Secrets to Game of War: Fire Age’s monetization

Game of War: Fire Age is a relatively new game from Machine Zone that is quickly moving up the top grossing charts. We’re not in the forecasting business but wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Game of War as a challenger to the #1 top grossing game in the coming months.

So what are the secrets to Game of War’s monetization success? Almost nothing about Game of War is brand new. It borrows heavily from MMOs like Kabam’s Kingdoms of Camelot, but takes that winning formula to new heights. Iterating on a formula ensures a big target audience and reduces the risk that ARPU won’t support support paid user acquisition.

That said, we think there are three things worth noting:

  1. Depth for big spenders. For many freemium games, the largest spenders represent more than 50% of total revenue.  It’s not enough to secure a one-time purchase. Top grossing games need to create demand for larger virtual coin purchases ($99+) and the best of them create demand that continues over time. The two best ways to do this are lots of strategic depth and great multiplayer. Game of War: Fire Age has created a ton of strategic depth that will allow for months of gameplay. This tends to be expensive to develop, but will pay off in spades for Machine Zone.
  2. Great multiplayer. Everyone loves playing games with friends and competing with them. Game of War’s multiplayer is native to the game, and promotes both cooperation and competition. You are placed directly into an alliance, where you’ll cooperate will up to 100 other players to take on the rest of the world. Lone wolves who try to play alone are fat targets, and my alliance has been stuck in a week-long war against another one from the UK. Wars create lots of spending.
  3. Great in-game messaging: Game of War does a great job promoting their in-game currency – see one sample screenshot. They run limited-time sales on their in-game currency, creating a sense of urgency.  And they add lots of small bonuses to their bundles to increase the perceived value.  We’d expect this makes them 25-30% more effective than simply making their currency available for sale.


Only time will tell how Game of War trends, but we expect the best game developers are taking notes and we’ll see new iterations on a great formula. We’re excited to see what it brings.


4 comments on “Secrets to Game of War: Fire Age’s monetization

  1. Charlie says:

    I am fascinated by how successful Game of War has become since there doesn’t really seem to be anything new here at all.

  2. Mike Murphy says:

    This game is great but also blows! You can not enjoy the game to the fullest because the “wallet warriors” control everything! If u don’t have a boat load of money to spend don’t even waste your time with this game!

  3. Random Person says:

    Game of War is definitely addictive, and you see those ‘wallet warriors’ in game all the time. It definitely is the game I play most on my phone. <3 the ability to talk to people across the world many different ways. Go MZ! ( the April Fool's day prank pulled on us was not fun, however. I don't like being a dog. )

  4. Recovering says:

    I played EQ and that was a big time investment. I have spend 7000USD on game of war and I’m done. Machine Zone keep adding more expensive content and I can’t keep up on the treadmill. Or rather I don’t want to anymore.

    Much like other experiences that don’t leave you entirely satisfied it’s a one shot affair what this means is I will never be spending thousands of dollars on another game title again. Fool me once same on you fool me twice shame on me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *