Game Design

Analytics, App Monetization, Game Design, Tips and Advice

4 Proven Tips for Improving Opt-In Rate - Based on Data

If you have been following the SOOMLA blog, attending mobile game conferences or keeping up with the latest mobile monetization trends in some other ways you should already know the following important fact. Improving Opt-in to rewarded videos usually results in an increase of the same proportion in your total ad revenue. This is why many companies that use rewarded videos have been focusing on the opt-in parameter and have been trying to optimize it.

While getting the basic opt-in ratio is easy, there are a few advanced methods for finding hidden opportunities around opt-in rates.

1 – Look at daily opt-in vs. monthly opt-in

Typically, app companies focus on the monthly opt-in – this is the ratio that is normally available by platforms such as Ironsource mediation and what most will allow you to analyze if you send them the impression events. The monthly opt-in, however, only tells part of the story and in many cases we have seen that the daily opt-in can be significantly lower. What that means is that there are users who opt-in to the videos some of the days while not watching videos on other days. Fixing this can usually yield 20-25% more in ad revenue and the way to do it is by taking a close look at your incentives. Will the users need the incentive on a daily basis? If not, try to figure out an incentive that the users will need more regularly.

Definitions
Monthly opt-in – the number of unique users who watched at least one video in a given month out of your total MAU.
Daily opt-in – the number of unique users who watched at least one video in a given day out of your total DAU. The daily opt-in has to be averaged across multiple days to smooth out the fluctuations.

2 – Analyze opt-in for cohorts

Cohort analysis is hardly a new trick for marketers but when it comes to monetization managers it actually is. Comparing the opt-in rate for new users vs. existing users can lead to some pretty interesting insights based on our experience. This might requires some help from your BI team (or simply using SOOMLA’s dashboard) but the hidden opportunity should justify the effort as we have seen up to 2x differences between the two segments. If opt-in is high for new users and declining for long-term users it could be a sign that your incentives are not meaningful enough for your users. In other words users are willing to watch videos but they soon realize that what they are getting in return doesn’t get them very far so they stop. In other situations, the opt-in for new users is low. This could indicate an awareness and training problem. Making your users aware of the option to watch videos early on can fix the problem.

3 – Differentiate users from different traffic sources

One of the interesting patterns we have seen is that users from different traffic sources behave differently when it comes to opt-in ratio. Users who came from paid channels and specifically from video ads often present a higher opt-in ratio compared to organic users. To improve the opt-in ratio for organic users, consider adding some more guidance to highlight the opportunity of watching videos for in-game rewards.

4 – Treat your ad whales to nice Incentives

In recent research we showed that the top 20% of the users contribute 80% of the ad revenue. These so called Ad Whales are the most important segment from an ad revenue perspective. You should focus a lot of your attention to make sure the opt-in rate for this group is as high as it can be. These users typically contribute more than $0.99 and sometimes up to $100. This means that they are as good as payers and you can offer them in-game items that are normally reserved for an actual purchase. However, since you want users of this group to watch a video daily it’s better not to offer them a perpetual item. Some examples of incentives you can give for ad whales:

  • A tank that is normally worth $100 – watch a video to use for a single day
  • Shortening a waiting time that normally costs up to $1
  • 10x coin boost for a short period instead of 2x

Identifying the ad whales is possible by attributing the ad revenue accurately to the user level. The only way to do this accurately today is with SOOMLA Traceback.

We’ve put out a series of posts on the wide topic of Opt-In rates and the importance of them. Feel free to check them out:

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Game Design, Tips and Advice

Is it time to end Match 3 Game tutorials?

If you downloaded a match 3 game recently you might have noticed that the first few levels are guiding you how to play the game. I would make a guess that if you are reading this blog you have already played several match 3 games already and the tutorial is not really relevant for you. The question is how frequent is this situation and if there is a better why.

Match 3 – a popular genre

Match 3 games are a popular genre on mobile – no doubt about that. A Google site search on the play store returns over 1M results for the search “Site:play.google.com “match-3”.

image-5

It’s probably the genre with the most number of apps out of the narrow genres (as opposed to a wide genre such as “Strategy”).

If we look at the number of players: Candy crush alone has over 2.7 billion downloads – this is close to the number of app capable devices out there and there are many more apps who are not that far behind.

It’s not a new genre either. Match 3 games has been around for at least 15 years. They have been with us through web games, Facebook games and mobile games.

image-6

A new user in a match 3 games is not new to the genre

What all these stats mean is that if your company publishes a match 3 game it’s likely that the majority of the new users you are getting is already familiar with the genre. Your UA teams are targeting users who liked other match 3 games on Facebook, Google is targeting your ads to users who searched match 3 in the past and other networks are trying to achieve the same result to send you relevant users. Users who know how to play match 3.

The tutorial is redundant for experienced users

image-4

Showing a tutorial to a user who never played match 3 could be the difference between him staying or leaving. However, the same tutorial for an experienced user is not effective. In fact, it might have the opposite effect – causing the user to leave as he is not challenged enough. Consider the tutorial in the image shown on the right side – it basically says “match 3 items” and might evoke the reaction “Well Duh!! It’s a match 3 game”.

Detecting experienced users automatically

Game publishers who want to offer an adaptive tutorial experience face a new challenge – how to detect which users are experienced match 3 players vs. not. Here are a few ideas how to detect this:

  • Acquisition channel – normally your UA efforts will be targeted at match 3 fans so you can just treat all paid traffic as experienced players. Alternatively, separate campaigns that are directly targeted to match 3 fans vs. broader campaigns. Using deeplinking you can invoke different flows inside the app. 
  • For the android version of your app, you can potentially check what other apps are installed on the device to determine if the user is already familiar with the genre. While Google will not allow you to send the app list to your server, checking locally and adapting the game experience is in the benefit of the app publisher as well as the user.
  • Prompting the user and asking him if he knows the genre is another way to go. If you think asking the user questions is annoying you should think again. Going through 7 levels of learning the game is far more annoying.
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Game Design, Marketing

Mixing existing gameplay ip with new narrative IP is what Pokemon Go a hit but there are other ways to leverage IP

Pokemon Go was a huge success partly because it was using very strong IP. They were not the first and certainly not the last. One of the interesting trends in the mobile gaming space is that if you look at the top charts, most successful games are using External IP. Here is the 101 on leveraging existing IP in your game.

Gameplay IP saves you time and money

One form of IP that is being used by many developers is public gameplay IP. Here are some examples:

  • Casino / Slots – leverage gameplay from land based casinos and real money online casinos
  • Card / Board / Dice games – most of these games are digital simulations of a real world game
  • Drag racing and Real racing – have been around since the early days of console games
  • Match 3 – obviously there are hundreds if not thousands of games using this format

The thing about gameplay is that most people want a familiar format. They know what they like and actively look for it. Innovating on gameplay is very expansive – it requires trial and error over a long period of time and the success rate is not high. All these iterations translates to effort, time, money but most importantly risk. This is why most of the top grossing games in the last few years are relaying on existing IP when it comes to gameplay. Fortunately enough, most gameplay IP is unprotected or in other words – free.

The challenge with leveraging existing gameplay IP is that you are competing in existing categories where other companies already play.

Narrative IP can help you stand out

To get user attention in crowded categories, successful companies often leverage narrative IP in their games. This means that the story, characters and the world of the game are all based on IP that is already familiar to the user. The IP can come from a movie, tv show, celebrity, sports league, land based slot machines or PC games. Some games from the Top 100 grossing that leverage narrative IP: Pokemon go, Clash Royale, Marvel COC, Madden NFL, Star Wars – Galaxy of Heroes, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, WSOP and the list goes on and on. If you are a small studio, you might not be able to afford IP from TV or movies. However, there is free IP that can be leveraged.

Pokemon Go example – leveraging existing Gameplay IP with new Narrative IP

One of the things that worked well for Niantic is that they already developed compelling gameplay IP with their game Ingress. The leveraged this IP and dressed it with the Pokemon narrative and visuals to create a new mix.

Successful games often innovate by creating new mixes. You can leverage Football IP in a runner game, Frozen Movie IP in a match-3 game and numerous games were created by mixing sports IP with flicking gameplay. Pokemon go is the most known example but it’s not the first time and not the last time a new mix is created.

Leveraging narrative IP from a successful game you created

If you already have one successful game, you will be able to leverage it’s gameplay but you can also leverage it’s narrative and visuals. Unlike what Niantic did with Pokemon Go, you can mix IPs the other way around – bringing in new gameplay. Narrative IP is less likely to get copied so that’s your real asset. Some examples:

  • Rovio brought racing gameplay to angry birds IP
  • Supercell brought fantasy cards game play to Clash of Clans world
  • Outfit 7 brought bubble shooter gameplay to Talking Tom IP
  • Color switch brought dozens of new game play types into the colorful world they created

 

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App Monetization, Game Design

Getting your users to day 365 retention is the equivalent of LTV heaven illustrated as a tropical island in calm waters.

I recently attended Pocket Gamer Connects event in Helsinki. It was super productive for us so first of all I should think the Pocket Gamer guys who set this up and the amazing gaming industry in Helsinki. Big shoot out to you all.

One of the panels I enjoyed on the conference introduced Saara from Next Games, Eric from Dodreams and Jari from Traplight. It was called LEARN HOW TO DRIVE PLAYER ENGAGEMENT FROM THE BEST IN FINNISH MOBILE GAMING. One of points raised by Eric was that it’s a great feeling to see players come back after 6 months or 1 year. In fact, it’s not just a great feeling, it also means great LTV. If you followed our 5 things you didn’t know about LTV post you already know that two thirds of the LTV is after day 30. However, games that can keep users coming back at day 365 often find that it’s much more. Losing some users between day 0 and day 30 is natural but if you can keep most of d30 users coming back month over month you will see that most of your LTV comes from those long retained users.

Specific Example:

One of the games I analyzed had 52.9%, 29%, 18% for d1,d7,d30 retention. These numbers are very good to say the least but he still lost 82% of his users. The interesting stuff is what happens after, users keeps coming back and the D365 LTV is almost 2x the D180 LTV. You can run the numbers yourself here.

Here are a few tips on how to get users to Day365:

Tip 1 – show the users something fresh every time

Updates are super important if you want to retain your long term users. Games gets boring fast but if you keep pushing update you can keep users engaged. If your updates follow a consistent schedule you are likely to have users that expect the updates and even complain when updates are delayed. A good example for that is Color Switch – this popular game has very high retention rates. One of the reasons for that is that every time you open color switch there is some new game mode waiting for you. The experience never gets old.

Tip 2 – give your users influence

Some games have ways for the users to create levels and challenge others. This is a great way to retain users and make them passionate about your game. Others don’t have native ways to do it but can still give the most loyal users ways to influence by creating special forums for them and making sure they know their opinions matter.

Tip 3 – make your game endless or close to it

Think about how many levels candy crush has – 2,620. You can play this game forever and yet they are adding new levels. The reason is that if a user ever reaches the last level he will leave for sure. Random games may not need to make new levels all the time but they need to make sure the experience doesn’t become repatitive and that there is enough content to create new variations.

 

If your company has good retention and is monetizing through ads it’s important to know the Advertising revenue per user. Check out SOOMLA Traceback – Ad LTV as a Service.

Learn More

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Game Design, Guest Post

top-9-fantasyGames

 

 

This is a guest post by Katrina Manning, Editor-in-Chief for Techandburgers.com, an online lifestyle, food and tech magazine.

Fantasy card games are games where user can collect cards and battle against other players to win more cards and gain experience and levels. The emergence of Hearthstone and Clash Royale showed us that this genre can be very popular if the cards are based on the right IP.

Fantasy card games can monetize well with rewarded videos

While the game play of card games is more casual compared to strategy games they typically attract similar audience. Unlike strategy games, Fantasy card games can’t retain their users for a long period so the LTV of the users tend to be lower. This makes them good candidate for mixing Rewarded Video ads in addition to IAP in their monetization strategy. We expect to see more games in this genre add video based monetization and generating more revenue doing so.
 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Ascensionascension

This card game requires you to build a deck in order to battle against other players. The fantasy card game offers 50 cards in total, but they come with a wide variety of features. In addition, an expansion called Realms Unraveled, increases the number of cards you have. Not to mention, it comes with multiplayer support that is cross platform with either Android or iOS. You can even play against AI opponents.

Hehearthstonearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

This is a digital, collectible card game that may cause an addition. You get to choose whether you want to play as one of the great heroes or villains of the Warcraft universe. To illustrate, you can choose Jaina Proudmoore, Gul’Dan, Thrall and more.

You can then call upon allies and minions to help you win epic battles. What makes it even better is it is an easy-to-learn cross-platform app. Moreover, you earn gold that can be used to buy booster packs.

Pathfinder Adventurespathfinder

This cross-platform game is the digital port of Paizo’s Pathfinder Adventure Card game. It combines deck-building and role playing. Essentially, each deck represents weapons, special abilities and gear. You can use them to defeat themed location and quest decks.

In addition, you’ll notice captivating backgrounds, cut scenes and animations. You can choose either single player or pass-and-play coop modes. It’s just one of the many examples of the rise of social games.

Magic: The Gatheringmagic

This game launched the collectible card game (CCG) genre. It gives you a detailed tutorial including the origin stories of the game’s Planeswalkers. You can earn new cards and skills with Skill Question challenges. Furthermore, you can choose between human or AI opponents through battles and/or Two-Headed Giant team games.

dream-questDream Quest

What makes this game different is it looks like a kid’s coloring book. Yet, if you take a closer look, you’ll find a fascinating combination of dungeon crawling and deck building. You start out with a beginner’s collection of cards and a basic character. You can then search for treasure, explore dungeons and unlock new cards in order to improve their decks.

If you move forward successfully, you can soon run your character deck easily. There are major boss battles that you need to win. Not to mention, death can be permanent. On the other hand, if you do well, you can unlock endless bonuses, extra content and secret characters. You might even decide whether or not you prefer playing on an Android or iPhone.
 

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 

Eredan Arenaeredan

This is both a dice and card game. From a deck of 120, you choose five heroes. You then throw the dice in order to trigger their abilities. In contrast, if you were to play Red Flush Casino, you might throw the dice and win some seriously fun prizes.

Here, you also have the elements of tabletop gaming. It is a role playing game that offers many strategies to help keep the game feeling like new. Moreover, your heroes can level up to receive new abilities. Since the dice rolls can be quite random, matches are always surprising.

Star Realmsstar

This takes the deck-building card game action to the stars. You begin with a small cadre of ships and fighters. You compete against other players to recruit a variety of warships, starbase cards and freighters. The goals is outfight each other in a battle for rulership. You’ll also get the opportunity to play short, but intense games.

Not to mention, its deck-building mechanics are quite impressive. You even get basic campaign and AI battles for free. To unlock the full game, you can make in-app purchases. This gives you harder AI, pass-and-play multiplayer and more campaigns. In-app purchases also give you the new Gambits expansion. Moreover, you’ll find varying themed missions and challenging AI.

Clash Royaleclash

This enticing game gives you a mix of tower defense with card management. Each round is only three minutes. You can play on a tower-defense style map utilizing a variety of unit cards. The objective is balance both offense and defense in quick-play rounds. A single misplay can turn the game in someone else’s favor. As you get through each match, you earn reward chests.

SolForgesolforge

This app comes from Stone Blade Entertainment, the same studio that created Ascension. It takes the basic card battle game and adds positional elements. The objective is to try to eliminate your opponent’s life to zero by using creatures to bombard them with attacks. There are five lanes where you can set your creatures to attack or block. Its rules are challenging, which can means hours and hours of pure game enjoyment and strategy.

 

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Fun Stuff, Game Design

A finger of a user clicking on a banner while coins are falling from the sky to illustrate the clicking action in mobile idle games android and iphone users like.

I recently came across this article in Gamasutra about the psychological profile of gamers who play mobile Idle games (Android and iPhone) that are also known as incrementer games. His findings are super interesting and explain the commercial success of some of these games.

What are mobile idle games / Android and iPhone clickers

Idle clicker games are games that allow the user to generate virtual wealth by doing two simple things waiting or clicking (hence the name). Once the player accumulated enough virtual currency the game becomes more about the meta game of buying things that help you accumulate more wealth faster. The meta game part resembles mechanics that are found in RPG games, Strategy games and City Simulation games but the core game is so simple that it almost feels like a parody. This genre is considered one of the hottest genres in mobile games today.

The success of idle games with in-game ads

One of the reasons why we see so many incrementer games recently is that they work really well with the rewarded video format. This is hapenning from two main reasons:

1) Great audience for top grossing games

Like the post about the psychological profile suggests, the gamers audience who like idle clicker games is overlapping mostly with the one of core games and hardcore games. Since both these genres are paying very high CPIs for new users the ad LTV per user is typically very high

2) Rewarded video fits in very naturally

Rewarded video is today the most effective format. The eCPMS are 20 times what you get with banners and the users tend to love them. However, to get many users to opt-in to the videos your game needs to ability to offer many rewards to the user. In incrementer game the meta game revolves around achieving more and so they offer many opportunities for rewarding the users.

 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Here are the the top idle games – Android stats included

Icon Name Publisher Ratings in Google Play Downloads
adventure capitalist is the most successful among mobile idle games. Android users love it. Adventure Capitalist Kongregate 835,659 5M-10M
cow evolution by tapps games is the most downloaded mobile idle game for Android Cow Evolution Tapps Games 435,933 10M-50M
make it rain - love of money. This game reached the top spot in the Apple App Store Make It Rain: Love of Money Space Inch, LLC 290,941 5M-10M
cookie clicker is first mobile idle game (Android/iPhone) that reached mass appeal Cookie Clickers redBit Games 249,816 5M-10M
image Billionaire Alegrium 175,835 1M-5M
Bitcoin billionare is a cool clicker game where you can click to collect coins Bitcoin Billionaire Noodlecake Studios 183,350 1M-5M
image Pocket Mine Roofdog Games 117,524 1M-5M
PickCrafter Fiveamp 141,468 1M-5M
tap tycoon is an incrementer game Tap Tycoon Game Hive 116,307 1M-5M
money tree by tapps games - money does grow on trees - click to get it Money Tree Tapps Games 106,934 1M-5M

 

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Game Design, Startup Tips

15-Ideas-for-Game-Bots

Lately I have been hearing more and more buzz about bots being the new apps. Many of my friends who until recently were working on new apps are now working on new bots and Facebook announced recently that there are already 11,000 bots on its messenger platform. This led me to ask myself what kind of game bots can be build on messenger – what is going to be the Angry Birds of bots?

What game bots can you find today

I reviewed the discovery channels for bots and came back quite disappointed. The only games I could find were trivia questions and a poker game that was almost impossible to play. I thought it would be nice to share some ideas and see if they become a reality. If you end up pursuing one of these you can give me credit or not – up to you.

Ideas for game bots

Screenshot 2016-07-14 16.21.591- Spot the difference – this game has been around for as long as I can remember and it’s fun for kids as well as adults. The user gets two pictures that are identical with a few small exceptions and has to find the differences.

2- Personality quizes – In this game the user answers a series of questions about himself and once he finishes he gets to know a new aspect of his personality. This one has many flavors: “What Disney charachter are you?”, “What pop star are you?”, “What type of guy will you mary?”, ….

3- Drawsomething like game – this is a game that has to be played in pairs where one player doodles a picture and the other person has to guess it. Due to the highly social nature of this game it should work well on Messenger.

4 – Who said that (usually politician vs. villan) – in this genre of games the player is presented with a sentence and has to guess if it was said by famous person A or famous person B. When confronting a polititation with a super villan this is lot of fun.

5 – Guess the image (2 options) – guessing what’s in the image can be lots of fun to play in messenger and makes a great fit as it’s highly sharable. In this version the player has to only chose between 2 options. Some popular version of this game in web where:

6 – Guess the image (list) – this one is very similar to #5 but here you have more options to chose from and has to progress through a list. Some popular flavors of this game on web and mobile were:

  • Name the logo
  • Guess the Emoji
  • Guess the picture in the closeup

7 – Spot what’s wrong in the picture – in this game the user is challenged to spot something that defies the common sense in the picture. This OCD test is a good example

8 – What food has less calories – this game is slightly educational – the user is presented with 2 pictures and has to guess which one has less calories.

9 – Sports betting – placing bets on sports matches is a huge business in countries where it’s allowed. A messenger bot can be the perfect way to do that without worrying to much about installing apps and creating accounts.

10 – Song guessing – identifying songs has always been a fun thing to do. In mobile, Songpop made millions on this but there are no bots that offer this type of gameplay yet.

Screenshot 2016-07-14 16.10.1611 – Wordwhizzle – This popular mobile game could be easily turned into messaging based interaction. The bot presents an with the letters and the user has to make the word with a single hint.

12 – Would you Rather – There are a few successful mobile games in this genre: “Either”, “Would you Rather” and more. The user is presented 2 options for example:

  • Be in a car accident that kills only you
  • Be responsible for a car accident where you live but your family and friends die

Once the user makes a selection he is presented with the statistics about the distribution of the responses.

13 – True or False – The bot presents 2 sentences to the user who has to guess which sentence is true.

14 – Sports betting – This is probably the most profitable bot service you can make in countries where betting on scores of games is regulated. Sometimes a messaging interaction could be the

 

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Fun Stuff, Game Design

guess the game quiz with multiple question marks appearing on colorful background
Fun quiz for Friday. Match the avatar to it’s original mobile app and guess the game they belong to.

Lets see how many of these you get right. We dare you to post your result to Facebook and challenge your friends by tagging them.

 

 

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Game Design, Research

This post is part of a new series that explores the top mobile games created in a country. Here are the top mobile games in FinlandJapanIndiaIndonesiaBrazilIsrael and South Korea

(1200x600) Top 10 China

If we are to look at anything as a global phenomenon – including mobile gaming – we cannot exclude China. The most populated country in the world, and one of the biggest economies, as well, plays a huge role in determining who the biggest players in the industry are.

Unlike other countries in the world, China is somewhat specific, which is why it needs a bigger introduction than the rest.

Just as the country is known for the Great Wall of China for more than 2000 years, in today’s digital world, it is known for its Great Firewall. In a most sterile description, the Great Firewall is a set of laws and legislations aimed to regulate the Internet in China. However, it is more about censorship and blocking western products than anything else.

A lot of companies and countries are losing out thanks to the Great Firewall, China included, but when it comes to mobile gaming – Google seems to be the biggest loser.

Its services have been blocked from China for the past five years and more, including Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Docs, and in this case most importantly – the Play Store. The Android app store has returned to the country some half a year ago, but the effects of the ban are visible – it is no longer the number one app store in the country.

So where does one go, when one wants to download an app? He goes to either Tencent’s MyApp, the 360 Mobile Assistant, or the Baidu Mobile Assistant.  

These three stores share almost an equal amount of the mobile market in the country, rendering the Play Store obsolete and making it extremely difficult to figure out which are the most popular mobile games built in the country. They are popular places to find apps, but not the only ones – the country has more than 200 stores, according to OneSky. Jokingly, I’d say everyone and their dog has an app store in China – in reality, basically every telecom company, mobile carrier, and large corporation has one.
 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Thanks to a number of market researches out there, including this one by Newzoo and TalkingData, we were able to piece together a list of the top 10 games made in China.

Oh yes, before we proceed with the list, I’d also like to point you in the direction of a report by China Game Industry Annual Conference that was released two weeks ago. It says that the sales revenue of the mobile gaming industry reached 51.5 billion yuan ($7.94 billion) – it increased a stunning 87.2% since 2014.

The country has more than 366 million mobile players – the entire United States of America had 318.9 million people in 2014.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 games made in China:

*We were unable to access interesting SDKs for these mobile games due to the limited visibility of mobile games in China.

wefly#10 WeFly (National World War II Aircraft)

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent

You’ll be seeing a lot of Tencent in this article – it is a Chinese mobile games giant. According to a report by South China Morning Post, published last April – the company had 570 million registered users for its initial batch of smartphone-based games. Since September, it became Asia’s largest internet company. It is based in Shenzhen.  

Released: 2014
Genre: Arcade
About the game: The English title for the game is WeFly, even though a simple Google translate of the original name 全民飞机大战, says the game’s name is National World War II Aircraft. It is a cartoonish-styled, colorful arcade game featuring countless levels and multiple modes, a lot of different aircrafts and, according to a few reviews on the Apple App Store – pretty damn demanding, too.

rythm master#9 Rhythm Master

iOS

Developer: Tencent
Released: 2013
Genre: Music
About the game: The Rhythm Master is a virtual orchestra studio type of game, something like those rock band games we’ve seen on Nintendo Wii. It features dozens of songs, including some of the globally popular rock songs. Additional songs can also be obtained as an in-game purchase, and the virtual currency can be gained by interacting with friends.

dou di zhu#8 Dou di zhu

Android

Developer: GoodTeam Studio
The GoodTeam studio is based in Chengdu, China. It claims to be one of the oldest domestic game development studios building games for Android, and its products include Tightrope Hero, Empire Defense series and Crisis Mission.

Released: 2012
Genre: Card game
About the game: Dou di zhu is an extremely popular card game in China, and its origins stem way before the mobile phone. According to Wikipedia, the literal translation means “Fighting the Landlord”. This is a card game in the genre of shedding and gambling.

chess#7 Chinese Chess

Android | iOS

Developer: cnvcs
Released: 2012
Genre: Strategy
About the game: This classic game of chess by the cnvcs development team is enriched by a total of 38,000 chess puzzles divided into 13 collections. It supports online play, as well as LAN via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The game also allows games to be saved and loaded, and allows easy switching between the play mode and the analysis mode.

dan ji dou di zhu#6 Dan Ji Dou Di Zhu

Blackberry

Developer: CG Tech
R
eleased: N/A
Genre: Card game
About the game: Similar to Dou di zhu, the Dan Ji Dou Di Zhu is a poker-like card game based on the traditional Chinese “Fight the Landlord” game. The interesting thing about this game is that it is designed primarily for the BlackBerry device.

 

FREE REPORT – VIDEO ADS RETENTION IMPACT

 

craz3#5 Craz3 Match

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Craz3 Match is a cute-looking tile-matching game from Tencent. It was primarily designed for WeChat users to interact with each other and play against one another. The game offers a couple of modes, including the Solo mode and the Battle mode which allows multiplayer action. It also features boss fights and magical power-ups, as well as finding and challenging any nearby players.

wechat dash#4 WeChat Dash

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2014
Genre: Endless running
About the game: WeChat Dash is an endless running game featuring cute characters and even cuter pets. It features two modes, the PvP Mode, allowing you to challenge nearby players and friends anywhere; and the Turbo mode which brings new challenges with each new stage. The game focuses on the social aspect, integrating with various social media networks, including Facebook.

popstar#3 Pop Star

Android | iOS

Developer: GPStudio

The game seems to be built by an indie developer, as the GepaikjStudio.com website is offline, and the developer’s official email address is on Gmail. The latter makes it even stranger knowing that Gmail is actually blocked in mainland China. Other information about the developer is virtually impossible to find. Still, its hit game, Pop Star, has been updated for Android 5.1.

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Pop Star is a color-matching game built primarily for the iOS, but later expanded to Android, as well. The goal of the game is to tap on two or more stars of the same color in order to destroy them. There is no time limit – the player must achieve a certain score in order to proceed to the next stage.

qq#2 Happy Lord (QQ Official Version)

Android | iOS

Developer: Tencent
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Card game
About the game: Happy Landlord is another card game that’s made the list. It is among the best and most popular Chinese game, featuring different unique characters each player can choose to be their avatar in the game. Besides the classic multiplayer mode, the game also features a tournament mode, where players can compete for the Grand Prix.

anipop#1 Anipop

Android | iOS

Developer: HappyElements

Strangely enough, the most popular mobile game in China does not originate from the most popular game development studio in the country. Instead, it comes from a studio named HappyElements, which is strange in its own right – the English version of the App Store page says the developer’s name is HappyElements, while translating the Chinese version names the developer as Le Yuan Interactive, based in Beijing. It just goes to show how difficult it is to tread through the Chinese mobile game space.

Release Date: 2014
Genre: Puzzle
About the game: Similar to Candy Crush Saga and the likes, Anipop is a color-matching game. Just like anything else made in the East, it features cute characters and bright colors. There are more than 400 levels in the game, and also allows logging in from Facebook and synchronizing the game between the mobile and the desktop platforms.

While some many services were banned in China to better control the social media and censor any material that might undermine the government, others say it is a way the country protects its local businesses. From this perspective, it is hard to know if companies like Sina Weibo, Baidu or Tencent would have turned into billion-dollar businesses if Twitter or Google were still present. But we do know that China is shaping the future of mobile gaming. 

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