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  1. 1. Setting Bejeweled Blitz freeLessons learned moving from premium to freemium on iOS Giordano Bruno Contestabile, PopCap Games March 5th, 2011 Twitter: @giordanobc
  2. 2. My job: managing the business……even though I suck at it! My excuse: half of those people work at PopCap • But so do I • Oh dear! • I suck!
  3. 3. Some quick facts  Launched in late 2000  History: Bejeweled, Bejeweled 2, Bejeweled Twist, Bejeweled Blitz, Bejeweled 3  Key platforms: PC/Mac, Facebook, iPhone, XBox360, DS  Units: > 55 million  Installs: > 200 million  MAUs: > 25 million  Users: 500 million+
  4. 4. One Very Long MinuteHistory of Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook & iOS Bejeweled 2 iOS Client launched 2 days after iTunes app store opened (Summer 2008) Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook launched in November 2009 Blitz mode and FB Connect added to Bejeweled 2 iOS client (April 2010) Major Feature Launches: Rare Gems; Daily Spin; Keystones Tutorial One of the first games to be fully integrated FB and iOS 2+ years from launch, still consistently popular: • Facebook: top 10 games by DAU (3M+) • iPhone: top 10 top grossing games
  5. 5. Doubling Down on Bejeweled
  6. 6. Why Change? From mode in a paid game to freemium game • Reach much wider audience • Update more nimbly; follow Facebook closely A new iteration of a great premium game • Feature set and game rules from Bejeweled 3 • Lose the version number: an evergreen product that continues to evolve over time
  7. 7. The Great ManeuversRetiring one game, launching two new ones Launch Timeline  Soft launch of Bejeweled Blitz in Canada iTunes app store (12/1)  Worldwide launch of Bejeweled and Bejeweled Blitz (12/8)  Retirement of Bejeweled 2 + Blitz (12/8) Products One of few titles with Premium and Freemium business model  Bejeweled Blitz (Freemium)  Bejeweled (Premium $0.99 download) Launch Goals  Top 10 Premium Title  Top 10 Freemium Title  Rating of 4.5 stars or more  6M Freemium downloads in 1 month Highest App Store Current App Store Downloads Rankings Rating Bejeweled Blitz Well over 10M 2nd Free / 3rd Grossing ½ Bejeweled Premium Well over 1M 1st Paid 
  8. 8. Did It Work?Change in metrics from premium to freemium Key Metrics Change Downloads Daily Average Downloads 9X Daily Active Users Weekly Average 5X Revenue Daily Average 5X… and still growing (every week has been bigger than previous one)
  9. 9. Comparing iOS to Facebook Key Metrics iOS (FB = 100) Daily Active Users Weekly Average 33% ARPU DARPU 196% Engagement Games played / day 208% (52!) Retention 7-day retention 200% Monetization % of paying users 205%
  10. 10. Learnings – behavior iOS vs FB On most metrics, iOS users are 2x higher than Facebook users Contributing factors: • “Always on, always with me” nature of mobile • Bejeweled Blitz strongly suited to bite-sized gaming • Efficient Apple ecosystem, in particular for billing We see significant FB / iOS cross-over in user base • New FB users discovering the game through iOS first
  11. 11. The Power of Free
  12. 12. Premium Vs. Freemium: Downloads Bejeweled Blitz BejeweledFreemium client has 9x as many downloads per day vs. premium
  13. 13. Many Play For Free… As expected, ARPPU declined when switching from paid to free • Higher percentage of free players ARPPU still higher, but closer, to Facebook
  14. 14. …But Enough of Them Pay! Increased user base driving much higher revenues
  15. 15. Facebook Connect: A High Barrier Approximately 20% of Blitz iOS downloads have activated Facebook Connect, unlocking full game content FB Connect required to unlock full features Ongoing campaigns to incentivize users to connect
  16. 16. Facebook Connect: A High Barrier Benefits of full integration FB / iOS: • Opportunity to leverage the same social graph • Cross-promotion and higher awareness • Big part of what makes the game fun Drawbacks: • Only 20% of iOS users connect with Facebook • Extremely complex to maintain and operate Conclusions: • Worth it if it improves the game • Try to make FB Connect optional on mobile
  17. 17. Reacting to feedback
  18. 18. App Store Ratings & Customer Feedback Initial Rating Results Action Taken ½ ½• Game speed was • Directly responded to intentionally slowed to customer comments with the match that of Facebook app message: “we are listening to• Initial app store ratings were you and making changes” impacted by customer • Stopped requiring players on complaints about speed old Bej2+Blitz app to• Rating reached a low of 2 ½ transition to new app stars • Able to resubmit and launch new version with faster speed within three days
  19. 19. Results of Customer Response Ratings of new version significantly higher, and buoyed overall rating of app Stabilized App Store ranking Additional updates planned to address remaining and ongoing feedback Updated app (with faster speed & iPad Source: Distimo Monitor support) released Source: Distimo Monitor
  20. 20. Lessons Learned Don’t mess with everyone’s favorite game! Listen to feedback and address it • Make sure the team is ready! Make sure that updating the game is easy • Anything that can be server-side, should be!
  21. 21. Lessons Learned Be proactive • Happy users are less likely to rate your app • A “rate our game” interstitial works well • Don’t try to force them • Be honest in your messaging (“if you like us...”)
  22. 22. Business Model
  23. 23. 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
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. Daily Spins Slot machine mechanic granting in-game currency 1 free “daily spin” every day Additional “daily spin” can be purchased
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. Our secret? Science!A simple equation… mF =↑eng + ↑ret + ↑mon…that I just made up!More fun = more engagement, retention and monetizationIf players are having fun they will play, stay and pay
  28. 28. Marketing Efforts
  29. 29. Marketing MixAds on Bejeweled Blitz Facebook “Apple Love” “Free App Of The Day” Mobile Ads programs
  30. 30. 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 in December ($0.50 / $1) Organic growth more valuable than paid growth Sustained efforts more effective than “burst” actions
  31. 31. What’s Next?
  32. 32. Next Steps for Bejeweled on Mobile Bejeweled Blitz (Freemium) Bejeweled Premium • Monthly updates • Updates every 2-3 months with • Add new features close to FB updates additional game modes and content • Continue to address customer feedback • iPad • Encourage and incent players to unlock full features by activating FB Connect • Android
  33. 33. The Challenge of AndroidScreen resolutions 3 5 (key resolutions)Supported OS versions 2 (iOS 4, iOS 5) 4 (2.2, 2.3, 3, 4)Phone models 10 100+ARPU as % of iOS 100% 25%Active user base* 250M 250MDistribution Channels 1 10+Ecosystem Integrated FragmentedPlatform Closed Open (?)*Estimated
  34. 34. A Billion New Players!★ Facebook ★ iOS★ Google+ ★ Android★ QQ ★ Gree★ Vkontakte ★ DeNA★… ★…
  35. 35. Thanks!Questions? @giordanobc