Angry Birds Go! Design and Monetization Audit


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An audit on the design & monetisation methods used by Rovio's mobile free to play (f2p) game Angry Birds Go!

See the blog post about the report (including a PDF download link) here

Did you enjoy this audit? Find my design & monetization audit on Seriously’s match 3 game Best Fiends in the "More From User" links on the right of the browser window, or here

Would you like your game to benefit from an audit by an experienced designer? Whether it's already on the marketplace, in or approaching soft launch, or even just an initial concept, every title can be improved with a fresh pair of eyes.

I can work to whatever level your game is ready for, from high level product scoping, to deep diving the numbers on a specific feature.


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Angry Birds Go! Design and Monetization Audit

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  2. 2. an thanyggaw/ and@ gmai/ . cam - The core loop of the game sees the player competing in a series of events. - Events have ”cc” engine requirements, so the player must upgrade their cart to be allowed to compete in further events. This is not a soft barrier (i. e. difficulty-based), players are prevented from entering events if they do not meet the CC barrier. - Events are short — typically less than 60 seconds — leading to a fast, mobile-friendly, loop. - Each ofthe player's racers has their own energy bar. - Entering an event costs 1 point of energy, which replenishes over time. - Ifthey have unlocked extra racers, when one racer’s energy is exhausted players can switch racers to continue playing in lieu of waiting or paying.
  3. 3. _-ul!1‘luuwuJLuLl-" - -fllsmullksum v P I I Racerselect oz ‘—‘? :“ v« lb ‘ u" ' 1.. ' v -_ 4: ‘-— 4 1.7‘ -. .‘: El. ‘ ’ Victory , 1—— — —~ V2“ : :.: .vc1.. ..a1 "'z 1 . 1 . .___»?7% 7.; ' ’ Z. -l l 97,311 E‘ .1 L V v Y < @131 ma} Title Screen l l Location Select l Cart Upgrade l E! 32°‘-'». .;«~! ' ’‘ lime? _V ___j. Ji El)’; [-'-Tjr‘*. - ‘ ? 4» * « 41 . :’ ' '_ 4‘ : ”_t I . .,. .. y r ‘ r '°e ‘Sr ' {$3-zl 4- .4 V pp” 4- . I ‘O! _ ' ‘ 41 7Fa1|ure A A A A V "j llllullr 1 ‘ ‘A .1 . .l ».
  4. 4. @l? »©@l2l2%3$U@lll Game Locations Courses Events Tiers - Locations, Courses, and Tiers must be played in strict order. - Events within a Course may be played in any order. - Players are required to complete the 3”‘ Tier of the ”Boss Event” on a course to unlock the next course. / m - All Boss Events in a Location must be completed to / unlock the next Location. / - In total there are currently 4 Locations in the game. / luaillfz -Iamlrauigu / ,_, ,,_, _ % _ - Players are able to replay Events (except Boss Events) to grind extra currency. / "“" - Once all Tiers in an Event have been completed, the . ... ,.n. .. « / . ,.. ,.. ... ... g - an player moves on to Challenge Rounds. These are sets / of 3 goals per Round. I have no idea how long they go / / "‘""" """ on for, they seem like something that would be easily em. .. . ... .., a. { — procedurally generated to be infinite (though the Round counter is 3 digits, so I would imagine 999). I-A-mil-u. '. ~ 7 :1-psiluauln / '
  5. 5. @@R[gEm@W The game contains a standard dual currency system. Coins rd‘ Gained by .1 ~ - Completing races. - Collected during races. _ - Purchase using Gems I’? Used by - Upgrading carts - Purchasing lowest quality new carts. Gems Fm‘ Gained by - Rarely collected during races (1 or 2 per race maximum, though usually absent). - Completing Boss Event tiers and Challenge Rounds. ( - Purchase through In App Purchase (IAP). , F”? Used by - Purchasing Coins. - Purchasing mid—quality carts. - Recharging a racer’s energy. - Buying consumable Power Ups.
  6. 6. M©Rll2TUZZ5lTVH©llfl W2) Coin Doubler - Durable that doubles the value of coins they receive from that moment onwards. - Has a relatively high Real Money value, and is up-sold to the player at the end of every race (as well as being the first item shown on the IAP screen). - Currently 7”‘ most popular IAP. Buying High Quality Carts - When players advance to a new Location they must purchase a new cart to be able to compete. - Though basic carts are available for free by grinding Coins, premium carts are available for a range of prices (with suitable statistic bonuses on the highest price carts). - The most popular premium cart (the cheapest in the first Location) is the 2”“ most popular IAP. Power Ups - Power ups are bought using Gems. - ”Co| d state” power ups are available to purchase and use at any time from the front end, and also from the pre-race starting line. - Each racer also has one ”hot state” power up. This is available for one free use per race, with subsequent uses charged in Gems.
  7. 7. SLLUJ‘ kllfillzi ‘JJJIAJIJ CELMN ‘ Statefarm O . (9%) a under‘ xrwmmmru ovuvomsvuu mnounmru mv mramo-4' Boos! ’ Svousonw now mm M svoucrrnm iv I: Ian I lwI| >cs' Inunxmv sun Minn M@l(lETU2Z: lTU©Dfl (2/2» "Jenga” Mode - If the player has purchased the physical ”Jenga" toy they can enter an unlock code forthis game mode. - Or they can buy the game mode through IAP. - This is done from the Location select screen. - The paid unlock is the cheapest IAP in the game, and the 4”‘ most popular. The game also uses some interesting techniques to indirectly monetize its players. Cross Promotion - Toons TV (sponsorship & presumably ad revenue) - Soundtrack — links through to the game's soundtrack for sale on the iTunes store. - Large attractive ads for other Rovio games appear on pause screen. Sponsorship - 3 ofthe game's 4 Power ups are sponsored by real brands (StateFarm, Finn & Friends, and Target), using the brand's logo. - I am assuming Rovio either made a flat amount for this, or earn a rate depending on a metric such as MAU. an thany. gawIand@ gmail. cam
  8. 8. @@lEl/ llfllL@£l@ [@£lDfll}§ULll@ M ’ ” iPhone - The game has the same general downward trajectory that is common in non-social titles that launch with a marketing push. Large initial interest, but steadily waning. - Increasing trend over last 7 days could be down to an advertising push for imminent update? ~’ All V Overall W Game: V Arcade W Racing 7 Unlled srares us orrmr [‘_ us Cam-‘, ~ U: -x. ;:-ur ' us nzrm iPad - More popular on tablet than phone. - Suspect this is due in part to landscape orientation & two-thumb physical controls. - Future updates could take this platform skewing in to consideration — typically tablet players have longer sessions. Jrr; r:r4 r LED‘) rrmzru 4 All 4 Overall 4 Games V Arcade vi Racing 34 Umled srales us, omgr [“_ ii: <-. m.~. us Ariadn ' us nzrmg
  9. 9. an thany. gawIand@ gmail. cam iPhone - Grossing ranking is not hugely out of sync with download rankings, suggesting a good level of monetisation. J‘ Jlilull 7:: Elm! la‘; Elm! W All V Overall V Games V Arcade V Racmg V United Slates us Q-icml [7 us own Us Arman ' Us mcrr~, iPad 4“ - Again, more popular on tablet than phone. - No major spikes on either suggests that so far no special promotions have been run (for example ”bonus Wednesdays" offering more Gems than usual per IAP). . lJr. 'LllI r: r. -;«. mr 9 All V Overall 2 Games 1 Arcade V Racing 7 United Slates us on-r. rl F us Gum. Us Arcade ' us Rzrcliq Note that, as mentioned in a previous slide, the game uses many techniques to indirectly monetise players (sponsorship, advertising, up-selling real world goods, etc. ) so this chart cannot give an accurate representation of its total revenue.
  10. 10. Early Game Content - Initial experience involves replaying the same course, using the same cart, over and over. - It takes a relatively large time investment by the player before they see any new content, and that is just a new course on the same Location. - Recommend: - Mix this up a little. Trials of new courses & 1-off uses of advanced carts spread throughout the standard early game progression (present these as a bonus reward). Helps the game feel more varied, up-sells players to the benefits of getting cool premium carts, makes greater use of the different art assets & content you have created. Social - Lacking features - Just leaderboards (though these are well integrated in key screens). - Recommend: - Add social features, focusing on co-operative actions to encourage UA & retention. - Give the player a number of power-ups each day that they can't use themselves, but that may be gifted out one each to their friends. Players earn a small Coin bonus if they send all of their gifts each day. - Community goals - if the community travels a combined distance of X in the next week then everyone who contributed will get bonus Y. - Friend code system —for every friend that enters the player's unique code, they gain points. Earn rewards at 1, 3, 5, 10, etc. point intervals. Start with something unique for 1 point to engage (or begin the player with 1 point for endowed progress), then rewards of Coins and Gems. For high numbers of points unique carts? Power-Ups - The cold state power-ups are kind of hidden away (both to use, and to buy). Compared to the hot state power-up you get for free every race. - Recommend: - Make a bigger deal of these, with proper tutorials for each. - Unlock them in sequence early on, so that each one becoming available feels like a progress reward. - Add them to Challenges (if not already), community goals, etc. to encourage heavy use.
  11. 11. anthany. gawIand@gmaiI. cam Progress & Rewards - There are a number of areas of player progress that I don't find very clear. - It’s never clear how stars are awarded on completing a race. For example in a fruit Smash event, ifl destroy enough to pass, I may still only get 2 stars — and the game never gives me tips on how to improve. - Aside from the energy benefit of swapping racers, it is not clear why I would (on unlocking my 3”‘ bird I realised that each has a different free mid-race ”hot state” power-up). - On returning to a lower CC Event, it appears that the opposition are rubber banding to a degree. Once I'd bought a higher CC cart I expected to be able to leave some guys in my dust, but that never transpires. It robs the player of a feeling of increased power in their new ride. - I only discovered that carts will level up when all upgrades are purchased by accident. It's not clear what level my cart is at, and what the maximum is. - Recommend: - Give player tips on how to score more highly (these could be on loading screens, alternating with the ”contains sponsorship” message) & make star goals clear. - Tutorialise the difference between your racers — highlighting their power-up. Possibly a custom Event on unlocking a new racer that forces you to use them. - Give the player more ability to bask in the increased power of their newly upgraded ride. - Make cart level progression clear. Having another bar to fill up will encourage players to do so and add motivation to keep improving your cart long after it is practically useful in gameplay terms. Updates - Surprisingly, for a 4 month old title, there have been no major content updates, just a series of smaller bugfix point releases. - (Note: see final 2 slides, update just released) - Recommend: - I would expect by this stage that players who have monetized well have experienced most, if not all, of the content on offer. Add new content updates for these players. - Include the ability to run special offers on in-game items, and message these to the player base. Use analytics reports to assess current "s| ow” days for these (midweek, for example) and run offers on these days. This may persuade existing spenders to make further purchases, and give churned players a reason to re-engage.
  12. 12. Carts - Not sure why I'd buy a new cart for a given Location, rather than just upgrading my current one (especially once you realise that carts can be ”| eve| ed up” as mentioned above). - Not clear what the ”strength” statistic is for — l have been in smashes during races and not noticed any form of health mechanic. - Being required to buy a cart for each new Location feels forced. I had been spending money upgrading my previous cart, and it became clear that I should have been saving, as I wasn't able to afford a cart to take part in the new content I had just unlocked. - Recommend: - Have an implied benefit for owning multiple carts, if it is the intention that players should do this. Even a counter of ”carts owned: 1/5" adds a ”gotta catch ’em all” motivation. - Make it clearer what Strength is used for. Hard to make specific recommendation as I still haven't figured it out. - Have 1 off special event on unlocking a new Location that gives the player a trial of a mid»range cart. This gives the player a better sense of reward for unlocking the Location, and also offers an up»se| | opportunity after the Event (”the cart you just used is normally £4.99, here's a one time only never repeated offer to purchase it for £1.99”). Breadth of Store Options - Though the range of ways the game monetizes the player is impressive in its variety, I was surprised at the lack of other options for spending beyond the slow grind of upgrading my cart with Coins, and the occasional spending Gems to buy power»ups. - Recommend: - Add cosmetic options for players to enhance their carts and racers (in particular as I mentioned I tended to stick with a single cart per Location). Texture swaps, decals & patches for carts (rather than ’’bolt on” geometry changes). Hats for racers? - Depending on licensing issues, possible ability to swap racers out for their Star Wars equivalents? - These asset additions will obviously increase app size (or require side~| oading while the app is running). However, given that the game is more popular on tablet than phone, this may be less of an issue as players are less beholden to OTA limits.
  13. 13. an thany. gawIand@ gmail. cam - Having to select the Location first, means that for most of the time it is outside the core menu loop the player will experience. It's easy on 2”“ and subsequent plays to forget this step existed, lessening its value as a progression ”carrot”. - The Cart Store screen feels hidden away, and once the player has a cart it's easy to forget this is here. - The Racer Select screen is thematically nice, at the expense of clarity. Also players can't double tap a racer to select them. On the course select screen it is common to end up with two left arrow buttons in close proximity, which makes them easy to get muddled. Results screen could better upsell Coin Doubler IAP by showing how many coins the player could earn if they buy it right now. Sale prices only shown when the player navigates to the sale item, and not on the price itself. Would be better to advertise these in the main flow — on the Cart Upgrade screen for example — where they cannot be missed. Also show original price scored out, with offer price displayed to pop forward. Power-up purchase is via a tab on the IAP screen. I stumbled on this by accident, it's not at all obvious this is how you access the power-up store. Would recommend a separate power-up store button on the Cart Upgrade screen (even if it P0WER"-'95 N just shortcuts to the tab on the existing interface).
  14. 14. Rather than hide power-ups at the top of the screen during a race start, bring them closer to the middle of the screen, and larger. The music doesn't play during . I LIKE THE nu Tim 5 Plum? - - mmmmsommm 3' GE i the pause screen, making this Pmosiuxuiow! i copy slightly odd and weakening the up-sell. | —:[ '”¥’71.'i_" fi — r -"2771?-’ . fi f i run: . i‘ I rnmr I yr. coaastams ‘—‘ Comstraas —l A W14.-. ;». =?I. i.. 3 (nu Dnuauii Pu or ¢w3(”€;5b. Nhoru or can; 316 . -' (09844, VA! or am ' Hnam or was But. as was . ,. V6 I , i I e . ii; iiiji, ' * i Irvxixai om ciao » I ’J>')$'}‘J ( ‘ zine ) ' m l II no») 14:» l an-xi l ‘lam ( 1. 1,4,. .. _. _, . «W: F" ,3.-. (‘:1/'rr P’. ‘s. On the Title Screen the ”Toons. TV” button is given as much prominence as play. Seems unusual. an thany. gawIand@ gmail. cam In the IAP store, a horizontal scroll with just 3 items per page makes the player scroll a lot in order to find the high value items. Though the presentation is very attractive, would investigate ways to fit more items on screen at once. (Especially on tablet)
  15. 15. . we @©MMl§Bfl‘il@ W2) - v1.2 released on Friday 215‘ March, not enough bedding in time to fully include in report, but some quick points were apparent. Chart Rank - iPhone US Games download from 47 to 28 (40% increase) - iPad US Games download from 22 to 5 (77% increase) - iPhone US Games grossing rank 121 to 72 (40% increase) - iPad US Games grossing rank 62 to 29 (53% increase) - As predicted, the update increased chart rankings. However, the increase was not huge on iPhone. - Significant iPad bump on iPad charts, I would suggest this confirms the ”tablet game” status of the title. 3 "“ " ' ‘{. .‘i. .m 5? Added Cart Bundles " "": '.ll. “" "#. ""' '; - Possibly more could be done to make these more exciting. aw : 1 l - Make more reference to what good value they are compared to normal purchases — compare 1 iv‘ the prices vs. the cost of purchasing the currencies separately. Added "Daily Reward” Event C / ' “fa? - Good for retention. ha ,0", M M - The list of rewards scrolls so that players can see what is ahead, though it is not clear this is l‘ Jim. ‘ possible. ‘ ’ J - By slightly changing widths here the item on the far right could be made to ”hang off” the end -741 of the menu, implying scrolling. ‘ ‘W"— - - Slightly messy layout along the bottom row, there's a nice clear F pattern down from header to the ”Go! ” button, but the Facebook connect & remaining time information drags the eye away.
  16. 16. . we @@iiiM; iiira W2) New End-Game Content - The update adds new content to the end of the game. - An attractive ”what’s new” splash on first loading the updated app. - Immediately points all players at that content with a ”preview event”. - Yayl Allowing players to experience later content through trials is a good carrot, and also makes the update relevant to everyone. r/ /‘*5 oowiaoaaalncnolsim- LI - Have to wait for the update content to download, a smart way of keeping download size low @ by not bundling in late-game content players may not see. inn; v Fl - A report from Facebook that said that using an iOS default ”| oading” circle animation made ia . . . mm, '_ users less annoyed at their app (the blame for loading delays was assumed to be something ' OS-based). - But then I have to spend currency to buy a cart for this, so I can't do the preview after all — boo! - Give me a free go on a cool cart for the preview, this is a perfect up-selling opportunity.
  17. 17. anthany. gawIand@gmaiI. cam Did you enjoy this audit? Find my design & monetization audit on $eriousIy’s match 3 game Best Fiends in the ”More From User” links, or by clicking here. Would you like an audit on your game? Would you like your game to benefit from an audit by an experienced designer? Whether it's already on the marketplace, in or approaching soft launch, or even just an initial concept, every title can be improved with a fresh pair of eyes. I can work to whatever level your game is ready for, from high level product scoping, to deep diving the numbers on a specific feature. Email anthony. gow| and@gmai| .com