Key metrics from the biggest kids’ digital games

Matthew Warneford
14
December
2012

Last year we posted our social gaming glossary – a list of 13 terms and eight benchmarks that everyone working in online games should know. Now we’re adding context to this list by uncovering the key metrics from the biggest games on mobile and online. Want to know the Average Revenue Per User for Habbo? What about GREE’s Customer Acquisition Cost? Then read on.

Average Revenue per Paying User (ARPPU)

Definition: Average Revenue Per Paying User, usually measured each month. In other words, how much money does the average customer spend (most of your players will never spend any money, ARPPU only includes those who spend money). It can be calculated as total monthly revenue divided by total monthly paying users.

Benchmarks:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>World</strong></td><td style="width: 10%;"><strong>ARPPU</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>Age Range</strong></td><td style="width: 55%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>Cafe fever</td><td>$3.57</td><td>NA</td><td><a href="http://www.insidemobileapps.com/2011/08/24/papayamobile-25-million-dena-mobage/">Inside Mobile Apps, August 24<sup>th</sup>, 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>Street Wars</td><td>$13</td><td>NA</td><td><a href="http://socialtimes.com/mocospaces-mobile-browser-based-title-street-wars-commands-13-arppu_b27783">Social Times, November 11<sup>th</sup>, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>Puzzle Pirates</td><td>$50 (per month)</td><td>NA</td><td><a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132437/what_are_the_rewards_of_.php">Gamasutra, June 9<sup>th</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>Habbo</td><td>$29.53 (annual)</td><td>Teens</td><td><a href="http://paidcontent.org/2011/01/05/419-habbo-hotel-sold-4-5-million-in-virtual-goods-last-year/">Paid Content, January 5<sup>th</sup>, 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>Panfu</td><td>$10</td><td>6-13</td><td><a href="http://www.slideshare.net/ICOPartners/gfg-2010-f2p-in-europe">ICO Partners, January 29<sup>th</sup>, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>Club Penguin</td><td>$5</td><td>6-14</td><td><a href="http://www.ivanwalsh.com/business-development/success-stories-for-the-micro-transaction-business-model/">Ivan Walsh, September 18<sup>th</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

Definition: Average revenue per active user, and like the ARPPU this is also measured each month. The ARPU is calculated by dividing the total revenue for the month by the total number of unique players for the month. Sort of. Depending on the account methodology used it could be said that revenue from the purchase of a virtual clothing item should be amortized over the players lifetime, whereas energy and consumables can be recognized immediately.

Benchmarks:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>World</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>ARPU</strong></td><td style="width: 55%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Gree</td><td>$11.21</td><td><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_Penguin#History_and_development">Wikipedia, 2005</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Zynga</td><td>$0.33</td><td><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577463990080511160.html">The Wall Street Journal, June 14<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>Habbo</td><td>$1.30</td><td><a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132437/what_are_the_rewards_of_.php">Gamasutra, June 9<sup>th</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2008</td><td>Habbo</td><td>$1.30</td><td><a href="http://gigaom.com/2008/06/24/fresh-look-at-imvu-mini-mmo-with-big-numbers/">Gigaom, June 2008</a></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>Playdom</td><td>$.20-$.25</td><td><a href="http://lsvp.com/2009/12/16/interview-with-ceo-of-playdom/">Lightspeed Venture Partners, December, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>Runescape</td><td>$.84</td><td><a href="http://virtual-economy.org/2009/04/14/arpus_in_social_networks_and_s/">Virtual Economy, April 14<sup>th</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2008</td><td>Puzzle Pirates</td><td>$1.50</td><td><a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132437/what_are_the_rewards_of_.php">Gamasutra, June 9<sup>th</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2008</td><td>Club Penguin</td><td>$1.62</td><td><a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132437/what_are_the_rewards_of_.php">Gamasutra, June 9<sup>th</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2008</td><td>IMVU</td><td>$1.66</td><td><a href="http://gigaom.com/2008/06/24/fresh-look-at-imvu-mini-mmo-with-big-numbers/">Gigaom, June 24<sup>th</sup> 2008</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Monthly Active Users (MAU)

Definition: The number of unique users in a given month and often a very guarded secret.

Benchmarks:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>World</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>MAU</strong></td><td style="width: 55%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Zynga</td><td>292,000,000</td><td><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577463990080511160.html">The Wall Street Journal, June 14<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>DeNA</td><td>16,900,000</td><td><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577463990080511160.html">The Wall Street Journal, June 14<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2008</td><td>IMVU</td><td>2,000,000</td><td><a href="http://socialtimes.com/breaking-into-social-gaming-a-must-read-guide-to-entering-the-facebook-game-space_b75872">Social Times, August 26<sup>th</sup>, 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>Habbo</td><td>11,500,000</td><td><a href="http://www.sulake.com/company/sulake-in-the-media/">Gamasutra, March 23<sup>rd</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Percentage of paying users

Definition: The percentage of players who have paid, whether that be virtual goods or subscriptions.

Benchmarks:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>World</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>Percentage</strong></td><td style="width: 55%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Zynga</td><td>1.2%</td><td><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577463990080511160.html">The Wall Street Journal, June 14<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Gree</td><td>14%</td><td><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577463990080511160.html">The Wall Street Journal, June 14<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>DeNA</td><td>13%</td><td><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577463990080511160.html">The Wall Street Journal, June 14<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>Playdom</td><td>1% to 4%</td><td><a href="http://lsvp.com/2009/12/16/interview-with-ceo-of-playdom/">Lightspeed Venture Partners, December 16th, 2009</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Cost Per Customer (CAC or Cost Per Acquisition – CPA)

Definition: The Cost per Customer is a measure of the cost of bringing that user to your game. The CPC can be measured in different ways. We recommend measuring the CPC as the cost to convert a new visitor from the homepage into someone who has registered, finished the tutorial, and become a player. So the CPC for an advertising campaign can be calculated by dividing the total spend by the number of new players.

Benchmarks:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>World</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>CAC</strong></td><td style="width: 55%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Fiksu</td><td>$1.54</td><td><a href="http://blog.soragora.com/post/34200604874/why-indie-games-are-getting-pushed-out-and-how-to-stay">Soragora, October 23<sup>rd</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Gree</td><td>$3.50</td><td><a href="http://www.insidemobileapps.com/2012/08/28/chartboost-expands-its-kiosk-program-with-four-new-big-budget-offers-from-booyah-kabam-crowdstar-and-gree/">Inside Mobile Apps, August 28<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2011 (Dec)</td><td>Generally</td><td>$1.81</td><td><a href="http://blog.soragora.com/post/34200604874/why-indie-games-are-getting-pushed-out-and-how-to-stay">Soragora, October 23<sup>rd</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012 (Jan)</td><td>Generally</td><td>$1.14</td><td><a href="http://blog.soragora.com/post/34200604874/why-indie-games-are-getting-pushed-out-and-how-to-stay">Soragora, October 23<sup>rd</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Moderators Employed

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>World</strong></td><td style="width: 15%;"><strong>MAU</strong></td><td style="width: 55%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Club Penguin</td><td>200</td><td><a href="http://img.metro.co.uk/news_focus/Onlinegames.png">Metro newspaper, September 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Habbo</td><td>225</td><td><a href="http://img.metro.co.uk/news_focus/Onlinegames.png">Metro newspaper, September 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>Moshi Monsters</td><td>40</td><td><a href="http://img.metro.co.uk/news_focus/Onlinegames.png">Metro newspaper, September 2012</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Registered Users

Club Penguin:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 30%;"><strong>Registered Users</strong></td><td style="width: 50%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2005 (launch)</td><td>15,000</td><td><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_Penguin#History_and_development">Wikipedia, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2006 (March)</td><td>1,400,000</td><td><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_Penguin#History_and_development">Wikipedia, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2006 September</td><td>2,600,000</td><td><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_Penguin#History_and_development">Wikipedia, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2007</td><td>3,900,000</td><td><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_Penguin#History_and_development">Wikipedia, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2010</td><td>12,000,000</td><td><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_Penguin#History_and_development">Wikipedia, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2011</td><td>150,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/disneys-club-penguin-celebrates-150-186884">The Mirror, September 15<sup>th</sup>, 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>175,000,000</td><td><a href="http://img.metro.co.uk/news_focus/Onlinegames.png">Metro newspaper, September 2012</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Habbo:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 30%;"><strong>Registered Users</strong></td><td style="width: 50%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2008</td><td>89,000,000</td><td><a href="http://img.metro.co.uk/news_focus/Onlinegames.png">Metro newspaper, September 2012</a></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>126,000,000</td><td><a href="http://massively.joystiq.com/2011/02/03/habbo-hotel-touts-200-million-registrations/">Joystiq, February 3<sup>rd</sup>, 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>2010</td><td>176,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2010/07/social-media-case-study-habbo/">Fresh Networks, July 19<sup>th</sup>, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2011</td><td>200,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.sulake.com/company/sulake-in-the-media/">Gamasutra, March 23<sup>rd</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>250,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.sulake.com/company/sulake-in-the-media/">Gamasutra, March 23<sup>rd</sup>, 2009</a>&nbsp;(referencing 2008)</td></tr></tbody></table>

Runescape:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 30%;"><strong>Registered Users</strong></td><td style="width: 50%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>105,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.fatfoogoo.com/2009/09/combat-arms-europe-counts-800k-runescape-105-million/">FatFooGoo, September 3<sup>rd</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>200,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/19/runescape-reaches-200-million-registered-users">IGN, July 19<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Webkinz:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 30%;"><strong>Registered Users</strong></td><td style="width: 50%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2007</td><td>1,000,000</td><td><a href="http://adage.com/article/digital/hottest-thing-kids-marketing-imitating-webkinz/120933/">AdAge, October 8<sup>th</sup>, 2007</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Poptropica:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 30%;"><strong>Registered Users</strong></td><td style="width: 50%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2011</td><td>80,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/category/resident-data-and-analysis/">KZero, 2011</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

IMVU:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 30%;"><strong>Registered Users</strong></td><td style="width: 50%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2008</td><td>20,000,000</td><td><a href="http://gigaom.com/2008/06/24/fresh-look-at-imvu-mini-mmo-with-big-numbers/">Gigacom, June 24<sup>th</sup>, 2008</a></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>30,000,000</td><td><a href="http://vator.tv/news/2009-01-22-recession-not-affecting-imvus-virtual-world">VatorNews, January 22<sup>nd</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2010</td><td>40,000,000</td><td><a href="http://engineering.imvu.com/2010/09/">IMVU Engineering Blog, September 28<sup>th</sup>, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2011</td><td>50,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.imvu.com/about/press_releases/press_release_20111020_1.php">IMVU, October 20<sup>th</sup>, 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>100,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.crunchbase.com/company/imvu">Crunchbase, November 18<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Moshi Monsters:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 30%;"><strong>Registered Users</strong></td><td style="width: 50%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2009 (December)</td><td>10,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/gaming/millions-and-millions-of-little-monsters-1833531.html">The Independent, December 4<sup>th</sup>, 2009</a></td></tr><tr><td>2010</td><td>12,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2010/02/08/moshi-monsters-a-growing-educational-virtual-world-for-kids/">Inside Social Games, February 8<sup>th</sup>, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2011 (April)</td><td>38,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/apr/01/moshi-monsters-online-tv">The Guardian, 1<sup>st</sup>&nbsp;April 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>2011 (June)</td><td>50,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8559744/Moshi-Monsters-hits-50-million-members.html">The Telegraph, 6<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;June 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>65,000,000</td><td><a href="http://img.metro.co.uk/news_focus/Onlinegames.png">Metro newspaper, September 2012</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

Stardoll:

<table style="background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #f6f6f6;" width="100%" border="1" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 20%;"><strong>Date</strong></td><td style="width: 30%;"><strong>Registered Users</strong></td><td style="width: 50%;"><strong>Source</strong></td></tr><tr><td>2009</td><td>35,000,000</td><td><a href="http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/prne/stardoll/44189/">Stardoll, July 22<sup>nd</sup>, 2010</a>&nbsp;referencing 2009</td></tr><tr><td>2010</td><td>68,700,000</td><td><a href="http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/prne/stardoll/44189/">Stardoll, July 22<sup>nd</sup>, 2010</a></td></tr><tr><td>2011</td><td>100,000,000</td><td><a href="http://www.engagedigital.com/blog/2011/04/06/stardoll-turns-5-serves-over-100m-users/">Engage Digital, April 6<sup>th</sup>, 2011</a></td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>150,000,000</td><td><a href="https://twitter.com/mattiasmiksche/status/162886221226446850">Mattias Miksche (Stardoll founder), January 27<sup>th</sup>, 2012</a></td></tr></tbody></table>

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