MMO Business Weekly: August 27, 2020
Welcome to a new weekly column focusing on the MMO Industry, specifically the money part of it. This is a column I have done for several professional gaming sites over the years and now that I’m my own woman I wanted to continue the nearly decade-long tradition right here. Every week I’ll have the latest business-related news including quarterly reports, who is buying who, and much more. If this is a topic that interests you then I encourage you to come back every Sunday for the latest installment.
Average Cost to Acquire Mobile Game User
According to a new report from Liftoff, the average cost to acquire new mobile game users for your game has gone down 66% to $1.47 per user. However, turning them into a paying player is more expensive. The average cost to get a player to pay is $43.88 on average this year. Last year it was $35.42 and the year before that it was $28.05.
It turns out that Android users are cheaper than iOS users, $0.89 for an Android user, and $3.09 for iOS. However, it seems that both have similar returns on investments.
North Americans have the second-highest cost to acquire, only behind Asia. However, North Americans are significantly easier to retain, so once you’ve got them pulled in, you’ve got your hooks in.
The report also shows that Japan is the most committed to games of all the countries, in just about every genre of game, though especially hypercasual games.
Stardew Valley Surpasses 2 Million on Mobile
Stardew Valley has been out since February 2016 on PC but its mobile release took a few more years to achieve. It launched on iOS in October 2018 and on Android March 2019. Since the game launched it has had over 10 million copies sold across all platforms, 2 million of those are from mobile. With another free update just around the corner, it is likely that these numbers will just continue to climb. Many people who own the game have it on multiple platforms. Personally, I own 3 copies of the game and would gladly buy more if I had more platforms to play it on.
Source: Chucklefish Twitter
Supercell Infringes Gree’s Patents, Must Pay $8.5 Million
Japanese developer Gree has won a patent fight against Supercell in which they said Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Brawl Stars, all of Supercell’s biggest games, infringe on multiple patents Gree holds in the US. The patents in question were:
A method to improve the usability of city-building games using templates to define the positions of one or more in-game contents that can be applied to in-game areas based on the commands of the player.
A server and method for transferring an object between two users, as well as the communication module for sending and receiving requests for transfers from other players.
A control method for a touch-screen shooting game which first displays an effective shooting range which then detects whether an attack target is in range and commences the attack base on a command from the player.
A recording medium and server method for selecting game content to be used in an in-game battle — the selected item being replaced by another option for a future turn.
A server and control method for selecting character cards from a selection and using them in battle against an enemy character — the selected item being replaced by another option for a future turn.
Supercell was found guilty of infringing on 4 of those patents and must pay out $8.5 million.
Among Us 2 Cancelled in Favor of Expanding the First Game
Indie developers Innersloth have announced that they have decided not to make Among Us 2 and instead focus on Among Us, which has been seeing massive popularity in recent weeks. The game actually came out in 2018 and it is thanks to streamers that it has had a sudden burst in popularity. Everything that the team had been working on for the squeal to the game will now be put into the Among Us. Though the team warns that this could take some time. “The main reason we [were] shooting for a sequel is because the codebase of Among Us 1 is so outdated and not built to support adding so much new content.”
The team is also working on server issues and intends to release a new stage, a friends and account system, and colorblind support.
UK Asks for Evidence from Public on Loot Box Gambling
The UK is asking its citizens for positive and negative experiences with loot boxes in games as well as other randomized monetization instances. Game companies, academia, and other organizations are also invited to share their research. If there is enough evidence loot boxes will be included in an upcoming review of the Gambling Act. The deadline for submissions is November 22nd. If you’d like to share your experiences with loot boxes and you live in the UK you can submit your thoughts on the Gov.co.uk consultation page.
August’s Highest Grossing Titles: Fall Guys, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Pokemon Go
Superdata has released their monthly look at the highest-grossing titles of the previous month and it should come as no surprise which games are on top. Fall Guys was THE new game on the block before it was overshadowed by Among Us. In fact, Fall Guys had the highest-earning launch of any PC game since the release of Overwatch in May 2016, bringing in $185 million.
Pokemon Go has also been doing an amazing job of staying at the top of the charts once again. In August the game actually broke its best record, bringing in 25% more than its previous revenue peak all the way back in August 2016. For the rest of the year however revenue is likely to fall as fewer people are going out to play.
German Consumers Spent €3.7 Billion on Games in the First Half of 2020
So far this year Germans have spent nearly 4 billion Euro on games, in no small part thanks to the ongoing pandemic of course. This is an increase of 27% and in 2019 Germans spent €6.2 billion on games the whole year. There are still some new consoles on the horizon as well so it looks like this might be a very big year for the German gaming scene.
Afro Fantasy MMO Wagadu Chronicles Smashes Kickstarter Goal in Just 3 Days
The Afro Fantasy MMO Wagadu Chronicles only started its Kickstarter campaign earlier this week but it has already funded and reached its first Stretch Goal. The team, based in Germany, was asking for €100,000 and as of writing this, they are just shy of €110,000 raised by 1,672 backers. This game is also being made with the help of Riot Games who will be helping the indie team which is called Twin Drums.
There is still time to back Wagadu Chronicles if you’re interested. The Kickstarter campaign will continue until October 30th. Even if you don’t back them you might be interested in grabbing the free D&D 5E lorebook that they are giving away on their Kickstarter page.
Source: Wagadu Chronicles Kickstarter