Metrics for a Brave New Whirled


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Talk presented by Daniel James at GDC Worlds in Motion Summit 2009.3.23. Daniel is CEO of Three Rings, creators of Puzzle Pirates and Whirled. This talk is an introduction to metrics for MMOs and contains real data from Puzzle Pirates and Whirled.

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Metrics for a Brave New Whirled

  1. 1. Metrics for a Brave New Whirled Daniel James | CEO | Three Rings [email_address]
  2. 2. What is Whirled? Player-created Flash virtual world Rooms, avatars, toys, games, music, etc. Social network ‘geography’ (home rooms == profiles, etc.) Flash single and multi-player games to accrue ‘Coins’ (‘play money’) Shop for player creations, comments, ratings, etc. ‘ Bars’, hard currency bought for $$$ Third ‘cash-out’ currency ‘Bling’ earned by creators on Bar sales Small, engaged beta community ~20,000 weekly registered active
  3. 8. Whirled Simultaneous Players
  4. 9. Hourly Simultaneous Players
  5. 10. What is Puzzle Pirates? Casual MMO Broad demographics: Ages 7-70, ‘Double Bump’, 50/50 Male/Female Signed Java Applet, ~60mb, installs from web Subscriptions since launch Oct 2003 Virtual currency business model since Feb 2005 2007 Revenues $4M, ~$3M virtual currency ‘Doubloons’
  6. 11. Puzzle Pirates Metrics Conversion (from landing to registration): ~5% Retention (returning after one month): ~35%,~25% into month 2 Paid Customer Conversion (registration to revenue): ~3.5% Average Customer Lifetime Value : ~$120 Average Registrant ‘Value’: $4.20 Registered Players since 2004: 4,200,312 Customers since 2004: 90,197 ‘Doubloons’, 68,807 Subscription Current active players: ~110,000 Active paying players: ~30,000 Average Hours played per player per month: 21
  7. 12. Moar Reading <ul><li>Andrew Chen </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Eric Ries </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Slides for this Talk and moar links </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  8. 13. (mo)AARRR! <ul><li>Dave McClure’s awesomeness: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Updated: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  9. 14. The Funnel that goes AARRR <ul><li>Acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>Activation </li></ul><ul><li>Retention </li></ul><ul><li>Referral </li></ul><ul><li>Revenue </li></ul>
  10. 15. Acquisition Paths <ul><li>Ads (Networks, Google SEM) </li></ul><ul><li>Search (SEO) - a problem for rich apps </li></ul><ul><li>Referral Emails (‘Virality’) </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook, Myspace etc. Notifications </li></ul><ul><li>Affiliate Links and Revshare Deals </li></ul><ul><li>Game ‘Sponsorship’ Clicks </li></ul><ul><li>Organic ‘Shows up’ Traffic </li></ul>
  11. 16. Cost of Acquisition Dashboard <ul><li>Not all these numbers are real, but they are representative </li></ul><ul><li>CPM/CPC/CPA washes out to a CPA </li></ul><ul><li>Whilst optimising and changing flow, CPC or CPM may make sense. </li></ul><ul><li>Once optimised, CPA is lower risk for buyer! </li></ul>$1.14 $1,265 11,126 6.8% 163,871 0.33% 50,205,778 $0.08 Adsense Source CPM CPC CPA Ad imps CTR Clicks Signup % Users Cost CPA Ad Network 1 $0.50 ? ? 700,000 5% 35,000 $17,500 $0.50 Ad Network 2 $0.30 20,000,000 0.10% 20,000 20% 4,000 $6,000 $1.50
  12. 17. Viral Coefficient <ul><li>For every new player acquired, how many new players arrive via Referral channels </li></ul><ul><li>If > 1 then exponential growth. Ye win! </li></ul><ul><li>Many ‘viral’ mechanics are ‘crafty’ e.g. email scrapers in registration process, FB games with invite incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook still highly viral, but most apps supplement viral channels with paid ads </li></ul><ul><li>Myspace reportedly relies more on paid acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>FB invites work well for ‘frivolous’ Apps, but is there a conflict with ‘alternate persona’ games with depth? Do ‘fantasy’ players want to invite their real friends? </li></ul>
  13. 18. Activation Metrics <ul><li>Site Visitors -> Playing Experience (~25%) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different Landing Pages, Straight into Game etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forced Registration is efficient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But, Retention works out similar to ‘play first’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Registration Conversion (~6% of visitors) </li></ul><ul><li>Active Players - logged in during the period </li></ul><ul><li>Simultaneous Players </li></ul><ul><li>Session Time (~20 minutes PP / Whirled) </li></ul>
  14. 19. The Whirled Funnel
  15. 20. Puzzle Pirates Registrations <ul><li>(Different colours are different sources) </li></ul>
  16. 21. Retention Metrics <ul><li>Retention - % of new visitors who return to the site within some period </li></ul><ul><li>Churn - % of total players who leave (usually monthly) </li></ul><ul><li>Whirled: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>~2% Retention, 1st Visit -> Return after one Week </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~23% of Registered Players return after one week </li></ul></ul>
  17. 22. Retention Cohorts <ul><li>A new Cohort shows up each week </li></ul><ul><li>Table shows % retained week-after-week </li></ul><ul><li>These numbers are not ideal! </li></ul>
  18. 23. Improving Retention <ul><li>Sticky Fun! </li></ul><ul><li>Daily Return incentives (gift box) </li></ul><ul><li>Email: Notifications, Feeds, Newsletters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Validate your emails, check your spam </li></ul></ul>
  19. 24. Referral Channels <ul><li>Word of Mouth: Organic ‘Shows Up’ </li></ul><ul><li>Registration ‘Find Friends’ Email </li></ul><ul><li>Game Invites: Email, FB Connect, IM </li></ul><ul><li>URL cut n paste </li></ul><ul><li>Trophy Notifications via FB </li></ul><ul><li>Share Games via URLs, FB, Myspace etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Share and Embed Rooms </li></ul>
  20. 25. Revenue Metrics <ul><li>Conversion to Pay - usually % of registered players who pay </li></ul><ul><li>Average Revenue per Active Player (ARPU) - total revenue / active players, monthly </li></ul><ul><li>Paying Players / Customers - those who Purchase in that month, OR Active Users that have ever Purchased? Currency purchases are often bursty. Let’s call Paying Players those who bought in the month, and Ever Paid Players those who have ever paid </li></ul><ul><li>Percentage of Paying Players - Paying Players / Active Players </li></ul><ul><li>Percentage of Ever Paid Players - Paid Players / Active Players </li></ul><ul><li>Average Revenue per Paying Player per Month (ARPPU) - purchase amount for those who bought in the month. This is around $50 for many microtransaction games, inc. Puzzle Pirates </li></ul><ul><li>Average Revenue per Ever Paid Player per Month (AREPPU) - this is usually less, around $10 for Puzzle Pirates, as many active paid players do not necessarily purchase in that month </li></ul>
  21. 26. Mo’ Revenue Metrics: Lifetime Value <ul><li>Customer Lifetime - average life of a paying customer in months. For PP ~14 months </li></ul><ul><li>Average Paying Player Lifetime Value (often called LTV) - total earned from a customer over lifetime </li></ul><ul><li>= AREPPU x Lifetime (for PP this is ~$125) </li></ul><ul><li>Average Registrant Value - this is the critical value to compare to your CPA </li></ul><ul><li>= AREPPU x Lifetime x Conversion to Pay </li></ul><ul><li>For PP = $125 x 3.5% = 4.37% </li></ul>
  22. 27. Whirled Economy Overview <ul><li>Currency and value: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free / Time Currency, rewards for gameplay (Coins) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard / Cash Currency, $$$ (Bars, Doubloons) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creator earn-out Currency for Whirled (Bling) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pricing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Player-controlled with some guidelines based on creator rating </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modest listing fees in Coins </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Price in Coins to earn Coins, or Bars to earn Bling </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Listed Items to Date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>21,000 Avatars, 31,000 Furniture items, 20,000 Backdrops, 700 Toys, 3,600 Pets, 270 Games, 25,000 Tunes, 28,000 Images </li></ul></ul>
  23. 28. Good Economic Management <ul><li>Balance your soft currency faucets / drains </li></ul><ul><li>Optimize Pricing </li></ul><ul><li>Refresh and Merchandise Items </li></ul><ul><li>Limited Edition and Rare Goods </li></ul><ul><li>Consumable Items / Mini-Subscriptions </li></ul>
  24. 29. Economy: Soft Currency
  25. 30. Economy: Hard Currency
  26. 31. Economy: What Sells (Coins)?
  27. 32. Exchange of Coins and Bars
  28. 33. Players / Purchasers by Age
  29. 34. Spending per Purchaser
  30. 35. Spending by Age
  31. 36. Item Sales Distribution (PP) Products mix of Vanity (clothes, furniture) and Utility (ships, swords) Coin shop, Mostly personal utility, some gifting, all recurring (mini-subscriptions) Portraits, vanity, often groups Rooms / Houses, sometimes group
  32. 37. Customer Development <ul><li>Develop Customers whilst developing Product </li></ul><ul><li>Ship early, track player behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Iterate against player behavior and rapidly revise product to meet customer expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to completely re-tool product if customers don’t want it! </li></ul><ul><li>IMVU is the case study </li></ul><ul><li>Reading: ‘Four Steps to the Epiphany’ by Steve Blank </li></ul>
  33. 38. Billing Bits <ul><li>Payment Breakdown: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Credit card (70%, ~2% costs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paypal (15%, ~2% costs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SMS (~5%, mobillcash, ~10% cost, ~50% carrier markups) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-paid Card (~5%, Target via GMG, >20% costs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Others via PaybyCash etc. (~5%, costs vary) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New: Offers via Peanutlabs (too early to say) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fraud, Spending Limits </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t build, but use a provider </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twofish, Gambit, Fatfoogoo, Social Gold, Peanutlabs, Offerpal, Super Rewards, Zong, Vindicia, Aria, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  34. 39. That’s all Folks! <ul><li>Slides going up on the blog later today: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Please to RSS! </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>