Designing Criminal Case for Retention and Virality

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Full presentation by Pretty Simple's co-founders Corentin Raux and Bastien Cazenave, on designing the virality and retention for the hit social game of investigation Criminal Case.

Launched in November 2012, Criminal Case went from 0 to 9 million players in just 6 months, and reached #2 most played game on Facebook by May 2013. Only 2% of all players came from ads, which means a staggering 98% of players discovered and played Criminal Case organically.

The popularity of Criminal Case rests in large part on the quality of the game itself, but though this presentation discusses our overall design choices briefly, how to design a good game is (way) beyond its scope. This presentation focuses on the key pillars of the success of Criminal Case: optimizing the first time user experience, designing virality and retention, and understanding their relationship. This presentation is supported by actual examples and numbers from Criminal Case.

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Designing Criminal Case for Retention and Virality

  1. 1. Corentin Raux and Bastien Cazenave, Co-founders Casual Connect 2013, San Francisco, CA
  2. 2. About us Pretty Simple was founded in January 2010 • 3 Games so far • Team: 45 people • Top 10 Facebook Games developer
  3. 3. My Shops
  4. 4. Magical Ride
  5. 5. Criminal Case
  6. 6. Our games are available on… Great online distribution platform to launch a new game!
  7. 7. … And soon on iOS
  8. 8. Designing Criminal Case for Virality and Retention
  9. 9. Concept Every week, solve a new investigation with your friends!
  10. 10. Game Loop
  11. 11. Game Loop Look for clues
  12. 12. Analyze them
  13. 13. Arrest the killer!
  14. 14. Exceptional Growth December 2012 June 2012 English French German Spanish Portuguese Italian Turkish 9 Million DAUs
  15. 15. Top Popularity June 2013
  16. 16. Exceptional Organic Growth Organic 98% Ads 2% Organic 98% Ads 2%
  17. 17. How to make this growth possible?
  18. 18. Obviously, you need a great game
  19. 19. We can’t explain how to create a great game
  20. 20. However we can share our experience
  21. 21. 1. We chose a universal and social theme Crime Investigation
  22. 22. So do I! So do I! Meow! Poor guy… I must catch his killer right now! So do I!
  23. 23. 2. We made it casual People shouldn’t be afraid of losing because they get stuck during their investigation
  24. 24. Imagine… YOU’RE a LOSER. You Failed! You didn’t find the fingerprint that was hidden in crime #3. The killer has escaped!
  25. 25. 3. We designed it with virality and retention Think it from the beginning and make them part of the game
  26. 26. Let’s focus on Virality
  27. 27. Players must invite during the first session Forget everything else!
  28. 28. Ideal First Play Session Invites! FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN!
  29. 29. Real First Session Invites! Confusion
  30. 30. Loading Monster Loadius Monsterus
  31. 31. Loading screen conversion rate Game Weight Impact 10 MB 5 MB 3.5 MB 87% 90% 93%
  32. 32. Total weight of Criminal Case: 530 MB First loading weight: 3.5 MB Still working to make it 2.5 MB ! Criminal Case Weight
  33. 33. Confusion Monster Confusius Beastius fig. 2
  34. 34. Playtest Playtest Playtest How to make sure people understand the game?
  35. 35. Never help the playtester PLAYTEST GOLDEN RULE:
  36. 36. Clear green action buttons
  37. 37. 100% of play testers completed the first session without any help
  38. 38. But only 50% of players said they liked the game!
  39. 39. Tech Issues Monster Crashius to Desktopius fig. 3
  40. 40. 1. Track every click 2. Observe drops 3. Find the problem 4. Fix it How to solve tech issues
  41. 41. Criminal Case Tutorial 60% 80% 100% Step 1 Step 7 Step 8 Step 16 20% USERS DROP
  42. 42. 2 Exit Full Screen Mode
  43. 43. Case Study 60% 80% 100% Step 1 Step 7 Step 8 Step 16 NO MORE DROP
  44. 44. Criminal Case FTUE Funnel 35 Steps tracked in the Criminal Case FTUE funnel 80% Step 35 Step 1 100%
  45. 45. Invites! FUN! FUN! FUN! FUN!
  46. 46. This is Hard Work 30% of dev time focused on tutorial and First Time User Experience (FTUE). Approx. 6 months with 25 people
  47. 47. Many devs fail not because they can’t create a great game but because most people leave before seeing it’s a great game!
  48. 48. Remember! Players must invite during their first session. <- DONE!
  49. 49. Now people must send invites to their friends!
  50. 50. 1. Good reason 2. Right timing 3. Ease of use What makes people invite?
  51. 51. Give a Good Reason RULE NUMBER ONE: What is the most valuable resource in your game? In Criminal Case it is Energy. We promise more Energy
  52. 52. Choose the Right Timing RULE NUMBER TWO:
  53. 53. Step 1: desire to continue
  54. 54. Step 2: frustration
  55. 55. Step 3: Free Energy Opportunity
  56. 56. Make it Easy to Invite RULE NUMBER THREE:
  57. 57. Pre-selected friends // Green Button // Progress Bar
  58. 58. Now People Send Invites !
  59. 59. That’s not enough! In Criminal Case, invites only account for 50% of total installs
  60. 60. In Criminal Case, we used another channel Open Graph Stories
  61. 61. What is an Open Graph story?
  62. 62. 1. Posted automatically 2. Show up in the news feed 3. Aggregated by Facebook What’s an Open Graph Story?
  63. 63. What is an Open Graph story?
  64. 64. In Criminal Case, Open Graph Stories performed amazingly
  65. 65. OG impact on early installs December 2012 February 2013 5 times more installs from OG stories than invites Close to 100k installs/day from OG stories aloneOG stories Invites Installs from
  66. 66. What is a cool OG story? • Visually appealing • Triggers curiosity
  67. 67. Criminal Case OG Stories • INVESTIGATE a crime scene • WORK ON a murder case • AUTOPSY a victim • Etc.
  68. 68. How to create performing Open Graph Stories?
  69. 69. Visuals A/B Testing Which one works best? +18% clicks
  70. 70. Which story title performs better? Titles A/B Testing +9% clicks
  71. 71. In Criminal Case, we A/B tested more than 500 images and titles for Open Graph Stories
  72. 72. 660k installs per day! Virality Results
  73. 73. So much for virality. Now it’s time to take care of retention!
  74. 74. What Makes People Come Back? They come back because they get a request or a notification from the game. Forget everything else!
  75. 75. Retention Channels • Requests • Feed posts • App-to-user notifications
  76. 76. Requests – Send Free Energy
  77. 77. Avoid Spamming! People send free energy only to their friends who are already playing the game
  78. 78. When you accept +2 You send back +1 Receiving Energy MUTUAL RE-ENGAGEMENT
  79. 79. Feed Posts
  80. 80. 2
  81. 81. Feed Posts
  82. 82. Focus on receiver when using feed posts!
  83. 83. Feed Posts
  84. 84. Feed Posts MUTUAL RE-ENGAGEMENT
  85. 85. App to User Notifications Approx. 500k clicks/day 29% CTR
  86. 86. Retention Metrics In Criminal Case Day 1 retention is approx. 52% Day 7 retention is approx. 39%
  87. 87. Conclusion
  88. 88. Retention Virality Players come back on Day 1 because they receive free gifts from the friends they invited the day before. Fact:
  89. 89. Virality Retention
  90. 90. There’s no RETENTION without VIRALITY

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