With today’s consumer expecting free-to-play games, developers are looking for more models than just in-app purchases and advertising to monetize their apps. One model that can potentially develop a big hook to your game is real money tournaments. AppBattler, a Swedish startup, has just launched a platform on Google Play that allows game developers and their users to set up tournaments, letting their users win real money on their skills while giving game developers a cut of the pool.
The AppBattler platform can be accessed like a new app marketplace, and also within each app in their network. Users can participate in developer-created real-money public tournaments, “Freeroll” public tournaments with no buy-in but real money prizes, or private tournaments set up by users. AppBattler also gives developers the option of creating play-money tournaments, just to drive engagement and social features within the app. Users can be notified of the tournaments through in-app popups.
AppBattler splits the administrative fee with the developers. On their website they give the example of if a user creates a battle and invites three friends where the stake is $2 a person, AppBattler takes a 25% administrative fee (which in this case is $2). If the agreement with the developer is to split this cut 75% – 25%, then the developer would receive $0.50 from this battle.
The concept involves skill-based betting competitions, which isn’t legal everywhere. But AppBattler can be used in the major European markets, New Zealand, and The United States (except for 16 states). Gustav Fagerman, co-founder of Appbattler, tells us that in practice, every player essentially has to confirm their terms and conditions that they are in a state where it is legal whenever they transfer money into their AppBattler account.
There are plenty of skill-based games out there that are only single player, so AppBattler is positioning themselves to be an easy solution that allows developers to quickly plug into the social features around tournaments, and also provide cross-promotion of AppBattler apps in their App marketplace.
So far AppBattler has five games listed on their platform, and they tell us they’re adding new games every week. Their app can be found on Google Play.
AppBattler has only been on the market for two weeks, so it’s tough to make any judgements on how the platform is monetizing. But it will be interesting to see how developers use this channel, and if users are willing to put money down on their skills. I don’t know if I’m good enough to bet on my skills in any games, but I’d still wager this sort of monetization platform has a huge upwards potential.