26 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOURGAMEIN 26 MINUTES!Nicholas LovellGAMESbrief14th November 2011
Nicholas Lovell, GAMESbrief • Author, How to Publish a Game, GAMESbrief Unplugged • Director, GAMESbrief • Clients include Atari, Channel 4, Channelflip, Firefly, IPC, nDreams, Rebellion and Square Enix • @nicholaslovell / @gamesbrief
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1 Feed the funnelo To build a successful games business, you must feed the funnelo Potential customers arrive at the top. In the middle, you convert them to payers.o At the bottom, they become long-term, high- spending customers.
2 ARM yourselfo A successful online game must Acquire users, Retain them (usually overlooked!), and Monetise them.o All three aspects must be in harmony.o You need all three to build a successful long-term business.
3 Make it free AND expensive PRICE Revenue opportunity Marketing opportunity Demando Giving your content away for free is a marketing opportunity.o You have to find your revenue opportunity.o Draw customers along the curve by offering them things they truly value.
4 You’re making TVo A film director can open his movie slowly. Punters have paid $10 and are unlikely to leave in the first 10 minutes.o A TV director has, maybe, 10 seconds to grab me or – zap! – I’m gone.o Make TV, not film!
5 Tutorials don’t have to sucko From the moment I start playing your game, my departure is only a click away.o Someone who has spent $40 will put up with a dull tutorial. Free games don’t have that luxury!o If your tutorial sucks, I’m out of here. Make it fun, lively and rewarding!
6 Acquisition lasts longer than you thinko The Acquisition process doesn’t end when I click “install”!o 20 million people every month take a look at Cityville – and never return!o You haven’t got a customer until they spend 20 minutes playing. Make sure those first 20 minutes are your best stuff!
7 How hard can it be?o You want people to share updates with their friends, so give them a good reason.o Players won’t share a level-up, but they’ll share something that made them laugh.o Frontierville made its status updates smutty. They got a 20% uplift in sharing.
8 Avoid the leaky bucketo Acquiring customers is both hard and expensive.o Once you get them, focus on retention to keep them.o Don’t worry about getting new customers until you can satisfy the ones you’ve got!
9 Acquisition is fractalo Think of ARM across your ecosystem, not just for a single game.o One game might be great at viral acquisition, but rubbish at retention.o Scotland’s T-Enterprise acquires customers by launching satirical games based on current affairs.
10 Time is of the essenceo Time is the main asset in most connected games, not currencyo Timed events mean players make an appointment to return to the game.o Make this into the core of your retention strategy.
11 Open those loopso Humans hate leaving started tasks unfinished.o Ensure players always have multiple tasks underway.o Harvesting, missions, quests, collections, training – the possibilities are endless.
12 Keep the loops openo At all times, give your players lots to do. 00d:00h:03mo Short term tasks keep 00d:00h:30m players engaged moment by moment. 00d:03h:00mo Longer term tasks drive 03d:00h:00m retention, bringing players back to the game several times a day or over weeks.
13 You’ve started so you’ll finisho At all times, give your players lots to do.o Short term tasks keep players engaged moment by moment.o Longer term tasks drive retention, bringing players back to the game several times a day or over weeks.
14 The player will see you nowo Let me decide when I want to come back to your game.o Offer a range of timed actions. Can I come back in 2 hours, or am I away for a weekend, and need a 3- day action?o Farmville’s crops allow me to promise to come back at a time of my own choosing.
15 Spare the rodo If the game TOLD me to come back and I didn’t, a punishment feels unfair.o If I promised to return and didn’t, a punishment feels harsh but fair.o Punish for broken promises, not for failing to follow orders. (Your game shouldn’t be giving me orders anyway!)
16 The rule of 0-1-100o Everyone can play for free – that’s $0.o Make it really, really easy to spend $1.o Make it possible for someone who really loves your game to spend $100 per month.
17 Free means freeo It’s okay for people to play the game for free. It should be fun to play, for free, forever.o A demo or trial is a totally different emotional experience to a game that’s free forever.o You aren’t giving freeloaders your game demo. You’re giving them your game!
18 Free means freeo If you want me to buy prestige items, I need to know that others will see them!o If you’re sitting at home on your own, do you wear your finest clothes – or slob out in jeans and T-shirt?o Few people would buy a Ferrari if nobody was there to look at it!
19 Make it a no-brainero The first dollar I spend is the most valuable to you – it creates a buying behaviour.o Tiny Tower lifts are a cheap “no-brainer” first purchase.o Stronghold Kingdoms gives me ongoing bonuses in return for spending ANY money in the game.
20 Get to $100 the slow way o It’s easier for most people to spend $1 a hundred times than to spend $100 once. o Create cheap items that players get into the habit of buying regularly. o Regular spenders of small amounts can be whales too!
21 Consumables for fun and profit o The ideal consumable item doesn’t affect gameplay massively, can be sold over and over, and costs nothing to make o Tower Bux. Pocket Frogs potions. Stronghold Kingdoms trading cards. Farmville unwithers. o Find something the consumer wants – repeatedly!
22 High rollers want to spend. Let ‘emo How to get to $100 a month? One way is to sell something very expensive.o Glu Mobile’s Gun Bros offers a gun for $500.o Bigpoint Dark Orbit has a hugely expensive spaceship; EVE Online charges $70 for a monocle.
23 Be generous o Be happy to give things to your players for free. o Their goodwill and affection is your strongest asset. o Give away your best game content and embrace the freeloaders.
24 To the power of ten
25 Add friction o Game design is about taking friction out. o Freemium design is about adding friction. o GOOD freemium design is about finding a balance – just enough friction to encourage some players to pay, without ruining it for the rest of us.
26 Pre-register for the booko http://www.gamesbrief.com/52-game-idea-bombs/o THANK YOU FOR LISTENING
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