King.com is a cool company right now. In a little under a year they’ve ousted EA and Wooga to be #2 on the Facebook app leaderboard.
How did they do it? Well, Alex Dale, CMO outlined a few tips in his keynote at Digital Shoreditch Play today. There are a few tips we gamifiers can learn from:
First of all, who they are targeting – 70% of their audience for casual games is women over 45. A demographic that really didn’t much play copmuter games a decade ago but now, clearly, does.
A year or so ago, King.com was nowhere on Facebook, the world’s largest gaming platform by a big big margin. Flash games of the ‘tetris’ type variety was more their thing.
What were their learnings as they approached social games on Facebook:
1. They spent a year testing various options
Yes a year, that’s the sort of time most people spend making a product! Instead they tried bingo games, multi-player games, immersive games and so on. What they learnt is perhaps obvious now but wasn’t then. The format on Facebook that works is casual, less formal, relaxing games.
2. They spent time on the tutorial stage
‘Onboarding‘ is the process where new players are guided through the first few levels until they master the basic controls of the game. Too often in our business products we drop users in at the deep end and expect trainers (or osmosis from co-workers) to take its place.
3. They invested in data
As Alex says “Data is key to success on Facebook. We don’t just ship games and forget about them – now it’s a process of continuous testing and improvement. We have a small platoon of statisticians to analyse a billion data points each month”
This means he can optimise his games when confronted with real usage patterns. As an example, he explained how players were getting stuck at Level 9 and exiting the game. They found that 84% of fails were due to players not getting the high enough score, that the level required, to progress to the next one. So they reduced the threshold and hey presto, players progressed, this time to level 14 where the next sticking point was. Then they optimised that level and so on to create a smooth, less churn game.
So there we are – three simple learnings from a company that has pushed its way up the charts with games like Bubble Witch Saga.
How can we apply these to our businesses and gamified products?