What’s Happening: The Importance of Whales

This week yielded some good news for game developers: whales account for a large amount of in-app purchases.

This week also yielded some bad news for game developers: whales account for the majority of in-app purchases.

And lastly, this week yielded some frightening news for game developers: whales make up a very narrow portion of gamers.


In this month’s monetization report, Swrve, an analytics and app marketing firm, broke out the gaming population according to spending. While most app developers don’t underestimtae the importance of whales, the report shows that these big spenders may be more powerful than previously assumed.

In a month, the top 10 percent of players generate 51 percent of in-game revenue for free-to-play games. What makes this finding striking, however, is that this top 10 percent represents only 0.15 percent of all players.

Game developers have to adjust their strategies to find and retain the whales, but they also have to find a way to capture and monetize the other 50 percent, who currently only generate 11 percent of monthly revenue. This likely means that advertising will become more influential and will take on an outsize role in an effort to incentivize people to spend money in games.

However, solely targeting whales can be dangerous; since the most significant purchasing activity happens within the first 24 hours a game is played, gaming companies need to focus on strategies to get their players to make that first purchase.

For more information, see VentureBeat’s summary here, and check out the data and the report yourself on Swrve’s site.

Here’s what else we’ve been reading at TrialPay this week:
Missing at Mobile World Congress: Innovation: The Wall Street Journal ponders the next big technological leap forward.
Key Trends from the World’s Biggest Mobile Technology Show: CNN’s Mobile World Congress round-up.
Mobile Apps Overtake PC Internet Usage in U.S.: In January, for the first time in history, Americans spent more time on the internet on their mobile devices and tablets than their PCs.