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Albert Reed is the CEO and cofounder of Demiurge Studios. Follow the entire series here.

In Marvel Puzzle Quest, players can spend their in-game hard currency on “Covers.” Covers work much like cards in a card-battling game. Players can use them to both unlock new heroes and upgrade existing ones through a fusing mechanic.

With Marvel Puzzle Quest, we believed that the majority of our revenue would come from selling these “cards,” so we zeroed in on a total overhaul of this UI. We developed these changes to the store in November and went live in early December. To make those improvements, we went to school on the designs seen in the top-performing card battlers.

Here’s the before and after for Marvel Puzzle Quest:


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Before (left) and after.

Above: Before (left) and after.

As you can see, the Demiurge team implemented the following:

  • Less noise: The “Before” in the image above had the comic covers cycling to show a list of characters. We think this overwhelmed players who were watching closely for particular characters. The new design is completely static.
  • Show off characters and artwork: The artists at Demiurge have made some gorgeous art based on beloved characters from the Marvel universe. Since players are engaging with the characters rather than comic covers when playing the game, we opted to focus on them for our store.
  • Better use of text: Rarely would I advise designers to use more text, but these are pretty complex customer propositions. This new layout gave us more room to explain to players what was in each pack.
  • Multipack: Probably the single biggest improvement we made to the store was a simple shortcut to enable players to buy more than one pack at a time. The design of these multipacks is discussed below.
  • Daily deal: Ideally, all of our players would spend a small amount on the game each day. To encourage that, we permit players to buy one card each day at a very steep discount.

The results of these changes were great. Over the past couple of weeks, about 90 percent of Hero Points spent on our nonevent Heroic cover packs were spent on the 10-packs. Clearly, we were hindering our spend just from the added friction of needing to tap on the cover packs over and over again. The daily deals are popular as well. Ninety-seven percent of purchases of the standard single-pack are for the daily deal price.

It’s hard to prove a causal relationship between a design change like this one and an uptick in ARPDAU (average revenue per daily active user), but the before/after of this change looks to have been a solid 20 percent bump by itself. Shortly after deploying this change, we rolled out a revised event infrastructure which compounded this bump.

We’ll discuss our event monetization for Marvel Puzzle Quest in Part 3.

Demiurge CEO Albert Reed.

As cofounder and CEO, Albert Reed has held the reins for over a decade at Demiurge Studios, a game development house focused on innovative, high-quality games for all platforms. Find him on Twitter at @almnop.
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