10 Pieces of Advice That Will Take Your Social Game to the Top
Last few weeks we were at San Francisco in order to explore some new opportunities and visit a few great events. Among them was the Virtual Goods Summit and I can’t wait to share with you some of the tips that the gaming gurus of companies as Sulake, Zynga and Facebook have summarized.
Read after the break in order to find 10 advices that will take your social game to the top:
1) Create differentiated and teen focused items.
A well known fact is that one of the largest social gaming target groups (if not the largest) is teenagers. The reasons are pretty easy to understand:
According to a recent study by Roiworld, teens spend 80% of their “internet time” on social networks.
Games garner most of the social network spending among teens. 43% of all teenagers on the net have spent money on virtual goods.
And what attracts teen’s attention? Its differentiation and the choice of items offered! “I am what I wear/own, etc.” So, create differentiated and teen focused items.
2) Focus on community monetization and virtual goods distribution.
As I mentioned above – people look for a way to be unique and well-recognized in the games. This is their virtual identity and it has to represent them in a good way. That is why a large share of all users are ready to spare a few bucks in order to have that cool witchery hat, or the pink skirt with red hearts on it or even that grim smile for their avatar. Why not – you can offer these?
3) Keep your users in the game – ALL THE TIME!
Do not ever intercept the user while he is going to the store. Try to achieve a seamless transaction between the gaming interface and the payment panel. A good way to achieve this is through Ajax, Flash or who knows, maybe HTML 5. In this way you will increase greatly the ARPPU of your game.
4) Keep up with your users’ neighborhood.
Well, not literally, but you should really understand the general business climate in the countries that you plan to launch your game in. In some places paying $5 for a pack of e-goodies is totally acceptable, while at others you can offer a bit more but for much higher price. Why not selling the same goods with a bit extra for $10 instead, where the mass of people can afford it?
5) Price smartly.
Learn what are the best pricing levels that are offered in a specific destination. If your “farm seeds” cost $2 per pack in US, then in Europe this is about 1.43 EUR. This looks like an ugly price point and every user will avoid it. But what about a nice, well-rounded price tag as 2 EUR? That’s it.
6) Provide different payment methods and include local ones!
I would say one thing – try to bill users through credit card in many European Countries and you will reach starvation levels easily. IF in the US it is pretty normal, in Europe the cc-usage rates are really low, especially in the countries in Central and Eastern Europe. So wisest thing to do is to present the users with options that they know and recognize – local banking wallets solutions, country specific billing methods, pre-paid cards and definitely mobile payments through SMS (most people do have mobile phones nowadays).
7) Localize your games and payment process descriptions.
It is important that your users understand easily what they are paying for and how they should do this. And what is better than the integrated support offered by your provider?
8) Analyze each and every step.
The best way to understand your user’s needs is to follow their habits when playing, communication or even paying. It’s good to know which your top-performing countries are, the peak hours of the gaming activity, the best paying destinations and user types. Every bit of info can help you in the long run.
9) Feel the gamer’s needs – select the proper item’s names.
As a hardcore gamer myself I would never buy the “Fluffy wings of Tinkerbell”, yet I am sure that in many casual games nobody will buy the “Fierce wings of Alura”, that I would normally prefer.
It’s always up to the taste of the majority of your players. It’s a good idea that you check their needs from time to time, by asking about names of weapons, their properties or even their color.
10) Promote friends activities.
You would not like to live alone in New York, right (except if you are Will Smith, and feel legendary…). Same goes for the social games- what makes them funny is the ability to share with friends.
Allow your users to communicate, play together and interact in the most possible ways. Oops, I got to go, my friend found a golden chicken in his farm. WOW!
If after reading this you feel somehow overwhelmed by the idea of geo-targeting, localization, suitable price-point selection and getting these work together – do not worry. We are here for you!
Just have a look at our FortumoPay widget.
And in the end of the post, we have a present for all of you. At VGSummit we met Greenopolis – a group of great people that created the Facebook game Oceanopolis. It is not only a game, but it promotes eco-thinking by rewarding people for recycling online and in the community. (Source: Fortumo)