Skip to main content

Mobile Game Price Hikes- Factors Behind the Increase in In-App Purchase Costs

ยท 6 min read

Mobile Price Hike Image Credit :- Finbold

For the first time in a decade, the gaming industry is going through an economic crisis; as a result gaming industry declined by 6.4% compared to last year and generated $92.2 billion only, according to Newzoo. The main factors of this crisis lie between post-pandemic changes in player behavior and a drop in consumer spending to the impact of Apple's ATT (App Tracking Transparency).

So, the gaming giants are adopting various strategies to cope with the challenge. As a result, one notable trend that emerged last year was the launch of external web stores by gaming studios and publishers to sell their in-game items directly, bypassing the commission charged by Google and Apple through in-app purchases.

Another trend that has emerged in recent times is the increase in prices of purchasable items in popular games such as Mario Kart Tour, Genshin Impact, Octopath Traveller, and more. The IAPs price hike is due to several factors, including the Federal Reserve's interest rate increase and the growing risk aversion in the market. Consequently, the US dollar exchange rate has surged, causing a decline in major currencies such as the Euro, CNY, and pound sterling against the US dollar.

The US dollar surge in the exchange rate of the US dollar caused Apple's Store revenue, as Apple's headquarter is in the US only. As a result, Apple increased App Store IAP prices in several regions globally in September. So, the rate of increase in the prices of purchasable items in mobile games can vary depending on the devaluation of each country's currency against the US dollar. This means that in regions where the US dollar has seen a significant increase against the local currency, such as a 29% increase against the Japanese yen, the price increases for items in mobile games, as set by Apple, have also been higher, such as a 30% increase in Japan.

So, various territories were affected due to price hikes and Apple ATT announcement, which is about 10% to 30% in different regions like Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, India, Chile, Egypt and more.

Price hike Vs. Price reduction between different games

From major titles to in-famous apps, they increased their IAPs accordingly, as the fact cannot be hidden that Apple's announcement has affected most games on the iOS store. However, there are different sets of strategies taken by gaming companies and developers to communicate these changes to their players.

Prominent games, Octopath Traveller: Champions of the Continent, showed a pop-up with a message that they have to raise their IAPs by around 20% in territories functioning with Euro and created the highest-priced pack by 99.99 Euro to 119.99 Euros.

Tower of Fantasy released a statement stating they would increase IAPs and follow suit with Apple in adjusting the IAPs. At the same time, other platforms will get their services at regular prices.

Genshin Impact's developers wrote on their blog HoYoLab that they would raise the game IAPs prices in line with Apple's announcement across the affected regions while stating that the price will impact all platforms. However, meantime, the iOS price will be affected.

While some companies were hiking their IAPs prices, some companies played smartly and developed a more gamer-friendly approach, like League of Legends: Wild Rift, Mario Kart Tour, and Diablo Immortal.

League of Legends: Wild Rift announced that they are raising their IAPs on 18 November, and Players can be benefited by purchasing IAPs between 1-17 November, which doubled the selling of their IAPs, and got a tremendous growth in daily revenue by eight times than previous day.

Nintendo's Mario Kart got new and premium currencies in their existing packs at rising prices to tackle their players in their games. For example, the number of assets (currencies) is getting more in the bucket, like a value pack that went with Five rubies now consists of 6 rubies.

Nintendo also made positive revenue during the economic crisis with their re-balanced packs and got major increases in daily revenue worldwide, including a spike of more than 20 times in Japan.

Diablo Immortal was the only title of note to decrease its prices in the wake of Apple's changes, or to a certain extent at least. The price point for all its packs remained the same as before, with more premium currency available in each. Developer Blizzard also added a new currency that month which could be used to craft legendary five-star gems called Telluric Pearls, which players could acquire for free by participating in limited-time events and IAPs.

In contrast to Apple's announcement, game developer Blizzard has added a new currency in Diablo Immortal while decreasing its price. Pricing for all packs remained the same as before, with more premium currencies in each pack. However, this move has sparked criticism from some who accuse Blizzard of making the game "Pay to Win." The new currency, called Telluric Pearls, can be used to craft legendary five-star gems and can be acquired for free by participating in limited-time events or through in-app purchases.

Apple expands developer benefits amid controversy and IAP web stores

Apple Price Points benefits for Developers

Following the ATT announcement and news of price rises, Apple announced a positive announcement. It will soon provide developers with 700 additional price points and other benefits, which will enable developers to set prices as per country and many more things.

Epic Games and Apple controversy helped many developers create extended IAPs stores. It happened just after Fortnite's removal from the iOS store because Fortnite offered cheaper IAPs of Vbucks to direct those players who were buying IAPs through direct payment to Epic (Web Store).

Since then, following Epic Games, there have been external web stores launched by Game of Thrones: Conquest, Clash of Clans, Star Trek Fleet Command, and more to offer better deals for purchasing IAPs.


The mobile gaming industry has been hit by an economic crisis, with a 6.4% decline in revenue compared to the previous year. Factors include post-pandemic changes in player behavior, a drop in consumer spending, and Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT). As a result, many game developers have increased prices for in-app purchases (IAPs) to compensate for losses. However, some have adopted a more player-friendly approach, such as offering discounts on IAPs or introducing new currencies. The impact of these changes varies by region, depending on the strength of local currencies against the US dollar.

If you are also looking to hire a game development services agency or to develop an IAP Web Store for iOS games, Gamix Labs ensures you deliver development solutions that will suit your business needs.