How Mobile and Social Gaming are Driving Cross-platform Convergence


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Mobile devices and social networks are now the dominant platforms for casual gaming. However, there are several important differences in the way players interact with them, influencing game design and business considerations. And while games that successfully address both platforms, such as PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz, have emerged, cross-platform mobile/social convergence is still in its infancy and has the potential to dramatically change the games industry. This talk will provide an overview of the key differences between mobile and social games, touch on some lessons learned through the operations of Bejeweled Blitz, and paint a view of how cross-platform games could expand and redefine the boundaries of gaming.

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  • We create games for everybody and a major insight early in our history was that customers want to play everywhere: shortly after the company’s founding we adapted our games for mobile platforms. Our business has rapidly evolved beyond the downloadable game market – a relatively small portion of our business today. Our games are increasingly an integral part of consumer’s lifestyles and as a result consumers want the ability to play everywhere.
  • How Mobile and Social Gaming are Driving Cross-platform Convergence

    1. 1. E Pluribus Unum: How Mobile and Social Gamingare Driving Cross-platform Convergence Giordano Bruno Contestabile, PopCap Games July 24th, 2012 Twitter: @giordanobc
    2. 2. Some quick facts  Launched in late 2000  History: Bejeweled, Bejeweled 2, Bejeweled Twist, Bejeweled Blitz, Bejeweled 3  Key platforms: Facebook, iOS, PC/Mac, XBox360, D S  Units sold: > 55 million  Installs: > 200 million  MAUs: > 25 million  Total users: 500 million+
    3. 3. Change Is In The Air
    4. 4. A Billion New Gamers! PC/Retail Console Worldwide Players 13% 16% 1.5B Mobile 17% Social 21% 80M Casual/ Online 2000 2011 33%EA Internal
    5. 5. We’re Grown-ups Now! 46% 18% 19% 57% Male 17% 12-17 18-24 25-44 45+ 43% Female Interpret New Media Measure, Entertainment Software Association 2011
    6. 6. Everybody, Everywhere!
    7. 7. It’s Better With Friends! My excuse: half of those people work at PopCap • But so do I
    8. 8. Cross-Platform: The Time Is Now A huge, broad audience that plays everywhere Connected, always-on, devices Open and efficient platforms allowing for live operations Freemium games allowing easy, risk-free access Access to players’ social and interest graphs EA Internal
    9. 9. Mobile and Social: The Bejeweled Blitz Experience
    10. 10. One Very Long MinuteHistory of Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook & iOS December 2008: Bejeweled Blitz launches on Facebook November 2009: Blitz mode and FB Connect added to Bejeweled 2 iOS client December 2011: Bejeweled Blitz iOS launched as a freemium title 3+ years from launch, still consistently popular: • Facebook: top 10 games by DAU (3M+) • iPhone: top 10 highest-grossing games One of the first games to be fully integrated across FB and iOS
    11. 11. Not all mobile players want to be social Approximately 20% of Blitz iOS downloads have activated Facebook Connect FB Connect was required to unlock full features Launched “Universal Mode” in June 2012 FB-connected users tend to spend more
    12. 12. iOS vs. Facebook Key Metrics iOS (FB = 100) Daily Active Users Weekly Average 48% ARPU DARPU 229% But iOS players have multiple, shorter, sessions Engagement Games / day 100% Retention 7-day retention 193% Monetization % of paying users 205%
    13. 13. What We Learned On most metrics, iOS users are 2x higher than Facebook users Contributing factors: • “Always on, always with me” nature of mobile • Efficient Apple ecosystem, in particular for purchasing / billing • Push notifications are a great retention / re-engagement tool Engagement patterns are completely different • Bejeweled Blitz strongly suited to bite-sized gaming
    14. 14. How Are They Different? Mobile Social Usage Everywhere Home / Office Session length Short (minutes) Longer Interface Touch Mouse Social Graph Optional Embedded Discovery App Stores Virality Updates Need approval At any time Huge opportunities, but you still need to design, develop and operate for each platform
    15. 15. The Cross-Platform future
    16. 16. Games Connected Across Platforms …the present, rather than the future Facebook and iOS, often Android Same game experience across platforms Optional FB connectivity on mobile Asynchronous multiplayer dominates
    17. 17. Companion Gaming Games on connected platforms developed around a AAA title So far, limited influence on core game Different types: • Marketing tools • Info companions • Puzzles / minigames • Vertical slices • Stand-alone experiences Will become more integrated, while still optional
    18. 18. Games Sharing a Back-End Many platforms, many game styles, one common back-end Strategy Asynchronous Multiplayer MMORPG BACK-END Puzzle / action Resource Management
    19. 19. Cross-platform Gaming Worlds One world, one economy, different vertical slices BACK-END
    20. 20. A World Of Opportunities Billions of players Connected platforms Global reach Playing anywhere 4 screens: mobile, tablet, web, TV New game genres Player-specific gaming Persistent worlds Cross-platform will redefine gaming
    21. 21. Thanks!Questions? @giordanobc