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Maximizing Player Retention andMonetization in Free-to-Play Games:Comparative Stats for Asian & Western GamesDavid P ChiuD...
What is Kongregate?• Open platform for browser-based games– Flash, Unity, HTML5, Java, etc.• 15M monthly uniques visitors ...
Some of Kongregate’s Existing Developer Partners
Stats both reflect & shape mind-setSo what statistics does F2P focus on?Daily Active Users, DAU$/DAU1- & 7-Day RetentionTo...
A little background• All stats are lifetime, min 6 weeks on platform• ARPU: average revenue per user• ARPPU: average rev p...
ARPU and ARPPU
Big spenders matter
Linear Growth x Many Years =Awesome Business
Asian F2P vs Western F2P
ARPU and ARPPU
ARPU & ARPPU• ARPPUs for single-player games cluster around $5-$10• Multiplayer games range $20-$350• Average ARPPU for a ...
ARPU and % Buyers
ARPU and % Repeats
ARPU and % 50+ gameplays
Asian vs Western Style• Asian games: High ARPPU, tight player funnel– Monetization caters well to big spenders• Western ga...
F2P Best Practices
Best Practices for Optimizing Retention:Keeping players engaged
Daily Play Bonuses• Daily play bonuses are good to get users coming back regular• But improve on the typical 5-7 day daily...
Daily Play Bonuses• Add an element of chance- make it exciting!• Repeat logins opens upbigger potential rewards
Don’t punish people for taking a break• Psychologically, punishments or the possibility of punishment detersunwanted behav...
Don’t punish people for taking a break• It can sting but it shouldn’t handicapyou permanently• Limit amount of resources t...
Keep players busy!More things to do = more players staying• Solo and team PvE• Solo and team PvP• Asynch raids• Guild batt...
Without progress you have nothingThe foundations of a F2P game are a strong RPGelements and a sense of progress over time....
Asynchronous > SynchronousType % 50 Plays % Buyers ARPPU ARPUSynchronous 1.4% 0.54% $43 $0.25Asynchronous 3.6% 0.80% $88 $...
Best Practices for Optimizing Monetization:A happy customer is a paying customer
Shopping should be easy and frictionless• Location, location, location – make the store easy to find!• Make it easy to fin...
Buy Screen• Bonuses % or/and items provide incentives for buying larger hard currency packages• Clearly call out bonuses o...
Making the shopping experience interesting• First time buyer/ Starter packages• Seed players with some paid/hard currency ...
Gamification of buying• VIP program – customer loyalty program like airlines and hotels• The more you buy, the more status...
Make sure players can spendas much as they want• The longer someone plays your game the more likely they are to buy andthe...
Best Practices for Community Building:When you’re here, you’re family!
Make it easy for community to buildChat, forums, player-to-playermessages are all greatReal relationships build whenpeople...
Guilds are awesome100% of our top games have them.Some reasons they make a difference• Social incentives to return  I wan...
Community Management andCustomer ServiceIf a player invests many hours intoa game they begin to feel someownership. It may...
Opportunity ComplainsCustomer service is a chance to surprise and delight• Handle things quickly• Be generous with compens...
Surprise and delight• IGG rewards its players with some resources after each of itsweekly 30-minute maintenance
Have fun with your community
THANK YOUFor a copy of the presentation or questions, emaildavidchiu@gamestop.com or come by the Kongregate booth in theSi...
Kongregate - Maximizing Player Retention and Monetization in Free-to-Play Games: Comparative Stats for Asian & Western Games
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Kongregate - Maximizing Player Retention and Monetization in Free-to-Play Games: Comparative Stats for Asian & Western Games

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As a platform for F2P games, Kongregate has a unique perspective on what types of mechanics and characteristics of F2P games are most effective at maximizing player retention, monetization and satisfaction. This talk will look at F2P trends and specific game metrics with a comparative analysis of free-to-play games by Asian & Western developers. We will examine the similarities and differences between games as it relates to retention/ monetization, share best practices and statistics to understand how to maximize your success with Western audiences.

Kongregate, part of the GameStop network, is a leading online gaming platform for free-to-play games and mobile publisher. Kongregate has over 300 games on Kongregate.com from developers all over the world ranging from small indie developers to big multinational companies like Nexon, Tencent, R2, BigPoint, IGG, Snail, etc.

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  • great presentation. Thanks
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Kongregate - Maximizing Player Retention and Monetization in Free-to-Play Games: Comparative Stats for Asian & Western Games

  1. 1. Maximizing Player Retention andMonetization in Free-to-Play Games:Comparative Stats for Asian & Western GamesDavid P ChiuDirector of Business Development &Developer Relations (Kongregate)Principal, Business Development(GameStop Digital Ventures)Emily GreerCo-Founder & COO (Kongregate)
  2. 2. What is Kongregate?• Open platform for browser-based games– Flash, Unity, HTML5, Java, etc.• 15M monthly uniques visitors worldwide• Core gamers – 85% male, average age of 21• MMOs, RPGs, CCGs/TCGs, TD, shooters, etc.• Platform level virtual currency “Kreds” for F2P games• Mobile publisher of F2P games for core gamers• Acquired by GameStop July 2010
  3. 3. Some of Kongregate’s Existing Developer Partners
  4. 4. Stats both reflect & shape mind-setSo what statistics does F2P focus on?Daily Active Users, DAU$/DAU1- & 7-Day RetentionTo a lesser extent MAU & 30-Day30-Day Retention is a good stat, but 30 days isnot “long-term” retention, it’s the start.
  5. 5. A little background• All stats are lifetime, min 6 weeks on platform• ARPU: average revenue per user• ARPPU: average rev per paying user• Player: a Kongregate registered user who loadedthe game page at least once• Plays = Sessions: our preferred method to measureretention
  6. 6. ARPU and ARPPU
  7. 7. Big spenders matter
  8. 8. Linear Growth x Many Years =Awesome Business
  9. 9. Asian F2P vs Western F2P
  10. 10. ARPU and ARPPU
  11. 11. ARPU & ARPPU• ARPPUs for single-player games cluster around $5-$10• Multiplayer games range $20-$350• Average ARPPU for a multiplayer game from Asia: $181• Average for Western multiplayer game: $51• Only 9 Western games have an ARPPU above $100• ARPPU is the main factor in high ARPU for Asiangames, important factor for all games
  12. 12. ARPU and % Buyers
  13. 13. ARPU and % Repeats
  14. 14. ARPU and % 50+ gameplays
  15. 15. Asian vs Western Style• Asian games: High ARPPU, tight player funnel– Monetization caters well to big spenders• Western games: Lower ARPPU, wide playerfunnel– Monetization focuses more on initial retention andbroad conversion to paid at lower prices– Pay 2 Win is not as accepted by Western devs• Mixed games: can combine the best of both– High conversion, wide funnel, still create big spenders
  16. 16. F2P Best Practices
  17. 17. Best Practices for Optimizing Retention:Keeping players engaged
  18. 18. Daily Play Bonuses• Daily play bonuses are good to get users coming back regular• But improve on the typical 5-7 day daily bonuses• Reward playing game regularlyin longer term• Doesn’t reset after 5-7 days• Doesn’t “punish” players formissing a day
  19. 19. Daily Play Bonuses• Add an element of chance- make it exciting!• Repeat logins opens upbigger potential rewards
  20. 20. Don’t punish people for taking a break• Psychologically, punishments or the possibility of punishment detersunwanted behavior• Base/castle raided, loot stolen, crops withered, troops dead, accountde-activated, etc. deter players from being away too long• But it can be a two-edged sword• Players sometimes need to take a break (exams, vacation, illness)• Punishment may drive re-activated users away again“I just got back from vacation/workconference/being sick but my base iscompletely destroyed, my resources are gone,troops are dead. No point in getting back in thegame since I lost everything already.”
  21. 21. Don’t punish people for taking a break• It can sting but it shouldn’t handicapyou permanently• Limit amount of resources that canbe looted or # times you can beattacked while gone• Enable shield or protection time ifyou lose a significant amount• Mix positive reinforcement withpunishment• Quick one-button rebuild• Resources still available for harvest• Gain XP or gold while away
  22. 22. Keep players busy!More things to do = more players staying• Solo and team PvE• Solo and team PvP• Asynch raids• Guild battles• World boss raids• Farming• Town Building• Weapon/GearSynthesizing & Upgrading• Astral Collecting andCombining• Etc.It is important to pace the introduction of new features/gameplay modes to notoverwhelm players with a long and intimidating tutorial.
  23. 23. Without progress you have nothingThe foundations of a F2P game are a strong RPGelements and a sense of progress over time.Surprisingly it’s more important than multiplayerType % 50+ Plays % Buyers ARPPU ARPUMultiplayer RPG 2.6% 0.75% $69 $0.51Multiplayer Non-RPG 1.0% 0.45% $9 $0.05Single-player RPG 1.8% 1.29% $12 $0.10Single-Player Non-RPG 0.2% 0.53% $4 $0.02
  24. 24. Asynchronous > SynchronousType % 50 Plays % Buyers ARPPU ARPUSynchronous 1.4% 0.54% $43 $0.25Asynchronous 3.6% 0.80% $88 $0.66Both 2.9% 1.07% $51 $0.55Single-Player 0.8% 0.85% $7 $0.05Multiplayer is a good way to keep players engaged and busy in the long runbut not all types of multiplayer are created equal
  25. 25. Best Practices for Optimizing Monetization:A happy customer is a paying customer
  26. 26. Shopping should be easy and frictionless• Location, location, location – make the store easy to find!• Make it easy to find the right item– Meaningful categories and item descriptions– No massive scroll bars• Mix soft currency and hard currency items• BUT – don’t try to sell too hard, too fast. First few sessions shouldfocus on fun & giving players reasons to come back to play and gethooked.
  27. 27. Buy Screen• Bonuses % or/and items provide incentives for buying larger hard currency packages• Clearly call out bonuses of larger packages!• Make all packages visible in one page• Hide $100+ packages until after first purchase
  28. 28. Making the shopping experience interesting• First time buyer/ Starter packages• Seed players with some paid/hard currency and guide “intro purchase”• Deals/events to get people into the habit of spending regularly• Offer items that enhance the gameplay experience (not just speedups)• Intro the right items at the right time– Lvl 1 players should not be shown the lvl 100+ holy sword that’s on sale for $100)• Keep them coming back – keep store fresh by adding new items, unlocking items asplayers level up and featuring seasonal and time-limited items
  29. 29. Gamification of buying• VIP program – customer loyalty program like airlines and hotels• The more you buy, the more status points you earn which unlock more benefits/bonuses
  30. 30. Make sure players can spendas much as they want• The longer someone plays your game the more likely they are to buy andthe less price sensitive they become• Give committed players the ability to spend at $1,000+ if they want• Have lots of items that are appealing and useful to a committed playerand price them higher (if possible) than items meant for early/mid-gameplay. [Higher means $30-100, not $1000]• If you make a fun game, someone may want to spend an infinite amount.• Don’t create a situation where spending is capped by availability or utility.• Again, remember to make it easy for players to buy!
  31. 31. Best Practices for Community Building:When you’re here, you’re family!
  32. 32. Make it easy for community to buildChat, forums, player-to-playermessages are all greatReal relationships build whenpeople interact. The more waysthey can do it, the better.
  33. 33. Guilds are awesome100% of our top games have them.Some reasons they make a difference• Social incentives to return  I want to see my friends• Social pressures to return  I don’t want to disappointthem• Improves the psychology of purchases  I’m doing it for theteam, not me• Upends the dynamics of pay-to-win  can set up asymbiotic relationship between buyers and non-buyerswhere both add value to the same group
  34. 34. Community Management andCustomer ServiceIf a player invests many hours intoa game they begin to feel someownership. It may be YOUR game,but it’s THEIR experience1. Be visible – forums, chat, email2. Listen to their concerns and acknowledge their emotions3. Be transparent, honest, and accurate4. Give advance notice of changes and downtimes5. Don’t feed the trolls
  35. 35. Opportunity ComplainsCustomer service is a chance to surprise and delight• Handle things quickly• Be generous with compensation• But don’t do something unless you’re willing to do itfor everybody
  36. 36. Surprise and delight• IGG rewards its players with some resources after each of itsweekly 30-minute maintenance
  37. 37. Have fun with your community
  38. 38. THANK YOUFor a copy of the presentation or questions, emaildavidchiu@gamestop.com or come by the Kongregate booth in theSilver Sponsors room (Table#5)For more talks & data visit developers.kongregate.comFor web games contact us at apps@kongregate.comIf you’re interested in mobile publishing it’s mobile@kongregate.comFollow us on Twitter: @EmilyG & @KongregateDevs

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