says Berkley Egenes, vice president of marketing at Xsolla.

“That’s where subscriptions come into play — being able to offer additional opportunities that were normally not available in a free-to-play scenario,” Egenes says. “Players are looking for that, and developers and platform partners are rapidly iterating on some of their products and experiences so that they can meet that demand.”

Consumers and players want subscription plans because they can control the experience that they want to play, view, and listen to, and that’s translated very seamlessly into gaming, from game play to game content on Twitch, FaceIt, and other platforms. Developers are offering subscription-based plans to provide a unique experience or unique access, whether you’re a player or a fan, particularly on the esports side, to meet consumer demand.

What all these publishers are gaining in their business model is long-term recurring revenue streams. But to achieve that, they have to create subscription plans that are unique and offer quantifiable value to the player that motivates them to pay and keep coming back daily, weekly, monthly.

“Studies have shown that subscription-based players will pay 2X to a game for the value that they’re getting and expecting versus a physical title,” Egenes says.

Of course, the number-one priority for developers is creating an incredible game. But then you have to diversify your revenue stream, and continue iterating to deliver additional value and content to keep players happy and coming back.

Deciding how to diversify

There are four questions for developers to think about when they’re considering how to diversify their revenue stream and best monetize their new video game, whether that’s sticking with the current business model, incorporating ads, setting up a subscription model, or hitting the drawing board to figure out what comes next with the game.

The first question is, Who’s your audience? You need to know what they value in your game. How would a subscription program encourage players to join and choose options? What’s in it for them? Why should they subscribe?

“You have to think about how to make being a paying player more attractive than non paying,” Egenes says. “What additional value are you going to be able to provide to them that they’ll want to pay for?”

The second question is, how does a subscription plan change the way players interact with each other? Are the features you provide for that subscription going to help improve gameplay? And what happens to non-subscribers? What will the game be like for them?

“You don’t want to create a pay-to-play or pay-to-win scenario in these games,” he explains. “You want to deliver value, deliver additional access and content, but without changing the mechanics of the game.”

Third question, and probably the most common one: How should you structure a plan? What does that plan look like? How much do you charge? Should it be based on in-game actions? What rewards do you roll out over time as part of that subscription? If someone bumps up to a premium level, what additional benefits can we give them versus the one who was just at the basic level? And how are the payments going to be processed for the players, what payment methods are accepted?

“Payments are a big challenge and a big question,” he says. “Historically people were on Paypal, but as you start to go for global expansion in a lot of these games, you need to cover multiple payment processes, multiple currencies, and have the capability to do that economically, so that it doesn’t take away from the profitability of the overall game.”

The last question is asking how your business will be impacted. “A lot of folks say, they want to do a subscription program, but ask do I have the people, the resources, the backend understanding on how to implement that? I’m a developer. I just want to create an amazing game,” says Egenes. In other words, implementing a subscription model does require some infrastructure that needs to be put in place, and ensure scalability.

To learn about the most successful subscription plan design, to keep players from getting decision paralysis, the pricing structure players respond to best, and how real developers successfully drive player signups and engagement don’t miss this VB Live event.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

In this webinar, you will hear insights and learn:

  • Why it’s important to build loyalty programs through subscriptions with players now
  • How consumer mind shift led to subscription-based gaming experiences
  • What it takes to keep new players loyal


  • Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer, GamesBeat
  • Berkley Egenes, Vice President of Marketing, Xsolla focusing on Subscriptions & Monetization

More speakers to be announced soon!