September 10, 2016 - ENYO
As you know i’m a big fan of transparency when it comes to sales and revenue numbers. Posting about these things does not only help others who want to know what type of games these days actually can accomplish something in terms of sustainability. It’s also a great marketing tool to get eyeballs on me and my projects. So in good tradition here is ENYO’s first week.
ENYO started out with a little surprise, since we actually announced to launch it on the 7th of September. But due to Apple’s big iPhone 7 Event announced shortly after to be on the 7th as well, we changed our release date to the 1st through the help of a few important people. We decided that in the worst case some people would miss the release but will find out that we are live and will just be happy to get the game earlier.
Looking back this was absolutely the right call, since the iPhone 7 and also Nintendo’s Mario Run taking all attention away from your game. In the end i think Mario’s featuring actually helped out ENYO, but more to that later.
With each launch you somewhat should have a rough estimate of what you expect the game can do for you. With ENYO i knew that i have a very niche and small game on my hand. It originated in the 7 day roguelike challenge and was a rather quick project. Together with Winnie Song i worked on it for about 3 month in total. In comparison to Card Crawl it offers way less content and also it’s gameplay is definitely not suited for casual play. I will say tho that the game is a really interesting take on the mobile roguelike formula and if you liked Hoplite, Auro or similar titles this is the right game for you.
Due to theses circumstances i decided to make the game free with ads and a one time iAP to remove ads and unlock the daily challenge. My guess was that with it being free maybe a few more people will take look, because the game would be a though sell for a paid game. This was also a good opportunity to test out the free with Ads model with regards to Card Thief. The model itself has become really popular in the last two years but is really tough to pull of right.
The launch went surprisingly well. We launched the game simulatenoulsy on the App Store and Google Play. Since we had a very good experience with the Google Play crowd for Card Crawl we wanted to push the Android version from the beginning this time. Once again we got a really good featuring from Apple, who actually seem to enjoy the game quite well. ENYO was featured world wide as #5 in best new games. I monitored the featuring and i noticed that the spot itself also fluctuated through the week where at one point we where #2 in the US right behind Samorost 3.
Apple also featured us on Twitter and Facebook which was another huge boost in visibiltiy.
On Google Play we could get only a minor featuring on spot no #43, which still helped to boost the numbers on Android a bit.
— App Store Games (@AppStoreGames) September 3, 2016
In the first week ENYO was downloaded about 178.000 times on iOS and 25.000 times on Google Play. In total we could break the 200.000 downloads which is really cool for such a niche game. Always keep in mind this is not your typical casual game that attracts the masses.
This time again it showed that the US market is the most viable for us. About 40% of the downloads came from the US and also the revenue that we saw mainly was coming for this market. One could argue that we should take localization into consideration and that countries like Russia and China are also very strong if you can localize your game.
Revenue wise we have to look at two charts. First the iAp which basically removes all ads and makes the game a premium experience. For our Ads we used the mediation network HeyZap to integrated several ad providers. For ENYO iOS we used UnityAds, Chartboost, Vungle and Admob. On Android we had a problem with the ad monetization due to some plugin incompabilties and we could only use Admob and UnityAds. This shows in the ad revenue and we have to fix it in the coming update.
For the iOS version we could generate about $2.000 with the iAp and $225 on Android.
The Ads could generate about $4.200 on iOS and a whooping $63 on Android. (Keep in mind our Ad setup on Android was less then optimal).
In total we could make about $6488 of revenue in ENYO’s first week. I consider this number a success for this kind of game. It’s clear that we have to look at the numbers after the first month an evaluate again, but for now we are pretty happy with the outcome.
The game was receive quite well. Being a free game brings the baggage of people generally disliking your game and having fun to give games bad ratings. This shows in our reviews quite well. On iOS we have a total of 3.7 stars across all reviews, on Android it’s almost the same with 3.77 stars. There are quite a few people who really enjoy the game for what it is. On the other hand we have a lot of people complaining about one specific thing that we have to fix in the upcoming version which is forced video ads. I thought i would be nice to remind the player to buy the game now and then by forcing them to watch a video ad before they can continue to play. Turns out people really hated that. One advice here is that you should not try to force any monetization on the player at all or your reviews will suffer from the people who feel personally inclined to tell everyone what a shitty game it is.
Everybody knows making games is hard. But selling games is even harder these days, especially in the world of mobile. I was really surprised by how many downloads you actually need to make ads worth while. I will go out of my way to say that if your game won’t be able to get a million downloads in the first two weeks of the launch you will have a really hard time to make good money with ads.
On the other hand i was quite surprised of how well video ads can monetize if done well. But the idea that ads could support your free premium game was a faulty assumption i guess. I rather would not count on people buying the game because they don’t want ads then to optimize your game for the ads and see if you can generate more money that way. It’s a tricky thing and i’m no expert in this field which shows once more that you should stick to the things you are good at. For me that’s making interesting games and building upon a strong fan based that knows and trusts me and when i put out a new game will not hesitate to shell out a few bucks. That in combination with a good featuring will be an easier task to accomplish than to go the free with ads route. Again i think for ENYO going free was the right approach since we could try out a few things here and there. We still want to improve the game and have a big first update in the works. So stay tuned!
PS: Did you noticed how the downloads and revenue went up again on the 7th? I guess it was because ENYO was closely feature next to my good ‘ol friend Mario. I think we could gain a few downloads trough him – so thanks for that, Mario!
* Update 12/09/16
ENYO got a big second week feature in the strategy games category on the US App Store.