Why aren’t MMOs monetizing mobile apps?

I’ve been playing online games for as long as the genre existed and have slowly made the transition from “I will never play a free to play game” to “I could totally pay $25 for that cool mount”  What I want to know is why none of the big MMOs that are able to make enough money to continue to add content are not capitalizing on mobile apps?  I’m absolutely obsessed whenever there is a mobile app for the game that I’m playing.  It helps me feel like I’m more connected to my character.

Have you done the fashion show micro event in WoW?  It puts you in a room with a few other people and you dress up your character based on a random theme that it selects.  They are usually along the lines of “summer” or “winter” or “faction pride” and you go from there!  The last time I played this event it was the only thing that I wanted to do, to the point where I got every armor set of ever armor type on several different characters.  Why is this game not a mobile app?  Do you know how much more time I would spend on my transmog if this was a feature?

There are tons of other MMOs out there that all they have is cosmetic gear.  I could imagine an app with your character model and being able to try on gear similar to how you can in game.  Am I crazy for think this might be popular?  Would this be hard to do?  I know next to nothing about game design so knock me down if what I’m talking about would be crazy expensive.

Also being able to do WoW pet battled would make that part of the game amazingly fun for me if I could do it on my phone.  When I do them in game currently I’m just reminded of playing pokemon on my green gameboy pocket and being able to do it in bed.  I want to play pet battles from the bathtub!  Yes I know I can play the real pokemon but I love the idea of being able to advance my characters in the MMO that I’m playing while not having to sit at my computer to do it.

5 thoughts on “Why aren’t MMOs monetizing mobile apps?

  1. So are you asking why they don’t have more options for MMO apps, or why they don’t monetize them?

    Monetizing an app for a pay to play MMO would be an extra cost that most people would not deem worth it, and I’m paying for the game, so to see adverts in an app for a game I pay to play would totally turn me off.

    As far as adding game play-ability to the app such as pet battles, I think the issue is not that they cannot do it, but the fact that stability could cause issues for people trying to play in game versus people playing on unstable mobile networks.

    I’m not sure if there is a market for this either. I think they figure people at work should be working, and people at school should be at school, not in game. I personally having kids, would discourage this practice as it could become a distraction to my kids in school.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess more of what I’m wondering is for the F2P games that already have cash shops wouldn’t having access to use the shop through and app help them drive sales? I make a lot of purchases from my phone purely because it’s convenient for me to do so. I could picture myself falling in love with an in game costume while browsing from my phone and would want to buy it on the spot.

      I forget that battle pets can be vs other players as I have only ever played against NPCs but that makes sense. I wonder what percentage of players do the pet battles like I do? Even if they had a limited amount of functionality available remote from the game I would play it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This guy wouldn’t pay for it unless it was 100% necessary. And maybe even then not. I tried the Legion one (or was that WoD?) when I was playing, it was kinda nice to send minions somewhere. But I didn’t really do it. I’ve had a job where I don’t just play around on my phone all the time. Maybe a quick check in the lunch break, but I usually forgot that as well. So it was nice to not be blocked for ~10h for some activity that was time sensitive, but I still usually didn’t use it. And I was totally ok with that.


  3. I am not sure if this is the kind of app monetization you are thinking off (it seems you are thinking more of creating mobile versions of MMO mini-games?) but Final Fantasy XIV is going to do something like that with their mobile companion app

    The app is mostly so people can schedule events offline, chat, sell stuff in-game and organize their inventory.

    To sell stuff in the game requires a token called Kupo Nut that we automatically receive upon logging in the app daily.

    Free accounts can retain up to two Kupo Nuts.

    There is going to be a subscription though that among the benefits will give extra space for the chocobo saddle-bag and +1 retainer. Subscribers also receive 2 kupo nuts per day and can have up to 10 nuts.

    Retainers, for anyone who doesn’t play Final Fantasy XIV, is a NPC we can hire and then assign one of our unlocked classes. Then we can send them to collect materials based on their level and class. They also serve as inventory bank in the game. since we don’t have traditional banking, and to sell our stuff in the Market Board.

    By default the game allows us to have up to two retainers but you can pay a bit more to your subscription to unlock more retainers.

    Oh, the app subscription will cost 5 per month.

    And no, I don’t work for Square-Enix, I just like to be very detailed when explaining things, specially for an audience that might now know the subject. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome that they have an app for all of those functions. When WoW first put out their armory app it was also a monthly subscription, perhaps to help recoup the cost of development. I would love to see the world of an analyst for one of these game companies and how they measure activity in these apps and how they believe that influences how engaged a player is with their game. I know that it’s a weird thing to be curious about but I’m a total numbers nerd. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the business analyst…

      Liked by 2 people

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