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GDC 2019 : Deconstructor of Fun Breaking Down Top Mobile Titles

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Michail Katkoff and Adam Telfer's GDC 2019 presentation on Idle Miner Tycoon and Brawl Stars.

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GDC 2019 : Deconstructor of Fun Breaking Down Top Mobile Titles

  1. 1. Deconstructor of Fun: Breaking down Top Mobile Games Adam Telfer Director of Product WB Games Michail Katkoff Head of Studio Rovio
  2. 2. Idle Miner Tycoon: Is Idle ready for the big time?
  3. 3. Weak tail retention... Niche audience…
  4. 4. 2016 2018
  5. 5. Why Resurgence? Mass Market Narrative Simulation 1 2 3
  6. 6. Low Cost Low CPI Long Tail Innovation “Blue” Ocean
  7. 7. Started by Students No Funding 60 days to build
  8. 8. 2 Idle Games ~$45M for 2018 ~60-65% Ad Revenue ~$200K+/day https://www.gruenderszene.de/business/kolibri- games-berlin-wachstum
  9. 9. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 #2 #3
  10. 10. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 #2 #3
  11. 11. 1 2 3 1.Buy/Upgrade new mine shaft 2.Upgrade Elevator 3.Upgrade Collectors Repeat!
  12. 12. “[Prestiging is] an essential part of Idle games, and it’s something we have in Idle Miner Tycoon, but it’s not something that we’re pushing players into doing. “
  13. 13. Repetitive Core Prestige Resets No Bad State
  14. 14. Day 1: 75 % est. Day 7: 38% est. Day 30: 18%
  15. 15. How did they do it?
  16. 16. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 #2 #3
  17. 17. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 Scalability #2 #3
  18. 18. Scalability: What Happens to your Game Loop as you expand it over time?
  19. 19. Scaling & Retention: ● Blockages obvious ● Upgrades are visible
  20. 20. “The best examples of the idle genre are built around a strong sense of progression... but they lack both a visual component and a strong incentive for users to keep playing for longer periods.”
  21. 21. Visual Feedback
  22. 22. Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Interactions Required / Session
  23. 23. While mine gets (infinitely) larger, typically only the bottom few actually matter, making this manageable
  24. 24. When Scale Goes Wrong?
  25. 25. 1 2 3 1.Bring Resources to Stations 2.Convert Resources to Thing 3.Sell Things to Market Repeat!
  26. 26. 3 Vectors! everything is great! Scale the number of Stations!
  27. 27. Crafting Trees!
  28. 28. Not to say we should be afraid of complexity…
  29. 29. #2 Scalability Visual Feedback & Complexity that Scales!
  30. 30. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 Scalability #2 #3
  31. 31. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 Scalability #2 Marketability #3
  32. 32. Broadly Appealing Games have the lowest CPI.
  33. 33. Low CPI doesn’t mean Broader Audience Double Down on your Audience Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Art Style
  34. 34. #2 Marketability CPI was far lower than competitors
  35. 35. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 Scalability #2 Marketability #3
  36. 36. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 Scalability #2 Marketability #3 Live Operations
  37. 37. October 2017
  38. 38. Expeditions! ● Longer Timers (Come Back Mechanics) ● Improve Power with Friends (Social Mechanic) Good... but tacked on.
  39. 39. Event Mines! ● Start Fresh ● Race to complete (Time Limit) ● Earn Valuable Rewards Great!
  40. 40. Events!
  41. 41. Outputs are not valuable... ● Rewards are easy to get elsewhere ● Badges are not valuable
  42. 42. Mature Live Ops!
  43. 43. Rewards aren’t needed Systems don’t challenge your Collection
  44. 44. Great! but plenty of room to grow...
  45. 45. #3 Live Operations Implemented a basic events framework to drive revenue
  46. 46. What is Idle Miner? 3 Reasons: #1 Scalability #2 Marketability #3 Live Operations
  47. 47. Is Idle ready for the Big Time?
  48. 48. Has Idle Peaked? Does Idle only appeal to a niche?
  49. 49. Idle 2019: Big enough for Small & Mid-Tier Too risky for big players
  50. 50. The Opportunity is there… Who will seize it?
  51. 51. Thank You!
  52. 52. “What the H____ Happened?”
  53. 53. Why did succeed? & What should we learn?
  54. 54. 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 Hmm... oh oh... Houston, we have a problme... wait a second...
  55. 55. $160M $70M
  56. 56. ● Brawl Stars had been in development for years ● No new games since March of 2016 ● Revenues on a steady decline ● Player preferences shifting radically towards Battle Roayle
  57. 57. Why did succeed? & What should we learn?
  58. 58. 1.0 June 2017
  59. 59. Shooters MOBA’s
  60. 60. 600,000 installs in June
  61. 61. 1. Controls
  62. 62. 2. Progression System
  63. 63. 3. Lack of Gameplay Depth
  64. 64. 4. Theme
  65. 65. 5. Art Style
  66. 66. 2.0 Septemebr 2017
  67. 67. 1.Unique Star Power for every Brawler 2.Special Events 3.New UI 4.Game Room Improvements 5....and a whole new meta-game
  68. 68. 3.0 December 2017
  69. 69. 1.New Controls 2....and a new metagame
  70. 70. A. The game became more zoomed out distancing players from their brawlers” B. Brawlers with longer range couldn’t see their targets C. The game started to look even more unpolished and the Brawlers appeared to move slower vertically. D. Flanking got harder making the game less strategic E. controls in landscape favored right-handed players F. The auto-attack helps new players by limiting the skill element. This pisses off the old players. G. Forced players to relearn how to play the game.
  71. 71. 4.0 May 2018
  72. 72. ● Two new Brawlers ● Tag-Team mode for Showdown (survivor) mode ● Heist 2.0 mode ● Spectate mode and Friends system ● Improved Trophy Leagues ● Economy change, ○ not forced to play different Events anymore. ○ Star Key reward for getting your first win in every Event ● Auto-aim nerf ● Ad monetization
  73. 73. 5.0
  74. 74. Why did succeed? & What should we learn?
  75. 75. Hard Work & Determination
  76. 76. 1# Leverage Influencers
  77. 77. 2# Build a Community
  78. 78. #3 Soft Launch in Different Countries
  79. 79. #4 Launch BIG
  80. 80. #4 Launch BIG
  81. 81. #4 Launch BIG
  82. 82. Tank Raid Crazyshoot Wild League Tiny Heroes – Magic Clash Blast Royale Super Cats #4 Launch BIG
  83. 83. #5 Flip the Business Case LTV Retention Monetisation K-factor CPI Marketability Competitors CTR IPM
  84. 84. Don’t mess with
  85. 85. Deconstructor of Fun: Breaking down Top Mobile Games Adam Telfer Director of Product WB Games Michail Katkoff Head of Studio Rovio

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