Ducklings

(How to monetize your mobile game)

ducklingsgame.com 🐤

Johan Dettmar

  • Ex-hyper (DM10STO)
  • Live in Berlin
  • Freelance web developer
  • Started Physics BSc
SnakeOilStudios
facetime

(Me and Sven)

Freelancing web devs
in Berlin

2015

$$$ = 💯

It's game time!

🚫 NO 🚫

  • Previous game dev experience
  • Game concept
  • Business model
  • Knowledge about the industry
  • Contacts
betaeditor
Unity 5

Unity 👍

  • Free*
  • Cross platform
  • Huge community (4M devs)
  • Great tutorials, good docs
  • Built in IAP and ads
  • 50-75% market share, 3d games
  • C# ≈ JS

𝄆

Research

Work

Start over

𝄇

𝄆

Research

Work

Start over

𝄇

𝄆

Research

Work

Start over

𝄇

Planned

3-4 months

Reality

9 months

Nov: finally done!

(Official trailer)

Next phase

Marketing!

Platforms

  • Reddit
  • Touch arcade
  • Blogs
  • Youtube
  • Magazines
  • App store

Nothing happened!

😞😡😰

Nov - Jan

analyticsdecjan

(Thank you, friends!)

Korea happened!

🇰🇷 🙌 🍾

DucklingsNo1

Nov - Feb 🔥💥

analyticsdecjan

The story of 오덕

We decided to go to Korea

duckairport
duckairport
duckairport
duckairport
duckairport
duckairport
duckairport
duckairport

Let's talk business!

💵 💵 💵

How do we make money?

Sad truth

Most people don't wanna spend money on games

Reasons

  • "Enough" good games available for free
  • Not worth the risk
  • Quantity > quality (compare PSN, Xbox)
  • There are of course exceptions
  • As an indie, AAA quality is HARD

How do we make money?

F2P = 👑

75% of mobile game revenue

F2P = 📈

75% of mobile game revenue

F2P = Ads and IAP

F2P =

People have to play a LOT

P2P -> download means you made it

F2P -> download means you just started

Our focus

  • Making people play, $$$ will follow
  • In-game loop = engagement
  • Meta game loop = retention

In-game loop (engagement)

  • Highscore
  • Beat your own highscore
  • Beat your friends' highscore
  • Leader boards and sharing

Meta game loop (retention)

  • Done playing today ≠ done playing the game
  • Collecting coins & receive gifts
  • Unlock ALL the (19) worlds!
  • Play 10 min every day ≈ 3-4 weeks

How do we monetize this?

Let's talk about ads

GoodEffective ad patterns

😇

Generally speaking

  • Make users "want" to show your ad
  • Give the user something by doing it
  • Try to avoid breaking their "flow" = don't interrupt

Crossy Road

  • Our main inspiration
  • 100M+ downloads
  • 70% 1st day retention
  • 4.7/5 rating
  • ~20c per user
  • We stole almost everything they did
  • 1M little details, mostly UX

Their philosophy

  • Play through the entire game without seeing an ad
  • Good for ratings
  • Embrace your freeloaders

Ad #1: Revive (in-game)

Ad #1: Revive (in-game)

  • Available at the right time
  • Investment (I've come this far)
  • Offered a 2nd chance
  • The more social the game, the more likely people are to click it
  • A bit like doping in Tour de France - if you don't do it, you ain't gonna win

Interstitial ads

  • $2 per 1000 views

Ad #2: Earn (meta game)

Ad #2: Earn (meta game)

  • Only show this once in a while
  • Don't create a gut reaction
  • Make sure it's an opportunity
  • Seeing ad = progressing faster

Video ads

  • $5-10 per 1000 views

Ad providers

  • Unity = easy
  • Heyzap = powerful

Let's talk about the other revenue stream

IAP = 😈 😇

  • It has gotten a bad rep
  • Devs abuse anti-patterns
  • Allows users to try you product
  • Download now, decide later

GoodEffective IAP patterns

😇

(That we stole as well)

IAP do's and dont's

  • Do sell convenience
  • Do sell beauty/fun
  • Don't sell power!

Crossy Road

  • Remove ads
  • Coin doubler (progress faster)
  • Buy the thing you cannot/don't want to unlock

Unlock worlds (IAP)

Unlock worlds (IAP)

  • The more you unlock, the harder it gets
  • Direct access to the world that you want

There's so much more

  • F2P is truly an artform
  • The devil is in the details

Let's talk learnings

Give yourselves time 🕓

  • Games can take a looong time
  • 9 months full time
  • Ducklings is tiny
  • Don't aim too high for your first game
  • Side projects are fun, but might not become reality
  • That's totally OK, but can be frustrating

Financing 💸

  • Save up?
  • Investment?
  • Crowd funding?
  • Government funds?

Motivation 💪

  • Doing your own thing is much more rewarding
  • Don't do everything alone
  • Borderline burned out
  • Push each other
  • Find people as interested as you are
  • Find people that are better than you at x

Research 🤓

  • Download all featured games
  • Watch conference videos
  • There's so many talented people out there

Beta testers 🤖

  • As early as possible
  • It's the most rewarding thing
  • It's what kept us going
  • Don't just ask, watch them play
  • When they stop responding, you're getting closer
  • Don't just listen to what friends think
  • Go fish on forums
  • Testflight / Google play

Tracking 🔎

  • More > less
  • It might become useful later
  • Google Analytics
  • Game Analytics
  • Unity Analytics

Get momentum 🚂

  • Dev blog
  • Create a following, reach out to people
  • Don't start from zero
  • 500 games / day

Prepare to fail 😲

  • The Hyper motto
  • Be LEAN
  • Pivot often
alfa

Most importantly 😆

  • Make something just for fun,
    that's the whole purpose of a game

Thanks!

@interwebsDaily

ducklingsgame.com/get

dettmar.se/talks/ducklings