How to Implement In-App Purchases into Mobile Games: A Step-by-Step Guide

Mobile gaming is a global phenomenon with billions of people playing on smartphones and tablets. Since mobile gaming has grown in popularity, game developers are discovering new ways to monetize their games. One of the most effective and common methods of monetizing games is through in-app purchases (IAPs).

In-app purchases allow players to get virtual goods and services within the game, such as extra lives, power-ups, or premium content. These purchases not only improve the player’s experience but also provide the developer with a steady stream of income. In fact, by 2024, the mobile gaming industry is expected to produce more than $100 billion in revenue. In-app purchases account for most of that total.

So, if you’re a mobile game developer looking for ways to add in-app purchases to your game, you’re in luck! We’ll guide you through the process of adding in-app purchases to your mobile apps step-by-step. We’ll look at everything from in-app payment benefits to setting up a payment system and creating virtual goods.

Frequently Asked Questions About In-App Purchases

Before we begin, let’s look at the FAQ about in-app purchases. If you’re a newbie to mobile game development or in-app purchases, you may have questions about how they work and how to use them. This section will address some of the most frequently asked questions about in-app purchases in mobile games.

What do in-app purchases mean?

In-app purchases are virtual goods or services players can buy within a mobile game using real-world currency. These purchases can improve the player’s experience, such as unlocking acclaimed levels, buying extra lives, or getting access to premium content.

How do in-app purchases work?

In-app purchases work by integrating a payment system into the mobile game. Players can buy using their app store accounts, such as the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. The developer receives a percentage of each transaction as revenue.

What are some examples of mobile games that use in-app purchases?

Some popular mobile games that use in-app purchases include Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and Pokémon Go. These games offer a range of virtual goods and services that players can buy to enhance their gameplay experience.

Is players must buy in-app purchases to enjoy the game?

No, in-app purchases are not required to experience the game. In-app purchases are optional and intended to improve the player experience. A well-designed game should be entertaining, even if it does not include in-app purchases.

How do I set up in-app purchases in my mobile game?

In-app purchases in your mobile game need several stages, including the creation of virtual goods, the establishment of a payment system, and the integration of purchases into your game’s user interface. These steps will be covered in depth in the sections that follow.

Which Games Have In-App Purchases?

In-app purchases have become common in many popular mobile games for obvious reasons. Not only do they provide a steady stream of revenue for developers, but they also improve the player’s experience by providing them with virtual goods and services that can improve their gameplay. Some popular mobile games with in-app purchases:

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Bang Bang Mobile Legends

1. Bang Bang Mobile Legends

Mobile Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that has gained worldwide acclaim. In-app purchases for virtual products such as skins, heroes, and diamonds are available. These purchases can improve players’ skills and make the game more enjoyable.

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Asphalt 9

2. Asphalt 9: Legends

Asphalt 9 is a racing game with in-app token purchases to access upgraded cars, upgrades, and boosters. These purchases can help players advance quicker and compete more with others.

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PUBG Mobile

3. PUBG Mobile

PUBG Mobile is a battle royale game with in-app purchases for a virtual currency known as Unknown Cash (UC), which can be used to purchase premium items like weapon skins, outfits, and crate vouchers. These purchases can increase a player’s chances of winning and help them stick out from the crowd.

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4. Gardenscapes

Gardenscapes is a puzzle game with in-app purchases for coins to purchase power-ups and yard decorations. These purchases can help players advance faster and enhance their gardens.

Explanation of How In-App Purchases Can Improve Gameplay

Because they improve gameplay, in-app purchases are common in many mobile games. In-app purchases, which exchange virtual products and services for real-world money, allow players to improve their gameplay experience and advance through the game faster.

Let’s look at how they can enhance the gaming experience.

1. Making paid materials available

In-app purchases for premium features, such as more stages, characters, or plots, are common in many smartphone games. These interactions may make gaming more interesting and satisfying. This will allow them to discover new material and enjoy playing games for a longer time

2. Improve individual performance

They can also help players perform better by giving them power-ups, extra lives, or boosters. These purchases can help players advance through challenging stages or gain a competitive advantage over others.

3. Providing customization choices

It may also include personalization choices, such as upgraded skins, costumes, or accessories. With the help of these transactions, players can personalize their gameplay and express their unique personalities.

4. Increasing player engagement

The ability to purchase in-app items can also boost player engagement through the provision of goals to work towards and incentives to keep playing. Players are engaged and motivated by the sense of progress and achievement that in-app purchases provide by trading virtual goods and services for real-world currency.

Does an in-app purchase make a game free?

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One common question is whether a game can still be considered “free” if it offers in-app purchases.

The short answer is yes. A mobile game can still be considered “free” even if it offers in-app purchases. This is because players are not required to buy the game. In other words, the game is free to play, but players can make in-app purchases if they choose to.

The term “free-to-play” (or “freemium”) describes mobile games that offer in-app purchases. These games are free to download and play, but players can spend real-world currency to enhance their gameplay experience or progress through the game faster. This model has become popular in recent years as it allows developers to generate revenue while providing players with an affordable and accessible gaming experience.

In-app purchases can be quite expensive, so players should always exercise caution. Moreover, developers should be transparent about the availability and pricing of in-app purchases so that players know what they are purchasing before making any purchases.

Okay, we may have realized how essential in-app purchases are from what was written above, but integrating them into a mobile game is a very complex and time-consuming process. To complete this complicated and lengthy procedure, we will look at simple and quick methods in this section of the blog.

Step 1: Set Up Developer Account

Before you can implement in-app purchases into your mobile game, you must first create a developer account on the app store of your choice. This will give you access to in-app purchase tools and enable you to administer your game on the app store network.

To create a developer account, follow the steps on the app store’s website. For the Apple App Store, for example, you must enlist in the Apple Developer Program and pay an annual fee. For the Google Play Store, you need to sign up as a creator and pay a one-time registration charge.

After creating your developer account, you’ll need to set up a merchant account to allow in-app payments. This account will allow you to accept in-app payments. To set up your merchant account, you must provide information such as your financial and tax information.

To prevent developer account problems, follow the App Store’s in-app purchase recommendations. App Store requires developers to provide clear and accurate information about in-app purchases, show the price of in-app purchases, and ensure that in-app purchases work as intended.

By setting up your developer account and merchant account and following the app store guidelines for in-app purchases, you’ll be on your way to implementing in-app purchases in your mobile game and generating revenue.

Step 2: Define In-App Purchase Items

To implement in-app purchases in your mobile game, you must define your in-app purchase items. In-app purchase items can range from virtual currencies to digital goods and services, and choosing the right ones is crucial to your game’s success.

When choosing your in-app purchase items, consider what will provide the most value to your users and enhance their gameplay experience. It’s imperative to strike a balance between providing value for users and generating revenue. For example, if your game is a strategy game, you may want to offer power-ups or extra resources to help users progress. If your game is a social game, you may want to offer virtual gifts or premium features for interacting with other players.

Once you’ve selected your in-app purchase items, it’s time to design icons and descriptions that communicate their value and benefits to users. Use clear and concise language to describe the benefits of each item, and use high-quality graphics for the icons. This will help users understand the value of each item and make informed purchase decisions.

When creating virtual currencies, consider the pricing strategy that works best for your game. You can offer virtual currencies in different denominations, such as $1, $5, or $10. Besides, you can offer bundles of virtual currencies at discounted prices. It’s critical to experiment with different pricing strategies and adjust them based on user feedback and analytics data.

When pricing your in-app purchase items, consider the perceived value of the item and how it fits into the game economy. For example, an item that provides a significant boost to gameplay may be priced higher than a cosmetic item that doesn’t affect gameplay. The key to achieving game revenue goals is to balance the perceived value of the item with the cost to the user.

How To Choose the Right Model?

Choosing the correct in-app purchase model is one of the first steps in adopting in-app purchases in your mobile game. There are several versions to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a rundown of the most popular in-app payment models:

  • Consumables: Items used up or eaten within the game are considered in-app purchases. A consumable object could, for example, be a box of simulated coins that could be spent in the game.
  • Non-consumable: Non-consumable in-app purchases are items bought once that provide a long-term advantage. A non-consumable object could be a unique weapon or character that can be used throughout the game, for example.
  • Subscription: Subscription in-app payments give you access to material or services for a defined amount of time, such as a week, month, or year. A subscription, for example, could grant access to exclusive stages or functions within the game.

Pros and Cons of each model

When selecting the right in-app purchase model for your mobile game, it’s imperative to consider the type of game you’re creating, your target audience, and your revenue goals. It’s also critical to balance each model’s benefits with its potential drawbacks. Choose a model that aligns with your game’s design and user experience. And don’t forget to price and name your in-app purchase items to generate the most revenue and create the most satisfying user experience.

Step 3: Implement InApp Purchases

After defining your in-app purchases, you’ll need to incorporate them into your mobile game. Depending on the platform you’re creating, various software development kits (SDKs) and tools are available to help you implement in-app purchases.

If you’re creating for IOS, for example, you can use the StoreKit framework to make in-app payments. You can use the Google Play Billing Library on Android. These SDKs give developers the tools to manage purchase flows and verify app store payments.

To incorporate in-app payments into your mobile game, you’ll need to add code to your game that works with the app store’s SDKs. This code will handle the purchase flow, display in-app purchase items to users, and confirm purchases with the app store.

It’s imperative to follow app store guidelines and best practices when implementing in-app purchases. This includes using the correct SDKs and APIs, providing clear and accurate descriptions of in-app purchase items, and displaying the correct prices and currency symbols for each item.

When implementing in-app purchases, it’s also critical to consider the user experience. Make sure the purchase flow is smooth and intuitive and that users can navigate to the in-app purchase items they’re interested in. Consider offering a variety of payment options, such as credit card, PayPal, or carrier billing, to make users’ purchases easier.

Now, let’s go over each shop in-depth and see how to import in-app purchases into mobile games.

Google Play Store In-App Purchases

Google Play Store is one of the largest mobile app marketplaces in the world, offering a wide range of apps and games for Android devices. It also features an in-app purchase system that allows developers to offer virtual goods and services within their games. To implement in-app purchases on the Google Play Store, developers must meet certain requirements. These requirements include:

  • Registering as a Google Play developer: Before implementing in-app purchases, developers must register as Google Play developers and agree to the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement.
  • Integrating the Google Play Billing Library: Developers must integrate the Google Play Billing Library into their app to handle in-app purchases.
  • Creating in-app products: Developers must create the virtual goods or services they wish to sell within their app and set the price and description for each product.
  • Testing in-app purchases: Before submitting an app to the Google Play Store, developers must test their in-app purchases to ensure they work.
  • Following Google Play policies: Developers must follow Google Play Store policies, such as pricing, billing, and refund policies.

Once you have met these requirements, you can implement in-app purchases within their app on the Google Play Store.

App Store In-App Purchases

As of September 2021, App Store had over 2.2 million apps available for download, including 1.96 million mobile games. In 2020, the App Store will generate about $72.3 billion in revenue, with in-app purchases accounting for much of this revenue. And this makes the App Store the biggest mobile app store in the world.

Developers must meet certain requirements to make in-app purchases on the App Store. These prerequisites include registering as an Apple developer, establishing an iTunes Connect developer account, developing in-app goods, testing in-app purchases, and adhering to App Store standards.

Registering as an Apple developer is the first step in implementing in-app purchases on the App Store. Developers must sign up for the Apple Developer Program and provide personal information to create an Apple developer account.

Once registered, set up a developer account on iTunes Connect. Apple provides a tool for managing apps and in-app purchases in the App Store. And create an app or update an existing one. They then create in-app purchase products, which can include virtual goods or services such as extra lives, power-ups, or other enhancements. Set a price for each product, and provide a description and screenshot of each product.

Testing in-app purchases is vital for system reliability. Developers can test in-app purchases using sandbox accounts, which simulate purchases without spending real money.

Once in-app purchases are set up on the App Store, developers must follow the App Store guidelines for in-app purchases. These guidelines include requirements for clear and accurate descriptions of in-app purchase products, transparent pricing, and compliance with local laws and regulations.

In-App Purchase App List

The App Store’s in-app purchase review process safeguards apps and users. Before an app can be published on the App Store, it must undergo a review process that includes a thorough examination of its in-app purchase features. Here’s what you need to know about the App Store review process for in-app purchases:

  • App Review Guidelines: The App Store has guidelines developers must follow when creating apps and implementing in-app purchases. These guidelines cover topics such as user privacy, security, and content standards. Developers must follow these guidelines to publish apps on the App Store.
  • Review Process: Once an app has been submitted for review, a team of Apple experts examines its features and functionality, including in-app purchases, and evaluates it. The review process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This depends on the complexity of the app and the volume of submissions Apple processes.
  • Approval and Rejection: After an app has been reviewed, it may be approved for publication on the App Store, rejected for minor issues that need to be addressed, or declined for major issues that make the app unsuitable for publication. In-app purchases are rejected for misleading pricing information, hidden or unclear purchase options, and prohibited payment methods.

What Do We Learn From This Blog?

In-app purchases, which allow mobile game makers to sell simulated goods or features within their games, are a common way to generate income. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of adopting in-app purchases in your mobile game, including selecting the correct in-app purchase model, creating your developer account, defining your in-app purchase items, and implementing your in-app purchases.

The guides examine the various kinds of in-app purchase models available, such as consumable, non-consumable, and subscription-based models, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. It also includes advice on how to choose the most effective in-app purchase strategy for your mobile game, as well as pricing and labeling your in-app purchase products.

The guidance then explains how to make in-app payments on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This includes creating a developer account and Merchant account, following app store rules for in-app purchases, and using different software development kits (SDKs) and tools for implementing in-app purchases.

We end with best practices for making virtual currencies, designing in-app purchase symbols and explanations, and pricing in-app purchase products. It also emphasizes the significance of offering a smooth and intuitive user experience throughout the transaction procedure. It also follows the app store’s payment rules.

Mobile game makers can implement in-app payments in their games and create income while improving the user experience by following the steps described in this guide.

Ali Dursun

Ali Dursun

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