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A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
 

A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final

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    A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final Presentation Transcript

    • A Mysterious Adventure  in Social Games Daniel James Three Rings 3.2010 [email_address] Slides: thefloggingwillcontinue.com
    • Today's Agenda
      • Preamble regarding 'Social' Games
      • Review of Three Rings' Games Metrics
      • Puzzle Pirates
      • Whirled
      • Customer Development / Lean Startup Principles Applied to Games
      • The Story of Three Rings' entry into Facebook
        • Whirled Games
        • Everything
        • Bite Me
        • Puzzle Pirates Treasure
        • DownTown
      • Overall Lessons, Tips and Tools from ooo
      • An Assessment of Prospects for the Facebook Platform
      • The Ethical and Ludological Implications of 'Social' Games
      • Special Guest: Playcrafter / ZipZapPlay's Happy Habitat
      • Special Guest: Meteor Games' Island Paradise
      • Questions, Questions
    • Idea
    • 'Social' 
    • 'Games'
    • 'Viral'
    • 'Distractions'
    • B.F. Skinner
    • Does it matter? Especially if I can make one in ~three months and it will output > $100k / month
    • Alas, 9am Saturday is no time for moral prognostications. Maybe in 40 minutes...
    • Three Rings Background
      • Nearly nine years in the trenches of Indie MMO mayhem
      • 2001 Founded, started Puzzle Pirates (Casual MMO)
      • 2003 PP in Beta testing, team of 6
      • 2004 Launched PP, subscription, barely break-even
      • 2005 Miniclip and Doubloons (virtual currency) launch. Fast growth, profitable, team to 15
      • 2006 Raise $1.4M, start Bang! Howdy and Metasoy (Whirled)
      • 2007 Raise $3.5M, ship Bang! Howdy (fail), team of 30
      • 2008 Lose ~$2.5M, ship Whirled Beta and many cool multiplayer Flash games, team of 37
      • 2009 Raise $1M, layoffs down to 30, launch Whirled, disappointed, start making FB games, lose ~$1M
      • 2010 Profit!
    • Puzzle Pirates Metrics
      • Revenue Graph
      • Active users
      • Registrations
      • The Funnel
      • Revenue per user metrics (ARPPU) etc.
      • The issues: finding sustainable volume channels for acquisition
    • Puzzle Pirates Population
    • Puzzle Pirates Revenue & ARP(P)U
    • Puzzle Pirates Funnel
    • Whirled
      • Mash-up of various ‘big ideas’:
        • Player-created virtual goods
        • Social network meets virtual world
        • Multi-player Flash games, both in-world and stand-alone
      • Hard to explain: customer proposition unclear
      • Customer acquisition hypothesis untested until launch:
        • Embed games out on Flash portals > clicks back to Whirled
        • Email / sharing virality
        • Flash game developers seizing virtual goods / multi-player platform
      • Hypothesis uniformly failed by mid-2009, leaving team demoralized and unclear on next path
      • However, robust player community stabilized
        • ~10,000 daily registered players, ~300k active unique visitors
        • ~$15-18k monthly revenue
        • Creators earning good beer money
      • Revisit to optimize funnel, virality and monetization in 2010
    • Whirled Population
    • Whirled Revenue and Registration
    • Whirled Friendships
    • Whirled Discussions
    • On Customer Development
      • Steve Blank
      • Eric Ries: www.startuplessonslearned.com 
      • How to reduce product development risk
          • Create hypothesis ('Kids would like to make their own virtual world')
          • Verify hypothesis as early as possible with minimum investment
          • 'Getting out of the building’
          • Do not proceed to development or marketing scaling until proven
          • Metrics-based verification and iteration
        • Provide Clarity of objectives to the team
        • A framework for rational investment, or ceasing it
          •  
        •  
    • Three Rings CD Process
      • Each step is a 'Gate' where the project can stop and iterate
          • Concept Brainstorming
          • Concept Testing of Ad Click-through, Sign-up
          • Prototype Development
          • Test Prototype for Returning Players, Funnel
          • MVP Development
          • MVP Test: Funnel, Returning, Retention, Purchase / Viral intent
          • Customer Acquisition: focus on funnel and viral
          • Monetization: implement hard currency, test sales
          • Operations: continued iteration on all metrics and game improvements
    • Whirled Games
    • Whirled Games
      • Launched August 2009, on Whirled tech platform
      • Not viral, notifications channel noise
      • Daily Games feature not unique
      • Noisy data between Whirled.com players and FB app
      • No clear monetization path beyond upsell to Whirled
    • Everything
    • More Everything
    • Even More Everything
    • Everything DAU
    • Everything Revenue
    • Everything
      • Started August 2009
      • Built lightweight 'samsara' tech platform
      • Big hit in the office and first degree friends
      • Highly retentive: get the collecting bug
      • Very social, but speaks to the existing players / friends
      • Not viral, doesn't reach out well
        • Added 'little lost card' posts, some small lift
        • Added free gifts on the first page
        • Optimized to popular memes, sorta
      • One engineer(ish) for a few months, then gave up in Jan
      • Steady growth since: a sleeping giant?
    • Bite Me
    • More Bite Me
    • Even More Bite Me
    • And of course....
    • Bite Me   
    • Bite Me
      • Started Jan 2009 as 'Vampire Whirled', Whirled mini-MMO
      • Pivoted to FB in ~July 2009, still on cumbersome Whirled tech
      • Pivoted to Samsara in September
      • Began FB ad tests in early October
      • Passed 
      • Passed Customer Acquisition with K of 0.7 in October
      • Passed Monetization (Action Points = Flush. Thralls = Big Win.)
    • Bite Me Revenue
    • Bite Me
      • Hit a wall optimizing funnel (~26% conversion)
      • K = ~0.60, trying to bump with new features
      • Avg lifetime is ~12 days
      • Monetization: 4.5c/DAU, fantastic
      • Lack of high K is limiting factor for growth
    • Puzzle Pirates Treasure
    • Puzzle Pirates Treasure
      • Started October 2009
      • Puzzle Pirates puzzles tied together with collections for FB
      • Failed funnel with complexity of Puzzle Pirates puzzles
      • Passed by simplifying puzzles
      • Going towards monetization and retention tests
    • Puzzle Pirates Treasure Return Funnel by Test Group
    • Puzzle Pirates Treasure
      • Finishing off MVP, adding viral and $
      • Launch April/May
      • Funnel players to PP FTW?
    • DownTown
    • DownTown
    • Downtown
      • Market-tested 6 game ideas on Facebook with ads
      • DownTown showed 3-5x CTRs and sign-ups
      • Not just art style - beat alternative name Block Party handily
      • Broad appeal
      • Built prototype, testing showed tutorial problems
      • Streamlined tutorial, march to MVP
      • Launch in April
    • ooo Lessons: Playing to Facebook
      • Game Design simplicity
      • Social Objects at the center
      • Cute Cute Cute
    • ooo Lessons: Metrics
      • Tools:
      • Google Analytics: sort of useful
      • Kontagent: quite useful
      • Panopticon: very useful, insane investment
      • Key Metrics:
      • Funnel (various paths / slices)
      • Cohort metrics for returning, retention, revenue
      • In-game economy, player actions, general activity
    • ooo Lessons: Technology
      • De-framework
      • Accept that games are write-heavy
      • A virtualized cloud and auto-scaling are friends
    • An Assessment of Prospects for the Facebook Platform
      •  
    • The Ethical and Ludological Implications of 'Social' Games
    • Special Guest: Meteor Games' Island Paradise
    • Special Guest: Playcrafter / ZipZapPlay's Happy Habitat
    • Questions, Questions [email_address] thefloggingwillcontinue.com