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Post Mortem Royal Revolt
How a publisher and a developer joined
forces to develop a successful mobile game
franchise
All content in this presention © flaregames GmbH
POST MORTEM
It‘s all in the mix!
I am a developer.
I am a publisher.
THE PUBLISHER SPEAKS
so we needed:
more games, especially in 3D…
… but from trustworthy devs
flaregames in early 2012:
a few games in development (2D only)
expertise in marketing and monetization (idling)
successful financing round in progress (money to spend)
THE DEVELOPER SPEAKS
Our situation in early 2012:
wanted to do a F2P mobile game
had some ideas and dev expertise
so we needed:
a partner with mobile publishing expertise
a partner with F2P expertise
project financing
We liked keen
because, they...
are very good multiplatform devs
are dedicated to quality
have strong dev pipelines, own 3D technology
are experienced and hands-on can-do guys
they reside an hour’s drive from flaregames HQ
We liked flare because they...
have inhouse development and understand game dev
have solid monetization expertise
are experienced hands-on guys
were also looking for long-term cooperation
are led by the owner
We liked flare because they...
have inhouse development and understand game dev
have solid monetization expertise
are experienced hands-on guys
were also looking for long-term cooperation
are led by the owner
We wanted a mid-core
game...
… that was roughly in the field of Tower Defense
… that was 3D and colourful
… that followed the monetisation concept of Army of Darkness
… was without multiplayer (our server tech was not ready)
… had the potential to be rolled out on multiple platforms
… was character-driven
?
We offered a cute take on TO...
… cartoony for mass appeal and not too hardcore
… colourful, yet reduced to not confuse the player when many units are shown
… charming, yet edgy enough to become a brand
… reduced optical complexity for small screen sizes
… straight gameplay
I am a
developer.
We offered a cute take on TO...
We offered a cute take on TO...
How we work together
I am a developer.
I am a publisher.
How we work together
Game Design.
Art.
Code.
Audio.
Consulting.
Marketing.
PR.
Monetization.
Platform Holder
Relations.
Timeline of production
Brainstorming End of 2011, early 2012
3 months of prototyping
Start of production in March 2012
Soft launch in Canada in August 2012
Worldwide release: 27.9.2012
After launch:
Android Version
Windows Phone 8 & Metro Version
Amazon version
Mac version
More content
Google Birthday Level
Bonus-missions: Equinox, Easter, Bamboo, Daily Challenges
Angry Prince
Prince Harming
Raiding Prince
Rushing Prince
Punching Prince
Striking Prince
Angry Prince
Prince Harming
Raiding Prince
Rushing Prince
Punching Prince
Striking Prince
Kingdoms Attack
Kick 'em Out
Lord Bogsmart
Lord Crusher
Sir Crusher
Why „Royal Revolt“?
War of the Kingdoms
Royal Attack
Royal Crown
The Royal Crown
War of Thrones
Kingdoms Attack
The Golden Crown
The Golden Kingdom
Prince Vs. Greedy Uncles
Prince Vs. the Greedy Knights
Take the Castles!
Game of Knights
Castle Hero
Castle Quest
Chaos Castles
Crashalot
Destructalot
Battle Castles
Bogsmart
Castle Battle
Castle Buttkick
Castle Chaos
Castle Crusade
Castle Crush
Gate Crasher
Hero at the Gate
We almost forgot iconic enemies...
We almost chose the wrong icon...
Experiments in marketing
Experiments in Marketing
The game came out and...
The success:
4,5 * on average in the
AppStores
80+ score on average in
media reviews
good game
12 M downloads
good media recognition
some awards
good platform relations
established a brand
ROI-positive
The failure:
no real story
no softlaunch on Android
/ W8
App-size too big
weak monetization
couldn‘t buy profitable
installs
unpronouncable name
social features too late
Lessons learned:
Windows is a blue ocean, Amazon didn‘t work out:
Lessons learned:
Platform holder relations are key
Naming needs a process
Social features should be in from the start
Single Player Games are hard to monetize
Better monetization needed to scale marketing
Agile development worked out
Session length should be shorter, yet meaningful
Content slicing: Don‘t let player burn through too fast
1 currency is not enough
But more importantly, we
learned about skills/roles
To achieve real success in the mobile market you need to…
…have someone who does monetization and events
…have someone who speaks to the platforms
…have someone who does performance marketing
…have someone charged with brand-building
…have someone charged with social features
…have a dedicated task force for server technology
…have someone charged with deployment and loca
…have a support unit
…have a tough dev team able to deliver quality
And all these roles have to communicate daily and as
frictionless as possible.
Lessons learned:
Platform holder relations are key
Naming needs a process
Social features should be in from the start
Solo games are hard to monetize
App marketing is harder than expected
Agile development worked out
?
?
?
Brief for the sequel
multiplayer instead of solo
citybuilder gameplay
competition and leagues
complex economy (3+ currencys)
aimed at a more mature audience
production value even better than Royal Revolt
longer soft launch to nail things down
use infrastructure built by flaregames
Timeline of production
Start of production in Q1 2013
Soft launch in Canada in October 2013
Worldwide release: 26.2.2014
After launch:
Android Version, Google Birthday Level
First update within 3 weeks
Upcoming:
Windows Phone 8 & Metro Version
Many more updates
Expand the gameplay
Expand the gameplay
Expand the gameplay
Prototyping in Unity
New server architecture
More than a great game
F2P success requires combining a great game with great service…
League of
Awesomeness
Publishing, Live
Operations
… which requires a complex technical and business infrastructure
More than a great game
League of Awesomeness
GameLayer
24/7 Dev Ops
PublishingInfrastructure
Shop Server Data Mining
Support Tools
Virality Tools
Promo Server
Platform
Plugins
BusinessOperations
Promo & Events
Marketing BizDev Community
AdSales Data Analytics
In-depth analytics
Example: sales of an item package by user lvl and payer status
 Tweaked content to make it more attractive at lvl 26+
0
50
100
150
200
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46
Recurring Conversion
In-depth analytics
Example: likelihood of progression to higher pricepoints
 Individually segmented discounts to induce buying of higher price points
0.00%
10.00%
20.00%
30.00%
40.00%
50.00%
60.00%
70.00%
80.00%
< same same next >next
Price of 2nd buy by 1st package
rr2.gems.01 rr2.gems.02 rr2.gems.02_promo35
In-depth analytics
Expand monetization
3 currencies: 1 hard, 2 soft
soft currency buys: troops, buildings, spells
hard currency buys: scrolls, speed-ups, soft currency, build
space, worker slots
strong focus on packages and monetization events
players gets much hard currency for free at first and are
encouraged to spend it fast
Expand monetization
Expand monetization
Position the game „darker“
Position the game „darker“
Position the game „darker“
Virality: FB and beyond
Exclusivity on iOS
Exclusivity on iOS
How to get featured
Talk to the platform holders regularly
Show them what your‘re doing: art, videos, prototypes
Offer exclusivity, even if it‘s temporary
Promise marketing spend (they like TV!)
Ask their advice, when given follow it
Implement platform-exlusive features (controllers, G+ etc.)
Give them the type of polished game they crave!
Marketing
Successful release:
No server breakdowns!
4,5 * on average
Honored with Features by Apple and Google
1.5 M installs in the first 10 days
But:
Slightly overambitious first update
Successful release
Successful release
Again, this is how we work
To achieve real success in the mobile market you need to…
…have someone who does monetization and events
…have someone who speaks to the platforms
…have someone who does performance marketing
…have someone charged with brand-building
…have someone charged with social features
…have a dedicated task force for server technology
…have someone charged with deployment and loca
…have a support unit
…have a tough dev team able to deliver quality
And all these roles have to communicate daily and as
frictionless as possible.
Contact us!
flaregames GmbH, Kaiserstr. 146, 76185 Karlsruhe, Germany
flaregames.com | twitter.com/flaregames | facebook.com/flaregames

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Royal Revolt Post Mortem

  • 1. Post Mortem Royal Revolt How a publisher and a developer joined forces to develop a successful mobile game franchise All content in this presention © flaregames GmbH
  • 3. It‘s all in the mix! I am a developer. I am a publisher.
  • 4. THE PUBLISHER SPEAKS so we needed: more games, especially in 3D… … but from trustworthy devs flaregames in early 2012: a few games in development (2D only) expertise in marketing and monetization (idling) successful financing round in progress (money to spend)
  • 5. THE DEVELOPER SPEAKS Our situation in early 2012: wanted to do a F2P mobile game had some ideas and dev expertise so we needed: a partner with mobile publishing expertise a partner with F2P expertise project financing
  • 6. We liked keen because, they... are very good multiplatform devs are dedicated to quality have strong dev pipelines, own 3D technology are experienced and hands-on can-do guys they reside an hour’s drive from flaregames HQ
  • 7. We liked flare because they... have inhouse development and understand game dev have solid monetization expertise are experienced hands-on guys were also looking for long-term cooperation are led by the owner
  • 8. We liked flare because they... have inhouse development and understand game dev have solid monetization expertise are experienced hands-on guys were also looking for long-term cooperation are led by the owner
  • 9. We wanted a mid-core game... … that was roughly in the field of Tower Defense … that was 3D and colourful … that followed the monetisation concept of Army of Darkness … was without multiplayer (our server tech was not ready) … had the potential to be rolled out on multiple platforms … was character-driven ?
  • 10. We offered a cute take on TO... … cartoony for mass appeal and not too hardcore … colourful, yet reduced to not confuse the player when many units are shown … charming, yet edgy enough to become a brand … reduced optical complexity for small screen sizes … straight gameplay I am a developer.
  • 11. We offered a cute take on TO...
  • 12. We offered a cute take on TO...
  • 13. How we work together I am a developer. I am a publisher.
  • 14. How we work together Game Design. Art. Code. Audio. Consulting. Marketing. PR. Monetization. Platform Holder Relations.
  • 15. Timeline of production Brainstorming End of 2011, early 2012 3 months of prototyping Start of production in March 2012 Soft launch in Canada in August 2012 Worldwide release: 27.9.2012 After launch: Android Version Windows Phone 8 & Metro Version Amazon version Mac version More content Google Birthday Level Bonus-missions: Equinox, Easter, Bamboo, Daily Challenges
  • 16. Angry Prince Prince Harming Raiding Prince Rushing Prince Punching Prince Striking Prince Angry Prince Prince Harming Raiding Prince Rushing Prince Punching Prince Striking Prince Kingdoms Attack Kick 'em Out Lord Bogsmart Lord Crusher Sir Crusher Why „Royal Revolt“? War of the Kingdoms Royal Attack Royal Crown The Royal Crown War of Thrones Kingdoms Attack The Golden Crown The Golden Kingdom Prince Vs. Greedy Uncles Prince Vs. the Greedy Knights Take the Castles! Game of Knights Castle Hero Castle Quest Chaos Castles Crashalot Destructalot Battle Castles Bogsmart Castle Battle Castle Buttkick Castle Chaos Castle Crusade Castle Crush Gate Crasher Hero at the Gate
  • 17. We almost forgot iconic enemies...
  • 18. We almost chose the wrong icon...
  • 21. The game came out and...
  • 22. The success: 4,5 * on average in the AppStores 80+ score on average in media reviews good game 12 M downloads good media recognition some awards good platform relations established a brand ROI-positive
  • 23. The failure: no real story no softlaunch on Android / W8 App-size too big weak monetization couldn‘t buy profitable installs unpronouncable name social features too late
  • 24. Lessons learned: Windows is a blue ocean, Amazon didn‘t work out:
  • 25. Lessons learned: Platform holder relations are key Naming needs a process Social features should be in from the start Single Player Games are hard to monetize Better monetization needed to scale marketing Agile development worked out Session length should be shorter, yet meaningful Content slicing: Don‘t let player burn through too fast 1 currency is not enough
  • 26. But more importantly, we learned about skills/roles To achieve real success in the mobile market you need to… …have someone who does monetization and events …have someone who speaks to the platforms …have someone who does performance marketing …have someone charged with brand-building …have someone charged with social features …have a dedicated task force for server technology …have someone charged with deployment and loca …have a support unit …have a tough dev team able to deliver quality And all these roles have to communicate daily and as frictionless as possible.
  • 27. Lessons learned: Platform holder relations are key Naming needs a process Social features should be in from the start Solo games are hard to monetize App marketing is harder than expected Agile development worked out ? ? ?
  • 28. Brief for the sequel multiplayer instead of solo citybuilder gameplay competition and leagues complex economy (3+ currencys) aimed at a more mature audience production value even better than Royal Revolt longer soft launch to nail things down use infrastructure built by flaregames
  • 29. Timeline of production Start of production in Q1 2013 Soft launch in Canada in October 2013 Worldwide release: 26.2.2014 After launch: Android Version, Google Birthday Level First update within 3 weeks Upcoming: Windows Phone 8 & Metro Version Many more updates
  • 35. More than a great game F2P success requires combining a great game with great service… League of Awesomeness Publishing, Live Operations
  • 36. … which requires a complex technical and business infrastructure More than a great game League of Awesomeness GameLayer 24/7 Dev Ops PublishingInfrastructure Shop Server Data Mining Support Tools Virality Tools Promo Server Platform Plugins BusinessOperations Promo & Events Marketing BizDev Community AdSales Data Analytics
  • 37. In-depth analytics Example: sales of an item package by user lvl and payer status  Tweaked content to make it more attractive at lvl 26+ 0 50 100 150 200 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 Recurring Conversion
  • 38. In-depth analytics Example: likelihood of progression to higher pricepoints  Individually segmented discounts to induce buying of higher price points 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00% < same same next >next Price of 2nd buy by 1st package rr2.gems.01 rr2.gems.02 rr2.gems.02_promo35
  • 40. Expand monetization 3 currencies: 1 hard, 2 soft soft currency buys: troops, buildings, spells hard currency buys: scrolls, speed-ups, soft currency, build space, worker slots strong focus on packages and monetization events players gets much hard currency for free at first and are encouraged to spend it fast
  • 43. Position the game „darker“
  • 44. Position the game „darker“
  • 45. Position the game „darker“
  • 46.
  • 50. How to get featured Talk to the platform holders regularly Show them what your‘re doing: art, videos, prototypes Offer exclusivity, even if it‘s temporary Promise marketing spend (they like TV!) Ask their advice, when given follow it Implement platform-exlusive features (controllers, G+ etc.) Give them the type of polished game they crave!
  • 52. Successful release: No server breakdowns! 4,5 * on average Honored with Features by Apple and Google 1.5 M installs in the first 10 days But: Slightly overambitious first update
  • 55. Again, this is how we work To achieve real success in the mobile market you need to… …have someone who does monetization and events …have someone who speaks to the platforms …have someone who does performance marketing …have someone charged with brand-building …have someone charged with social features …have a dedicated task force for server technology …have someone charged with deployment and loca …have a support unit …have a tough dev team able to deliver quality And all these roles have to communicate daily and as frictionless as possible.
  • 56. Contact us! flaregames GmbH, Kaiserstr. 146, 76185 Karlsruhe, Germany flaregames.com | twitter.com/flaregames | facebook.com/flaregames