by Aaron Loeb, VP, EA Mobile
· Summary: The most important metric is day 180 retention, so build long-term engagement with your players. The Simpsons Tapped Out achieved this by following the core values laid out by the Simpsons franchise, putting the player first and delivering high quality.
· EA worked with Gracie Films to make The Simpsons Tapped Out. The four core values of the franchise are that creative leads business, treat everyone the same, make it great or don’t do it, and remain true to the show. Translations of these values to a game development team were worrying. Does it mean to give stuff away, not run A/B tests, and release “perfect” features without later iterations on them?
· Creative leads business. Content for The Simpsons Tapped Out was planned 12 months in advance and the team worked on content 6 months ahead. All the content went through multiple passes with the show writers. There were very few sales and merchandising was muted. They followed a fun-driven design and ensured that the game lived up to Simpsons quality.
· Long-term retention enables community. The game team took over the Facebook page and regularly engages with the players.
· Non-paying users were not treated as freeloaders and the game never bugged them to purchase.
· Lessons – build long-term engagement with players, listen and know what matters to customers, quantify services and be ready to respond, build a system that tracks and graphs out where people are complaining about, get the whole team involved, little mistakes can have big impacts (ie. a 6-second increase in load time caused hundreds of thousands of players to drop).
· When the team knows the data, they will give you their brains.
· It’s monstrously expensive to get into the top free charts, so make friends with Apple and get editorial placement.