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Make money from games using Choke Point strategy

Posted by Farhan Arshad On August - 9 - 2013

Choke Point is basically a term mostly used by military strategists. Choke Point is a  geographical feature which an armed force is forced to pass in order to reach its objective. It greatly decreases the combat power of an army. It could be a bridge or a narrow valley. The English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar are two famous choke points of historical significance.

How the Media make money using Choke Point strategy

Sooner or later, all big public media companies go in search of a choke point, the place where they can find a leg up in terms of attention and monetization. Let me give you some familiar examples…

FACEBOOK said to you and to everyone else: Build your content here on our site, and we’ll make it easy for you to effortlessly share it with your friends and their friends and their friends. Over time, of course, the clutter leads to less sharing, and now you can pay them to promote your work to the very people who used to bump into it for free. They have control of a scarce resource (attention) and they’re building a business around it.

On the contrary, GOOGLE cancelled their RSS reader because RSS is a free, unchokable service, one that’s hard to put a toll on.

The secret power of Choke Point used by the games to make money

Wasn’t this article supposed to be about making money from games? You might be wondering that why I am quoting examples from the media. For your kind information…Games are also a form of media, if you haven’t figured it out already. Games also use the same Choke Point strategy to make money, like other forms of media, even if they are free to download and play. Let me show you some examples…

In-App Purchases (IAP)

Here is a screenshot from Angry Birds.

Angry Birds' Mighty Eagle

Angry Birds’ Mighty Eagle

Here, it  is really easy to figure out the choke point. The Angry Birds’ screenshot explains it by itself.

“Struck on a tricky level?”
“Out of levels to play?”

When you reach this level of frustration, it’s time to make money from the game which you downloaded for free. Isn’t it like that?

Here is another example:

Sketch Man by Miniclip

Sketch Man by Miniclip

Sketch Man is a game from Miniclip. It is an endless runner game in which a stick figure destroys the hurdles while running. And the speed of the runner keeps on increasing with time and makes it difficult to destroy the hurdles with ordinary weapons that you already have and you have to add new and more powerful weapons. You can buy those weapons using the coins you already have collected during the game-play, but it takes time…a lot of time. Here comes the money making strategy, because you don’t have time to play the game for a whole day to collect the required coins to get more powerful weapons to advance in the game to the next levels. You’re choked! Now spend some money to get out of miserable situation, and you would…if you love the game. Mission Accomplished!

Another kind of choke point is locked levels. Geo Dash is a free game from National Geographic. You can play its first chapter for free. Once you are involved in the game and starts to enjoy…you cannot play it anymore without purchasing next chapters. You’re chocked! Spend some money to buy new chapters. Mission Accomplished!

Geo Dash by National Geographic

Geo Dash by National Geographic

In-game advertising

In-Game Advertising (IGA) can be integrated into the game either through a display in the background, such as an in-game billboard or a commercial during the pause created when a game loads, or highly integrated within the game so that the advertised product is necessary to complete part of the game or is featured prominently within cutscenes.

Some game developers let you play the game for free but with IGA, with a promise to remove the advertisements if you purchase the paid version of the game.

For some serious gamers, IGA can be a Choke Point. They get frustrated due to ads which cause them to lose their attention. If they like the game, they would prefer to purchase the ads-free version. Mission Accomplished!

And some fun…

Mario IGA funny

Mario IGA funny

I Am Lovin it

I Am Lovin it

In Game Advertising

In Game Advertising


Choke Point history.
The Choke Point by Seth Godin.
In-Game Advertising

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