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Life After Launch: How to Grow Mobile Games with In-Game Events

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Presentation from a talk by Space Ape COO Simon Hade at GDC Europe in June 2016. To see the video of the talk and related presentations see http://links.spaceapegames.com/liveops


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Life After Launch: How to Grow Mobile Games with In-Game Events

  1. 1. Simon Hade, COO & Co-founder Forget Features! How we grow games using Live Ops & In Game Events
  2. 2. Accessible Live Ops Broad reach Top 100 Quick win Innovated clan wars & events $37m Ultimate Live Ops Platform Very core $19m
  3. 3. 9
  4. 4. 12 months - daily revenue Baseline excl, event revenue Actual incl. event revenue 50% revenue from events
  5. 5. 6 months - daily revenue Baseline excl, event revenue Actual incl. event revenue 27% revenue from events
  6. 6. 90% 92% 94% 96% 98% 100% 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 Survival Rate % Days Since Install Survival Rate% 98% month on month retention
  7. 7. Incremental revenue (30-50%) Better retain engaged players Why do In Game Events?
  8. 8. Beware: cannibalisation & conditioning
  9. 9. Baseline Revenue Uplift from Events Event Cannibalisation Beware: cannibalisation & conditioning
  10. 10. Beware: content bloat
  11. 11. Beware: changing core gameplay
  12. 12. Average Gold Balance by Castle Level New Castle Level 17 Sinks Added Beware: economy (mis)management
  13. 13. Revenue cannibalisation Sales conditioning Content bloat Inadvertently screwing your economy Things to be wary of
  14. 14. Do you need events to be successful on mobile?
  15. 15. 23
  16. 16. Programmatic Curated Frequent Infrequent
  17. 17. 1. Define a genre or play pattern 2. Be No 2 or 3 with a brand 3. Focus on a valuable niche community, monetising through live ops & events Formulas for success on mobile
  18. 18. How we came to figure out live ops …
  19. 19. “We have to kill Samurai Siege. We need the developers” 16 people 4 people / 0 developers Gross Bookings ?
  20. 20. “We have to kill Samurai Siege. We need the developers” 16 people 4 people / 0 developers Gross Bookings Profit per employee
  21. 21. Putting a game into Live Ops can revive it More profitable per employee … But you need the right team Live Ops > Features
  22. 22. 32 The Team Economy Design QA Live Ops Community Leader
  23. 23. 33 • T-shaped • High output • Team players The Team Economy Design QA Live Ops Community Leader
  24. 24. The Team QA Design New Game Analyst PM 5 yrs 1 yr Community VIP Live Ops PM PO 1 yr QA Design 3 yrs Community VIP Live Ops Community VIP 3 yrs CS Community VIP 1 yr
  25. 25. Find T-shaped people Great training ground … but need to invest in tools and content The Team
  26. 26. The Toybox & the Treadmill
  27. 27. Bespoke graphics & theming Time limited offers Core gameplay will be new. Every time! Social pressure to perform Three event types & ability to add more Players/Alliances really care about winning
  28. 28. The Toolbox Streaming graphics from Amazon Content Management System Scheduling Events: Alliance Totaliser, Personal Tournament, War Rush
  29. 29. 39 Spec Local config CMS Testing Code commit
  30. 30. 40 Spec Local config CMS Testing Code commit
  31. 31. 41 Spec Local config CMS Testing Code commit
  32. 32. 42 Spec Local config CMS Testing Code commit
  33. 33. 43 Spec Local config CMS Testing Code commit
  34. 34. 44 Spec Local config CMS Testing Code commit
  35. 35. 45 Spec Local config CMS Testing Code commit
  36. 36. 46 Spec Local config CMS Testing Code commit Major event = 2 hours Small event = 30 mins
  37. 37. Le Toolbox Deluxe Event Types Personal Totaliser Alliance Totaliser Metagame Variation Gameplay Variation Easter eggs $$$ Pay to play Event accelerants Pay not play Gacha Competition Leaderboard rewards League rewards Revolving Beat the Boss Heats Content Permanent Vanity Permanent Functional Functional to Vanity Temporary Functional Early Access Consumables Gacha Event currency Upgradable Mods
  38. 38. Personal Totaliser Alliance Totaliser Metagame Variation Gameplay Variation Leaderboard rewards League rewards Revolving Easter eggs Permanent Vanity Permanent Functional Functional to Vanity Temporary Functional Early Access Consumables Gacha Pay to play Event accelerants Pay not play Gacha Event currency Beat the Boss Upgradable Heats Best performing Mods
  39. 39. Personal Totaliser Alliance Totaliser Metagame Variation Gameplay Variation Leaderboard rewards League rewards Revolving Easter eggs Permanent Vanity Permanent Functional Functional to Vanity Temporary Functional Early Access Consumables Gacha Pay to play Event accelerants Pay not play Gacha Event currency Beat the Boss Upgradable Heats Most engaging Mods
  40. 40. Personal Totaliser Alliance Totaliser Metagame Variation Gameplay Variation Leaderboard rewards League rewards Revolving Easter eggs Permanent Vanity Permanent Functional Functional to Vanity Temporary Functional Early Access Consumables Gacha Pay to play Event accelerants Pay not play Gacha Event currency Beat the Boss Upgradable Heats Most Money Mods
  41. 41. Mo Money Mo Problems
  42. 42. 54
  43. 43. 55
  44. 44. 56
  45. 45. 57
  46. 46. 58
  47. 47. 59
  48. 48. 60
  49. 49. Start simple, aim for max flexibility Every game is different Players love new content Leaderboards + functional prize = $$$
 … but beware the content treadmill The Toybox
  50. 50. 62 Our first event
  51. 51. Permanent Vanity 25k presents 
 (~50 alliances) Temporary OP boost 10k presents $2 premium currency 2.5k presents Gameplay variation 500 presents Our first event
  52. 52. Event Types Personal Totaliser Alliance Totaliser Metagame Variation Gameplay Variation Competition Leaderboard rewards League rewards Revolving Easter eggs Content Permanent Vanity Permanent Functional Functional to Vanity Temporary Functional Early Access Consumables Gacha $$$ Pay to play Event accelerants Pay not play Gacha Event currency Beat the Boss Upgradable Heats Mods
  53. 53. $50k $120k Our first event
  54. 54. Time to build content Time to consume content Our first event
  55. 55. Remember our most popular event Standard RamNuclear Ram
  56. 56. Solution! Frankenstein troops • Regular trainable troop • Temp hero troop (camp) • Defensive structure Context Changes • Shader changes • Trails • Asset swap • Size Visuals • Conical damage • Spell cast on death • Damage drop off over range • Elemental vulnerabilities • Mix and match projectiles Gameplay Changes • Health • DPS • Range • Speed • Training time • AI priorities Regular stats
  57. 57. Frankenstein troops + Sagas Prismatic Mage Saga: The Tome of the Mad Scholar 1 week work = 4 weeks content
  58. 58. Regular Essence Master Prismatic Mage Level 1 Prismatic Mage Saga
  59. 59. Prismatic Mage Level 2 Prismatic Mage Level 3 Prismatic Mage Saga
  60. 60. Prismatic Mage Saga Week 1 48hr Alliance Totaliser Week 2 24hr Alliance Totaliser Week 3 48 hr Alliance Totaliser + Leaderboard Week 4 Engagement Event
  61. 61. Intensity correlates to revenue
  62. 62. 1-3-2-4 intensity cadence Frankenstein troops + sagas 1 week work for 4 weeks content Reduce, re-use, recycle The Treadmill
  63. 63. Events = $$$ + d365% 
 Beware • cannibalisation • content bloat • economy change 
 Live Ops > Features 
 
 
 T shaped people 
 Training ground
 Invest in tools
  64. 64. 
 
 Stream content Content Management Scheduling Few reusable formats 
 Players love content Max flexibility
 
 Leaderboards + functional prizes = $$$ Beware of burnout
  65. 65. 1-3-2-4 cadence Frankenstein troops Sagas 1:4 time to create:consume
  66. 66. Simon Hade, COO simon@spaceapegames.com

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