A Game Publisher Nightmare: A daunting look at today’s increasing marketing costs
You may remember Flappy Bird, the mobile gaming phenomenon which was released almost 7 years ago, back in May 2013. The game was produced in just three days by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, but quickly topped the app store’s free gaming charts in both the U.S. and China by January 2014. The mobile marvel was reportedly making $50,000 a day, which, unsurprisingly, spawned a new genre of copycats.
Originating with Flappy Bird itself, the “Hyper Casual” gaming category was born. To put it simply, these games are still challenging enough for even the most advanced of gamers, yet still user-friendly and easy enough for people with no previous gaming experience. Due to their inclusivity and lighthearted, but challenging gameplay, this genre has become extraordinarily viral, as they presently account for over 60% of mobile app store charts’ top 20 free games.
Hyper-casual games’ nature itself highly impacts its profitability, because their simple gameplay results in addictive behavior that induces repetitive play, naturally maximizing ad exposure and revenues. However, this design also has its downside, because of its gameplay’s simplicity it can result in a feeling of repetitiveness, which results in a lack of user retention and usage longevity.
This fatal flaw produces a trend that sees only 30 percent of the game’s users opening the game in the first day it’s downloaded. That figure falls to 7 percent after one week and a mere 2 percent 28 days after it’s downloaded. For example, if 100 users have downloaded a certain game, statistically, only two users will still play said game one month after download. Thus, the lifetime value (LTV) — a measure of revenue generated by a single user — is quite low. Since only 2% of users remain after one month, this has resulted in a vicious circle within the gaming industry. Gamers are acquired at great cost through marketing efforts, but developers do not have the time to sit and reap the benefits of any one viral game’s success, as they are constantly developing new games to comply with this shortened life cycle.
This process has caused marketing costs to skyrocket for all types of game publishers around the globe. Unless a game goes completely, unexpectedly viral, such as the case of Flappy Bird, it is almost impossible to expect even a single download with no marketing efforts whatsoever. However, traditional marketing mediums are not usually the most viable option for publishers, making their task an even more daunting one as they try to scour the market for their niche. Game developers have no choice but to think more about how to go about ‘marketing’ than developing ‘fun games,’ due to the hardships in regards to monetizing them.
Larger game publishers can secure users through cross-promotion through a mix of high-cost commercials and below-the-line marketing efforts. However, small game developers, due to their lack of capital, do not have many interesting or unique tools to introduce their games to gamers, except for social media-based advertising methods. In the end, the best option for small or indie game developers is to release their products through a larger publishing house, even though they have to offer a sizable portion of their profits to them.
GameTalkTalk, which will be released as the first DApp of the Ludena Protocol, will be a solution to game publishers’ and game developers’ marketing concerns. GameTalkTalk aims to create a space for passionate, quality gamers (high in-game time and monetary spend), exactly the type companies wish to target. Traditional game marketing ads on traditional channels lack a connection that speaks to the characteristics of passionate gamers. However, GameTalkTalk is a community of such ones that access the application particularly to connect with game publishers and be the first to know about all their new offerings.
Most importantly to advertisers, all the various kinds of games each user has downloaded and played can be accessed through GameTalkTalk, which can result in highly efficient target marketing. In order to utilize this tool, advertisers can create events within the app which rewards users who participate with LDN tokens. These LDN tokens can be converted for either tangible items or digital, in-game items. Users take advantage of earning these rewards as many games are ones which they would play anyway and publishers gain access to a pool of users who they would otherwise have difficulty reaching. In this way, marketing costs are effectively targeted and users are being advertised to in a way that pays them to play, all within a functional, harmonious ecosystem: Ludena Protocol.
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