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TO SELF-PUBLISH OR NOT TO SELF-PUBLISH? AN INDIE SURVIVAL GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING IN THE MOBILE F2P WORLD David P. Chiu DC Games Consulting LLC
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To Self-Publish or Not To Self-Publish? An Indie Survival Guide to Self-Publishing in the Mobile F2P World

Jan 24, 2018

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  • TO SELF-PUBLISH OR NOT TO SELF-PUBLISH?

    AN INDIE SURVIVAL GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING IN THE MOBILE F2P WORLD

    David P. ChiuDC Games Consulting LLC

  • 12+ years in games industry

    Intel in Gaming Developer Relations & Business Development, US Gaming Marketing & Campaign Strategy

    Head of Business Development and Developer Relations at Kongregate

    Vice President of R2 Games USA

    Worked on hit games such as Clicker Heroes, Politicats, Game of Thrones Ascent

    Now at DC Games Consulting LLC

    WHO AM I?

    DC Games Consulting LLC

  • COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE IN MOBILE GAMES

    DC Games Consulting LLC

    F2P is the dominant business model

    Usually only 1-2 paid games in the iOS Top 150 Grossing

    Incumbents tend to dominate the charts

  • MOBILE USER ACQUISITION IS EXPENSIVE

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    Makes 3rd party publishing model

    challenging

    Revenue sharing makes UA difficult

    Recoupable marketing developer

    receives little revenue

  • Minor feature: 10k to 100k+ installs Medium feature: 100k-300k+ installs Major feature: 300k to 1M+ installs

    ***For F2P games, not paid

    APP STORE FEATURES ARE INCREDIBLY POWERFUL

  • # of Apps 3.10M

    Approx. # of apps each week ~9k

    # of Games 780k

    Approx. # of games each week ~3k

    Promo slots of new games 16

    BUT APP STORE FEATURES ARE HARD TO GET

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  • SELF-PUBLISH VS. PUBLISHER?

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  • Publishers can help by allowing you to focus on the game development while they handle publishing

    Publishers can provide the following:

    Marketing creatives (icon, screenshots, ads, videos, keywords and do A/B tests)

    User acquisition

    App store relations and featuring

    PR and media outreach

    F2P expertise and analytics

    Customer service and community management

    Functional QA Testing

    Localization and localization QA

    Development funding or royalty advances

    Marketing guarantees

    IP licensing

    IS A PUBLISHER RIGHT FOR ME?

    DC Games Consulting LLC

  • Evaluate the publisher:

    Are goals and interests aligned?

    Putting some skin behind the game?

    Potential for long term partnership?

    Track record of success?

    Repeat deals with developers?

    Who will be working on your game?

    1st party and 3rd party games?

    Audience and portfolio fit?

    IS A PUBLISHER RIGHT FOR ME?

    DC Games Consulting LLC

  • Evaluate your game and team:

    Goals for the game and studio?

    Does your team understand F2P?

    Do you have the key talent for a F2P game dev and UA?

    Do you have enough capital for dev and UA?

    Do you plan on doing UA for your game?

    SELF-PUBLISH?

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  • SELF-PUBLISHING VS. PUBLISHER

    Self-Publishing Publisher

    Pros 100% net revenue and control Complements or augments your capabilities/ resources

    Cons Need appropriate team/ resources Revenue share More chefs in the kitchen

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  • SELF-PUBLISHING BEST PRACTICES

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  • SOFT LAUNCH

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    Choose soft launch countries and roll-out schedule

    1. Southeast Asia (Philippines, Indonesia, etc) Cheap CPIs ($0.20-$1) can get large # of installs quickly Stability and compatibility testing Not for A/B testing or estimating metrics

    2. Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, etc) Player resemble US/CA/AUS players Relatively lower CPI A/B test features A/B test marketing/ app store creatives

    3. Canada, Australia and New Zealand Resemble US players the most Expensive CPIs

  • SOFT LAUNCH CHECKLIST

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    A/B test and optimize in-game features and tutorial/ FTUE

    Test in-game analytics and app attribution platforms

    A/B test app store page and marketing creatives

    Icon

    App Name

    Subtitle

    Screenshots

    Video(s)

    Copy

    Keywords

  • BEST PRACTICES FOR IMPROVING RETENTION

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  • IMPROVING RETENTION

    Early retention:

    Daily log-in rewards or monthly check-in calendar

    Quests system

    Mini-game or lucky wheel

    Daily Events/ Challenges

    Daily Limited Time Events

    E.g. Everyday 6-7pm PDT Double XP Power Hour

  • IMPROVING RETENTION

    Mid and Late Stage Retention:

    Achievements with rewards

    Multiplayer features (PvP, co-op, clans, clan battles, clan

    perks, chat)

    Leaderboards (single player, PvP, event-based)

    Limited Time Events

    Seasonal Events

    Features and items specifically geared towards elder players

    that are unlocked later on

  • BEST PRACTICES FOR IMPROVING MONETIZATION

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  • INCREASING MONETIZATION: SHOP UI

    Have all items viewable in one screen without scrolling

    Easier for comparing packages

    Clearly call out bonuses for bigger packages

    Call out Most Popular and Best Deal packages

    Break up into categories or tabs if needed (heroes, armor, consumables, etc)

  • INCREASING BUYER CONVERSION AND ARPPU

    Drive buyer conversion and spending with:

    1. First time buyer packages

    2. Additional bundles after the first purchase

    3. Targeted offers based on player behavior

    4. Time limited offers

    5. Bundles for IAP events/holidays

    6. Hard currency daily drips/ subscriptions

    7. Purchasables specifically for elder players

    Perform A/B tests to determine optimal pricing, timing, offers, etc.

  • MINIMIZE FRICTION INCREASE CONVERSION AND ARPPU

  • MONETIZATION: SHOP TUTORIAL

    Seed players with some hard currency at the

    beginning

    Lead them to the shop

    Guide them thru a free introductory purchase

    Player gets a taste of the benefits of buying (like free

    samples at Costco)

  • 1) Hard currency unlocked 2) Show players where they can spend them

    Almost a Hero

  • 3) Introduce to shop with free introductory purchase

    Almost a Hero

  • HARD CURRENCY SUBSCRIPTIONS/ DAILY DRIPS

    Encourages daily login Helps increase retention Provide one-time

    reward at purchase for some instant gratification

  • GAMIFYING THE BUYING EXPERIENCE

    With a Chinese MMO-style Buyers VIP system Players earn points for spending within the game Which can unlock tiers with different rewards or perks Modelled after airlines, hotel and casino VIP systems

    Risk: may make you look greedy and the game P2W This is more for games with deep, complex economies

  • NOTIFICATIONS

    Dont ask to opt in at app launch

    Ask later in the first or second session of the game and offer an incentive to do so Free chest every 4 hours Spin prize wheel every 4 hours

  • AD MONETIZATION

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    Consider adding rewarded video to increase your LTV

    Good for high retaining casual games with low monetization

    Integrate mediation platform and multiple ad networks

    Negotiate superior deal terms

  • AD MONETIZATION

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    Integrate ads into gameplay (core loop or regularly repeating screen)

    Prominent surfacing/ placements

    Offer meaningful rewards

    Incorporate ads into new content or/and limited timed events

    Limit video pre-caching to minimize OTA data usage

    Avoid long ads or ads that require users to pre-qualify

  • QUESTIONS?

    DC Games Consulting LLC

    David P. ChiuDC Games Consulting LLC

    david.p.chiu@gmail.com