The shelf life of a video game in stores is measured in days or weeks these days. But online, games can live — and grow sales — longer. LOLapps‘ Ravenwood Fair social game on Facebook is a good example. Launched on October 19, the game has now grown to more than 10 million monthly active users.
That means 10 million users will log in during a month. About 1.2 million users log in every day. Those details are all that most social game companies disclose about their games. But LOLapps is disclosing more details as a kind of guide post to show how successful social games can be. Indeed, the results show that a single hit game can turn into a cash cow for a game publisher if the game is designed so that users have to buy something.
About 3.3 million players have purchased virtual goods in the game to date, a higher proportion than in most social games. The game is free for users to start playing, but players can pay real money for virtual goods such as energy to do more tasks.
On average, players are spending 90 cents per transaction, with the minimum possible transaction at 10 cents, or 1 Facebook Credit. About 14 percent of users buy something daily. About 85 percent of users make a direct purchase with credit cards or other means such as text message payments. About 15 percent pay via alternative payments such as offer deals (for example, an offer of game currency in return for signing up for Netflix) and group buys.
If LOLapps advertises to get a user, and that user spends 8 or more minutes playing in their first session, the average lifetime spending by that user in the game will be at least $6. LOLapps says the reason that social gaming works so well is the nature of friend networks. A user whose friends are connected with each other is 7 to 10 times more valuable than a user whose friends do not know each other. Players who have at least three friends who have made a purchase have a 60 percent chance of making a purchase themselves. (That may be due to reciprocity, where one friend sends a gift and the other one sends one back). Players who have at least six friends who have made a purchase have an 80 percent chance of making a purchase themselves.
Other stats show that players are busy. They’ve chopped down 40.2 million trees in the forest, sent 8.3 million gifts, killed 3.1 million monsters, and stocked more than 92.3 million attractions. Total hours spent to date in the game add up to 25 million. The game is also available on Orkut, IMVU, and StudiVZ, and it will be out soon on Japan’s Mixi mobile phones.
As we’ve noted in past stories, San Francisco-based LOLapps has about 100 million monthly active users on Facebook, mostly for its gift and quiz apps. This year, the company stepped up its investment in social games. Ravenwood Fair was developed by consultant John Romero, co-creator of Doom. In an interview, Romero said he put more emphasis on keeping users engaged so they would play for longer sessions and keep coming back. The effort is part of LOLapps’ strategy to become a big player in social games and join the ranks of Zynga, EA-Playfish, Disney-Playdom, and CrowdStar. Those companies have been printing money by creating simple casual games that entice users to buy virtual goods.
LOLapps announced an expansion this week called Ravenstone Mine, also designed by game creator John Romero. But the company has decided to delay the launch of the expansion a few weeks as it refines the game. Perhaps the company is designing the game so that it gets the same kind of results as Ravenwood Fair.
VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Learn more about membership.