The most complicated part in the game development is not to create an architecture, draw a design, found the sound effects or even come up with profitable idea. The most of time a game studio make researches how to extend the game like a virus among players. Such researches do not focus on the income and is not counted in dollars. Such researches try to understand how to attract the user, than retain and only after it how to monetize the player. These three basic things concerns only social games, so my research will concentrated on Facebook network, because it is the easiest platform to implement three rules of social games. To create a successful game in Google Play or iTunes we should take into account more conditions and such research will be even more complicated.
The main objective of my article is to compare most popular Facebook games (based on monthly active users criteria dated on May 2015) and to highlight most common features, which could influence on the success of the game.
As we can see the King game studio is the absolute record-holder. Their active users in the month is more than 244 millions people. Their games are on first, second, third and seventh place in top-10 games rating. There is also 2 games in top, which do not have own version in Facebook network, but they integrate Facebook in the mobile version of the game (and use Facebook features, such as friends invitation,wall sharing). These games are Clash of Clans and Subway Surfer. I will not take into account these games, because their success has nothing common with games which was created specially for Facebook (not for mobile). So, for purity of research, I will investigate only 4 King games – Candy Crush, Candy Crush Soda, Farm Heroes, Pet Rescue, also Etermax game studio product – Trivia Crack, and three more games, such as Dragon City, Criminal Case and 8 Ball Poll.
These games have nothing common for the players. Some players even do not understand that Farm Heroes and Candy Crush are created by the same game studio. These games are different in genres – all King games are match 3, Trivia Crack – is a trivia and puzzle game, 8 Ball Poll – is a sport game (billiard), Dragon city is a simulator and Criminal Case is a puzzle game with find items ideology. Also the games have different design – match 3 games, Trivia Crack and Dragon City has teenagers colorful design, the other 2 games have more dark colors. Also the game auditory is different. Match three games is liked by 16-35 age woman, Trivia Crack and Criminal Case middle age is higher, 8 Ball poll is interesting for males. So, as we can see there is nothing common at first sign. Also all the games have different monetization strategies, 8 Ball Pulls, for example, put LifeStreet ads (popular web advertising Company) on the game page, while others top games advertise only own products.
However, there are a great amount of differences in the games, my research shows that common features and ideologies can be observed in all tested games. There are three features, any social game should pay attention. It is retention, monetization and virality. All Facebook top games have these three integral components. My research through top-50 games shows that correct using of these components is a way to success.
I will review all three success criteria separately with the help of examples from top-10 Facebook games.