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One year of Bejeweled Blitz - Learning to expect the unexpected

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Bejeweled Blitz is one of the most successful, and longest running, cross-platform social games. This talk aims to offer an honest, unadulterated view of what operating a cross-platform social game means, and why "controlled chaos" is the most effective operational method. Attendees can expect to gain an understanding of cross-platform social game operations and the interesting findings that emerged from Bejeweled Blitz operations.

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One year of Bejeweled Blitz - Learning to expect the unexpected

  1. 1. One Year of Bejeweled BlitzLearning to Expect the Unexpected Giordano Bruno Contestabile Executive Producer – Bejeweled, PopCap Games October 10th, 2012 Twitter: @giordanobc
  2. 2.  Some quick facts  Launched in late 2000  History: Bejeweled, Bejeweled 2, Bejeweled Twist, Bejeweled Blitz, Bejeweled 3  Key platforms: Facebook, iOS, PC/Mac  Units sold: > 55 million  Installs: > 200 million  MAUs: > 25 million  Total users: 500 million+
  3. 3. One Very Long Minute History of Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook & iOS December 2008: Bejeweled Blitz launches on Facebook November 2009: Blitz mode and FB Connect added to Bejeweled 2 iOS client December 2011: Bejeweled Blitz iOS launched as a freemium title 3+ years from launch, still consistently popular: • Facebook: top 10 games by DAU (3M+) • iPhone: top 10 highest-grossing games One of the first games to be fully integrated across FB and iOS
  4. 4. OperatingBejeweled Blitz
  5. 5. Traditional PopCap model 3. Profit!!!1. Make game 2. Wait (years) for game to be made 3 YEARS
  6. 6. Service development model1. Prototype 3. Production! 5. MVP 7. Open beta 9. Keep going! 2. It’s fun! 4. Telemetry first 6. Closed Beta 8. LaunchMONTH 1-3 MONTH 4-9 MONTH 9-12 YEARS 2-10
  7. 7. When The Game Is live Capture and analyze data Iterate on features and add content Plan and manage regular events Tweak economy in real-time Change game server-side New (to the games industry) professions: • Data analyst, monetization designer, ops engineer etc.
  8. 8. Why We Changed Every game we make is a service • Needs to be updated and improved over time Every game we make is free to play • Reach 10x the audience, need regular events to keep engaged The distinction between product and business has disappeared • One interdisciplinary team • Product innovation drives business innovation, and vice versa
  9. 9. What Did We Learn?
  10. 10. “Casual” gamers? Frequency of play Once a month Every 2 weeks Once a week Few times / week Every day Multi times / day 86% of active players play every day
  11. 11. iOS: A Very Efficient Platform Key Metrics iOS (FB = 100) Daily Active Users Weekly Average 48% ARPU DARPU 229% But iOS players have multiple, shorter, sessions Engagement Games / day 100% Retention 7-day retention 193% Monetization % of paying users 205%iOS performs 2x Facebook in several key metrics
  12. 12. Not all mobile players want to be social Approximately 18% of Blitz iOS …but over 40% of DAU downloads have activated use FB Connect Facebook Connect… FB Connect was required to unlock full features Launched “Universal Mode” in June 2012 FB-connected users tend to spend more
  13. 13. FB is for friends! ADD ME! ADD ME! I haven’t met you / and this ADD ME! is crazy / but I love Blitz / so add me maybePlayers will always find a way
  14. 14. UI matters. A lot Snazzier presentation! We changed Daily Spin UI from this: To this: Satisfying lever pulling! Clearer payouts! Average revenue from Daily Spin increased 131%
  15. 15. UI matters. A lot 2X
  16. 16. Key Lesson
  17. 17. Be metrics-informed, don’t be metrics-driven
  18. 18. Specialize, but share knowledge
  19. 19. Huge features are dangerous: go for small sprints when you can
  20. 20. Leverage Facebook for rapid iteration and A/B testing
  21. 21. Cross-platform is hard, but can be worth it
  22. 22. Don’t underestimate players’ willingness to spend (but give them fun in exchange)
  23. 23. Thanks!Questions? @giordanobc