[Full] Social gaming insights and findings

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Social gaming insights and findings from the past year. This ppt contains info on some game apps/genres, niche games and optimization of virality.

Have any comments or feedback? Feel free to contact me via the my info mentioned in the ppt.

A much abridged version of the presentation would be uploaded soon.

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[Full] Social gaming insights and findings

  1. 1. Social gaming<br /> “Findings and insights”<br />redux<br />By Sriram Krishnan<br />sriramkri@gmail.com<br /> @sriramkri<br />
  2. 2. I’ve put together some of the insights and findings I’ve come across from the past year… <br />Most of you would probably know about what I’ve mentioned in this presentation: <br /><ul><li>“Social games – examples” is a general overview of the different types of applications out there (not exhaustive)
  3. 3. The other two parts are for industry enthusiasts or followers </li></ul>Special thanks to Noah Kagen, Jerome Scola and Gabriel Weyer for helping out..! <br />
  4. 4. Contents<br />Social games - examples<br />Optimizing virality<br />Looking to the future<br />
  5. 5. Social games – examples<br />Social games – examples<br /><ul><li> Viral
  6. 6. Strategy
  7. 7. RPG
  8. 8. Niche games + Facebook</li></li></ul><li>3 examples of Viral applications<br />iHeart by Mmkay<br />Quiz creator by LOLapps<br />Farmville by Zynga<br />
  9. 9. iHeart<br />~ 20,000,000 MAU, ~1,300,000 FB fans<br />The goal is to obtain the highest heart beat amongst your friends by sending and receiving hearts. The more hearts you receive, the faster your heart would beat. Features: Receive/Send hearts, heartbeat leader board<br /> Also became viral due to good PR –> seasonal: Valentine’s Day etc. App targeted female population -> tendency to like “hugs”, “kisses”, “hearts” etc<br />Monetized through advertising, and then virtual items<br />Social obligation to reciprocate -> users harass their friends to send hearts -> improve heartbeat<br />
  10. 10. iHeart<br />
  11. 11. Quiz creator<br />~ 460,000 MAU, ~83,000 FB fans<br />Users are able to create their own application just by filling up forms<br />This app created ‘00s and 000’s of other apps<br />Monetized through advertising<br />3 simple steps to create application:<br />
  12. 12. Quiz creator<br />
  13. 13. Farmville<br /> ~80,000,000 MAU, ~23,000,000 FB fans<br />Real time farming simulation game<br />User creates a customizable avatar and has a farm<br />Game revolves around the market where items can be purchased. As a player progresses, they can expand their farm to allow for more room for farming, animals and decorations<br />View Farmville parody herehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odBDAcOEKuI<br />
  14. 14. Farmville<br />
  15. 15. Focus - Farmville<br />Customer acquisition<br />Players need neighbours if they want to progress better. Neighbours = friends.<br /><ul><li>Spam friends -> peer pressure, nagging
  16. 16. Creation of fake accounts just for Farmville</li></ul>Cross promotion within Zynga<br />Retention<br />You have to come back regularly to take care of your farm: plant the seeds, harvest the crops -> Async + Appointment gaming<br />My aunt plays this game -> cross generation appeal. ie: Mafia Wars has less appeal<br />
  17. 17. Social games – examples<br />Viral<br /> How do you develop viral apps?<br /> Strategy<br /> RPG<br /> Niche games + Facebook<br />
  18. 18. 6 ways to make your app go viral<br />1. Utilizing all FB Platform features<br />Apps can’t be too dependent on any single FB platform feature …<br />..but have to utilize all FB platform features available: publish2stream, notifications, publish pictures, become a fan, bookmarking, email<br />Some features are better at acquiring users, some are better at retaining users<br />
  19. 19. 6 ways to make your app go viral<br />2. Incentizing co-operation, sharing<br />Apps have to encourage the user to interact with and to engage other users<br />Incentives, incentives, incentives! <br /><ul><li>To promote in-game action, To invite new users, To get invited users to accept invitation, To become a fan – Big Thing!, To subscribe to email or bookmarking, To grow avatar, farm, land, accomplish missions etc</li></ul>Ensure that the users are obliged to engage or to reciprocate action<br />
  20. 20. 6 ways to make your app go viral<br />3. Design + User flow<br />Integrate non-conditional viral features in the game mechanics<br /><ul><li>User has to publish2stream to advance 3 levels up or to get more points
  21. 21. Must invite 3 friends to unlock secret treasure box</li></ul>Simple UI for UX <br /><ul><li>Complicated applications take a longer time to catch on
  22. 22. K.I.S.S
  23. 23. Backend: No major complicated effort required</li></li></ul><li>6 ways to make your app go viral<br />4. Start tracking early<br />Tracking + Metrics = Feedback -> Better decision making<br />Listen to your users. Excellent management of community<br />K factor, Click/Publish ratios, Response rates, ROIs <br />5. Publicity + Customer acquisition<br />Old school – PR, blogs, conferences<br />Cross promotion on 6waves, own apps etc<br />Ads on Rockyou, Fb etc<br />6. You will also need luck on your side <br />
  24. 24. Social games – examples<br />Viral<br />Strategy<br /> RPG<br /> Niche games + Facebook<br />
  25. 25. 3 examples of strategy games<br />Travian<br />Evony<br />Kingdoms of Camelot<br />
  26. 26. Travian<br />Military strategy real time multiplayer<br />Aim: To reach level 100<br />Choice of characters or tribes<br />Each tribe has different strengths, weaknesses <br />Commodities management<br /> Wood, clay, iron, wheat etc<br /> Production -> Usage for Construction, Food etc <br />Military/Troops strategy<br />Attacking, Defending<br />Developing manpower<br />Ranking (leader board)<br />Alliances, clans<br />
  27. 27. Evony<br />Browser based online multiplayer strategy game<br />User starts as a mayor and have to increase population of city and build <br />Similar to Travian: ranking, attack/defense<br />Item mall – 2 types of virtual currencies<br />Gold – action oriented <br />Game cents – real $$$<br />
  28. 28. Kingdom of Camelot<br />~3,000,000 MAU, ~ 660,000 FB fans<br />KoC = Evony, Travian + Facebook’s social graph<br />Additional Features:<br />Facebook friends - to speed up construction, alliance etc<br /> Rich/Smooth graphics <br /> Global chat<br /> Quest assistance<br />
  29. 29. Focus - Kingdoms of Camelot<br />User Acquisition<br />Good Facebook integration. Almost being forced to invite friends and publish streams<br />Cross promotion with 6waves<br />Social + Strategy – first in the business -> Niche <br />Retention<br />Rich design features<br />Self selective audience members -> not 5 minute users<br />Seamless HTML loading. 1st flash screen load takes a long time, but all subsequent loading uses html<br />Monetisation<br />Multiple purchase options – speed up, production, chest etc<br />Requires more robust payment strategy. Mobile payments should be made more obvious, and localised according to markets – geoIP, other methods of payment to load within site, not in a separate window<br />
  30. 30. Social games – examples<br />Viral<br />Strategy<br /> RPG<br /> Niche games + Facebook<br />
  31. 31. 3 examples of RPG games<br /> Mafia Wars<br /> Club Penguin<br /> Runescape<br />
  32. 32. Mafia Wars<br /> Multiplayer RPG game<br /> Game play:<br /> Variables -> energy, stamina, experience points,<br /> Users level up when a certain experience point is reached<br /> 3 Characters to choose from beginning<br />
  33. 33. Club Penguin<br />Children use penguin avatars and explore many virtual worlds<br />Users can express themselves while in the worlds<br />Multiple virtual worlds – competition, races, lounges, education etc<br />Safe environment for children <br />Monetisation: Subscription model, free2play<br /><ul><li>Customers are parents not children
  34. 34. Kids accumulate coins by playing the game but they can only spend or redeem them for items only if they are paying members -> nag their parents to become paying members</li></li></ul><li>Runescape<br />Largest free MMORPG in the world <br />Game divided into several areas and players can travel wherever they want. Players set their own objective and goal, no story line<br /> Game play:<br /><ul><li> Real time PVP battles
  35. 35. Quests
  36. 36. In-game events or happenings
  37. 37. Chat, Interaction with non-players </li></ul>Hard core community<br />
  38. 38. Focus - Mafia Wars<br />User acquisition<br /> Cross promotions, Facebook fans, bookmarking, PR<br />The more friends you have, the more power you have for your avatar -> Users “begging” in forums etc<br />Monetisation<br />Ie: Prices of items correlate to amount in user inventory. If user buys a house for 1, the next house will be priced 1.2. If the user buys the second house, the third house is priced 1.4 and so on -> User spends more<br />Retention<br />Asynchgameplays, social (clans, interaction, leaderboard), excellent community management, appointment gaming, cooperation between friends<br />
  39. 39. Social games – examples<br />Viral<br />Strategy<br /> RPG<br /> Niche games + Facebook<br />
  40. 40. Niche games + Facebook<br />Niche games/genres are new to Facebook. Finding the right balance between complex, MMO vs social gaming<br /><ul><li>FB is a social platform and social features should always be prioritized ahead of additional game mechanics
  41. 41. But higher the complexity, easier for certain type of users to get hooked to the game
  42. 42. High MAU, Low ARPU vs Low MAU, High ARPU. Ie: Kingdom of Camelot
  43. 43. Discussions, arguments between game designer/producer and product manager for social features, monetisation -> normal</li></ul>Scenarios with simpler game play needed to cater to mass market -> Takes time to convert new users to active, engaging users.<br />Mouse only = Simple<br />Mouse + Keyboard = Complex, Difficult<br />
  44. 44. Contents<br />Social games - Examples<br />Optimizing virality<br />Looking to the future<br />
  45. 45. Those days…<br />Those days, apps relied on notifications, forced invitations and publish 2streams<br />These days, more emphasis on publish2stream; incentivizing cooperation<br />These days…<br />
  46. 46. Question:<br />What’s the most important tool you can use to make your game viral on Facebook?<br />Answer:<br /> Publish2stream<br />
  47. 47. Why do users publish2stream?<br />To show and tellleveling up, win/loss in battle, sending/receiving, challenging friends, obtaining items, finding items<br />To seek favours, to make requests<br />buildings get constructed faster, to grow your farms, fertilize crops, to fill up clan, to fill up homes, hiring friends in Hotel, survey questions about user, to join as clan members, to join as neighbours<br />
  48. 48. Incentivizing publish2streams<br />User s encouraged to publish2stream -> More publish2streams<br />User 1 Publishes/Invites -> If User 2 clicks -> Then, User 1 gets incentives -> More nagging and pleading<br />User 1 Publishes -> User 2 clicks -> User 1 + 2 gets incentives -> Win-win<br /> Pop-ups can have a variety of incentive strategies<br />
  49. 49.
  50. 50.
  51. 51. Ask yourself…<br />Would you rather click on …..<br /> Get a sign on bonus? <br /> Continue to Zoo paradise?<br /> Play Tiki resort?<br /> Save [your friend’s] cottage?<br />
  52. 52. Tips for Publish2Stream<br />Use a cute picture. <br />Incentivize the small bottom right link<br /><ul><li>Friends would be able to click and get something in return</li></ul>Credits/points, more information about friend etc<br />“Get sign on bonus now”, “Answer XXX’s questions now”<br />Use “call for action” headers instead of general statements<br /><ul><li>Most of the published shares use general statements for headers but use call for action statements as explanation</li></li></ul><li>Publish2Stream analytics<br />Variables to track<br />Date or Cohort<br />Type of stream post<br />Designs or styles for a/b testing<br /># of times pop-up gets shown to user (a)<br /># of times pop-up gets published to stream (b)<br />Published/shown ratio = b/a<br />Total # of clicks from all users for published pop-up (c)<br />Clicks/published ratio = c/b<br />
  53. 53. Publish2Stream analytics<br /><ul><li>Click breakdown – Where did users click your publish2stream post?
  54. 54. 1 – Picture (d), % of total clicks = d/c
  55. 55. 2 – Header (e), % of total clicks = e/c
  56. 56. 3 – Small link (f), % of total clicks = f/c
  57. 57. Actions completed (republish, redeem, join game, install game, invite friends)
  58. 58. 1 – Action 1 – g
  59. 59. 2 – Action 2 – h
  60. 60. 3 – Action 3 – I
  61. 61. Total action completed = g+h+I = j
  62. 62. Total ROI = j/c or j/b or j/a depending on what you’re tracking</li></li></ul><li>
  63. 63. Other general tips<br />Actionable data = very important<br />Relatively Easy - Tracking metrics at the backend<br />Requires some effort - Showing the metrics on dashboard on frontend etc <br />Important - Analysing data, checking which one works better<br />Most important - Acting on it by re-developing, re-designing<br />
  64. 64. Other general tips<br />Social gaming = A “doing” industry<br /><ul><li>Focus on doing -> design, develop, test, feedback, iterate, design, develop …
  65. 65. driven by data, NOT intuition. Avoid idealists, scatter brains at operational level</li></ul>Good Social game = Excellent product management = monetisation + social/viral + game balance<br />
  66. 66. Contents<br />Social games - examples<br />Optimizing virality<br />Looking to the future<br />
  67. 67. Looking to the future…<br />Traditional social gaming market getting crowded<br /><ul><li>“5 minute” games too crowded -> Almost a zero sum game -> Consolidation is happening
  68. 68. Birth of more complex, niche games
  69. 69. Dancing, FPS, Strategy, RPG, Racing etc</li></ul>Social games to have stand alone sites. Separate sites -> better community management and communal feeling<br /><ul><li>Less dependence on FB platform
  70. 70. Social games could utilize Facebook Connect
  71. 71. Stand alone sites monetize better compared to FB
  72. 72. Owning the users in the stand alone site
  73. 73. Zynga with farmville.com, CMUNE with paradisepaintball.cmune.com </li></li></ul><li>The END<br />Any comments? <br />sriramkri at gmail com<br />@sriramkri<br />http://cn.linkedin.com/in/sriramkrishnan <br />

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