While slightly delayed, we have decided to provide a brief recap and our key takeaways from the Berlin Social Gaming Summit back in May. Better late than never!
Arcade vs Resource games
According to Kai Bolik, CEO Game Duell, online Arcade games are doing pretty well. In 2011 they accounted for 50% of total MAUs playing games on Facebook compared to only 10% in 2010. While they don’t monetize as well as traditional online Resource games (APRDAU of 3 vs 5 cents), they tend to have longer lifetime engagement driven by well-known and simple game mechanics as well as higher replayability. While revenues appear to be more evenly distributed among Arcade gamers, 3% of gamers still account for roughly 80% of revenues vs 90% for Resource games. Across all freemium games on Facebook – which includes Arcade and Resource games – it appears that females account for 70% and those aged 50+ account for 46% of all gamers.
Real-time Multiplayer can reduce CAC to $0
One interesting point that was made during the Summit was that gamers don’t pay for features but for value. Apparently, a real-time multiplayer game – still very unique in today’s online gaming landscape – presents a great deal of value to gamers. Jens Hilgers, CEO of Geewa, commented that their most successful real-time multiplayer Facebook game ‘Live Pool Tour’ grew from 0 MAUs to 10 million MAUs in a matter of weeks. Guess how much they spent on acquiring customers? The answer is $0! Apparently viral distribution is still possible but the developer needs to find new ways of adding value to its users.
Frictionless payments are key
I guess we always knew this but it’s good to reconfirm it every now and again. Frictionless payment services are integral to converting active users to paying users. ARPU on iOS is close to 5x higher than on Android for the same game.
Cross-platform has its benefits
Cross-platform games appear to present a number of benefits. Gamers can play 24/7 irrespective of location, developers/brands receive more exposure, there are more CRM touch points, and there is greater ability for cross promotion. In the case of Game Duell, 45% of its gamers are cross-platform today and ARPU and retention are 14% and 25% higher for cross-platform gamers.
Diversify your Consumer Marketing activities
According to Lloyd Melnick from fiveonenine games, Performance Marketing is getting more expensive and less effective. CPC and CPM are up by 41% and 23% respectively from Q411 to Q112. On top of that, click through rates on Facebook are down 8% over the same time period. Among other things, Melnick advises developers to expand their consumer marketing activities and to do a better job engaging users through social marketing campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.
What’s important to developers
I guess it’s no surprise that the industry – the people designing and developing the games – are having a hard time keeping up. There is AAA and there is casual; there is online and there is mobile; there are ‘real’ gamers and there are ‘social’ gamers. With so many moving parts, Jens Hilgers, CEO of Geewa, commented that developers today are most interested in a fixed framework for publishing, monetizing, analysing, testing and iterating their games, while also reaching the largest possible audience. Fortunately, Turbulenz is in the process of addressing all of Jens’ desires.
All in all, we’ve learned a lot during the Social Gaming Summit in Berlin that supports Turbulenz’ vision for the future of HTML5 and browser based gaming. Over the past couple of years we’ve put in place a framework of technologies and services that developers can leverage to:
- build high-quality 2D or 3D games,
- test and iterate these games in a live staging environment, and
- publish, monetize and analyse these games on turbulenz.com, an online gaming destination that supports a completely new generation of unique APIs that span both the Turbulenz game engine and the cloud.
While many initially doubted our ability to deliver on such big ambitions, we’re beginning to see more and more traction with developers and consumers alike. In the wise words of Arthur Schoppenhauer, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” We are confident that we are nearing the third stage of Schoppenhauer’s prophecy.