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One Year in the Life of a Top Grossing Game: Operating and Growing Bejeweled Blitz


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In "Bejeweled Blitz: One Year in the Life of a Top-Grossing Mobile Game," PopCap's Giordano Bruno Contestabile will discuss how Bejeweled Blitz made the jump from Facebook to iOS, and became one of the platform's most long-lasting success stories. Along the way, he'll explain how other cross-platform social game developers can emulate that success by combining smart game design, data analysis, and more.

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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One Year in the Life of a Top Grossing Game: Operating and Growing Bejeweled Blitz

  1. 1. One Year in the Life of a Top-Grossing Game:Operating and Growing Bejeweled Blitz Giordano Bruno Contestabile Executive Producer – Bejeweled, PopCap Games November 17th, 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 • Units sold: > 55 million • Installs: > 200 million • MAUs: > 25 million • Total users: 500 million+
  3. 3. One Very Long Minute History 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 launches 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
  4. 4. Traditional PopCap model 3. Profit!!!1. Make game 2. Wait (years) for game to be made 3 YEARS
  5. 5. Live service model 1. Prototype 3. Production! 5. MVP 7. Open beta 9. Keep going! 2. It’s fun! 4. Telemetry first 6. Closed Beta 8. Launch MONTH 1-3 MONTH 4-9 MONTH 9-12 YEARS 2-10
  6. 6. Why We Changed• Every game we make is a service • Needs to be updated and improved over time• Every game we make is free to play • Reach 10x the audience, need regular events to keep engaged• The distinction between product and business has disappeared • One interdisciplinary team • Product innovation drives business innovation, and vice versa
  7. 7. How Does OurBusiness Model Work?
  8. 8. Boosts• Low-priced in-game effects meant to be used regularly• Balanced not to grant excessive advantages • The better player will still score higher on average
  9. 9. Rare Gems• Higher-impact bonuses• Can be activated every few games, appearing randomly• Require skill to be fully taken advantage of• Entertainment value as important as effect
  10. 10. Daily Spins• Slot machine mechanic granting in-game currency• 1 free “daily spin” every day• Additional “daily spin” can be purchased
  11. 11. Key tenets• “Play forever”: no pay walls or limitations for non-paying users• Game is fun and balanced also without paying• Pay to have fun, not because the games forces or punishes you• Server-side code to tweak economy in real time• Events really important: busy marketing calendar
  12. 12. Marketing Efforts
  13. 13. Marketing MixAds on Bejeweled Blitz Facebook “Free App Of The Day”Mobile Ads “Apple Love” programs
  14. 14. Result analysis• Vast majority of downloads from: • “Apple love” • Chart position • Organic searches • Existing Blitz players• Free app programs didn’t drive significant installs• Encouraging conversion from paid advertising • Very high CPI on iOS ($1 to $4) • Organic growth more valuable than paid growth• Sustained efforts more effective than “burst” actions
  15. 15. What Did We Learn?
  16. 16. “Casual” gamers? Frequency of play Once a month Every 2 weeks Once a week Few times / week Every day Multi times / day• 86% of active players play every day
  17. 17. iOS: A Very Efficient Platform Key Metrics iOS (FB = 100) Daily Active Users Weekly Average 48% But iOS players have ARPU DARPU 229% multiple, shorter, sessions Engagement Games / day 100% Retention 7-day retention 193% Monetization % of paying users 205%iOS performs 2x Facebook in several key metrics
  18. 18. Not all mobile players want to be social Approximately 18% of Blitz iOS …but over downloads have activated Facebook Connect… 40% of DAU use FB Connect• FB Connect was required to unlock full features• Launched “Universal Mode” in June 2012• FB-connected users tend to spend more
  19. 19. UI matters. A lot Snazzier presentation! From this: To this: Clearer payouts! Satisfying lever pulling! Average revenue from Daily Spin increased 131%
  20. 20. UI matters. A lot 2X
  21. 21. Key Lessons
  22. 22. Be metrics-informed, don’t be metrics-driven
  23. 23. Specialize, but share knowledge
  24. 24. Huge features are dangerous: go for small sprints when you can
  25. 25. Cross-platform is hard, but can be worth it
  26. 26. Don’t underestimate players’ willingness to spend (but give them fun in exchange)
  27. 27. Thanks!Questions? @giordanobc