We structured our [subscription] offering around daily rewards, so the more frequently people come, the more rewards they get. It has been a great retention mechanism for us.
BINGO Blitz, a cross platform game from Buffalo Studios mixes the classic game of bingo with arcade-style gameplay, creating a unique social game experience for its 2.7 million global players. Recently BINGO Blitz added another twist: monthly premium subscriptions that offer players benefits and exclusive rewards. The game offers bigger daily bonus awards for every day that subscribers come back to play, along with VIP access to special playing rooms.
The company has already scored big with subscriptions, increasing total revenue by 8%, creating a recurring and predictable monetary stream, and enhancing player engagement. BINGO Blitz subscribers have become the game’s most dedicated players, with 85% of them returning daily to collect their rewards. Renewal rates are 80% for subscribers each month.
BINGO Blitz is available for play on iOS, Android, and Facebook.com. Subscriptions are built on the Facebook payments engine
Chris Bowden, senior software engineer at Buffalo Studios, notes that integrating the game with Facebook subscriptions was "painless, especially considering the amount of business value exposed by such a simple API."
Subscriptions bring an additional revenue stream to game developers who traditionally rely on one-time purchases to monetize players. As games such as BINGO Blitz deliver ongoing value to subscribers, they provide a predictable source of revenue that builds over time.
Here are some of the ways that Buffalo Studios uses subscriptions to complement traditional social gaming monetization of one-time purchases:
Make subscribers feel unique or special compared to other players. BINGO Blitz creates experiences only for subscribers that included bonuses and credits along with VIP access to special playing rooms, which featured varying cities. Other options are to create custom icons or avatars for subscribers or allow them to preview new game content before it’s available to other players.
Build additional value with specialty experiences and items instead of premium currency, which is often a secondary in-game offering targeted to payers. Premium currency is effective as an incentive upfront for a subscription purchase. But a discount on premium currency is not substantially compelling on its own to subscribers and can cannibalize in-game currency purchases. Developers can offer a much greater perceived value for the subscription by creating unique items, boosts and experiences
BINGO Blitz does not make all items and experiences immediately available when people sign up for a subscription. It unlocks them, spacing the benefits out over the course of a subscription period. The game unlocks substantial value toward the renewal date, rolling out a new bingo room exclusively for subscribers. The goal is to deliver the value before the first 30-day rollover. For BINGO Blitz, this yielded a subscriber renewal rate of 80%.
BINGO Blitz started off by reaching people for subscriptions who had already invested in the game and are active. These players are likely to understand and highly value the subscription benefits and are already comfortable with purchasing in the game.
When setting up subscriptions, the final considerations are: package length (weekly, monthly), free trial options, and the package price, which depends greatly on the type of package offered. BINGO Blitz offers a $14.99 monthly subscription price that Buffalo Studios values at $99.