Your game is serious business, which is why you must map out the features and feature sets with the greatest earning (and commercial) potential before you burn cash designing and launching your app into major markets. Analytics allow you to understand the market, and the competitive landscape, before you take the plunge.
This is why the latest episode of Mobile Presence — a podcast aired and archived on Cranberry Radio.FM and syndicated on iHeartRadio, the Internet radio broadcast station that reaches 243+ million monthly users and 7 million active daily users on their talk radio platform — focused on why knowing what top-grossing games in your genre are doing is key business intelligence that will decide if your game hits new heights, or ends up on the heap.
The show’s hosts, Peggy Anne Salz from MobileGroove and Shahab Zargari from Higher Ground Creative Agency, invited our CEO, Markus Råmark, to lead the discussion around how (and why) feature-level data forms the basis of your game and the foundation of your business.
Among the highlights:
Back to the roots. Markus tells listeners that a love of games and an obsession with data are what inspired him and his team to found GameRefinery. Markus’ own interest dates back to 2000, when he started his own company in the mobile games industry. Since then the realization that the industry is maturing made it clear that game companies need to learn to harness and use data to make critical choices about their games. As he put it in the interview: “There are more and more games coming into App Store every day…so, unless you are aware of your product and your features and also about competitors’ features, it’s impossible to compete in the current landscape.”
Benchmarking with the best. In addition to detailing the data GameRefinery analyzes, Markus tells listeners the basis for the patented Game POWERSCORE. He also details how it equips game companies to understand and estimate the revenue-generating potential of their game based on the features it offers. “It reflects the market right now and reveals how well your game features correspond to the current market trends,” he says. The concept caught the attention of Shahab, who explored the nuts and bolts of how developers can input features into the GameRefinery system and the value they get in return. “We help them (game companies and developers) to combine objective feature level data with their creative skills,” Markus explained. “That’s how you get super powers. With excellent creative skills, you can be Clark Kent. But with our data, you can become Superman.”
Shifting the focus. To make better games with more competitive features you need to know their commercial potential. Markus recommends developers to “benchmark and test your game’s features and commercial potential before you go to soft launch.” But, he points out, it makes even more sense to continue to check the feature-level data as your game evolves. Markus also talks about case studies where GameRefinery has helped developers to optimize their game features, and offers examples of where GameRefinery has helped publishers “test the potential of features for the games that they are looking to publish.” Significantly, VCs are showing increased interest in feature-level data as well. These insights obviously allow investors to better understand the commercial potential of the games offered by companies in their portfolio — as well as the *real* competitive threat posed by market rivals.
Trending and mega-trends. As the GameRefinery system and service is dynamic, it offers clients up-to-date and historical views into how specific features are trending. This way, Markus tells listeners, “you can see where the trends are going, and that’s really important when you are planning your longer term feature strategy for your game.”
So what is hot — and what’s “next”?
Markus zeroes in on multiple PVP modes and rewards — key features that we have also detailed in recent blogs as part of our Feature Spotlight series.
- Feature Spotlight: Multiple PvP-Modes – Why They Are Trending And What You Need To Implement
- Feature Spotlight: Progression Elements in Daily Rewards
- And watch for our next blog post later this month looking at best practices around limited-time events
What features should developers avoid? Markus warns game companies to “be careful” with how they design and implement multi-task controls. In practice, if you require players to use both hands when playing the game, it makes it harder for them to play it on mobile devices.
Developers should also take steps to offer trading mechanics in role playing games that balance, not bankrupt, the overall game economy, Markus adds. Fortunately, looking into how top grossing games are monetizing their players provides a solid blueprint developers can adapt to plan and design their own game.
Finally, what are the features that will rock 2017?
Markus is bullish about social sharing and live event. “Both are trending heavily as they offer an easy way to bring diversity and good synergies into the game.” Moreover, both breed “cooperation and communal features to re-engage players.”
A good example is Pokèmon GO’s Halloween event, which allowed players (from October 26th to November 1st) to earn double the amount of candy every time they catch, hatch and transfer Pokémon. Forbes (quoting Sensortower) later reported that the live event paid off big for the game, resulting in “a huge 133% increase in revenue from the event.” Overall, the game’s limited-time live Halloween event for players, increased IAP revenue approximately 133% worldwide, or 2.3X, in its first five days. The game earned approximately $23.3 million worldwide between October 25 and 29, up from approximately $10 million between October 18 and 22.
Expect AR/VR to also gain new traction in the year ahead. As Markus put it. “VR and AR are something that will definitely keep trending.” Signs from key markets such as China signal great potential for AR/VR in games, but “it remains to be seen whether the technologies will be a feature in a mass market product.”
In the third and final segment of the show Markus answered the audience question: what are the 3 top ways you can use feature level data to boost your chances of releasing an amazing game or app?
We won’t give it all away here — so we invite you to listen into the show and let us know what you think.