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A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
A mysterious adventure_in_social_games_final
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

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  • 1. A Mysterious Adventure  in Social Games Daniel James Three Rings 3.2010 [email_address] Slides: thefloggingwillcontinue.com
  • 2. 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
  • 3. Idea
  • 4. 'Social' 
  • 5. 'Games'
  • 6. 'Viral'
  • 7. 'Distractions'
  • 8. B.F. Skinner
  • 9. Does it matter? Especially if I can make one in ~three months and it will output > $100k / month
  • 10. Alas, 9am Saturday is no time for moral prognostications. Maybe in 40 minutes...
  • 11. 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!
  • 12. Puzzle Pirates Metrics
    • Revenue Graph
    • Active users
    • Registrations
    • The Funnel
    • Revenue per user metrics (ARPPU) etc.
    • The issues: finding sustainable volume channels for acquisition
  • 13. Puzzle Pirates Population
  • 14. Puzzle Pirates Revenue & ARP(P)U
  • 15. Puzzle Pirates Funnel
  • 16. 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
  • 17. Whirled Population
  • 18. Whirled Revenue and Registration
  • 19. Whirled Friendships
  • 20. Whirled Discussions
  • 21. 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
        •  
      •  
  • 22. 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
  • 23. Whirled Games
  • 24. 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
  • 25. Everything
  • 26. More Everything
  • 27. Even More Everything
  • 28. Everything DAU
  • 29. Everything Revenue
  • 30. 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?
  • 31. Bite Me
  • 32. More Bite Me
  • 33. Even More Bite Me
  • 34. And of course....
  • 35. Bite Me   
  • 36. 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.)
  • 37. Bite Me Revenue
  • 38. 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
  • 39. Puzzle Pirates Treasure
  • 40. 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
  • 41. Puzzle Pirates Treasure Return Funnel by Test Group
  • 42. Puzzle Pirates Treasure
    • Finishing off MVP, adding viral and $
    • Launch April/May
    • Funnel players to PP FTW?
  • 43. DownTown
  • 44. DownTown
  • 45. 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
  • 46. ooo Lessons: Playing to Facebook
    • Game Design simplicity
    • Social Objects at the center
    • Cute Cute Cute
  • 47. 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
  • 48. ooo Lessons: Technology
    • De-framework
    • Accept that games are write-heavy
    • A virtualized cloud and auto-scaling are friends
  • 49. An Assessment of Prospects for the Facebook Platform
    •  
  • 50. The Ethical and Ludological Implications of 'Social' Games
  • 51. Special Guest: Meteor Games' Island Paradise
  • 52. Special Guest: Playcrafter / ZipZapPlay's Happy Habitat
  • 53. Questions, Questions [email_address] thefloggingwillcontinue.com

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