Before writing this article I believed fictional money casinos could never compete with their real money counterparts in terms of revenue.
And boy, was I wrong.
One particular game changed my mind – Slotomania. This game has been successfully monetizing its free slot machines for years.
We’re here to analyze the Slotomania monetization strategy and many other things that contribute to its success.
First, let’s run through some facts about the game.
How Successful Is Slotomania?
Slotomania has been on the market for more than a decade. It was published back in November 2011 by Playtika. This publisher has a whole collection of successful games, such as World Series of Poker and Caesars Casino.
As these titles suggest, Playtika is specialized in creating casino games. Slotomania is a free-to-play slots casino game. Unlike a lot of other casino games on the market, here, players can’t use real cash nor win real money. This game is all about fun and adrenaline.
Despite this, Slotomania makes a killing. Here are some stats that show how.
Data source: AppMagic, a leading mobile intelligence platform. Get 3 days of free access to all AppMagic’s features, as well as 10% off, by clicking this link.
So far, Slotomania has been downloaded more than 70 million times. Interestingly, the downloads peaked in September 2021, a decade after the game’s release. So far in 2022, this casino game got up to more than 6 million downloads.
When it comes to revenue, Slotomania is hitting the jackpot. So far, it earned more than $1.9 billion!
As you can see, the revenues are enormous. There were some significant spikes like the one in 2020 when the whole mobile gaming industry boomed. 2020 alone brought $332 million to Playtika’s pockets. So far in 2022, Slotomania has earned more than $160 million.
Slotomania’s cumulative RpD (lifetime revenue divided by lifetime downloads) stands at $26,79, which is exceptional.
None of this would be possible without millions of people downloading the game. The game’s user acquisition strategy plays an important role here – read all about it in our Slotomania analysis.
In the final run, the game’s monetization strategy is what brings in the big bucks. However, none of it would work without the right combo of game mechanics, retention strategies, etc.
Let’s go over the game’s most important features.
A user’s first-time user experience in a game is always a win-or-lose situation.
Some players will love the game and keep playing, while others will be lost for good. To turn things into their favor, Playtika made it all about winning and receiving. In the first session, players will receive an array of rewards – from free coins on the house, surprise gifts, constant wins on the machines, etc.
This way the game provides a positive onboarding experience, making players feel lucky and rewarded.
A casino worker Lucy guides players through the game with a few pointers and written instructions.
There is not much guiding necessary though. Slotomania is a traditional game with a familiar and simple concept – spin the machine and try out your luck. The whole tutorial is over in a minute’s time. The game only explains gameplay basics and lets users explore additional features on their own.
Overall, the tutorial is done well, because it is simple, short, and to the point. The Slotomania player base is casual, and there is no need to overwhelm them with everything the game has to offer.
When it comes to its art style, Slotomania is everything you’d expect from a slots game.
The game brings Vegas vibes to the player’s screens. Everything in the game is flashy and glittery. The lobby, the slot machines, and all the other features come in a cartoonish art style with vibrant colors.
Every slot machine looks differently, so players can choose to play on dozens of different-themed machines: from trains to chili, diamonds, wild west to pandas. This way, everyone can adjust the game to their liking.
Slotomania is designed to bring a slot machine experience to mobile and it does a great job at it. The user experience is well-polished and the game’s flow is simple to follow.
When it comes to slot machines, the spin button is at the center of the action. It can be triggered with a tap, or with an auto feature that keeps the machine spinning. It all depends on what players prefer – being completely engaged with the game, or zoning out and leaving it on autopilot.
The game’s home screen contains all the basic in-game features in one place. On the top, players can find resources and the in-game store. Different slot machines are placed in the center of the screen and make the center of attention. All additional features are placed either on the left or bottom of the screen.
Overall, the interface is clear and not overwhelming, as it clearly highlights the game’s main features.
How Does Slotomania Work?
Let’s not overcomplicate things, slots games’ nature is as simple as it gets – it’s all about spinning, winning, and losing.
However, JUST spinning would bore players in no time.
For this reason, Slotomania uses a smart blend of mechanics that make the game what it is – fun, addictive, and profitable.
This mechanic is taken over from brick-and-mortar casinos and almost every slot game uses it. It stands for a rare jackpot reward a player can win with a random spin.
Want to know the best part? It increases each time a player spins a specific slot machine without winning the jackpot. Therefore, it motivates players to keep spinning.
This game is all about luck and randomness.
It can be found all over the place – from the core mechanics to gameplay, meta-features, rewards, and even in some purchasable items. Even if everything is not random, they’ve successfully created a great illusion of it being like that.
In mobile games, energy mechanics usually mean lives, moves, etc. Slotomania has no such features but has one that acts like an energy mechanic.
Of course, I’m talking about coins – the game’s hard currency. Once players run out of coins, they simply can’t play the game, as if they ran out of energy. At that moment, they are faced with two choices: to wait for the game to hand out rewards or to make a purchase.
Slotomania Monetization Strategy Breakdown
When it comes to slot games with no real-money gambling, most people have a few questions in mind.
Why do people play and even spend money on such games? What’s in it for them?
Let’s be real, if people are into these types of games, it makes more sense for them to just head to a casino or play with real money online.
Nevertheless, millions of people play and pay for games like Slotomania. It all comes down to two things: user behavior and the game’s offerings.
User Behavior and Monetization
There are several types of mobile gamers that play games like Slotomania.
The first one are average players. Their motivation to gamble comes from basic human nature. They enjoy getting high returns, winning against all odds, and occasionally getting extremely lucky.
Next, there are engaged gamblers. Guess what? Their motivation to play is almost completely different. For them, it’s all about the gambling rush – going all in, the excitement, and unpredictability. These are the players that can get from top to bottom in a minute’s time.
Then, there are regular casino visitors. These people play slot games to polish their skills so they can apply them to real-money gambling.
Finally, some users simply play these games to kill time. For example, for the weekend mobile gamers who want to pass the time.
Generally, this genre has a distinctive target audience – Baby Boomers and Millennials. In fact, Slotomania’s average player is 48 years old! Moreover, 58% of players are women.
Finally, some motivations can be applied to all player types. The entry barrier for the game is low, they don’t have to make big investments, and they can play the game for a long time, guilt-free.
The key to a successful monetization strategy is knowing how to approach all these different types of players.
In the following section, we’ll analyze how Playtika does this for Slotomania.
Which Monetization Models Slotomania Uses?
Slotomania monetization is set around in-app purchases and subscriptions.
This combination is getting increasingly popular across the mobile gaming industry. Over the last few years, a lot of games added subscription offers on top of their existing IAP model, including Slotomania.
Slotomania In-App Purchases Strategy and Price Points
A big green Buy sign draws the players’ attention on the home screen. Of course, this stands for Slotomania’s in-game store.
Let’s have a peek inside.
The store contains three different types of offers: coins, gems, and subscriptions.
The game’s hard currency – coins come with the most diverse offer. Players can choose between six different packs, from $1.99 to $49.99. Just for new players, all offers come with 100% more. People simply love the feeling of exclusivity, which makes the offers seem more tempting.
Players are less likely to spend money on the game’s soft currency – gems. Therefore, they only come in three different offers.
Next, the game offers three booster subscriptions. When players subscribe, they can enjoy the subscription benefits for three or seven days. The cheaper, three-day subscriptions work as test runs. If the players like them, they will probably come back for more.
The offers of gems and subscriptions are all in the $0.99 – $9.99 range. Even most of the coin offers are in the <$10 pool. The reasons are obvious. Playtika is aware their players won’t spend hundreds of dollars on a single purchase.
They are also aware that most of their paying audience will spend minimal amounts of money. In fact, the best selling offer of the game is the $1.99 coin pack.
How In-App Purchases Really Work in Slotomania?
Let’s be real, a lot of players won’t even visit the in-game store. Others might visit, but they won’t buy anything.
For this reason, the game has to bring the offers to the players. Equally important, it has to make them feel like they need them.
To find out how Slotomania does this, I put myself in the position of a player for 7 days.
The first monetization feature in this game appeared in a matter of minutes.
As I was spinning the machine and progressing, a pop-up saying “First daily dash completed!” appeared. Next, I claimed my dash rewards.
A pointer led me to a gift icon that explained what just happened – I was participating in a Dash season. This is the game’s battle pass, and it comes in a free and premium version.
Of course, the premium version, Dash Max brings extra rewards. It comes at $4.99, which is a standard battle pass price for these types of games.
What’s not so standard about it is how early in the players’ journey it appears. This way, the players get hooked to extra rewards from session one. As they keep playing, the game counts on the fact that their appetites will get bigger and bigger, which will potentially result in a purchase.
While I was on the home screen, there was a note about a free bonus at the game’s store, so I went and claimed it. This is important because it works as a simple trick to lure players into the store every day.
As I played the game, my progress was tracked with a level road called Slotocity. The road is filled with stops that unlock new in-game features.
During my second session, I unlocked a mini-game called Ballinko. After finishing it and claiming my rewards, I was offered to play again, but for bigger prizes. This would cost me $2.99. After declining, the game asks, “Are you sure?” – this felt a little bit pushy.
What makes this offer interesting is that the game is trying to monetize players through meta-features, more precisely, a luck-based feature.
This offer is targeting a specific player type – engaged gamblers. These types of players are most likely to invest in such a feature because of the thrill it brings. Other player types will probably not be as eager to make this investment, especially this early in the game.
The next monetization feature on the Slotocity road was a Piggy Bank feature. From this moment on, players collect savings. Every time they spin the slot machine, the piggy fills up with coins.
Players can break the piggy whenever they want – at a fixed price of $2.99. As they play more, the piggy is going to get more and more valuable.
There are several factors that make this purchase more tempting than others, and it’s all about psychology.
First, players see the piggy as something they created on their own, which creates attachment. After all, to fill it up with coins, they have to put in effort and time. Without their contribution, it would be worthless.
Second, they feel smarter about their choice to buy it. In behavioral psychology, this is called the endowment effect.
For example, when I first unlocked the piggy bank, it contained less than 300k coins. This didn’t pay off in comparison to the store’s $3 offer. Later on in the game, it contained over $1M coins which beats the store offers. After all this time and effort invested in it, it feels like a smart buy. It also feels like you’ve tricked the game into your favor.
On day 4, I played the game for quite a while and leveled up all the way to level 45.
This led me to another great thing on the Slotocity road – I could get the piggy bank for free.
Therefore, I got over 700k coins. Just like that. This was done so players can actually feel the value of the piggy bank purchase. More importantly, they might get hooked on the feeling.
People just love free samples, and this one is more than just a sample, it’s a whole free package. This is where the social norm of reciprocity comes in. When people get something for free, they are more likely to want to give something back – make a purchase in the future.
A “Collect mega bonus” feature appeared on my home screen.
It worked as the good old wheel of fortune. However, as soon as you get into it, the free fun stops. The next spin comes at a price – $1.99. This is yet another offer that targets engaged gamblers.
Later that day, I got an IAP offer right when I launched the game. This special offer was insanely generous. It brought $40+ worth of coins at $2.99 (it says $50 but that’s not really true).
Nevertheless, it was a big fat discount.
It was also time-limited to ten minutes only. This was done to create a strong sense of urgency and encourage an impulse purchase. This offer is not restricted to any player type. It could appeal to anyone that made it this far in the game.
Wondering why they would counterpart their own store offers like that?
Intentionally, of course.
This is something a lot of games do – they devalue the in-game currency store. However, this will not happen on level 1 or 10. Instead, as players climb levels and progress, they will start getting heavily discounted offers.
It’s only logical that a 50+ level player is more likely to make a purchase. At this point, the initial rewards start to drain, the stakes get higher, and the need for extra coins skyrockets.
A new game launch brought the same pop-up as yesterday.
Okay, obviously the offer wasn’t as exclusive and time-limited as it seemed earlier. However, the main point of this repeated offer is to give players a second chance to buy it.
Later on that same day, the pop-up appeared again.
These pop-ups marked a shift in the game’s monetization strategy. From this moment on, the monetization efforts became way more aggressive.
When I launched the game, the same pop-up from the last two days appeared again.
Despite the offer’s attractiveness, it wouldn’t hurt to mix it up a bit.
Also, there was a new luck-based feature (mini-game), called the Lotto Bonus. Once again, I got the taste of it with one free game and by winning a generous reward. A new attempt costs $1.99 and it targets primarily engaged gamblers. However, the fact that the first reward was so generous, it may lure other types of players to purchase it as well.
User Retention in Slotomania
Games with simple gameplay like Slotomania can bore players in a matter of days.
For this reason, the developers have to put in a lot of effort to keep them engaged. Besides making the game interesting, retention features play a big role in game monetization as well.
Slotomania is at the top of the genre in revenue and downloads. However, its retention rates are only okay.
This game retains:
- 32% of players on day 1
- 15% on day 7
- 10% of players after 30 days
This game’s retention rates put it into the bracket with the top 25% of casino games (GameAnalytics). In comparison, the top 2% of games in the genre manage to keep as much as 60% of players on day 1. That’s almost twice as much as Slotomania.
Nevertheless, the casino genre is very diverse. It also includes social and real-money gambling games that are more likely to have better retention rates. Slotomania’s main retention blocker is probably its gameplay simplicity.
Be that as it may, Slotomania is filled with good retention features. These include mini-games, a collection album, daily rewards, surprise rewards, social features, tournaments, a VIP system, push notifications, etc.
Push Notifications in Slotomania
Slotomania uses push notifications to nudge its players. Since they appear on the users’ screens, they have to be done right.
When I say done right, I mean they should be relevant, timely, and valuable.
The game notifies players about two things: daily/special bonuses and free rewards. Players can expect to get from two to three notifications per day, which doesn’t feel like too much.
The best thing about them? The content itself. Even though they refer to the same features, the messages are always different.
They follow the course of the day, so players might get a “morning traffic” or “headed to bed?” message about the same thing – free coins. Not only is the content timely, but it is also captivating and playful.
Slotomania Monetization: Key Strategies
At the end of the day, most Slotomania players won’t spend a dime on it.
However, a minority of players might. The key to making this happen is getting to know them and approaching them the right way, and at the right time.
Here are all the main Slotomania monetization strategies in one place.
- Combining at least two monetization models (in-app purchases + subscriptions)
- Creating different types of offers for different types of players (new players, average users, engaged gamblers, etc.)
- Using behavioral psychology to push in-app purchases (e.g., piggy bank)
- Increasing monetization aggressivity as players progress
- Devaluating store offers with special deals
- Luring players into the in-game store
A Final Note on Slotomania Monetization
One thing is for sure, Slotomania monetization strategy works. If you’re a mobile game developer, there’s a lot that can be learned from this casino game.
For more articles like this Slotomania monetization analysis, make sure to check out our dissections category.