Big Blue Bubble has been around since 2004, and the company’s management team was involved in console and PC gaming even before that. The company has several hit mobile games, including My Singing Monsters, which is one of the top grossing games on both iOS and Android.
We caught up with Big Blue Bubble’s Bryan Davis to ask what makes My Singing Monsters so successful, what separates mobile from other platforms, and what the company is planning next.
Q: When did the company first get into mobile, and what is the main difference between mobile and other types of games?
A: Our management team recognized the emerging mobile gaming space early on. We had success in the early days of feature phones with titles like Jewel Quest. Obviously creating and publishing mobile titles was a completely different model during those days, but one thing we quickly realized was that the overall cost of development for mobile games was considerably cheaper than it was for console games, and that you can build, launch and iterate a game much quicker on mobile. So we started putting more and more focus there.
Q: Now you have a big hit on your hands with My Singing Monsters. What do you think makes it so successful?
A: My Singing Monsters is quite unique from other games, with the integration of music as the core gameplay mechanic. There has been no title like it to date. From early concepts, we knew we had a special game on our hands. However, we all know how difficult app discovery is, and that was a big concern of ours—whether or not it would get the attention it deserved.
Q: My Singing Monsters has cracked the Top 50 Grossing Apps charts on both iOS and Android. What makes it monetize so well?
A: It all starts with great game mechanics and providing a gaming experience that people love to play. But aside from that, we paid a lot of attention to our in-game economy and user behavior and finding that “sweet spot” between offering a great free-to-play experience and encouraging users to spend money. We have also been very successful at monetizing the portion of our user base that would never ordinarily monetize through in-app payments, which is where Tapjoy comes in.
Q: Tapjoy accounts for over a third of your revenue on iOS and nearly half on Android. What tactics have you employed to encourage your users to take advantage of Tapjoy’s ads?
A: We try to make it as easy as possible for people who want to engage with Tapjoy ads to be able to do so. Obviously we link to Tapjoy from our Market and Currency screens, but we also integrated features like Tapjoy’s Direct Play, and we regularly conduct limited-time currency sales in which we allow users to earn additional currency for completing offers, which raises awareness of Tapjoy ads and drives more people to take part in them.
Q: Tell us about the currency sales—how often do you offer them, how do you promote them, and what have been the results?
A: We conduct currency sales once every two to three weeks and promote them via in-game interstitials, push notifications, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Tapjoy also helps us promote them by pushing them out through their own social media channels. These currency sales tend to drive an increase of 30% or more revenue during the length of the campaign—all in incremental revenue that does not cannibalize our existing sales. They also attract a number of new “purchasers,” or people who have never monetized before, by offering them the incentive they need to get over that hump and finally earn the coins they need to maybe buy that special monster they’ve had their eyes on.
Q: How effective has Direct Play been for you to date?
A: The results so far have been incredible. Direct Play makes up about 10% of our Tapjoy revenue. Our users love it because it’s so simple; they just have to tap a button, watch a quick video, and they’re awarded their diamonds. It also helps us monetize users that we wouldn’t be able to monetize through other ways.
Q: What’s next for the company? What kind of plans do you have for additional titles in the next few months?
A: We are looking at pushing out less titles and focusing more on the fewer titles we have in production. We are taking everything we learned from My Singing Monsters and applying it to the future. We’re looking at the state of F2P games and coming up with fresh new ideas. In fact we have a new title that we intend on releasing right in time for the holidays.