Ingress Store: what could be next and why?
Possible store strategies, why release what?
Niantic Labs has just recently announced their in-game store in Ingress. The items they’re selling come from three different categories. Here’s a short analysis of those categories.
Category 1: Individual benefit
“People have been talking for a long while about wanting keys or capsules not counting to their inventory limit, why not monetize on that idea?” – Niantic, probably
Key Lockers are a game changer for the individual but don’t really affect other players. This tends to makes you happy but not upset the enemy too much.
There may not be too many options of this type, but I see this category as a potential success. I believe we’ll see more down the road, maybe the option to subscribe to extended inventory. What about 0.99$ for +500 item caps, per month?
Universal non-counted capsules
Category 2: Skins
Skins have always been the way to monetize which doesn’t affect gameplay. Team Fortress 2 succeeded at that, but they have characters to place the skins on, which other players see as well.
Although this seems to be the least harmful way, it’s hard to make it a major income. This is in part due to many people thinking “nah, I can live with how it is instead of paying for a skin”.
Beacons are more aimed at organisers currently. A strategic move to promote more events in combination with their new web shop.
The new web shop might sell swag, such as the Abbadon kits. If this is the case, more events = more money.
This category may be a success in the long term because it’s the area where they currently have a stable base of buyers and can reach the bigger mass that don’t want to buy on Internet. If agents buy/order at an event instead, they can grow a new customer base. The beacons could even be used by local businesses as a way of advertisement.
Mission badge sorting
Category 3: Pay to Win(p2w)
Frackers are a brave move to the p2w side of the road. Luckily it’s a light version of p2w as the effect, affects everyone and not just the buyer. The impact on the game is also minor as you can read about here. Although people are very often against p2w in games when it’s introduced the highest voices tend to transform into the best spenders that buy the items more frequent than others (especially if the word “sale” is present). I believe this will be the biggest success of the three items actually, and will open up for items that only benefit the buyer once the players gets used to the fracker.
Temporary freely placed portal
Niantic Labs needs money, as do all companies. Store is a definite choice as a game on this scale pretty much has to be free (imagine Ingress Lite…). We all know that the best way to monetize on the mobile platform is the freemium model, and I believe they will work more on that and micro-transactions in Pokemon Go (who wouldn’t like a master ball?). It is up to you to decide which way the store will head, if you don’t buy from one category they’ll lay energy on another. So in one way, I believe this store is an experiment to see what the users want, or more specifically to see how to make the most money. I believe that we’ll see the most items in the pay to win section, but who knows for sure. We’ve just began wandering on this new path.