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Joel Brodie

I run a little known web site called Gamezebo

What’s the longest the average user plays a mobile game?

Apr 10, 2014

If you guessed less than 24 hours, you’re a winner.  Which means if you’re a mobile game developer spending money to acquire new users, you probably are not a winner.  

In an exclusive to Re/code, Swrve revealed the results of a 90-day tracking survey of 10 million players, indicating that 19% of players open a game only once and 66% stop playing within the first 24 hours.  Of the player that stay, 53% of their spending occurs within the first seven days of playing.  

Meaning, the average game player will leave a game within 24 hours, and the average game spender will be of little value after the first week.

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If the name Swrve sounds familiar, they are the firm that released a study earlier this year that suggested that .15% of all mobile gamers are responsible for 50% of total revenues

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Apple removes Top Grossing Charts from App Store

Apr 1, 2014

In a surprising move, Apple announced that it is removing its Top Grossing Chart from the App Store.  From now on, there will only be two top ranking charts - free and paid.   In typical Apple fashion, the company made this move at midnight last night, on the first day of April, without giving anyone any notice.

Apple released the following statement:  “We’ve noticed, as many of you have, that the games in the Top Ranking Lists have not changed in the past year.  We suspect it’s because the game companies in the Top 10 are spending millions of dollars a day to keep their position, but it could just be coincidence.  So, we decided to take the high road and give game companies the opportunity to compete on merit than money.”

It’s unclear what impact this will have on the success of games in the Top Lists like Candy Crush Saga or Clash of Clans, the future of free-to-play games, or the cost per install ad model.  In their S1 released anticipation of going public, King disclosed that they spent $377 million last year on marketing.  

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Yahoo! launches Yahoo! Games Network. Better late than never.

Mar 19, 2014

When Yahoo! bought Playerscale last year, we were wondering when they were going to do with it (much like we’ve wondered what they plan to do with the other hundred startups they seem to buy every other week).  

Today, Yahoo! launched the Yahoo! Games Network, offering distribution on Yahoo! and back-end infrastructure services to authenticate players, monetize games via in-app purchases and advertising, social sharing, hosting, and analytics across multiple platforms.

Yahoo! also re-launched its Yahoo! Games channel with a responsive design across the Web, iOS, and Android, re-designed Yahoo! Games classic games like Pool and Poker, and third party games including KingsRoad, Ballistic, Rise of Mythos, Bingo Blingo, and Vegas World.

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For its back-end services, Yahoo! Is charging 0% (if less than 5000 daily active users) to 10% of revenues (it’s a pretty darn good deal) and 30% for distribution and sales via its web site.  Yahoo! claims its distribution reaches 800 million users, of which 400 million users are mobile.  But, let’s be honest -- it’s questionable how many of those users are gamers.  If they were all gamers and on mobile, Yahoo! would be making a lot more money from mobile app advertising like Facebook does.

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The Week In Review: Layoffs, funding, IPOs, oh my!

Mar 14, 2014

We ran a survey recently asking our game developer friends what more they want to see on Gamezebo.  One of the key pieces of feedback we received is that you want to see more industry news.  Who k(new)?  

As long as you read and share this news round-up (hint, hint, you wild and crazy people with tons of followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), and there’s enough interesting news to round up, we’ll sum the news up for you every Friday.

This week:  PopCap and Disney layoffs, Large Animal Games is closing, King is still going public, and lot of new studios and businesses forming.

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Could Kik Messenger save HTML5 games?

Mar 11, 2014

HTML5 games reminds me of Oakland, California.  Oakland is the smaller sister next to San Francisco, on the wrong side of the Bay.  Every year, we say, this will be the year that Oakland becomes the Brooklyn of the Bay Area.  But, it never happens.  It’s always next year.

That’s the story of HTML5 and games.  Whether its Facebook embracing or dropping HTML5, HTML5 startups getting funding then imploding; the imminent success of HTML5 games is always a year away.

But this year may be different.

There are awesome HTML5 game technologies available, such as Tresensa, GameClosure, Clay.io, and Goo Technologies.  Spil taking the lead with new ad technologies and $5 million in funding.  

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And then there is Kik.  Kik is a messenger platform with 100 million user and over 275,000 new users signing up everyday.  What makes Kik unique compared to other games-focused messenger platforms such as Line, KaoKao, WeChat, and Tango is that does not distribute third-party game apps.

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so flappy. much dogecoin. wow.

Mar 10, 2014

What happens when you mix the latest game clone craze with the hottest Bitcoin alternative payment clone?

It’s time to play . . . Super Doge!

The gameplay is similar to Flappy Bird, which means it’s pretty basic.  The twist is that as you navigate your doge through the pipes, you collect coins, which can be redeemed for dogecoins.  The more coins you collect, the greater your share of dogecoins you can earn per day.

The complicated formula is articulated on the developer’s web site, but to keep it simple, if you were the only player of the game per day, you’d earn all the dogecoins.

Unfortunately for you, the game is getting popular, with 5000 downloads so far according to The Daily Dot.  At this point, Gamezebo is receiving about 25 review requests per day for Flappy Bird clones, but this game is unique in it is apparently not based on a $10 framework.

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And, not surprisingly, it’s Android only for now.  The iPhone may get the exclusive on Threes! and every other favorite new app of mine, but Android gets Super Doge.

The developer is currently donating the prize money, but requesting volunteers to pay into the prize pool.  Given how tipsy the Dogecoin community is (as the Jamaican bobsled team can attest), he should be successful building it up.

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Twitch: Soon broadcasting from a mobile phone near you

Mar 6, 2014

The future of mobile gameplay may be broadcasted and recorded, if Twitch has its way.  Today, Twitch announced it is releasing a mobile SDK to enable the live broadcasting, video capture, and archiving of play in mobile games.

So what?  Startups Everyplay and Kamkord have been doing this for years.  The big deal is that Twitch is so ginormous that I’m using the term ginormous instead of big.

How ginormous?  Twitch attracts 45 million viewers per month.  That’s bigger than Hulu.  It’s mobile app has been downloaded 10 million times, with an equal amount between iOS and Android.  It’s game streaming and broadcast service has created the genre of Let’s Play videos on the PC, taken esports mainstream, and made League of Legends a household name. A recent Pokemon game on Twitch attracted hundreds of thousands of players.  

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And now Twitch is coming to the mobile phone.

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WhatsApp with games and chat?

Mar 6, 2014

Now that a week has passed since Facebook bought WhatsApp for $18 billion, it’s time for our obligatory post about it.

Just to get it out of the way, I have no clue why Facebook bought WhatsApp for this amount.  My guess is that Facebook’s social network is dying (especially among teens) but its ad platform is revolutionary.  Buying WhatsApp and its 450 million global users enables Facebook to remain on top for mobile and ads, though given WhatsApp owns no real data on its users, that’s in theory.  Mark Zuckerberg is far smarter and more successful than I, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

What does WhatsApp have to do with games?  Absolutely nothing.  But, messaging and chat could be the next big thing in games, Facebook and WhatsApp notwithstanding.

WhatsApp really has nothing to do with games.  Just look at the famous handwritten note between WhatsApp founders. 

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WhatsApp has no interest in games, and the founders believe that this is partly the secret to their success.  Given they just sold their company for $18 billion, they could be right.



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5 Questions for HasOffers CEO Peter Hamilton

Feb 27, 2014

As I’ve mentioned before, every game developer I know buys ads on Facebook to drive games installs and uses HasOffers to track them.  So it was a bit of a shock when Facebook dropped HasOffers as a mobile measurement partner a few weeks back.   

We virtually sat down with HasOffers CEO Peter Hamilton to ask him:  What happened with the Facebook relationship?  Who else is out there to advertise with aside from Facebook? What gives HasOffers the edge over their competition? What to do if you have the aspirations of King.com but not $350 million to spend?  And what’s going down at the Mobile World Conference that he’s currently attending in Spain?  All in 5 questions and in a less than 5 minute read.  

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The .15% of blue whales who support the entire mobile games industry

Feb 26, 2014

Free-to-play is the greatest thing to happen to the games industry (and gamers) since Pong.  Here’s the thing, though:  it’s common knowledge that only 1-3% of all gamers of free-to-play games pay, the rest don’t.  These gamers are commonly referred to as whales.

According to a new survey by Swrve (pronounced, I have no clue), that 1 - 3% is a bit off, by a lot.  Only .15% of mobile gamers are responsible for 50% of total mobile game revenues.  In biological terms, these players are blue whales (the largest mammals on earth) of the mobile game world.

As reported in VentureBeat, this is a classic good news/bad news story.  These blue whales pay the bills for the mobile games industry and are helping to grow the market to astronomical heights.  The bad news is that the vast majority (let’s call them minnows) are becoming accustomed to playing games for free, and there is no clear path to turn a minnow into a blue whale.

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And what happens if these super whales get bored of playing and tired of paying?  .15% is such a small number, just one small drop in this bucket could have a huge impact on the future of the global gaming industry.

In Vegas, whales are comp’d with free hotel suites.  How are these super blue whales rewarded in the games world?  

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