When asking developers and analysts about monetising a mobile application or tips for staying in the top rankings, you’re likely to hear an abundance of varied responses – mainly due to the fact that the business of mobile gaming is a hectic, whirlwind tunnel of ups and downs, and constant changes. So with the latest news showing that Kingdom’s at War is still one of the highest grossing apps after 4 years, the streets of the mobile gaming world have been left questioning just how this game has remained so constant throughout all of the possible variables.
While it may not have been number one in the charts, developers, ‘A Thinking Ape’, claimed the position on eighth in the Top Grossing Apps after its initial release in 2010. The success for the game did not stop here, however, with the game only sinking to rank eleventh in 2011 and continuing to remain in the top forty highest grossing apps for the following years. More recently, in December of 2013, however, Kingdom’s at War jumped up, yet again, to hit a Top 20 position in the highest grossing games. In a world that is constantly changing, not just from day to day but from hour to hour, this success has left a number of developers questioning just how ‘A Thinking Ape’ created a game with such longevity, in this whirlwind industry.
The developers have, of course, been questioned as to what turned their creation into such a success, with a member of the team responding with “There’s no secret formula. But if you play Kingdoms at War for 30 days, you will play on infinitely.” In such a variable world, there is generally one constant with mobile gamers – they will more easily discard a game quickly if they no longer find it entertaining, rather than gamers on consoles or PCs. According to the team at Venture Beat, however, results show that for Kingdoms at War, 50% of first-day players return to play on day two. From here, the number significantly decreases and by day 30, only 10% of day one players are still gaming. This initially seems like quite a loss for the developers, though their studies have shown that at day 30 there are no more player losses and the ones who are still gaming will continue to do so indefinitely. Derek Yip from ‘A Thinking Ape’ stated that “Kingdoms at War has low retention [and] essentially the game stops losing players”.
What new developers can take from this revelation is that ‘A Thinking Ape’ has noted that the major difference between this game and their many others is the social accept involved, through messaging or chatting during gameplay. Creating incentives for players to connect socially ultimately paid out, with Kingdom’s at War still topping the charts as one of the most successful grossing games of the mobile app generation.