Monetization Trends in Recent Years

monetization trends for 2020 and beyond

For a long time, the monetization trend in Japanese smartphone games has been to obtain characters through gacha, a game in which players are charged currency in order to draw gacha. For this reason, the majority of games offered only chargeable currency as well as items for sale that could be purchased with real money in the game. However, in recent years, sales styles that offer a full lineup of products have become more common.

Billed currency has become the coordinator of cash value conversion.

What exactly does “enhanced product lineup” mean?

  • Stamina recovery items + currency
  • Training materials + currency
  • SSR confirmed gacha tickets + currency

Specifically, the above lineup is increasing. Behind these changes, we can see the intention to offer benefits that are less random and more immediately effective to players.

Moreover, by offering bundles of special value packs of items such as SSR confirmed gacha tickets and training materials that can considerably streamline game progression, and by selling them for a limited time as the game progresses, we are increasing player satisfaction while increasing the desire to pay. The key here is that the bundle includes the currency used to pay for the game.

Stamina recovery items, training materials, and gacha tickets are all bundled items that do not take effect immediately until they are used by the player. Under the Funds Settlement Law’s prepayment method, in-game items that do not take effect immediately are required to be converted in value, and the balance must be strictly managed and deposited so that it can be refunded at the end of service.

However, by selling bundles alongside the sale of individual currencies, and by matching the balance between the amount of money and the number of currencies granted, it is possible to offer a wide range of items that are not immediately effective, such as By selling bundles next to single currency sales and matching the balance between the amount of money and the number of currency items, it is possible to build a structure that says, “Items such as stamina recovery items, training materials, and gacha (gacha) tickets are extras and have no monetary value. This structure allows players to flexibly decide which items to bundle without considering the timing of the effect of the items to be handled.

Change in player experience

As bundle sales increase, the way the charged currency is viewed will change. In my personal experience, contrary to the legal interpretation of the Funds Settlement Law, the charged currency starts to feel like an extra. If you buy bundle packs that include in-game items you want, you will gradually feel like you are accumulating billable currency.

When players are running the gacha with the mindset of “I’ve accumulated enough billing currency from buying what I want, so let’s run the gacha,” they feel less psychologically damaged even if they don’t get SSRs. This may have other effects in increasing player satisfaction and engagement for a longer period of time.

Billing Pressure

Time-limited sales are perceived by players as billing pressure. It is important to pay attention to the frequency of their appearance and implement them.

Be aware of the law of jams

The marketing theory of “Jam’s Law” is important to keep in mind. This law states that the more choices a consumer has, the less willing he or she is to purchase.

Since you can now bundle everything, it may be counterproductive to offer a large number of packaged products bundled with various items that players may want.


GS2 is not responsible for the legal interpretation of the Funds Transfer Law mentioned in this article. Please check with your legal advisor for the official interpretation of the law.

2023-10-06 Kazutomo Niwa