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Ten reasons why Candy Crush Saga became a hit!

In May 15m people were playing Candy Crush Saga (CCS) every day on Facebook, it’s topped both the Google Play and App Store charts, and is currently number one on the iOS Top Grossing chart. But CCS isn’t the only match-three game out there, so why has it done so well?

1. TV advertising

Mind Candy, creators of Moshi Monsters, declared TV advertising their secret weapon. We’ve run several TV campaigns for games and every time the acquisition costs (CPA) have been fantastic. More games should follow CCS and advertise on TV.

CCS have done a remarkable job with their UK campaign, their adverts are well placed; being mass market (advertising on prime-time UK TV around shows like Coronation Street) they nail the target market perfectly. CCS even appeared in PSY’s follow up to ‘Gangnam Style’, ‘Gentleman’. it’s rumoured that King paid $1m for the Candy Crush placement which gives us an idea of the kind of marketing budget King are playing with.

Industry insiders have also suggested that the CCS adverts aren’t there to just drive play but to make the game more of a house-hold name as King seeks to monetize away from the digital product (licensing). 
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The ten best social gaming articles of 2012 – part 2

Amongst all the cat pictures and Gangnam Style tributes there’s a wealth of social gaming knowledge on the internet. For over two years we’ve been collating the best social gaming articles and publishing them in our This Week in Social Games (TWISG) newsletter. Read by over 1,000 subscribers.

With the year coming to an end it’s time to highlight the best of the best – the ten most insightful articles based on the percentage of clicks by our readers. From finding out what’s in Zynga’s ‘secret sauce’ to how to get your first 1,000 players, plus a handful of articles on making money by giving stuff away from free, it’s all here.

If that’s not enough, you can also read part one of this blog from back in June and get the twenty best social gaming features of 2012.

If you’re not signed up to TWISG yet, you can do that by clicking here.

So let’s begin with….

1. The secret sauce of social games

Reading this article from The Verge is the perfect way for anyone new to social games to become an instant expert! Featuring contributions from Zynga, Kixeye and Storm8 it looks at everything, such copycats, in-game spending, Whales, trends in game design and much, much more. Even if you think you already know it all, you will still find something new.
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Viral mechanics: FarmVille 2

Following on from our post on the viral mechanics employed in Sim City Social, this time we’re turning our attention to FarmVille 2, the sequel to the biggest social game ever!

The original FarmVille is only three years old and still has 3.2 million users logging on to tend to their virtual farm each day! Considering FarmVille at its peak had 83 million monthly active players it’s clear to see that a lot has changed in those three years. For a broader view of the changes Zynga has made, take a look at this short video:
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Viral mechanics: Sim City Social

In the first of a series of posts we’re examining the viral actions employed by some of the most important social games.

In this post we’re looking at EA’s Sim City Social. The gaming giant’s ‘Sim City’ brand used to be the biggest name in city building sims, until Zynga arrived on the scene. Now EA hopes to open Sim City up to a new market and bring existing Sim City players into social gaming.
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The ten best social game articles of 2012 – part 1

Our This Week in Social Games newsletter is now into its second year, and what a year it’s been in the world of social games. We’ve had the meteoric rise of Draw Something, the confusing “Gacha-gate” in Japan and more Zynga stories than we know what to do with.

To celebrate, we’ve compiled the ten most popular articles from TWISG (that’s what we all it at Dubit) over the past six months and put them all in one handy blog post.

Want the week’s most insightful social gaming and virtual world articles sent to your inbox every week? Then sign-up to receive TWISG.

1. Why Diablo 3 is less addictive than Diablo 2

We love Diablo here at Dubit and it’s been a huge success. Forget all the news about server problems, the game sold 6.3 million units in its first week! However, the latest game in the series hasn’t proved as popular with fans as some would have hoped. Why? Well, blogger and software engineer Alex Curelea thinks it’s down to game’s lack of a reward loop which is leaving players frustrated. For more on this and why it’s a lesson all developers can learn from, read Alex’s blog post.

2.Billionaire loses $704m due to ban on social game mechanic

In May this year Yoshikazu Tanaka lost $704m when Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency said it was considering whether a social game mechanic called “complete gacha” violates the law. For an informed explanation of complete gacha take a look at this post on Gamasutra. Since then a council of major Japanese social game studios moved to outlaw the practice before the Consumer Affairs Agency could get involved, as Japan looks to clamp down on excessive spending in games. For more on the story, check out Pocket Gamer.
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How many friends does a Moshi Monsters player invite? And what is Moshi Monsters’ viral growth?

Way back in 2010, as Moshi Monsters signed up their 30 millionth user, Michael Acton Smith (Moshi CEO) presented a breakdown of registered users by marketing channel.

There’s a couple of interesting snippets from Acton Smith’s presentation, I want to focus on two of them:

  • The power of TV advertising
  • Moshi Monsters viral growth

If you’re in a rush, scroll down the post to see Acton Smith’s presentation slides.

The Power of TV

For a long time online kids games and virtual worlds have left TV advertising well alone; it’s expensive, can’t be tracked, poor conversion, and all the other reasons (or if you prefer, old wives tales).

Those myths are just not true any more. At GDC 2010, Acton Smith revealed that Moshi Monsters’ targeted TV campaigns have been one their most cost effective marketing channels. And it isn’t just true for Moshi Monsters, we’ve seen very similar results with the campaigns we’ve run for our clients.
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If bolting wings onto a car wont make it fly don’t expect that tacking a Facebook Connect button into a game will make it viral

Having spent 10 of the last 20 days shivering, shaking, and wrapped up in bed with only Mr and Mrs Flu for company (the Chocolate Orange twins checked in occasionally) I’ve had a lot of time to think how viruses propagate.

Although I’m no Sherlock Holmes, or medical professional for that matter, it’s safe to assume my relationship with flu began in the back of a dimly lit karaoke bar the day before Christmas Eve.

At Dubit, karaoke is not something we take lightly. Not sure which pub to go to for lunch? Sing off. Air conditioning at 70 or 74? Sing off. Last Rolo? Sing off. Karaoke is a central pillar of our dispute resolution process – it’s in the employee handbook.

After months of practice and hours of painstaking choreography, the Dubit Christmas party is the highlight of our karaoke year. Only this year, the event was soured by an unwanted visitor. By Christmas day 10 of the 30 singers reported retiring to bed with aching bones and a raging fever – flu. If that were a virtual world or social game we’d call that a viral ratio of 0.3 and be pretty pleased with ourselves!

As I watched the Dubit flu pandemic unfold on Facebook I started to think about how our own social games can emulate that rapid viral growth – but without the nausea and unpleasantness.

Viral Growth

Like bolting wings onto a car wont make it fly, adding an ‘invite your friend form’ into a game doesn’t automatically make it viral! Flight and virality are two concepts that really ought to be designed in from the start. So where do we start?
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