Game In Progress 13 ideas to change videogames business models by Luc Bourcier
The console videogame businessenvironment has become quitepredictable, unlike what it was in its earlydays. Publishers should put theirentrepreneurial hat on again and explorethe unpredictable world of online gaming.
Segment the audience in terms of time and money invested in gaming. Consider there are as many ARPPUs as they are gamers. The value of a game is determined by developers but the price paid is determined by each individual player. Adjust the gameplay to the audience not the reverse. Bear in mind that premium full games are first and foremost addressed to a hardcore audience. Base strategy on research, datamining and analytics.
Unbundle content and release game within a planned timeframe. IPs’ main strength is that they generate communities. Manage communities and pay a special attention to enthusiasts and whales. See what Activision is doing with the Call of Duty franchise: 50$/year Elite Subscription, Facebook integration to assemble multiplayer matches with friends, skill tracking, competitions, episodic NoobTube TV content…
Mobile game revenues are expected to reach $16 billion in 2016 (ABI Research) or $18 billion in 2013 (Juniper Research). Invest in SmartPhone and tablet development. These devices will replace (handheld) consoles. Innovate in mobile gameplay mechanisms (integrating geo-localization etc). Think cross-platforms.
Blend casual usage patterns of mobile and elements of high-end console gaming. Make character-driven mobile games. Integratereal-time content and real-world content into games. Keep an eye on what Seismic games and NGmoco will be releasing in the next future.
Optfor the convenience model where the player chooses the way he monetizes: subscriptions, ads, virtual goods… Insert virtual goods in most games but make purchase not compulsory and at user’s discretion. Considerprice as a personal variable to be tracked and monitored
Think of user acquisition and retention as a conversion funnel. Use behavioral targeting and recommendations tools. Set metagame mechanisms (badges, achievement…). The main target should be to transform a novice into an enthusiast player and into an evangelist. Use line-up and/or aggregators’ line-ups to cross- promote games.
Measure engagement with time of use. Use sessions average time and frequency of play as main KPIs. Engage players emotionally. Think stickiness and replay value. Push frequency of use and re-purchase of items.
Narrative and technology should be secondary to game design. Make progressive gameplays: • Make difficulties grow with engagement instead of having them at the beginning of the game. • Skip all time consuming loading and introductory screens and set the player in action as soon as he starts. Think frictionless. Make flexible gameplays: • Make game evolve with players actions and choices. • Make each individual player voyage unique. Invest and innovate in party gaming for static consoles.Keep in mind Ubisoft’s Just Dance and Majesco’s Zumba.
Revive older IPs and give them a new life Microsoft re-launches Flight Simulator as a free-to-play game, Doom is available on XBLA…
Personal recommendations have always been the most efficient discovery tool. Virality existed before Facebook and will continue to exist after Facebook. Encourage virality with mechanisms specific to each demographic sub-group. Use social on fixed and mobile devices for acquisition and loyalty. See Ubisoft free App Autodance to promote Just Dance 3 (1 million downloads and 7 million games sold)
Push contextual advertising: product placement, sponsored goods, actual brand posters etc. Insert offer walls in games. Remember that advertisers are also looking for new ways to interact with their target audiences. See what brands are doing in social gaming (Old Navy with Crowdstar’s It Girl, La Redoute with Ouat Entertainment’s Totally Spies.
Sethigh ambitions to game developers. Games on all formats are a hit driven business.