《Kingdom Rush》是一款由Ironhide Game Studio开发和Armor Games发行的免费flash网页游戏，于2011年7月28日上线，并在当年12月19日登陆iPad平台，2012年6月28日登陆iPhone平台。
《Kingdom Rush》的核心循环与典型的付费游戏一样，只有关卡本身渐进式的难度，而没有约束机制。尽管没有约束机制，《Kingdom Rush》还是引进了一种被称为Gems的软货币，并出色地使用了Star机制。
月总收益 > 21.7万 + 3万广告收益
Kingdom Rush – 5 Steps to Double Revenue
Kingdom Rush is developed by Ironhide Game Studio and published by Armor Games, released as free flash browser game on July 28, 2011 and on the iPad on December 19, 2011 and on iPhone June 28 2012.
In short the game is amazing. It’s actually so good, that I couldn’t take my iPad to work cause I couldn’t stop playing the game. Yet despite being such a great game it has barely hit top 50 grossing chart on iPad. This got me thinking. And it got me blogging. In the end I do believe that you could at least double the daily revenue of the title and make few millions on a free version for Android with a month or two of development.
The Core Loop
Kingdom Rush’s core loop is that typical for a paid game in the sense that there’s no restriction mechanics other than the progressive difficulty of the levels themselves. But despite not having restriction mechanics Kingdom Rush does introduce soft currency called Gems and makes exemplary use of the Star mechanics.
In Kingdom Rush players earn Gems by slaying enemy troops. So win or lose you’ll still pocket some Gems once the battle is over. Gems can then be used to purchase from a narrow assortiment of various consumable power-ups that can be used to win the battles. Players can also buy Gems via IAP.
Earning Stars is a bigger deal. Each level has 3 different challenges. First there’s the “normal” challenge, where player has to simply survive under the waves of enemy attacks. In case player really gives it to the enemy in the “normal” challenge he’ll earn 3 Stars and will be given chance to earn 2 more Stars by besting the same level in two different challenge modes.
Stars are then consumed to permanently upgrade defenses (more hit points, attack points etc.) as well as to unlock heroes. So the better you play the better defenses you’ll get, which enables you to go back and best previous levels in challenge modes and earn more Stars to get even better defenses. In other words, great replay value for each level!
Step 1: Gems – the Hidden Soft Currency
I played the game for 10 hours before I realized that I’m getting Gems from each battle and that I can actually use these Gems to purchase power-ups. Why it took me so long to notice the soft currency of the game you ask?
First of all they don’t tell you about the gems earned in the level complete screen.
Got 3 Stars. Do you see how many Gems I earned?
Secondly you don’t see your Gem balance anywhere in the game, unless you specifically go to the in-game shop.
The Star balance is shown very clearly on the top right.
I’m also guided to use the Stars for upgrades. Do you see how many Gems I have?
Thirdly the game doesn’t encourage nor force you to the power-up store at any time leaving huge chunk of players totally unaware of the whole Gems concept let alone the possibility to purchase power-ups. In my case I realized the existence of the Gems very late and at that point had already so much Gems that there was no point for me to purchase more. Guys, how about a popup encouraging me to purchase power-ups when I fail a level or when I earn less than 3 stars?
Finally a place where I can see my Gem balance and actually use some Gems. Oh, and I’m actually encouraged to monetize once I’m running low on Gems.
By fixing the three issue above arguably near 100% of all active players would understand the concept of the Gems. This would lead to far more players actively entering the in-game shop from the get go and using their Gems to purchase power-up. Active consumption of Gems would convert into greater demand for Gems which would then result as increased IAPs of the Gems packs.
Step 2. The Hero Room – Great Concept, Poor Implementation
I love the Hero Room concept. Basically how it works is that before each battle you can choose one of the heroes and command him/her on the battlefield. There are 7 different heroes out of which 3 are free on 4 can be purchased with IAP. But this awesome concept is implemented in very silly way.
Unlocking the hero room requires you to have 15 Stars, but having 15 Stars is not encouraged by the game as the players are taught to consume all the Stars they earn for beating a level to upgrade their defenses instead of saving them for one big purchase.
15 Stars unlocks the Hero Room and gives 3 free heroes and 4 paid heroes ($0.99 each)
In reality players unlock the Hero Room at later levels. This means two things. Firstly even extremely well retaining game has lost at least 30% of its initial active users by the time they reach the later levels simply because they’re unable to beat all of the levels till that point.
Secondly it’s hard to believe that players will monetize well at final levels when there’s not that much content left. They’ve already gone this far without using any money and now you’ve just given them 3 new heroes to play around with. Why should the spend to get 4th, 5th or 6th Hero that is only marginally better?
A sound monetization strategy would be to introduce the Hero Room earlier. For example force player to unlock it after chosen level (I’d take a look at the funnel and open the Hero room prior to a level with the biggest drop off). After introducing the Hero Room it would make sense to Star price each of the Heroes individually. Instead of unlocking all Heroes for 15 Stars how about giving the first Hero for 3 Stars, second for 5 and third for 7 Stars? This approach would drive players to purchase the premium Heroes as they would be presented with grind or pay scenario.
Step 3: Price Points – You Just Can’t Go Lower
In Kingdom Rush players can buy 4 different heroes and 3 different packages of Gems. A Hero costs 1$ and the larget Gem pack costs 5$. So in ideal case player would buy a hero and a Gem pack. How much will that set you back? 4$-6$. Yep. Maximum of 6$…
First of all I’d change the Gem pack prices from current 0.99$, 2.99$ and 4.99$ to $2.99, $5.99 and $9.99. Secondly I’d improve the sales text on the Gem packs (check the image below). Now I don’t know if I’m getting 6000 or 7500 Gems with the medium pack. Simply adding a plus sign 6000 + 1500 FREE would do the trick. Thirdly I’d take away with the hard coded prices. This way game could not only show the current prices but also show the prices in the right currency, which is always good for conversion. Also fetching the prices from the server allows quick modifications without the need for a new build.
How many gems are you getting in medium and large packs?
Second is the Hero pricing. Asking 0.99$ for every premium Hero is just stupid. I mean even potatoes in the store have different prices. Prices are used to communicate value. Now if all of the premium Heroes are of the same value why there are 4 different Heroes players need to choose from? Why not only have one if they are of the same value? Easy fix is to simply price the premium Heroes 1.99$, 2.99$, 4.99$ and 9.99$ (also slap a Most Popular sticker image on the 4.99$ Hero and you’ll in for a monetization treat…)
All the premium Heroes cost 0.99$ each, which makesabsolutely no sense at all.
Step 4: Sell Us Levels, Please!
From my experience selling level packs on iOS is definitely worth the development cost. Most importantly developers should introduce the premium content pack as a side story. Something unique and cool (just go bananas with the graphics). Preferably with some slight twist in the game play.
Premium content should also be some way tied to the core game. A good example is to reward player for beating the premium pack with some item they can be use in the core game.
Check out my previous blog post on selling paid content for more deeper breakdown of various mechanics:
Where’s my Water and The Art Selling Paid Content
+ Play Angry Birds Star Wars and you’ll get exactly what I’m talking about…
Step 5: Going Android and Making $
Kingdom Rush can be currently played on web and iOS. Next step would be Android. But before the game is ported on either of the platform the game really needs to improve the demand for Gems, Hero Room, pricing and add purchasable extra content.
Android business case
App price: Free
Daily Conversion: 0.3%
Monthly Gross Revenue > 217’000 + 30’000 Ad revenue
Calculating ARPPU for Android
Small Changes Bearing Significant Impact
In the end Ironhide has already done all the heavy lifting by creating a truly amazing game. Sure they have to improve the progress flow so that players are introduced to Gems and Heroes from early one. And yes they have to rework on the price points. In the end these changes are very small yet important ones as they will significantly increase the revenue for Ironhide and make it possible for them to amaze us with more great games.（source：deconstructoroffun）