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Paying To Win? Battlefield Heroes, virtual goods and selling gameplay advantages Ben Cousins, General Manager, Easy (EA)

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Presentation on theme: "Paying To Win? Battlefield Heroes, virtual goods and selling gameplay advantages Ben Cousins, General Manager, Easy (EA)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Paying To Win? Battlefield Heroes, virtual goods and selling gameplay advantages Ben Cousins, General Manager, Easy (EA)

2 Who am I?

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8 Facts about Easy O Battlefield heroes started in 2007 at DICE O 20 staff from Heroes team spun out into Easy in Nov 2008 act like a startup O Almost ten million registered users O Profitable after 16 months O FY12 revenue forecast at double FY11

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14 Hey Ben, … Do you feel like a big man now Ben ? I bet you do. That's good. I hope you enjoy watching your playerbase crumble and all your customers turn against you. A lot of us really loved your game Ben, and the ideas that you started out with. When I saw the first Heroes trailer I was amazed. It sounded too good to be true. Then it turned out that it was… You went behind our backs and changed the basic things that made this game different and great. You ruined your game Ben. You and the higher-ups at EA ruined OUR game…I hope you're happy Ben, I hope you're really, really happy. Do you know how many children you ruined Christmas for Ben ? Why don't you think about that too while you're at it. R.I.P Battlefield: Heroes. -A formerly loyal customer.

15 How did we get here?

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17 Learnings from Korea O Items that sell well O Customization items O Clothing, name colour O Convienience items O XP boost, currency boost, stats reset O Advantage-giving items O BE CAREFUL – the looser MUST NOT know they have lost because of the use of an item

18 Heroes Launch Catalogue Head Face Neck Chest Jacket Hands Legs Feet Back Waist XP Boost VP Boost

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22 ARPU = Total gross revenue Total number of users $3 million in funding 2 million users = $1.50 ARPU

23 ARPU = Total gross revenue Total number of users $3 million in funding 2 million users = $1.50 ARPU Our (conservative) target = $0.50 ARPU Our launch month ARPU = $0.25

24 Working out what was going wrong

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27 KPIs* O Monthly ARPU (av. revenue per user) O MAU (Monthly Active Users) O Monthly Conversion rate (% of Actives spending) O Monthly ARPPU (av. revenue per PAYING user) *Key Performance Indicators

28 July KPIs* O ARPPU (av. revenue per PAYING user) O $20.25 *Key Performance Indicators

29 July KPIs* O ARPPU (av. revenue per PAYING user) O $20.25 O Conversion rate (% of Actives spending) O 1.29% *Key Performance Indicators

30 Fix Conv. Rate O Good MAU and ARPPU O Bad ARPU caused by poor Conversion Rate O What were spenders buying?

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40 I think their plan to get the low hanging fruit is right, but it is going too slow… They need some heads and a little bit of $$$ to pick up speed and make some needed changes to the game. Frank Gibeau

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43 This game is too free, we are giving away too much

44 Too much VP in the system

45 Action Points O Increase VP-per hour cost of hiring demo weapons O If you play a few hours a day, maintain a weapon for a single character O Drop cash-prices of permanent weapons O SMS payment methods for some EU countries O Release more powerful versions of normal weapons

46 O 3 weapons slightly bigger magazines O 5 weapons slightly greater chance of critical hit O 2 weapons slightly more damage O One recoil reduction O Sub Machine Gun O Rounds in magazine from O Critical hit chance from O Damage for a critical hit from 15 – 20 O Pistol O Rounds in magazine from O Critical hit chance from O Machine Gun O Critical hit chance from O Shotgun O Rounds in magazine from 12 – 15 O Critical hit chance from 0.05 – 0.07 O Sniper Rifle O Rounds in magazine from 5 – 7 O Better over short range O Recoil slightly reduced O Knife O Damage from O Hit radius from 2-3 O RPGs O Critical hit chance from 0 to 0.3 O Critical hit damage set at 10

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50 What happened next?

51 Fix Conv. Rate O Good MAU and ARPPU O Bad ARPU caused by poor Conversion Rate

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60 Total gross revenue from forum posters Total number of forum posters

61 Total gross revenue from forum posters Total number of forum posters = $22 ARPFP

62 Total gross revenue from forum posters Total number of forum posters = $22 ARPFP Forum posters spend more than 10x the average user

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64 Hey Ben, … Do you feel like a big man now Ben ? I bet you do. That's good. I hope you enjoy watching your playerbase crumble and all your customers turn against you. A lot of us really loved your game Ben, and the ideas that you started out with. When I saw the first Heroes trailer I was amazed. It sounded too good to be true. Then it turned out that it was… You went behind our backs and changed the basic things that made this game different and great. You ruined your game Ben. You and the higher-ups at EA ruined OUR game…I hope you're happy Ben, I hope you're really, really happy. Do you know how many children you ruined Christmas for Ben ? Why don't you think about that too while you're at it. R.I.P Battlefield: Heroes. -A formerly loyal customer.

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70 To recap… O The original store catalogue was sub-optimal because we; O Had insufficient info about western gamers appetite for virtual goods O Were scared by the Bad Company 1s weapons for sale controversy O We were being too conservative O As a result our conversion rate was too low O We quickly identified what we needed to do to increase conversion rate with a survey O We were understaffed until Frank Gibeau allowed us enough to staff up O We were still too conservative about changing game balance… O …until we got very concerned about losing ours and our teams jobs O Which forced us to make radical changes… O …which caused a huge uproar online… O …but which didnt actually correspond with a declining userbase

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72 Common assumptions about the types of virtual goods it is acceptable to sell are incorrect

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77 What should virtual goods games be? What do consumers want virtual goods games to be?

78 Questions? Twitter - benjamincousins


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