We create compelling gameplay experiences!
FreshGames
•

Based in Columbus, Ohio - Self-Funded


•

Est. 2002 - PC & Flash > 2011 Pivoted to Mobile


•

Employees - ...
HOW TO NOT GET

F*’D
MAKING MOBILE
GAMES
I N S I D E R S T R AT E G I E S
F O R C R E AT I N G

SUCCESSFUL
MOBILE GAMES
WHY DO WE LIKE MAKING MOBILE GAMES?
MOBILE
T H E # 1 G A M I N G P L AT F O R M
IN THE WORLD
N E V E R B E F O R E H AV E
YOU HAD SUCH

MASSIVE
REACH
WOW took 10 years to scale to
10 Million Users.
Draw Something - ...
GROWTH & REACH
Mobile games market to double in size by 2016 - $24 Billion

3

6 7.2

BILLION

BILLION

BILLION

Internet
...
M O B I L E G A M E R S TAT S
Player Profiles

• 48% female / 52% male

• 55% don’t spend money on games

• 40% between 33-...
A P P S T O R E S TAT S
Apple and Google Play, 2013

By Download
Games

By Revenue
Games

By Revenue
Games

38% 73% 88%

T...
IT’S

COMPETITIVE
• Over 1.3 Million Apps - 38% games

• 261,000 Publishers

• 180/710 daily being uploaded

• 80% don’t b...
V E RY

L U C R AT I V E
• Candy Crush -

$890,000 daily iOS


• Puzzles & Dragons -

$2M daily in Japan
GETTING TO THE TOP
Daily iOS Ranks for All Apps

GROSSING

TOP
FREE
installs

installs

10	 = $77K+
50 = $15K+
100 = $10K+...
N O W T H AT Y O U ’ R E E X C I T E D …

HERE’S REALITY…
If you have little or no
experience making
mobile games you WILL
make $ mistakes!
SECRET

F O R C R E AT I N G H I T G A M E S
SUCCESS FORMULA

FOR MOBILE GAMES

GAMEPLAY

+

Compulsion
Loops

=

Retention

MONETIZATION

=

Free2play

$

SOCIAL

=

...
L E T ’ S S TA R T AT T H E B E G I N N I N G …
GAME
IDEA
BE UN!QUE

• Don’t just copy other games. Be inspired, but innovate.

• Don’t reinvent the wheel, just make it rounder.

•...
KILLER THEME
Who is your TARGET AUDIENCE?
• Demographic determines

design direction

• Great theme & awesome art

attract...
M O N E T I Z AT I O N
MAKIN’ MONEY

• PAID: $.99 - Very hard to market unless it’s

a brand, featured, or a non-game app.
M O N E T I Z AT I O N
• FREE/ADS: Easy to release, very hard to make

real money unless you’re driving millions of users,...
M O N E T I Z AT I O N
• F2P: Optimal way to make money. Open ended

monetization. Consumables, Power-Ups.
GAME
DESIGN
Establish a clear, welldefined path from the
beginning.
It’s hard to go back after
you release.
GAME NAME

W H AT I T I S , W H AT I T D O E S 

Candy Crush, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, Infinity Blade
• Search net for av...
BITE-SIZED
E N T E R TA I N M E N T

• User must have a
• CSR Racing
• Candy Crush
• Deer Hunter 2014

meaningful FUN
expe...
SOCIAL

Understand the FB Open Graph API
• Strong virality reduces paid user acquisition
• Gifting, Sharing, Posting
• Gri...
USER

EXPERIENCE
• UI/UX - Simple Navigation

• On boarding to the game

intuitive with no instructions

• Takes a lot of ...
COMPULSION

LOOPS

What keeps a user coming back day after day
CORE LOOPS
The Psychology of Addictive Gameplay

PHASE 1
•

Challenging, not frustrating


•

Difficulty curve slowly ramps ...
CORE LOOPS
USE

BUY

PL
E

TE

D

Wait

RE
QU
ES
T

Play

DE

EARN
OPTIMIZE WITH

A N A LY T I C S

The days of shipping and waving goodbye are OVER.

• TOP games are data driven

• Underst...
ICON DESIGN
• First impressions are important

• May take 10 - 100 iterations to get it right

• Test on iPhone to see how...
APP STORE

User Flow > Icon, # Ratings, Screens, Reviews, Copy
• Great copy grabs attention

• 2 sentences above the fold ...
APP STORE
O P T I M I Z AT I O N ( A S O )
• Can increase sales 1-3%

monthly at no cost


• Research Competitors

• Optim...
SOFT RELEASE

• Test before you broad release

• Australia, New Zealand, Canada: 1-2 months

• Small user acquisition of $...
GO VIRAL
• People talking about your
Advertising
Promos (web)
22%

Online WoM
23%

App Store
21%

game is the cheapest way...
Need we say more?
G E T F E AT U R E D

Make great games, feature tech from Apple, Google

• Make contact and build relationships.

Create s...
PR

Reach out to the top 6 sites
Pocket Gamer, 148apps, GameZebo, SlidetoPlay,
Touch Arcade, Inside Mobile Games

Press Pi...
USER ACQUISITION
Acquiring users through mobile ad networks
• Banner ads, video ads, interstitial, takeovers
• CPC - $.01 ...
BE READY TO

ADAPT
• Mobile moves fast, keep

ahead of the curve.
• Stay current with

monetization tactics.
• Smart ones ...
G E T T I N G S TA R T E D
B E S T 3 R D PA R T Y S E R V I C E S
M O N E T I Z AT I O N

A P P S T O R E D ATA

A N A LY ...
Awesome GAME insight Blogs
Deconstructor of Fun
http://www.deconstructoroffun.com/


!

Dr. Serkan Toto
Need help when desi...
S U M M A RY
for success

Addictive Compulsion Loops
F2P Monetization
Compelling Social Hooks

+
Polish, Polish, Polish
THANKS

…and now you won’t get f*’d : )
QUESTIONS ?

Stephan Smith
email to steve
www.freshgames.com
Insider Strategies for Creating Successful Mobile Games
Insider Strategies for Creating Successful Mobile Games
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Insider Strategies for Creating Successful Mobile Games

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Insider Strategies for Creating Successful Mobile Games

  1. 1. We create compelling gameplay experiences!
  2. 2. FreshGames • Based in Columbus, Ohio - Self-Funded • Est. 2002 - PC & Flash > 2011 Pivoted to Mobile • Employees - 8 • Development Studio - Poland - 3 • Publish/Develop • 15 PC/Mac/Flash • 10 iOS/Android
  3. 3. HOW TO NOT GET F*’D MAKING MOBILE GAMES
  4. 4. I N S I D E R S T R AT E G I E S F O R C R E AT I N G SUCCESSFUL MOBILE GAMES
  5. 5. WHY DO WE LIKE MAKING MOBILE GAMES?
  6. 6. MOBILE T H E # 1 G A M I N G P L AT F O R M IN THE WORLD
  7. 7. N E V E R B E F O R E H AV E YOU HAD SUCH MASSIVE REACH WOW took 10 years to scale to 10 Million Users. Draw Something - 6 weeks to scale to 50 Million Users.
  8. 8. GROWTH & REACH Mobile games market to double in size by 2016 - $24 Billion 3 6 7.2 BILLION BILLION BILLION Internet Users Mobile Phone Users Global Population
  9. 9. M O B I L E G A M E R S TAT S Player Profiles • 48% female / 52% male • 55% don’t spend money on games • 40% between 33-50 • YOY Highest growth 50+, 148% casual
  10. 10. A P P S T O R E S TAT S Apple and Google Play, 2013 By Download Games By Revenue Games By Revenue Games 38% 73% 88% Top 100 Grossing Top 100 Grossing 94% 98% FREE FREE
  11. 11. IT’S COMPETITIVE • Over 1.3 Million Apps - 38% games • 261,000 Publishers • 180/710 daily being uploaded • 80% don’t break even • 60% Zombie apps - No updates, less than 10 reviews
  12. 12. V E RY L U C R AT I V E • Candy Crush - $890,000 daily iOS • Puzzles & Dragons - $2M daily in Japan
  13. 13. GETTING TO THE TOP Daily iOS Ranks for All Apps GROSSING TOP FREE installs installs 10 = $77K+ 50 = $15K+ 100 = $10K+ 10 = 75K+ 50 = 23K+ 100 = 15K+ 10 = 11K+ 50 = 2K 100 = 1.1K TOP TOP PAID
  14. 14. N O W T H AT Y O U ’ R E E X C I T E D … HERE’S REALITY…
  15. 15. If you have little or no experience making mobile games you WILL make $ mistakes!
  16. 16. SECRET F O R C R E AT I N G H I T G A M E S
  17. 17. SUCCESS FORMULA FOR MOBILE GAMES GAMEPLAY + Compulsion Loops = Retention MONETIZATION = Free2play $ SOCIAL = Virality
  18. 18. L E T ’ S S TA R T AT T H E B E G I N N I N G …
  19. 19. GAME IDEA
  20. 20. BE UN!QUE • Don’t just copy other games. Be inspired, but innovate. • Don’t reinvent the wheel, just make it rounder. • Surprise and delight users. !
  21. 21. KILLER THEME Who is your TARGET AUDIENCE? • Demographic determines design direction • Great theme & awesome art attract users to download • Play top-grossing games to see what ideas are working
  22. 22. M O N E T I Z AT I O N MAKIN’ MONEY • PAID: $.99 - Very hard to market unless it’s a brand, featured, or a non-game app.
  23. 23. M O N E T I Z AT I O N • FREE/ADS: Easy to release, very hard to make real money unless you’re driving millions of users, or doing direct deals with advertisers. • FREEMIUM: Great way to start. Lite version with pay wall for completion or additional levels.
  24. 24. M O N E T I Z AT I O N • F2P: Optimal way to make money. Open ended monetization. Consumables, Power-Ups.
  25. 25. GAME DESIGN
  26. 26. Establish a clear, welldefined path from the beginning. It’s hard to go back after you release.
  27. 27. GAME NAME W H AT I T I S , W H AT I T D O E S Candy Crush, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, Infinity Blade • Search net for availability • USPTO Trademark search • Run ads on Facebook. Do AB testing to validate name. • Register it with App Store.
  28. 28. BITE-SIZED E N T E R TA I N M E N T • User must have a • CSR Racing • Candy Crush • Deer Hunter 2014 meaningful FUN experience within 1-3 minutes. • Engage and entertain
  29. 29. SOCIAL Understand the FB Open Graph API • Strong virality reduces paid user acquisition • Gifting, Sharing, Posting • Grinders never pay, but they will ask their friends for help. • 80-90% don’t pay, use them to make money > < Friends
  30. 30. USER EXPERIENCE • UI/UX - Simple Navigation • On boarding to the game intuitive with no instructions • Takes a lot of time polishing
  31. 31. COMPULSION LOOPS What keeps a user coming back day after day
  32. 32. CORE LOOPS The Psychology of Addictive Gameplay PHASE 1 • Challenging, not frustrating • Difficulty curve slowly ramps up • Slowly depletes hearts/energy - player feels good : ) PHASE 2 • Wait 1/2 hour for hearts/energy recharge - tire of waiting • Game gets progressively harder - need to buy
  33. 33. CORE LOOPS USE BUY PL E TE D Wait RE QU ES T Play DE EARN
  34. 34. OPTIMIZE WITH A N A LY T I C S The days of shipping and waving goodbye are OVER. • TOP games are data driven • Understand user funnels • Know key conversions - Flurry Acquisition Retention Monetization ARPU - $.05 - Retention - 35% Conversion rates - 2-5%
  35. 35. ICON DESIGN • First impressions are important • May take 10 - 100 iterations to get it right • Test on iPhone to see how it looks
  36. 36. APP STORE User Flow > Icon, # Ratings, Screens, Reviews, Copy • Great copy grabs attention • 2 sentences above the fold important • Spend time crafting short, exciting copy • Screen caps tell the story Show gameplay screen first. Awesome screenshots Callout copy
  37. 37. APP STORE O P T I M I Z AT I O N ( A S O ) • Can increase sales 1-3% monthly at no cost • Research Competitors • Optimize each update • Can only change search Key search words are very important. words with each new update on iOS
  38. 38. SOFT RELEASE • Test before you broad release • Australia, New Zealand, Canada: 1-2 months • Small user acquisition of $500 - $1000
  39. 39. GO VIRAL • People talking about your Advertising Promos (web) 22% Online WoM 23% App Store 21% game is the cheapest way to get your game downloaded. • Create a sharable moment Traditional WoM 34% in-game. • Candy Crush: 1-3 minute cascades • 4 Pics One Word: Facebook post asking for help The Impact of word-of-mouth on game discovery
  40. 40. Need we say more?
  41. 41. G E T F E AT U R E D Make great games, feature tech from Apple, Google • Make contact and build relationships. Create short, compelling pitch kit. • 1-2 minute video showcasing the best of the gameplay • Sell sheet with screen caps, description and important features • DRAMATIC download lift - 1000%+/- Weekly feature valued at $100,000
  42. 42. PR Reach out to the top 6 sites Pocket Gamer, 148apps, GameZebo, SlidetoPlay, Touch Arcade, Inside Mobile Games Press Pitch: • Create 1-page, talking points, screen caps and video • Will not propel game sales, good for cred in iTunes copy + • Make a cool video 15-30 sec to post & have reposted • YouTube video reviewers with high views • Create Facebook Fan Page
  43. 43. USER ACQUISITION Acquiring users through mobile ad networks • Banner ads, video ads, interstitial, takeovers • CPC - $.01 - $.04 - banner / video • CPI - $.50 - $2.50+ banner / video • CPA - $1.50+ • Promotion networks for burst campaigns - 10k-50k dls • Cross-promotion = FREE, but need traffic to swap
  44. 44. BE READY TO ADAPT • Mobile moves fast, keep ahead of the curve. • Stay current with monetization tactics. • Smart ones who take intelligent risks are the ones who succeed!
  45. 45. G E T T I N G S TA R T E D B E S T 3 R D PA R T Y S E R V I C E S M O N E T I Z AT I O N A P P S T O R E D ATA A N A LY T I C S A P P I C O N A U T O M AT I O N VIDEO AD NETWORKS ASO VIDEO CAPTURE BANNER AD NETWORKS PROMOTION NETWORK Appoday A P P S T O R E L O C A L I Z AT I O N OneSky App translation made easy
  46. 46. Awesome GAME insight Blogs Deconstructor of Fun http://www.deconstructoroffun.com/ ! Dr. Serkan Toto Need help when designing a game? We’ve created a step by step form to guide you along. ! Download here! http://tinyurl.com/k49gura http://www.serkantoto.com/ ! QUARTERVIEW http://quarterview.com/ ! GameAnalytics http://www.gameanalytics.com/ ! GAMESbrief http://www.gamesbrief.com
  47. 47. S U M M A RY for success Addictive Compulsion Loops F2P Monetization Compelling Social Hooks + Polish, Polish, Polish
  48. 48. THANKS …and now you won’t get f*’d : )
  49. 49. QUESTIONS ? Stephan Smith email to steve www.freshgames.com

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