On June 23, the theme salon “New Opportunities for Game Tracks” co-sponsored by Roski, Cheetah Mobile and Guangda University, was held in Hangzhou. The event invited a number of head publishers and platform leaders, and everyone started from their own business to share the latest industry trends and changes for practitioners.
At the event, Penny Qian, the head of Crazy Labs Greater China, shared the theme of “Explosive Creative Inspiration and Successful Long-term Operation Dismantling”. As the world’s top three hyper-casual game publishers, Crazy Labs has accumulated more than 4 billion downloads. So how did Crazy Labs find game ideas? How to run those hot games in the long run?
The following is the content of the speech
Hello everyone, I am Penny Qian, the head of Crazy Labs Greater China. Today I will share with you Crazy Labs’ ideas for finding ultra-casual game creativity and long-term operation methods.
Let’s first look at the release flow chart of Crazy Labs. In fact, this is not only the process of Crazy Labs, but also the standard ultra-casual game release process on the market. Briefly introduce.
From the very beginning, the CTR and CPI thresholds were transparent and open. If the suction test is ideal, then enter the retention test, and ads will be added to the retention test to see if the ROI is positive. The next step is to test the amount of coverage, and the amount of coverage is small. For example, after raising the budget, check whether the ROI is positive, and what is the upper limit of the test budget. If the budget ceiling can be continuously broken, it can be distributed globally.
However, the content I shared today is not in the link above, but before the creation of the creative project and after the global release.
Cumulative downloads exceed 4 billion times, the world’s top three ultra-casual game releases
First introduce Crazy Labs. Crazy Labs was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Israel. In the early days, the company’s business was children’s educational games. Later, with the protection of children’s privacy policies by Google and Apple, we found that children’s games were more and more restricted. Later, I started to do long-term casual games, such as women’s dressing, IP parkour, etc. After the rise of ultra-casual games in 2017, Crazy Labs also joined the ultra-casual track.
So now Crazy Labs’ business is the publishing of ultra-casual games and self-developed casual games. The Other Lab means that since our establishment 11 years ago, we have never fixed our business scope. We always pay attention to new trends and new trends in the game industry. So we will follow the trend of any future trend.
In the field of ultra-casual games, Crazy Labs has achieved great success. The icons in the picture below are all games that have topped the list. At present, Crazy Labs is the world’s third largest hyper-casual game publishing company, with more than 4 billion downloads worldwide.
The so-called popular ultra-casual games have been downloaded tens of millions of times, and many of them have reached hundreds of millions of downloads, and the release dates of the products are both in 2019 and 2020. These products are still in long-term operation. in.
Super casual game creative inspiration and creative source sharing
The creativity of ultra-casual games can come from any creative person. Previously, a team said that they value the ultra-casual track very much, so they decided to all in and paid a lot of money to invite game planners. After hearing this, I think the starting point is good, but there is a problem with the direction of efforts.
The creativity of ultra-casual games does not rely on a certain plan. Those who have done the planning of so-called explosive products have a problem-full of routines. But ultra-casual do not eat routines and rely on creativity. So I hope everyone understands that the creativity of ultra-casual games can come from anyone.
In 2017, ultra-casual games were recognized by everyone. It was mentioned in various sharings that ultra-casual users are a pan-user group that does not pick people, age, or gender. But in the past 4 years, whether it is game release or game purchases, we have gradually discovered that ultra-casual games have relatively vague user portraits. Although they are general users, they still have gender and age bias.
The figure below shows Facebook’s statistics, which coincide with the games with low CPI that we have tested. The report shows that more than 60% of users of ultra-casual games are women, aged 18-34. In the popular demos we tested, more than 70% of the users are women, 15-35 years old, younger.
Therefore, we suggest that the ultra-casual team should understand what kind of person the user is and what kind of person the game is for.
In addition, innovation is the primary productivity of ultra-leisure. The reason is that the threshold for ultra-casual is very low. There are hundreds of ultra-casual games online every day, and most of the ideas have been used. So in terms of innovation, it does not require creativity from 0 to 1, but in innovation, mixing the elements that have been verified.
Below is a summary of the creative sources used by 4 recent hot products.
Explosive video gamification, users’ acceptance of this is very high. Many YouTube videos with millions and tens of millions of clicks have been gamified.
For example, Crazy Labs released “Tie Dye” last year, which is derived from a popular YouTube video, through DIY tie-dye clothing. The download volume of this product has now exceeded 100 million. This is a typical case of gamification of an explosive video. By finding the cool points in the video, through art and technology, the video can be restored to the greatest extent.
The other is the gamification of game IP and film and television works. The game in the picture below is “Z Escape”. Z refers to zombie. The capitalized Z appears in overseas markets, and users all know it is zombie. This game is the 2019 movie “Zombie World War”. This IP not only has movies, but PC games are also very popular. “Z Escape” restores scenes such as shooting from a helicopter perspective and zombie climbing walls.
There are also some cases of game plug-in special effects gamification. There are many free plug-in effects in Unity. On the left side of the picture below is a plug-in called Bois/Flocking, which mimics group activities such as fish or birds. The developer had previously made a game that mimicked birds, but the visual effects were not as powerful as “Shoal of fish”.
Another case is “Blob Runner 3D”. The Blob material is also a liquid plug-in in Unity. This developer turned the plug-in into a villain that is constantly increasing and decreasing in parkour games.
The last one is the upgrade of the classic gameplay. “Square Bird” is a game that reminds people of Super Mario and “flappy bird”. The way of traveling from left to right in the game, as well as grass, up and down movement, etc., all pay tribute to the classics. This is a typical upgrade of the classic gameplay.
Make a summary. Explosive ultra-casual creative inspiration can come from any creative person. The crowd portraits of ultra-casual games are mostly young female users. CPs who have played ultra-casual games know that the cost of ultra-casual creative testing is very high, and the success rate of creative testing is very low. Therefore, if the cost of creative testing can be borne together with the release, it is the best solution. In addition, in the process of cooperating with publishing, you can get help from multiple perspectives such as marketing, gamification, playability, and level design.
Hyper-casual publishers have spent a lot of manpower and material resources on creative tests in the past few years. In addition to successful products, there are also a large number of failure cases. Therefore, the biggest advantage of cooperating with publishers is to avoid repeating our failure experience.
Successful long-term operation dismantling, taking “Phone Case DIY” as an example
“Phone Case DIY” was released in September 2020, and “Phone Case DIY” ranked third in the download rankings released by Q1AppAnnie in 2021. In the past 6 months, “Phone Case DIY” has been running smoothly, breaking the impression that many people think that the life cycle of ultra-casual games is short.
In fact, “Phone Case DIY” is also a case of explosive video gamification. The idea of ”Phone Case DIY” is to show the phone case we made on social media, so we wanted to make a similar game.
Some people may think that the gamification of popular video games is simple, but the difficulty lies in restoring the coolness of the video. Everyone has a different understanding of the cool spots. It is necessary to talk about the user’s cool spots and discuss which screens can be clicked to watch and download. Our goal in making explosive video games is to keep the coolness to the greatest extent possible.
For another example, “Hair Dye”, the following two games are both restoring popular videos, but the performance of the product on the left is not satisfactory in comparison.
So when restoring the video, if you use frontal faces or strands of hair to highlight, the game screen will become ugly.
Therefore, in front of the hot video, it is necessary for everyone to discuss the art, planning, and level to beautify the video as much as possible.
Therefore, we propose that hot videos should not only be gamified, but also Gemify (diamond). It means that after you get the diamond, you still have to cut it.
In fact, the long-term operation is Live Game Operations, so how to operate and maintain the games that have been released? After the global release, our goal is to continuously improve user value and game experience. Everyone knows that the release time of ultra-casual is very short, and it may only take 2 months from the initiation of the project to the global release. In this process, in order to seize the market, you cannot wait until the art and gameplay are polished to perfection before releasing. Therefore, we will keep a lot of game content updates or experience enhancements in live ops. After the game is fully online, we will accomplish this goal through continuous updates.
The optimization goals of live ops are mainly retention, game duration, interaction, etc.
Take “Phone Case DIY” as an example. The core gameplay is to show the phone case, the behavior of DIY on the phone case, and the coolness of passing. Our live ops is very clear that if the game content is updated, a lot of AB tests will be performed on the core gameplay. Because the core gameplay will retain users and let them watch more ads.
In addition, in the diy session, we found that not only glue, but also spray paint, stickers, etc. can be done. Through the AB test, we found that many people are willing to play this function.
At the same time, we have seen that other games on the market have liquid injection links, and we will also put these content into the game, which proved very successful afterwards.
The picture below is an AB test that has just ended. This is the content to be updated in the near future. The new content is the addition of gold powder and water injection to the phone case, which has also won the love of many players.
Therefore, in the long-term operation of ultra-casual games, the most important thing is to continuously update the content around the core gameplay and optimize the user’s gaming experience. Pay attention to the core game link, pay attention to the level data analysis, and reduce the level with high failure rate. Pay attention to user reviews and conduct various tests in long-term operations. For live ops, we have always insisted on the idea of testing all imaginable content, don’t rely on subjective judgments, and be completely data-oriented.