Specifics of Soft Launching Mobile Multiplayer Games

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Peter Fodor (CEO at AppAgent - mobile marketing agency) covers the basics of soft launch and several unique aspects of marketing player vs player games on mobile.

Source:
Specifics of Soft Launching Mobile Multiplayer Games
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Webinar
Publication date:
October 23, 2019
Added to the Vault on:
March 24, 2020
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💎 #
1

Do not create too many worlds, maps, game modes, etc. You need to keep people either in the gameplay or in the waiting lobby because you need liquidity: enough concurrent players in one game. 

04:48
💎 #
2

Many game developers open servers in each time zone one by one to manage issues, and many match players only if they are in the same time zone. 

06:15
💎 #
3

You can use time zones differences in your favor by combining cheaper traffic (e.g. Malaysia, Philippines) with higher quality but more expensive traffic (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) to create liquidity (i.e. having enough active players). Then, segment your players to analyze monetization based on their country. 

06:36
💎 #
4

Bots are very important in the initial experience: you can use them in the onboarding to let players win, which is massive to improve D1 retention.  

09:50
💎 #
5

The quality of bots directly correlates with the marketing budget. If your bots are great, you don't need as much marketing budget to get started. If a game is too complex, you will need more marketing budget to compensate.  

11:05
💎 #
6

Live ops can allow you to get the number of players you need at a given time to be able to measure your KPIs. 

18:03
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💎 #
1

Do not create too many worlds, maps, game modes, etc. You need to keep people either in the gameplay or in the waiting lobby because you need liquidity: enough concurrent players in one game. 

04:48
💎 #
2

Many game developers open servers in each time zone one by one to manage issues, and many match players only if they are in the same time zone. 

06:15
💎 #
3

You can use time zones differences in your favor by combining cheaper traffic (e.g. Malaysia, Philippines) with higher quality but more expensive traffic (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) to create liquidity (i.e. having enough active players). Then, segment your players to analyze monetization based on their country. 

06:36
💎 #
4

Bots are very important in the initial experience: you can use them in the onboarding to let players win, which is massive to improve D1 retention.  

09:50
💎 #
5

The quality of bots directly correlates with the marketing budget. If your bots are great, you don't need as much marketing budget to get started. If a game is too complex, you will need more marketing budget to compensate.  

11:05
💎 #
6

Live ops can allow you to get the number of players you need at a given time to be able to measure your KPIs. 

18:03
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💎 #
1

Do not create too many worlds, maps, game modes, etc. You need to keep people either in the gameplay or in the waiting lobby because you need liquidity: enough concurrent players in one game. 

04:48
💎 #
2

Many game developers open servers in each time zone one by one to manage issues, and many match players only if they are in the same time zone. 

06:15
💎 #
3

You can use time zones differences in your favor by combining cheaper traffic (e.g. Malaysia, Philippines) with higher quality but more expensive traffic (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) to create liquidity (i.e. having enough active players). Then, segment your players to analyze monetization based on their country. 

06:36
💎 #
4

Bots are very important in the initial experience: you can use them in the onboarding to let players win, which is massive to improve D1 retention.  

09:50
💎 #
5

The quality of bots directly correlates with the marketing budget. If your bots are great, you don't need as much marketing budget to get started. If a game is too complex, you will need more marketing budget to compensate.  

11:05
💎 #
6

Live ops can allow you to get the number of players you need at a given time to be able to measure your KPIs. 

18:03
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7 out of 10 games in the top charts are multiplayer. Liquidity is the single biggest difference between single player game and multiplayer game.


The 3 stages of the soft launch - PRODUCT PERSPECTIVE

  • Technical: territory can be the Philippines where you can acquire users for up to $1.
  • Retention:
  • Optimize the game experience, make sure the game is sticky
  • Territories can be Romania, Poland or Brazil.
  • Monetization:
  • Figuring out your paid conversion and ARPU
  • Territories can be Canada, New Zealand or the Nordics.


The 3 stages of the soft launch - MARKETING PERSPECTIVE

  • Retention stage: focus on messaging, optimize the store listings and ad creatives.
  • Monetization stage: expand channels beyond FB and Google with in-app ad networks, potentially influencers.


Specificities of multiplayer games - TECHNICAL STAGE


Retention in multiplayer games is made by the PvP experience.


  • You won't see good retention until you completely fine-tune the gameplay (arena, etc.)
  • People are unpredictable, try to figure out shortcuts and cheats, etc.
  • Shitty numbers until this is optimize so make sure everyone is prepared. This can take ages.


Marketing multiplayer games is easier to do once you pass this "death valley".


Avoid fragmenting the audience

[💎@04:48] Do not create too many worlds, maps, game modes, etc. You need to keep people either in the gameplay or in the waiting lobby because you need liquidity: enough concurrent players in one game.

Everything but the Quick Match mode is locked


Being mindful of timezone

  1. You don't want half the people to be sleeping while the other half is ready to play
  2. Technically, there are servers in each time zone. It can create lags which can be problematic for gameplay.


[💎@06:15] Many game developers open servers in each time zone one by one to manage issues, and many match players only if they are in the same time zone.


[💎@06:36] You can use time zones differences in your favor by combining cheaper traffic (e.g. Malaysia, Philippines) with higher quality but more expensive traffic (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) to create liquidity (i.e. having enough active players). Then, segment your players to analyze monetization based on their country.


In Europe, you can combine players from the Nordics with Poland and Romania. Or in the Americas with Canadians and Brazilians.


Specificities of multiplayer games - TECHNICAL STAGE


Liquidity is especially complicated when you need more than 1 on 1 gameplay (e.g. 4 x 4 or even something like Fortnite). That's why a lot of developers use bots, with 2 major approaches:

  1. Not telling anyone and trying to persuade players that bots are real players (real profile pictures, nationalities, history, etc.)
  2. Being transparent about bots at the onboarding stage but after that it is only real opponents where matching can happen "in circles" (wider and wider until a match is found).


[💎@09:50] Bots are very important in the initial experience: you can use them in the onboarding to let players win, which is massive to improve D1 retention.


Everyone across the board is using bots for first-time user experience but the transition to playing with real users is critical (difference in level). You need to be transparent or fine-tune the transition.


[💎@11:05] The quality of bots directly correlates with the marketing budget. If your bots are great, you don't need as much marketing budget to get started. If a game is too complex, you will need more marketing budget to compensate.


How many new users do you need?

Example with numbers:

  • Technical stage: a few hundreds to measure the data, making sure the game is table.
  • Retention stage: need enough players for liquidity and then enough to keep it stable in the following weeks. About 2,000 daily active users.
  • Monetization stage: need to increase daily active users massively (about 10-15k) because avg. ratio to payers is 3% so you need enough players to measure transactions.


Calculating budgets

  1. How many concurrent players do you need at every moment of the day?
  2. How many daily active players do you need for that?
  3. How many new installs do you need per day?

Example:

And that's with a low CPI (averaging CPIs across different tiers)


How to be more efficient - MONETIZATION STAGE


Influencers during the soft launch work well because:

  • The game is already optimized
  • If the game is fun to watch, you will see very high retention numbers (with the right influencers).


LiveOps to boost engagement:

  • Happy hour
  • X coins for a number of hours
  • Tournament.

[💎@18:03] Live ops can allow you to get the number of players you need at a given time to be able to measure your KPIs.


A lot of marketers struggle to communicate the PvP aspect of your game. You need to be really clear in your ad creatives that the game is multiplayer, real time etc.


Key takeaways



The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Upgrade Your Plan

7 out of 10 games in the top charts are multiplayer. Liquidity is the single biggest difference between single player game and multiplayer game.


The 3 stages of the soft launch - PRODUCT PERSPECTIVE

  • Technical: territory can be the Philippines where you can acquire users for up to $1.
  • Retention:
  • Optimize the game experience, make sure the game is sticky
  • Territories can be Romania, Poland or Brazil.
  • Monetization:
  • Figuring out your paid conversion and ARPU
  • Territories can be Canada, New Zealand or the Nordics.


The 3 stages of the soft launch - MARKETING PERSPECTIVE

  • Retention stage: focus on messaging, optimize the store listings and ad creatives.
  • Monetization stage: expand channels beyond FB and Google with in-app ad networks, potentially influencers.


Specificities of multiplayer games - TECHNICAL STAGE


Retention in multiplayer games is made by the PvP experience.


  • You won't see good retention until you completely fine-tune the gameplay (arena, etc.)
  • People are unpredictable, try to figure out shortcuts and cheats, etc.
  • Shitty numbers until this is optimize so make sure everyone is prepared. This can take ages.


Marketing multiplayer games is easier to do once you pass this "death valley".


Avoid fragmenting the audience

[💎@04:48] Do not create too many worlds, maps, game modes, etc. You need to keep people either in the gameplay or in the waiting lobby because you need liquidity: enough concurrent players in one game.

Everything but the Quick Match mode is locked


Being mindful of timezone

  1. You don't want half the people to be sleeping while the other half is ready to play
  2. Technically, there are servers in each time zone. It can create lags which can be problematic for gameplay.


[💎@06:15] Many game developers open servers in each time zone one by one to manage issues, and many match players only if they are in the same time zone.


[💎@06:36] You can use time zones differences in your favor by combining cheaper traffic (e.g. Malaysia, Philippines) with higher quality but more expensive traffic (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) to create liquidity (i.e. having enough active players). Then, segment your players to analyze monetization based on their country.


In Europe, you can combine players from the Nordics with Poland and Romania. Or in the Americas with Canadians and Brazilians.


Specificities of multiplayer games - TECHNICAL STAGE


Liquidity is especially complicated when you need more than 1 on 1 gameplay (e.g. 4 x 4 or even something like Fortnite). That's why a lot of developers use bots, with 2 major approaches:

  1. Not telling anyone and trying to persuade players that bots are real players (real profile pictures, nationalities, history, etc.)
  2. Being transparent about bots at the onboarding stage but after that it is only real opponents where matching can happen "in circles" (wider and wider until a match is found).


[💎@09:50] Bots are very important in the initial experience: you can use them in the onboarding to let players win, which is massive to improve D1 retention.


Everyone across the board is using bots for first-time user experience but the transition to playing with real users is critical (difference in level). You need to be transparent or fine-tune the transition.


[💎@11:05] The quality of bots directly correlates with the marketing budget. If your bots are great, you don't need as much marketing budget to get started. If a game is too complex, you will need more marketing budget to compensate.


How many new users do you need?

Example with numbers:

  • Technical stage: a few hundreds to measure the data, making sure the game is table.
  • Retention stage: need enough players for liquidity and then enough to keep it stable in the following weeks. About 2,000 daily active users.
  • Monetization stage: need to increase daily active users massively (about 10-15k) because avg. ratio to payers is 3% so you need enough players to measure transactions.


Calculating budgets

  1. How many concurrent players do you need at every moment of the day?
  2. How many daily active players do you need for that?
  3. How many new installs do you need per day?

Example:

And that's with a low CPI (averaging CPIs across different tiers)


How to be more efficient - MONETIZATION STAGE


Influencers during the soft launch work well because:

  • The game is already optimized
  • If the game is fun to watch, you will see very high retention numbers (with the right influencers).


LiveOps to boost engagement:

  • Happy hour
  • X coins for a number of hours
  • Tournament.

[💎@18:03] Live ops can allow you to get the number of players you need at a given time to be able to measure your KPIs.


A lot of marketers struggle to communicate the PvP aspect of your game. You need to be really clear in your ad creatives that the game is multiplayer, real time etc.


Key takeaways



The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

The detailed notes taken for a resource are an easy way to see the gems in context to get a better understanding. They also include any relevant visuals from the source.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
GET Access

7 out of 10 games in the top charts are multiplayer. Liquidity is the single biggest difference between single player game and multiplayer game.


The 3 stages of the soft launch - PRODUCT PERSPECTIVE

  • Technical: territory can be the Philippines where you can acquire users for up to $1.
  • Retention:
  • Optimize the game experience, make sure the game is sticky
  • Territories can be Romania, Poland or Brazil.
  • Monetization:
  • Figuring out your paid conversion and ARPU
  • Territories can be Canada, New Zealand or the Nordics.


The 3 stages of the soft launch - MARKETING PERSPECTIVE

  • Retention stage: focus on messaging, optimize the store listings and ad creatives.
  • Monetization stage: expand channels beyond FB and Google with in-app ad networks, potentially influencers.


Specificities of multiplayer games - TECHNICAL STAGE


Retention in multiplayer games is made by the PvP experience.


  • You won't see good retention until you completely fine-tune the gameplay (arena, etc.)
  • People are unpredictable, try to figure out shortcuts and cheats, etc.
  • Shitty numbers until this is optimize so make sure everyone is prepared. This can take ages.


Marketing multiplayer games is easier to do once you pass this "death valley".


Avoid fragmenting the audience

[💎@04:48] Do not create too many worlds, maps, game modes, etc. You need to keep people either in the gameplay or in the waiting lobby because you need liquidity: enough concurrent players in one game.

Everything but the Quick Match mode is locked


Being mindful of timezone

  1. You don't want half the people to be sleeping while the other half is ready to play
  2. Technically, there are servers in each time zone. It can create lags which can be problematic for gameplay.


[💎@06:15] Many game developers open servers in each time zone one by one to manage issues, and many match players only if they are in the same time zone.


[💎@06:36] You can use time zones differences in your favor by combining cheaper traffic (e.g. Malaysia, Philippines) with higher quality but more expensive traffic (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) to create liquidity (i.e. having enough active players). Then, segment your players to analyze monetization based on their country.


In Europe, you can combine players from the Nordics with Poland and Romania. Or in the Americas with Canadians and Brazilians.


Specificities of multiplayer games - TECHNICAL STAGE


Liquidity is especially complicated when you need more than 1 on 1 gameplay (e.g. 4 x 4 or even something like Fortnite). That's why a lot of developers use bots, with 2 major approaches:

  1. Not telling anyone and trying to persuade players that bots are real players (real profile pictures, nationalities, history, etc.)
  2. Being transparent about bots at the onboarding stage but after that it is only real opponents where matching can happen "in circles" (wider and wider until a match is found).


[💎@09:50] Bots are very important in the initial experience: you can use them in the onboarding to let players win, which is massive to improve D1 retention.


Everyone across the board is using bots for first-time user experience but the transition to playing with real users is critical (difference in level). You need to be transparent or fine-tune the transition.


[💎@11:05] The quality of bots directly correlates with the marketing budget. If your bots are great, you don't need as much marketing budget to get started. If a game is too complex, you will need more marketing budget to compensate.


How many new users do you need?

Example with numbers:

  • Technical stage: a few hundreds to measure the data, making sure the game is table.
  • Retention stage: need enough players for liquidity and then enough to keep it stable in the following weeks. About 2,000 daily active users.
  • Monetization stage: need to increase daily active users massively (about 10-15k) because avg. ratio to payers is 3% so you need enough players to measure transactions.


Calculating budgets

  1. How many concurrent players do you need at every moment of the day?
  2. How many daily active players do you need for that?
  3. How many new installs do you need per day?

Example:

And that's with a low CPI (averaging CPIs across different tiers)


How to be more efficient - MONETIZATION STAGE


Influencers during the soft launch work well because:

  • The game is already optimized
  • If the game is fun to watch, you will see very high retention numbers (with the right influencers).


LiveOps to boost engagement:

  • Happy hour
  • X coins for a number of hours
  • Tournament.

[💎@18:03] Live ops can allow you to get the number of players you need at a given time to be able to measure your KPIs.


A lot of marketers struggle to communicate the PvP aspect of your game. You need to be really clear in your ad creatives that the game is multiplayer, real time etc.


Key takeaways