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How to Succeed in the West:
Stats, Best Practices and
Common Mistakes for F2P Core Games
David P Chiu
Senior Director of D...
What is Kongregate?
• Open platform for browser-based games
– Flash, Unity, HTML5, Java, etc.
– 96%+ of users already have...
Kongregate is also a mobile publisher of F2P games
Some of Kongregate’s Existing Developer Partners
Asian F2P vs Western F2P Stats
(Quick summary from last year’s presentation)
ARPU and ARPPU
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...
What works in Asia doesn’t necessarily
work in the West
• Puzzle & Dragons (5/8 – 5/15)
– #1 Top Grossing Game in Japan
– Top ~90-150 Grossing Game in US
• P&D’s US ranking is st...
• MT Card Battle from LocoJoy
– Huge success in China
– But much less successful in the US
Can’t expect a game
to be succe...
What’s popular in Asia isn’t always popular in the West
• Many successful games in Asia based on Romance of the Three King...
Example: Autumn Dynasty Warlords
• RTS game set in ancient China
• Great game but theme only appeals to a niche audience i...
Auto-pathing and Auto-Combat
• The last 2 years have seen a flood of auto-pathing/auto-combat games from Asia
• Very popul...
Auto-pathing and Auto-Combat
• If a game has both manual and auto-combat options:
DO show player both options and give abi...
Attitudes Towards
Free-to-Play and Pay-to-Win
Free-to-Play and Pay-to-win
• Free-to-play games have become a dominant model worldwide
• Asian developers and players are...
Free-to-Play and Pay-to-win
• Soften the perception of pay-to-win and avoid sticker shock:
DO hide USD$100+ packages until...
Sticker Stock: Extreme Edition
• Chinese CCG game with VIP system
• Earn VIP points by buying Gold (hard
currency)
• VIP p...
Free-to-Play vs Pay-to-win
• Developer removed 200k Gold for VIP10 text at Kongregate’s request
• And no new complaints ab...
Customer Service Expectations
“The Customer is Always Right”
• Western customer culture is very different compared to Asia
– Consumers feel more entitle...
Community Management and Customer Service
• The more time you invest playing a game, the more emotionally attached you bec...
Communicating during a crisis
Sometimes bad things happen (game does down, major bugs appear) and players will be upset
• ...
After the crisis:
Customer service is a chance to surprise and delight
• Handle things quickly
• Be generous with compensa...
Miscellaneous Best Practices
Timing is everything!
• Specify time zones or set a server time and have it be visible so there is no
confusion leading pl...
Timing is everything!
• Do not schedule maintenance if no one is around afterwards
to make sure everything went well
E.g. ...
You only get one chance to make a first impressions
• Don't flood with fake reviews and comments as players are smart enou...
Remember: Commitment Matters
Type of Player % Buyers Avg Trx ARPPU ARPU % Players % of Rev
Non-Repeats 0.03% 2.1 $24.69 $0...
THANK YOU
For a copy of the presentation or questions, email
davidchiu@gamestop.com
For more talks & data visit developers...
How to Succeed in the West:  Stats, Best Practices and  Common Mistakes for F2P Core Games (Kongregate F2P Monetization Pr...
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How to Succeed in the West: Stats, Best Practices and Common Mistakes for F2P Core Games (Kongregate F2P Monetization Presentation, Casual Connect Asia 2014)

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As a platform for free-to-play browser games for core gamers, Kongregate has a unique perspective and a wealth of data on what types of mechanics and characteristics of F2P games are most effective at maximizing player retention, monetization and satisfaction. David will begin by looking at the retention and monetization metrics of free-to-play games by Asian & Western developers. He will then share the best practices and game mechanics that Asian developers can learn from their Western counterparts, highlight common mistakes that Asian developers make in bringing their games to a Western audience, and cover specific DO’s and DON’Ts regarding game themes, gameplay mechanics, community management/customer support and pricing with specific examples. Asian developers will walk away with a better understanding of the Western market, how to avoid costly mistakes and how to maximize success in Western markets.

Veröffentlicht in: Business, Unterhaltung & Humor, Design
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How to Succeed in the West: Stats, Best Practices and Common Mistakes for F2P Core Games (Kongregate F2P Monetization Presentation, Casual Connect Asia 2014)

  1. 1. How to Succeed in the West: Stats, Best Practices and Common Mistakes for F2P Core Games David P Chiu Senior Director of Developer Relations & Business Development Kongregate, A GameStop Company
  2. 2. What is Kongregate? • Open platform for browser-based games – Flash, Unity, HTML5, Java, etc. – 96%+ of users already have Unity installed • 21M+ monthly unique visitors worldwide • Core gamers – 85% male, average age of 22 • MMOs, RPGs, CCGs/TCGs, TD, shooters, etc. • Platform level virtual currency “Kreds” for F2P games • Acquired by GameStop July 2010
  3. 3. Kongregate is also a mobile publisher of F2P games
  4. 4. Some of Kongregate’s Existing Developer Partners
  5. 5. Asian F2P vs Western F2P Stats (Quick summary from last year’s presentation)
  6. 6. ARPU and ARPPU
  7. 7. ARPU and % Buyers
  8. 8. ARPU and % Repeats
  9. 9. ARPU and % 50+ gameplays
  10. 10. Asian vs Western Style • Asian games: High ARPPU, tight player funnel – Monetization caters well to big spenders • Western games: Lower ARPPU, wide player funnel – Monetization focuses more on initial retention and broad conversion to paid at lower prices • Some common mistakes by Asian developers when bringing their games to the West can contribute to the lower retention and conversion rates • What are common pitfalls to avoid and best practices to adopt?
  11. 11. What works in Asia doesn’t necessarily work in the West
  12. 12. • Puzzle & Dragons (5/8 – 5/15) – #1 Top Grossing Game in Japan – Top ~90-150 Grossing Game in US • P&D’s US ranking is still great but not as good relative to success in Japan What’s popular in Asia isn’t always popular in the West
  13. 13. • MT Card Battle from LocoJoy – Huge success in China – But much less successful in the US Can’t expect a game to be successful in the West just because it was successful in Asia What’s popular in Asia isn’t always popular in the West
  14. 14. What’s popular in Asia isn’t always popular in the West • Many successful games in Asia based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Journey to the West • But Westerners are not familiar with these classical Chinese novels and themes • Less likely to play Asian-themed game (compared to a medieval themed game) • Also have trouble remembering Chinese names for characters and locations • Hard to follow the game story or even play the game
  15. 15. Example: Autumn Dynasty Warlords • RTS game set in ancient China • Great game but theme only appeals to a niche audience in the West DO consider how universal the game theme is and if it will appeal to Westerners
  16. 16. Auto-pathing and Auto-Combat • The last 2 years have seen a flood of auto-pathing/auto-combat games from Asia • Very popular game mechanics in Chinese MMOs • Convenient feature that speeds up the game • Reduces fatigue from grinding • But unpopular with Western gamers • Like interactivity, control and choice • Want to play a game, not watch a game play itself • Feel all auto-pathing/auto-combat games are the same
  17. 17. Auto-pathing and Auto-Combat • If a game has both manual and auto-combat options: DO show player both options and give ability to set the default (or default to manual combat) DON’T set the default to auto-combat
  18. 18. Attitudes Towards Free-to-Play and Pay-to-Win
  19. 19. Free-to-Play and Pay-to-win • Free-to-play games have become a dominant model worldwide • Asian developers and players are used to paying for power • But some Western developers and gamers still don’t like it • Some Western players avoid games they feel are “pay-to-win” or in which (big) spenders have too big of an advantage over free players – So avoid appearing outright as a pay-to-win game
  20. 20. Free-to-Play and Pay-to-win • Soften the perception of pay-to-win and avoid sticker shock: DO hide USD$100+ packages until after first purchase DON’T scare away potential players/buyers with high prices (Ex. “$400 packages?!?!”)
  21. 21. Sticker Stock: Extreme Edition • Chinese CCG game with VIP system • Earn VIP points by buying Gold (hard currency) • VIP points unlock VIP levels with increasing VIP bonuses • At launch, the developer stated outright that 200k gold is needed to unlock VIP10 • Players quickly calculated that it would cost USD$4,000 to unlock VIP10 • Players flooded game’s Comments Section • Even those that liked the game complained
  22. 22. Free-to-Play vs Pay-to-win • Developer removed 200k Gold for VIP10 text at Kongregate’s request • And no new complaints about the USD $4,000 cost of VIP10 DO be careful with messaging and placement of big ticket items in the shop DON’T come across as the extremely greedy, money-grubbing developer
  23. 23. Customer Service Expectations
  24. 24. “The Customer is Always Right” • Western customer culture is very different compared to Asia – Consumers feel more entitled, have higher expectations of customer service – Also more empowered (ability to get refunds, issue chargebacks, organize boycotts) • Need good community management and customer service teams to keep players satisfied
  25. 25. Community Management and Customer Service • The more time you invest playing a game, the more emotionally attached you become • Emotional investment can potentially lead to financial investment as well • Player less likely to spend in with inactive developer  Will the game get updated? Will bugs get fixed? Does the developer even care? • Creating positive community and showing good customer service  Players are more confident that their investment of time and money will not be wasted • Show the players that you are care about them (and not just making money) • Be visible – engage in chat, forums, etc • Be responsive – reply to common complaints/bugs/questions, purchase issues, etc. • Be informative – give advance notice for maintenance and changes
  26. 26. Communicating during a crisis Sometimes bad things happen (game does down, major bugs appear) and players will be upset • Effective crisis management can help calm the storm a little • Be open, transparent and honest • Post in the game forum to apologize and assure players that you are aware of the problem and are working on it • Don’t be silent! Players will think that you don’t care about them or the game. • Provide updates regularly even when you have nothing new to report (better than nothing) “We are still working to get the game back up ASAP. Sorry but please bear with us” • If you are unsure about when the issue can be fixed, avoid giving specific timelines • Don’t forget to express regret and acknowledge players’ frustration •  “We know that this sucks as those in the middle of a Clan War will lose valuable time and gold from the downtime. We are sorry and we are working as fast as we can.”
  27. 27. After the crisis: Customer service is a chance to surprise and delight • Handle things quickly • Be generous with compensation • Poor compensation can make things worse • But don’t do something unless you’re willing to do it for everybody • Don’t forget to express regret – an apology goes a long way • Canned messages or short replies can come across cold or corporate • E.g. “It was fixed. You can play now.”  No sympathy • Example of poor compensation making players angrier:
  28. 28. Miscellaneous Best Practices
  29. 29. Timing is everything! • Specify time zones or set a server time and have it be visible so there is no confusion leading players to miss events/sales • Bar on top of Wartune’s loading screen clearly lists the server time, the next event’s start time and a countdown to it • If all players are in the same server (not split into US vs EU servers), then have at least 2 instances of an event so players in different time zones can join • Daylight Saving Time – be aware of when changes occur and make adjustments as needed so you don’t start events 1 hour early or late
  30. 30. Timing is everything! • Do not schedule maintenance if no one is around afterwards to make sure everything went well E.g. Chinese MMO dev does maintenance 5-7pm China time but everyone leaves work before maintenance is done • Maintenance fails and game is down for 12+ hrs • Big drop in daily revenue • Players unhappy with extremely long maintenance and lack of response from developer
  31. 31. You only get one chance to make a first impressions • Don't flood with fake reviews and comments as players are smart enough to know • Don't use art assets and sound effects/music from popular games  Players will notice and rate down your game • Make sure that your game has a good translator
  32. 32. Remember: Commitment Matters Type of Player % Buyers Avg Trx ARPPU ARPU % Players % of Rev Non-Repeats 0.03% 2.1 $24.69 $0.01 43% 0% Repeats (2-9 plays) 0.40% 1.85 $19.61 $0.08 40% 3% Regs (10-49 plays) 4.68% 2.61 $21.35 $1.00 10% 12% Committed (50+ plays) 16.53% 7.03 $96.92 $16.02 7% 84% DO apply these learnings and best practices into your own game DON’T make the mistakes other Asian F2P developers have made in Western markets
  33. 33. THANK YOU For a copy of the presentation or questions, email davidchiu@gamestop.com For more talks & data visit developers.kongregate.com For web games contact us at apps@kongregate.com If you’re interested in mobile publishing it’s davidchiu@gamestop.com Follow us on Twitter: @EmilyG & @KongregateDevs

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