Is Million Lords’ new web store the latest big push toward the future of monetisation?
In another move to diversify ways for players to pay, the developers of Million Lords have opened a new web store. Studio Million Victories announced that its new storefront will allow players to make purchases with their provider of choice directly through the web, and follow other devs, like Supercell, adding their own online shopping experience for their catalogue.
The introduction of this new web store can be traced back to a couple of pieces of key legislation which might’ve passed you by as a player, but which have major implications for mobile gaming as a whole. First, there’s the ruling on the Epic V Apple case, which prevents the iPhone manufacturer from blocking links to outside storefronts or alternative payment methods. Second, there’s the Digital Markets Act in the EU, which does the same as well as taking some pretty broad swipes at the actions of ‘gatekeepers’, such as Google and Apple, and the restrictions they have about developers and how they operate on their platform.
The Wages of Fe(e)arEffectively, the fees which these platform holders charged developers on every in-app purchase, whether that be crystals, lives, or even unlocking parts of the game, no matter how innocent or egregious, all accounted for a roughly 30% cut which companies like Apple would take. Now, these fees are - not entirely, but slowly - being done away with, and one way that developers are getting around them is by linking to an outside web store.
These web stores are almost exactly the same as the IAP page you’ll find in a game itself. You make purchases of currencies or other add-ons you may want, and then this will apply to your in-game account. There are a few extra steps involved, of course - linking your account and waiting for the purchase to appear… but the benefits that many developers are integrating include things such as hefty discounts or additional currency.
If you’re vehemently anti-microtransaction, you may scoff, but the actual nitty-gritty of this and how it applies is actually quite fascinating. In effect, what Apple and Google rake in from their 30% levy is, essentially, pure profit. Aside from some minor expenses for store running that means the billions taken in yearly by developers also infers a hefty chunk going to these companies.
What are they hoping to achieve?By cutting out this 30% levy via web stores, developers can hopefully pass on these savings to consumers. Some are doing it in a roundabout way, by incentivising purchases with additional resources gained with each, but overall it’s a positive for anyone who’d otherwise be making in-app purchases.
What the DMA has done is point to the activities of companies like Apple and Google and judge them to be monopolistic. Beforehand, all developers had to use the payment providers used by these platform holders, and linking to outside stores - as Epic did - was utterly forbidden. Essentially, devs were paying for the privilege of being in a store that then levied a hefty fee on everything they sold.
So, now that this is slowly changing we may be seeing a major difference in how developers are going to monetise their games, or how platform holders like Apple and Google levy fees from them. The sky is, practically, the limit. Although it’s not at all clear whether this is going to be good or bad for us in the long run.
For now, with the introduction of web stores, the immediate benefits are fairly obvious as we noted in our last article looking at what the Epic V Apple ruling meant for you. It’s something that’s been in progress for a long while, so if this does turn out to be beneficial for both players and developers things will be all the better for it.