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Big	
  fish,	
  small	
  pond:	
  Strategies	
  for	
  surviving	
  in	
  a	
  maturing	
  market
Ed Biden Wooga
5 hits to date
Bubble
Island
Monster
World
Diamond
Dash
Pearl’s
Peril
Jelly
Splash
Transitioned from Facebook to mobile
Aim for 2 hits a year
We stop 95% of our games
1.  Stopping projects
2.  Why is this so difficult?
3.  How can we succeed?
1.  Stopping projects
2.  Why is this so difficult?
3.  How can we succeed?
Fun prototype
Skilled team
Progress was slow
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
NovJan
How far through production are we?
2014
14
Very different from Prototype
Production wasn’t a straight line...
Production
starts
Prototyping
starts
Core gameplay
rebooted
Nov ‘13May ‘13 May ‘14 No...
Multiple risks
Session length
Brand
compatibility
Critical mass
CPI < LTV Novel gameplay Synchronous PvP
Market size
Commu...
Eventually stopped project
Extensive post mortem
1.  Stopping projects
2.  Why is this so difficult?
3.  How can we succeed?
•  Project specific issues
•  Market context
2.  Why is this so difficult?
We started with a great idea
Did not build on Wooga strengths
Let vision evolve
Tablet first
Linear upgrades
Building based
Asynchronous
Phone first
CCG meta
Unit based
Synchronous
Biggest risks not tested until launch
Session length
Brand
compatibility
Critical mass
CPI < LTV Novel gameplay Synchronou...
•  Project specific issues
•  Market context
2.  Why is this so difficult?
Number of apps has increased hugely
The top grossing charts are static
Production values are rising
Advertising budgets are increasing
More games build on existing IPs
Biggest companies
extending their leads
SUPERCELL
KING
Game
FAIL
Companies invest in their assets
Audience
Game design expertise
Marketing expertise
Genres get locked down
Looks like console market…
Where games can dominate for a decade
1.  How do we fail?
2.  Why is this so difficult?
3.  How can we succeed?
Back in 2011…
Female audience on Facebook
Hidden Object a natural extension
Build on genre in meaningful ways
Developed new expertise
32 million players
Launch: March 2013
Still growing revenue
Impressive Results
Main take aways
Smart constraints
Identify your strengths
•  Fanbase / audience?
•  Previous game?
•  Technical expertise?
•  Low cost base?
•  Niche intere...
Find your pond
•  Browser based
•  2D graphics
•  Permadeath
Manage the risks
What: Critical Mass
Proof point: Waiting times are acceptable in Divinity Hours
Theoretical numbers neede...
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Stick to the plan
NovJan
It’s still going to be tough
Smart constraints
•  Know your strengths
•  Find your pond
•  Manage the risks
•  Stick to the plan
Thank	
  You!	
  
ed.biden@wooga.com
mobilefreetoplay.com
Big Fish, small pond - strategies for surviving in a maturing market - Ed Biden
Big Fish, small pond - strategies for surviving in a maturing market - Ed Biden
Big Fish, small pond - strategies for surviving in a maturing market - Ed Biden
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Quo Vadis Conference Berlin 2015

Mobile games have never been more competitive. Production values and marketing costs are ever increasing and the top grossing charts look strangely similar to the year before. So how can developers maximize their chances of success in such a tough market? Is it better to clone a hit or innovative wildly? Should they focus on one genre, or dabble in many? Ed draws on extensive market analysis and experience developing games to explain why selective innovation is the key to success.

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Big Fish, small pond - strategies for surviving in a maturing market - Ed Biden

  1. 1.   Big  fish,  small  pond:  Strategies  for  surviving  in  a  maturing  market Ed Biden Wooga
  2. 2. 5 hits to date Bubble Island Monster World Diamond Dash Pearl’s Peril Jelly Splash
  3. 3. Transitioned from Facebook to mobile
  4. 4. Aim for 2 hits a year
  5. 5. We stop 95% of our games
  6. 6. 1.  Stopping projects 2.  Why is this so difficult? 3.  How can we succeed?
  7. 7. 1.  Stopping projects 2.  Why is this so difficult? 3.  How can we succeed?
  8. 8. Fun prototype
  9. 9. Skilled team
  10. 10. Progress was slow 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 NovJan How far through production are we? 2014
  11. 11. 14 Very different from Prototype
  12. 12. Production wasn’t a straight line... Production starts Prototyping starts Core gameplay rebooted Nov ‘13May ‘13 May ‘14 Nov ‘14 Meta game redesigned Move to synchronous PvP iPhone first
  13. 13. Multiple risks Session length Brand compatibility Critical mass CPI < LTV Novel gameplay Synchronous PvP Market size Community Building Session intensity
  14. 14. Eventually stopped project
  15. 15. Extensive post mortem
  16. 16. 1.  Stopping projects 2.  Why is this so difficult? 3.  How can we succeed?
  17. 17. •  Project specific issues •  Market context 2.  Why is this so difficult?
  18. 18. We started with a great idea
  19. 19. Did not build on Wooga strengths
  20. 20. Let vision evolve Tablet first Linear upgrades Building based Asynchronous Phone first CCG meta Unit based Synchronous
  21. 21. Biggest risks not tested until launch Session length Brand compatibility Critical mass CPI < LTV Novel gameplay Synchronous PvP Market size Community Building Session intensity Soft Launch Launch Launch Launch Prototyping Soft Launch Prototyping Soft launch Soft Launch
  22. 22. •  Project specific issues •  Market context 2.  Why is this so difficult?
  23. 23. Number of apps has increased hugely
  24. 24. The top grossing charts are static
  25. 25. Production values are rising
  26. 26. Advertising budgets are increasing
  27. 27. More games build on existing IPs
  28. 28. Biggest companies extending their leads
  29. 29. SUPERCELL KING Game FAIL Companies invest in their assets Audience Game design expertise Marketing expertise
  30. 30. Genres get locked down
  31. 31. Looks like console market…
  32. 32. Where games can dominate for a decade
  33. 33. 1.  How do we fail? 2.  Why is this so difficult? 3.  How can we succeed?
  34. 34. Back in 2011…
  35. 35. Female audience on Facebook
  36. 36. Hidden Object a natural extension
  37. 37. Build on genre in meaningful ways
  38. 38. Developed new expertise
  39. 39. 32 million players Launch: March 2013 Still growing revenue Impressive Results
  40. 40. Main take aways
  41. 41. Smart constraints
  42. 42. Identify your strengths •  Fanbase / audience? •  Previous game? •  Technical expertise? •  Low cost base? •  Niche interests?
  43. 43. Find your pond •  Browser based •  2D graphics •  Permadeath
  44. 44. Manage the risks What: Critical Mass Proof point: Waiting times are acceptable in Divinity Hours Theoretical numbers needed low Timing: Soft Launch References: World of Tanks, Hearthstone, Super Battle Tactics Size: Large
  45. 45. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Stick to the plan NovJan
  46. 46. It’s still going to be tough
  47. 47. Smart constraints
  48. 48. •  Know your strengths •  Find your pond •  Manage the risks •  Stick to the plan
  49. 49. Thank  You!   ed.biden@wooga.com mobilefreetoplay.com
  • TheChris2

    Oct. 1, 2017
  • PhilippArlt

    Oct. 21, 2015
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    Sep. 4, 2015
  • piotrbiegun

    May. 3, 2015
  • NattoMaki

    Apr. 27, 2015
  • gaudione

    Apr. 27, 2015

Quo Vadis Conference Berlin 2015 Mobile games have never been more competitive. Production values and marketing costs are ever increasing and the top grossing charts look strangely similar to the year before. So how can developers maximize their chances of success in such a tough market? Is it better to clone a hit or innovative wildly? Should they focus on one genre, or dabble in many? Ed draws on extensive market analysis and experience developing games to explain why selective innovation is the key to success.

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