Quest for Aesthetics in a Metrics-driven Business


Published on

Published in: Entertainment & Humor, Design

Quest for Aesthetics in a Metrics-driven Business

  1. 1. The  Quest  for  Aesthe-cs  in  a   Metrics-­‐driven  Business   Games  Conven-on  Online   Leipzig,  July  9,  2010   Aki  Järvinen   Lead  Social  Designer   July  11,  2010  
  2. 2. Aki  Järvinen,     Social  Game  Developer,  Ph.D   Aki Järvinen has a unique mix of experience from: Mobile game design Online & Social game design Online gambling design Board game design User experience design Business development Academic research & development Since 2009, focusing on Social Games: •  first doing contract work for startups in both in the US & Scandinavia •  from 2010, as the Lead Social Designer & Product Owner at Digital Chocolate, Sumea Studio, in Helsinki, Finland
  3. 3. DChoc:  From  Mobile  to  Social  Games
  4. 4. The  Problem   •  The  session  -tle:  ‘How  to  get  the  player  playing’   •  Context  of  the  talk:  Social  Games  Business   Development  from  a  player  experience  perspec-ve   •  =  ‘How  to  acquire  &  retain  players  in  the  social   games  market’   •  ...  and,  according  to  the  freemium  model,  ul-mately   mone-ze  a  percentage  of  them   •  ...  while  they  have  social  fun  
  5. 5. On  to  specifics   •  What  do  the  aesthe-c  aspects  of  social  games   mean  for  acquisi-on,  reten-on,  and   mone-za-on?   –  What  characterizes  ‘aesthe-cs’  of  social  games?   –  How  does  it  relate  to  common  metrics  used  to   evaluate  social  games?   –  How  can  we  employ  the  discourse  of  online   business  development  to,  actually,  talk  about   aesthe-cs?    
  6. 6. What  makes  social  games  ‘tasty’?
  7. 7. Solu-on   •  Social  &  Service  Design  Contexts   •  Social  Games  as  metrics-­‐driven  products   •  Social  games’  aesthe-cs  -­‐  what  is  that?   •  Aesthe-cs  vs  Metrics:  Who  wins?   •  Take-­‐away:  Metrics-­‐conscious  yet  aesthe-cs-­‐ driven  mindset  for  itera-ve  social  game   development    
  8. 8. Solu-on   •  Social  &  Service  Design  Contexts   •  Social  Games  as  metrics-­‐driven  products   •  Social  games’  aesthe-cs  -­‐  what  is  that?   •  Aesthe-cs  vs  Metrics:  Who  wins?  
  9. 9. Social  design   •  ‘The  gameplay  experience  ends   up  simply  being  another  point   along  that  service   chain.’  (Andrew  Meyer)   •  Social  design  is  the  concep-on,   planning,  and  produc-on  of   web  sites  and  applica-ons  that   support  social  interac-on. (Joshua  Porter)   10
  10. 10. Service  Design   •  ‘A  service  is  a  chain  of  ac-vi-es  that  form  a   process  and  have  value  for  the  end  user.’     (Dan  Saffer)   •  service  design  focuses  on  context,  i.e.  ‘the   en-re  system  of  use’.   •  and  the  context  for  social  games  is...?   11
  11. 11. _The_  Context   Gameplay   12
  12. 12. ‘Social  games’  defined  ≈   Online  games  that  adapt  your  online   friendship  -es  for  play  purposes,  while   accommoda-ng  your  daily  rou-nes   13
  13. 13. Solu-on   •  Social  &  Service  Design  Contexts   •  Social  Games  as  metrics-­‐driven  products   •  Social  games’  aesthe-cs  -­‐  what  is  that?   •  Aesthe-cs  vs  Metrics:  Who  wins?  
  14. 14. Metrics  vs  Aesthe-cs   Mr Metric Mr Aesthetic
  15. 15. Metrics-­‐driven  vs.  Visionary  design   •  ‘Consul0ng  metrics  is  no  different  than  consul0ng   focus  groups,  only  on  a  much  larger  scale,  and  with   infinitely  more  frequency  and  granularity.  They  can   tell  you  if  a  design  choice  works  or  not.     [...]   no  feature  goes  into  any  game  unless  there's  a   business  objec0ve  it  sa0sfies,  be  it  increased   engagement,  virality,  immersion.‘     –  Chris  Pasley,  ex-­‐director  of  Kongregate  [reference]  
  16. 16. Metrics  vs  Aesthe-cs   Mr Metric Mr Aesthetic
  17. 17. Pivo-ng  your  product   •  Dave  McClure’s  AARRR  ‘pirate’  metrics  for  startups:   [link]   –  Acquisi-on   –  Ac-va-on   –  Reten-on   –  Referral   –  Revenue   •  Metrics  are  about  customer  development  &  product-­‐ market  fit   •  Lean  startups  combine  agile  development  methods   with  customer  insights  from  metrics    
  18. 18. Metrics’  quali-es   •  Ac-onable   –  inform  design/development  solu-ons  immediately   –  note  the  difference  to,  e.g.,  academic  research   •  Accessible   –  understand  what  they  really  measure   •  Auditable     –  ‘metrics  are  people  too’  (Eric  Ries)   –  i.e.  the  qualita-ve  dilemma:  can  we  validate  that  players   really  did  what  the  metrics  claimed  they  did?  
  19. 19. Key  business  metrics   •  Acquisi-on  &  Referral  metrics:   “Key metrics are 1 day, 3 day, 7 day –  DAU  –  Dailyac-ve  users   retention, then long term retention. 1 day retention target is 30-60%, less –  DVU  –  Daily  viral  users   than 30% and you may not have a –  k  –  viral  coefficient   fixable game.” – from Social Gaming Summit 2010 roundtable •  Ac-va-on  metrics:   –  in-­‐game  behavior:  gameplay,  -me  spent,  virtual  economy,  viral  ac-vity   •  Reten-on  metrics:   –  DAU  –  Daily  ac-ve  users   –  DAU/WAU  –  ra-o  of  daily/weekly  players   –  DAU/MAU  –  The  ‘s-cky  factor’,  long  term  reten-on   •  Mone-za-on  metrics:   –  ARPU  –  Average  revenue  per  user   20 –  ARPPU  –  Average  revenue  per  paying  user  
  20. 20. Metrics  &  Marke-ng  driven   •  To  get  to  1  million  DAUs  =  $2-­‐3  million  marke-ng   budget,  es-mates  RockYou's  Jia  Shen.   •  Do  the  math:  $2M/360  ≈  $5,5k  marke-ng  spend  per   day   •  Bopom  line:  In  today’s  Facebook,  viral  and  game   quality  only  goes  so  far   –  viral,  cross-­‐promo-on,  and  marke-ng  contribute  roughly   1/3  each  to  number  of  users  acquired     –  one  can  buy  players  for  any  app  through  marke-ng   –  and  earn  players  through  the  cross-­‐promo-on  leverage   from  a  hit   21
  21. 21. Acquisi-on  &  Ac-va-on  processes   •  Viral  –  persuading  via  social  proof   •  Cross-­‐promo-on  –  persuading  your  exis-ng   customers  to  spend  more  -me  with  you   •  Adver-sing  –  persuading  those  are  seeking  social   entertainment  to  click  on  your  ad   •  Each  account  for  roughly  1/3  of  new  customer   acquisi-on  
  22. 22. Viral  is  Social  Proof  ignored
  23. 23. Customer  Journey  through   Gameplay   •  First  week:   –  Completes  the  tutorial:  ‘First  five  minutes’  [ Gamasutra  Feature]   –  Leveling  structure  as  mo-va-on  &  reten-on  mechanic   –  Hits  The  Wall  –  the  -pping  point  for  mone-za-on;   ‘crea-ng  a  problem  and  selling  back  the  solu-on’   –  80%  of  players  stay  if  you  manage  to  retain  them  for  the   first  week  (Mixpanel)   •  Second  week:   –  Balancing  act  –  how  to  keep  the  non-­‐paying  customers  so   that  they  provide  value  for  the  paying  ones  
  24. 24. Game  mechanics  are  key   •  S-ll,  gameplay  mapers  –  it  is  the  heart  of  reten-on,   referral,  revenue   •  Gameplay  is  experienced  through  game  mechanics   •  Game  Mechanics  are     –  ‘a  collec-on  of  tools  and  systems  that  an  interac-ve   designer  can  use  to  make  an  experience  more  fun  and   compelling’.  (Amy  Jo  Kim)     –  they  are  the  emo-onal  basis  for  game  experiences   –  what  makes  up  (social)  game  aesthe-cs  
  25. 25. Game  mechanics  drive     reten-on  &  revenue   •  In  a  freemium   business  model,  all   ‘game  mechanics’   are  reten-on   mechanics   •  ...that  gear  towards   mone-za-on,  by   imposing  in-­‐game   goals  that  become   The  Wall  
  26. 26. Solu-on   •  Social  &  Service  Design  Contexts   •  Social  Games  as  metrics-­‐driven  products   •  Social  games’  aesthe-cs  -­‐  what  is  that?   •  Aesthe-cs  vs  Metrics:  Who  wins?  
  27. 27. Aesthe-cs:  Game  Design  Context   •  MDA  design  framework   (Hunicke  et  al.  2004):     –  ‘Aesthe-cs  describes  the   desirable  emo-onal   responses  evoked  in  the   player,  when  she  interacts   with  the  game  system.’   •  Swink:  Game  Feel  
  28. 28. Aesthe-cs:  Game  studies  context   1.  Game  aesthe-cs  refers  to  the  sensory  phenomena  that  the   player  encounters  in  the  game  (visual,  aural,  hap-c,   embodied).   2.  Game  aesthe-cs  refers  to  those  aspects  of  digital  games  that   are  shared  with  other  art  forms.   3.  Game  aesthe-cs  is  an  expression  of  the  game  experienced   as  pleasure,  emo-on,  sociability,  forgiving,  etc  (with   reference  to  ”the  aesthe-c  experience”).   •  Simon  Niedenthal,  Malmö  University:  ‘What  We  Talk  About   When  We  Talk  About  Game  Aesthe-cs’   hpp://  
  29. 29. Aesthe-cs  of  Social  Games     •  =  look  &  feel,  including  social  interac-on  and   constraints,  such  as  ga-ng  content,  that  the   freemium  business  model  imposes   •  Social  game  aesthe-cs  are  anchored  in  the   following  aspects:   –  ‘clickability’   –  crea-ng  &  acknowledging  social  proof  both   through  viral  &  gameplay   –  unlocking,  by  grinding  and/or  paying    
  30. 30. Aesthe-cs  behind  the  Metrics   Aesthe-cs   Metrics:  examples   clickability   -me  per  session,   funnels:  tutorial,   payment,  ...   social  graph   viral  feeds  /  invites  sent,   friends  in  the  game,  ...   unlocking   level  progression,  money   spent,  ...  
  31. 31. Clickability
  32. 32. Playing  the  Social  Graph  
  33. 33. Unlocking
  34. 34. Solu-on   •  Social  &  Service  Design  Contexts   •  Social  Games  as  metrics-­‐driven  products   •  Social  games’  aesthe-cs  -­‐  what  is  that?   •  Aesthe-cs  vs  Metrics:  Who  wins?  
  35. 35. Gameplay  Aesthe-cs  vs  Metrics     We  fough t  the   metrics     and  the  m etrics   won!  
  36. 36. There  is  no  juxtaposi-on   Aesthetics need Metrics for a Winning Formula
  37. 37. The  Problem  Revisited   •  ‘Metrics  are  people  too’:  They  are  not  the  whole   (qualita-ve)  truth   •  Metrics  are  servants  to  your  ‘games  as  service’   development  process   •  What  you  pivot  is  gameplay  and  the  player   (customer)  experience,  and  the  metrics  will  follow   •  There  is  room  for  innova-on:  Create  aesthe-cs  that   force  you  to  reinvent  metrics!  
  38. 38. Thank  you.  
  39. 39. Welcome  to  GDC  Europe!   •  Talk  -tled  ‘Uncovering  Viral  Mechanics’  at   Cologne  in  August:   –  Myths  about  virality   –  Iden-fying  the  ‘shareworthy’  in  your  game   –  Designing  viral  loops   –  Case  studies  &  various  examples  of  social  games’   viral  mechanics   •  hpps:// op-on=G&V=3&id=680834