Voodoo Publishing Manager: Mixed casual games are the future, I hope players will stay for more than 1 month

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GameLook report/For most of our peers, game monetization is always a difficult problem to face. In the mobile game market, although advertising monetization has solved survival problems for many small and medium-sized teams, with the arrival of the inventory stage, the soaring purchase cost has made the ultra-casual game track more and more crowded.

With the success of multiple mixed-play games such as “Project Makeover”, “Time Princess” and “Puzzles & Survival”, mixed casual games have become a topic of concern for more and more small and medium-sized teams.

Mixed leisure is an emerging market category driven by consumers. In the past 12 months, casual games have been increasingly integrated with casual or moderate games. This unopened market gives ultra-casual game developers the opportunity to continue to create more attractive core mechanisms, while benefiting from hybrid monetization strategies, such as combining free in-app purchases with advertising business models to increase more sources of revenue.

As the well-known “King of Mini Games” in the industry, Voodoo entered the field of ultra-casual games very early. As the market environment changes, the company has also begun to explore the feasibility of mixed casual games. However, unlike most manufacturers who restarted research and development of new projects, Voodoo release manager Corentin Selz accepted foreign media gameworldobserver and said that the company’s transformation strategy is through joint research and development.

To put it simply, it is to “do addition” on the basis of successful ultra-casual games, and quickly produce mixed casual games with complex meta mechanisms.

The following is the complete interview with gameworldobserver compiled by GameLook:

Before joining the Voodoo team, Corentin was a trainee lawyer in a law firm in London and Frankfurt, responsible for transactions and litigation cases. He has participated in many mergers and acquisitions, financial transactions and international arbitrations.

However, Corentin said that he could not refuse the appeal of the gaming industry, and has been serving as a release manager at Voodoo since 2018. In the first two years of entering Voodoo, he built a strong publishing team in Turkey to help the team optimize, monetize and market the game. Then returned to the Paris studio, the current focus is to create Voodoo’s mixed casual game product line.

The popularity of mixed casual games is because users want a deeper experience

Q: Mixed leisure is still a relatively novel thing. In terms of game design and business model, what does mixed leisure specifically mean?

Corentin Selz:Mixed leisure is a combination of core ultra-casual gameplay and casual or moderate game simplified meta gameplay. From the perspective of ultra-leisure, we have adopted elements that are easy to learn, easy to accept, and short-lived gameplay that players love, and then combine them with casual and medium games. The meta gameplay function of the degree game is comprehensive.

These meta gameplay features add mid-line and long-term goals to ultra-casual games. Ultra-casual games usually only provide short-term goals and rewards. However, with mixed casual gameplay, we started to increase mid- and long-term goals through additional meta gameplay features, which improves Improve the retention rate and bring higher LTV value.

Mixed casual games allow developers and publishers to quickly create attractive core mechanisms, while benefiting from mixed monetization strategies, such as combining free and advertising business with in-app purchases to boost revenue growth.

Q: What are the factors driving the popularity of mixed casual games?

Corentin Selz:Mixed leisure is a new market category with great growth potential. In the past 12 months, consumers have begun to participate more in casual or moderate games. The application time in the first quarter of 2021 has increased by 80% compared to 2019Q1. At the same time, consumer income has reached 32 billion U.S. dollars.

As people play games for longer, this may be one of the most direct impacts of the epidemic on our daily lives. People naturally want to seek deeper experiences over a longer period of time. The shift in consumer behavior has led to a sharp increase in interest in mixed leisure business models.

Q: Is there any game that can be regarded as the first mixed casual product?

Screenshots of the “Legend of Bow and Arrow” game

Corentin Selz:Many people may think that “Archero” released by Habby is the first mixed casual game. When you first get started, this game may feel like an ultra-casual game, but there are a lot of users making videos to share online. Game suggestions and strategies, this type of content is often seen in casual games and more categories.

Q: What is the dividing line between mixed casual games and ultra-casual games, and what are the smaller additional features?

Corentin Selz:Generally speaking, these functions are actually more complicated than the core gameplay, and require more time and effort to do and to balance them reasonably. These games usually have a longer overall experience time, provide stronger incentives for players to return, and also have some progress features that are not seen in ultra-casual games.

Q: What about idle games? They have complex meta gameplay, can they be considered mixed casual games?

Corentin Selz:Idle games should definitely be regarded as mixed casual games, because they usually mix advertising monetization with in-app purchase models. However, mixed casual games are much more than ensuring that the core gameplay is more attractive to the mass market, and idle games usually don’t fall into that category.

In terms of the classification of mixed casual games in the future, it is likely that there will not be too many restrictions in terms of categories and gameplay, because categories can be mixed and bring new experiences. This mixed casual game creates unlimited potential in the future.

Q: If there are two games, A has ultra-casual core gameplay and some mild meta elements, and B has the same core gameplay, but the meta gameplay is more like “Heroes Charge”, then can both games be considered Mixed casual games?

Corentin Selz:Of course they should be regarded as mixed casual games, but we are more focused on games like B. If we just focus on creating A-style games and just add light meta features, this may eventually extend player retention from 7 days to 8 or 9 days. Although there is growth, what we really want is to keep players. 14 days or 30 days, or even longer.

What’s not currently available on the market is the core gameplay of a hyper-casual game with a meta mechanism that allows players to stay for 30 days or longer. Usually in a pure hyper-casual game, players will be lost after 7 days, so this is very important to us. I want to explore an area.

Mixed casual games pay more attention to long-term retention, players can retain for 2 weeks or even more than 1 month

Q: However, the more complex the meta function, the higher the barrier to entry. Will mixed casual games and ultra-casual games bring about changes in target users because of this?

Corentin Selz:On the surface, the comparison between the two does not actually bring about changes in target users, because we are still using the core ultra-casual gameplay. However, if you look at the long-term retention, then the target user group will have a relatively large change.

For ultra-casual games, strong 7-day retention is usually a very good indicator, but we now pay more attention to long-term retention for mixed casual games. These retention rates may increase due to the increase of long-term goals, which means that they can be purchased through in-app purchases. To better realize the effect.

Screenshot of “Bowmasters” game

Q: In the mixed casual game category, what type of meta mechanism is most widely used?

Corentin Selz:There are three commonly used meta mechanisms at present. The first is RPG elements, including upgrading character values, adding passive skills and unlocking special skins with unique bonuses. “Legend of Bow and Arrow”, “Bowmasters” and “Tank Masters” all have these RPG elements.

The second is the competitive rankings. You can rank players by region and globally, forming teams and joining the team rankings are also starting to appear more and more frequently.

Finally, there are urban construction elements. You can build and design a city with the gold coins you get from playing the game.

There is no doubt that these popular meta games are changing rapidly, because the mobile game industry is also developing at a fast pace, but it is great to see that the emerging mixed leisure category has become so diversified. I am very happy to see the next bigger meta. What is the trend.

Q: Is there a classification system for mixed leisure categories? Is there a more subdivided category?

Corentin Selz:Considering such a novel way of making games, it is an interesting topic to classify games into mixed casual categories. Thanks to the room for growth, you will see different new categories appear every few months, but we find that some clear cases are taking shape. You can see actions and RPG cases such as “Bowmasters”, “Tank Masters”, “Legend of Bow and Arrow” and “Art of War Legion”, which contrast with other existing puzzle game categories such as “Match 3D”.

Although we have not seen cases in other categories, in the future, cooperation and multiplayer competitive games are also expected to be mixed casual games, including simulation or narrative games.

Personal views also have a great influence on the definition of mixed casual. Moderate and moderate game developers may think that any product that combines casual and moderate mechanisms can be called a mixed casual game because they have a new meta mechanism. . “Project Makeover” is a relatively new case. Because it mixes match-3 gameplay, as well as its design ideas and in-depth plot, it can be considered a mixed casual game.

Voodoo’s mixed casual game creation concept: joint research and development, rapid test iteration

Q: What is the difference between the development process of mixed casual and ultra-casual games?

Corentin Selz:One key to making mixed casual games and hyper-casual games more different is the introduction of mid-term and long-term goals in the core mechanism. Mixed casual games give developers the freedom to create any player goals, whether it’s RPG-style progress, favorite albums, plot or visual progress, all of which can increase mid-to-long-term goals.

The longer-term goal means that developers can do more than the traditional 7-day retention rate of hyper-casual games. They can seek 14-day or even 30-day retention goals.

At Voodoo, our first step is to make sure that a hyper-casual game has good participation, including retention rate and game duration. Next, we will brainstorm by adding meta gameplay on top of the game with our partner studios. The last step is to give them the source code of the selected ultra-casual game, so that we can work together to create a mixed casual game on top of this.

The key here is joint research and development. By giving them a product that has been successful and has proven marketing and virus transmission capabilities, we have provided the studio with a huge advantage in the research and development process. What developers need is to build meta functions and increase mid-to-long-term goals for players. They don’t need to worry about building core gameplay, upgrading art quality, or programming, because these already exist.

This approach is very different from other teams in the market, because other developers and publishers usually build a new game from scratch, which means you need more time and manpower. At Voodoo, with the concept of joint research and development, we can make creative prototypes of mixed casual games in six weeks, and then only use a three-person team for 10 days of testing.

However, in general, the development of ultra-casual games and hybrid casual games have some similarities, because hybrid casual games draw on some key factors, and finding a balance between them is critical to success. You need to have the preparation for “quickly build and cut projects” in the ultra-casual game studio, as well as experience in casual game meta mechanics, monetization and online operations.

Q: One of the better advantages of ultra-casual games is predictability. You can use very simple creative prototypes or even videos for testing, but mixed casual games can’t, because you can’t predict how specific meta gameplay will perform, right?

Corentin Selz:Testing is a very important part of the development of mixed casual games, which is also the focus of our cooperation with other studios. We hope that they will do as much early testing as possible, so that problems can be found in the early stages of development, reducing overall risk for publishers, and allowing studios to see the potential of the game at a very early stage. But testing is only one aspect, you also need data to fully verify whether a game performs as expected.

Relatively speaking, mixed casual games are a relatively new category, so the credibility of the test will continue to improve. In terms of future upgrades, our research and development experience in the field of ultra-casual games is invaluable.

Q: What about the CPI cost, are mixed casual games higher than ultra-casual games?

Corentin Selz:This is true on the whole, and part of this impact stems from the increase in CPI prices in the entire market. Our Voodoo’s overall CPI price is between $0.3 and $1, but the specific price depends on the game and the core gameplay.

Q: Will mixed casual games become the next major trend in the mobile game industry? What impact will it bring to the mobile game ecosystem?

Corentin Selz:Mixed casual games are not a new category. In the past year, many studios have released their own products. However, in terms of success rate, it is still an undeveloped market. We believe that mixed casual games bring new players to players. Experience. With the popularity of ultra-casual games and casual games, the long-term user response to the enhanced gaming experience brought by mixed casual games will be the key to determining the future, and we are looking forward to it.

This Article is curated from Source and we only provide the English version of the Story.

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