Case Study: Dream World
- Key Notes
- Continued revenue growth even after nearly 2 years on Kongregate
- Regular updates and events have led to repeated front-page promotion
- Has been played over 12 million times since launch
Dream World has had success on both Facebook and Kongregate, though on a per-user level Kongregate has outperformed Facebook significantly. Lifetime ARPU on Facebook is $0.74, while on Kongregate it is over double that at $1.51. On a per paying user basis, Dream World has gotten a lifetime ARPPU of $118.39 on Kongregate, compared to only $41.84 on Facebook.
Background & Gameplay
Dream World, developed by Playmage, is a turn-based fantasy MMO that launched on Kongregate in January of 2010. The game features a substantial single-player campaign along with a sophisticated guild system. Gameplay consists of fighting enemies by choosing appropriate skills/spells to use, along with random events, puzzles, and characters to break up the monster battles.
Kreds & Monetization
The game monetizes by allowing players to buy energy refills, “learning points” to improve their character‘s skills, premium allies to help in battle, temporary consumable boosts, and equipment. The majority (about 60%) of sales are on the character-upgrading “learning points”, with the other categories divided fairly evenly.
The developer regularly runs events and sales, as well as new content/feature releases, that help to maintain interest and revenue for the game. Tying specials to holidays generates significant spikes in sales while still maintaining strong revenue in between.
Kongregate has done a front page feature to promote major releases of the game, as well as sending out mass messages to current players of the game to let them know about the new features and events. Dream World has been featured in a mass email sent out by GameStop to over 5 million subscribers as well as on a GameStop TV ad spot. Kongregate also runs on-site ads for the game to bring in a steady stream of traffic.
To date, Dream World has received nearly 200 million complimentary ad impressions. Kongregate has begun to experiment with running off-site ads for the game through Flash game sponsorships, and is continuing to explore novel ways to promote its games with various channels.
Community & Social Features
The developer reports that Kongregate users are more social and engaged than Facebook users. He attributes this to the forums and dedicated game chats that are heavily featured on Kongregate, encouraging players of the game to talk with one another about strategies, challenges, and alliances.
In-game guilds also help create social connections and encourage long-term user interest and retention. Guilds are a strong indicator of purchasing in the game — 80% of purchasers are in guilds, while only 13% of non-purchasers are in guilds.
Playmage is headquartered in Austin, TX. Thanks to William Ren, CEO and lead developer for Playmage, for providing data and insight for this case study.