What is Dynamic Pricing?

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

This article builds on previous articles I've written and talks I’ve given. In particular, it is a follow-up to my recent article on Dynamic Pricing, Personalized Offers, and Modern Gaming. That article was an extended discussion of the recent uproar around randomized price-points in Zynga’s CSR 2 and a survey of how prevalent sophisticated data-driven merchandising techniques already are in mobile gaming.

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Scientific Revenue Adds New Leadership

Posted on Posted in Blog - Company

We here at Scientific Revenue are very pleased to announce that Julian Runge is our new VP of Data Science. In his new role, Julian will be responsible for managing the data science team and will help develop proprietary machine learning solutions that will scale customer revenues and user acquisition capabilities. He comes to us from Wooga where he built their data science team and ran analytics for popular mobile gaming titles. We are thrilled to have him join us in helping publishers to boost monetization.

You can read more about the appointment of Julian here.

The Future of IAP Monetization in Mobile Games

Posted on Posted in Blog - Industry, News - In the News

This blog post was published in Gamasutra and builds on previous articles I've written and talks I’ve given. It gives more background information and context on how Scientific Revenue thinks about the evolution of IAP monetization, leading up to a brief discussion of annuities. The goal is to convince you that the future of IAP monetization involves highly differentiated offers and offer types. As part of this, annuities are briefly described. In a subsequent article, we’ll discuss, in detail, how to design annuities.
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Four Trends in Mobile Game Retention

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

How to get commitment from your players
We tend to think of retention as the way we measure commitment (in the same way that temperature measures heat). Ultimately, what you're looking for is for people to feel like the game is their game, and that the game is an extension of their identity. When you see a 10 year old boy walk up to another boy, ask "What do you play?", and get back "I play Clash Royale" ... that's when you know you've gotten commitment.

Once you have commitment, players are more comfortable with making in-app purchases (IAP). At this point, game developers can then begin to think about pricing as way to better monetize their mobile game. But, first you need to have good retention.
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Bill Grosso talks about “Getting to Continue Optimization”

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

Here at Scientific Revenue we enjoy sharing what we learn. We usually do this in the form of interacting with customers, writing articles for industry publications, and speaking at industry events. It is extra special when we are invited to give a colloquium talk at a major university.

On November 11, 2016, our CEO Bill Grosso spoke at the University of San Francisco Seminar Series in Analytics, where he presented “Getting to Continuous Optimization.”
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Looking at Pay to Win

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

This post was originally published in Gamasutra

By now, mobile gaming has mostly transitioned to free-to-play. But while most games are free-to-play, it’s still the case that free-to-play games, and the free-to-play business model, are often misunderstood. In this blog post, we’ll examine some of the mythology around one of the most common complaints about free-to-play games: that they are "Pay to Win."

What is "Pay to Win"

One of the most common objections to the free-to-play business model centers around the idea of "Pay to Win" (hereafter pay-to-win).  For example, a person making this objection might say

Free-to-play multiplayer games tend to favor wealthy players that will simply "pay to win", buying up all the power-ups or items they need to edge out the players who can’t afford to compete (or who don’t want spend). Ultimately, most of the players feel the game is unfair and get "crowded out," thus making it hard to build a long-lasting community for free-to-play games.

There’s a lot in there, and it can be hard to tease apart. But it boils down to the following 4 claims:

  1. Wealthy players will spend more in a game.
  2. Spending more gives people a significant advantage in multiplayer games.
  3. The most successful players are the players who have spent the most (which is unfair and it discourages new players from playing or participating).
  4. Therefore, when you avoid pay-to-win, you wind up making a game that either doesn’t monetize well, or isn’t very interesting.

If these were always true then, taken together, they would imply that multiplayer games which are strongly free-to-play don’t build long-lasting or large-scale communities.  Since that’s not true (there are free-to-play games with very strong monetization which measure user lifetimes in years), it’s worth examining these claims a little more closely and talking about how to use the free-to-play model effectively without destroying the gameplay.

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Designing Mobile Games for Optimal IAP

Posted on Posted in Blog - Industry

Our own Ted Verani, VP of Business Development, moderated an excellent panel of experts on Designing Mobile Games for Optimal IAP at Casual Connect USA in San Francisco.

While the vast majority of mobile game revenue is earned through in-app purchases, designing games for optimal IAP remains a major challenge, requiring deep knowledge of UX design, virtual economy tuning, pricing economics, and many other disciplines. Featuring experts across these fields, this panel gave attendees concrete and proven advice for designing free-to-play, IAP-driven mobile games which consistently drive IAPs without alienating the player base.

Ted was joined by game design experts: Christian Calderon, Chief Revenue Officer for Ketchapp, David Bisceglia, Co-founder and CEO for The Tap Lab, and Tadhg Kelly, Game Design Writer and Director of Developer Relations for VREAL. Panelists shared what worked and didn’t work, and offered some insights into future for mobile games.

If you were unable to attend this panel or want to see again you can check out the complete video here.

Pokemon GO’s Impact on Smaller Developers

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

The launch of Pokémon GO saw it race to the top of the charts at unprecedented speed. It seems like everyone and their uncle are playing and talking about Pokémon GO.

One would naturally surmise that this monster hit would have a negative impact on other mobile games. However, according to App Annie that is not the case. Instead, they report that “Pokémon GO’s success has not come at the expense of other mobile games or apps,” and conclude that its impact has been additive to overall usage and revenue.  This analysis covered all games and so included games at the top of the charts, which claim the lion’s share of overall revenue.

What about direct impact to games further down the rankings?

Scientific Revenue Economist Isaac Knowles analyzed three very different mobile games in our system and shared his findings in his Gamasutra post “Pokémon GO's Impact on Smaller Developers.”  He found that there was an impact on smaller game developers. He also noted that there are things that developers can do to protect themselves when faced with the next massive mobile game release.  Read his Gamasutra post for more details.

Why Industry Standard Game Metrics Don’t Matter (Enough)

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

We have lots of conversations with game publishers. Oftentimes, those early discussions about dynamic pricing turn to a discussion about data what they’re seeing in their analytics. They’ve got dashboards filled with “the standard KPIs” and now they’re wondering: what do those KPIs mean, and how do they act on them.

The challenge is that most analytics tools people use are just measuring big picture results. While it is good to have fingertip access to metrics like ARPDAU and conversion rates, they don’t deliver actionable insights or help guide decision-makers trying to improve game performance.

To help address this, Scientific Revenue CEO Bill Grosso wrote an article in Gamsutra on Why Industry Standard Game Metrics Don’t Matter (Enough). In it he explains why some of the more common analytic metrics used are not sufficient for making good decisions, and provides tips for what can be helpful.

We will be following this up with a series of blog posts around Key Performance Indicators that we think game owners should be looking at regularly. Stay tuned.

Reporting Back from Nucl.AI 16

Posted on Posted in Blog - Company

At Scientific Revenue, we apply machine learning to very hard problems (namely pricing) and we frequently find ourselves on the bleeding edge of machine learning techniques. As a result, we like to collaborate, and we love going to conferences like NUCL.AI, which features a mix of leaders from both industry and academia, all focused on artificial intelligence in gaming and the creative industries.


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Scientific Revenue Publishes First Mobile Game Monetization Best Practices Report

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights, Blog - Solutions

As PocketGamer's Jon Jordan is reporting today, we are very proud to release our first mobile game monetization benchmark report. It draws on in-depth surveys of leading game developers and publishers -- most with millions or hundreds of thousands MAU -- along with Scientific Revenue data and recommendations. A free copy is now available to everyone in the industry: Click here to download and read.

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How to Optimize Daily Rewards for Maximum Retention -- Bill Grosso's Latest Gamasutra Post

Posted on Posted in Blog - Solutions

Bill Grosso Gamasutra Mobile Game Revenue

"The Science & Craft of Designing Daily Rewards" is the latest post on Bill Grosso's Expert Gamasutra blog, where Scientific Revenue's founder and CEO explains how free-to-play games can optimize this mechanic to increase retention, while also providing background on the behavioral economic principles at work. For instance, here's Bill on optimizing a consecutive reward feature:

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Annuity Revenue Models for In-App Purchases Can Drive Both Revenue And Retention

Posted on Posted in News - In the News

"Want to Increase Your Free-to-Play Game Revenue & Retention?  Experiment With Virtual Currency Annuities" is a new featured Expert Blog post by Isaac Knowles, a resident staff economist. A PhD candidate at Indiana University under virtual economy pioneer Ted Castronova, Isaac argues that annuities are a revenue model capable of growing both revenue and engagement:

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Join Bill Grosso at GamesBeat in SF This May – And Get Our 20% Discount Code!

Posted on Posted in Blog - Solutions
GamesBeat Summit 2016

Join Scientific Revenue’s Bill Grosso at the invitation-only GamesBeat Summit 2016, an exclusive event on May 3 and May 4 at the scenic Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, California. Bill is an advisor for this Summit, which will feature plenty of networking with leading game industry execs, investors, and developers, with speakers from companies including Google, King, Marvel, Twitch and Nexon. Bill Grosso, our CEO, is attending it again this year because, in his words, "some of the most interesting conversations in gaming happen there."

The theme of this year’s Summit is about how underdogs and giants are transforming gaming, from VR and AR to mobile and eSports. Here's the Summit homepage, with much more information here.

Click here to register, and use the special Scientific Revenue promo code "SciRev20” to get a 20% discount on registration.

Want to chat with Bill about game monetization, at the Summit, or just before/after in the Bay Area? Drop us a line and we’ll try to schedule a time to talk!

Bill Grosso Speaking at nucl.ai in Vienna This July -- Get Our Discount Code!

Posted on Posted in Blog - Solutions

Bill Grosso Scientific Revenue mobile game

nucl.ai is the largest conference devoted to the use of AI technology in creative industries, and we're proud to say Scientific Revenue CEO Bill Grosso will be speaking there, joining other game industry leaders in lovely Vienna to explore the use of AI and machine learning to create better, more successful games. And thanks to the conference moderators, you can use our special discount code to get 40 to 100 Euros off the regular ticket price.

Click here to register, and use the promo code "16NCL-SciRev". Click quickly, as the discount expires at the end of April 25th, Pacific time!

And if you're coming to nuc.lai and want to meet with Bill there, please drop us a line.

Scientific Revenue's Bill Grosso Featured Insider in Decoding Silicon Valley

Posted on Posted in News - In the News

Decoding Silicon Valley: The Insider's Guide is a new book by Michelle Messina and Jonathan C. Baer, and we're proud to say one of those insiders is our own Bill Grosso, interviewed alongside Valley stars like Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad, Dave McClure of 500 Startups, and Joe Kennedy of Pandora. The authors were nice enough to send us a glimpse of Bill's interview (above), in which he explains his philosophy for earning new customers. We think it's great advice whether you're working in mobile games, dynamic pricing, or pretty much any other industry:

"When it comes to talking to potential customers, I use a low-key sales pitch. I don’t go to a potential customer and use hyperbole or make outlandish claims. I make it educational — so that when they talk with me, they get valuable information regardless of whether they buy or not."

Get the book on Amazon here; visit the official site for it here. And speaking of educational, don't miss Bill's latest Expert Blogger post on Gamasutra: Dynamic Pricing Strategies: Do You Want More Revenue, or More Engagement?

Rescues, Buffs & Skips: How to Design Mobile Game Power-Ups for Optimal IAP

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

When our mobile game partners ask us about the best strategies for monetizing through in-app purchases, we often recommend connecting IAPs more directly to in-game power-ups (e.g. designing power-ups with monetization in mind).  While the term "power-up" is well-known in game design, there’s actually no standard ontology for power-ups (there have been some academic papers on the topic but very little terminology that’s been widely adopted by the industry). 

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Bill Grosso on VentureBeat: Seven Mobile Game Industry Trends for 2016

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

Just published on VentureBeat, our CEO Bill Grosso predicts the following seven mobile game industry trends for 2016:

  1. Google Play goes back to China, and Android games thrive

  2. Hampered by mobile, global console sales less than expected

  3. Boosted by mobile, PC game sales fail to decline

  4. Mobile game revenue goes (more) global

  5. Evolution toward refreshable & extendable mobile games

  6. Rapidly rising CPIs for high-ARPU Genres

  7. Pre-order provokes rise of traditional marketing on mobile

Bill expands on these predictions in greater depth, incorporating insights from colleagues including Steve Sadin of Turbine and Joost Van Dreunen of SuperData.

Be sure to read and share the full post here.


How to Turn Free Viral Apps Into "Feeder" Apps That Actually Make Money

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

When mobile game developers think of apps which monetize well, they tend to name three categories:

  • Games with a natural power-up or items-based strategy to generate in-app payments. (I.E. Clash of Clans, Candy Crush.)
  • Games with high engagement and traffic over time, but little or no opportunities for IAP, earning revenue from ads. (I.E. Flappy Bird.)
  • Premium download games with a strong consumer identity or branding component. (Fewer and fewer these days, though they sometimes do well for traditional publishers.)

There’s another type of app which doesn’t neatly fall into any of these categories, but is important to monetization: Popular free apps which are simple but highly polished and engaging. Because their gameplay is so simple, there are usually few places to add natural hooks for IAPs, while ad-based monetization would probably feel intrusive, angering players and hurting viral growth (not to mention sending players to other games). Viewed properly, however, apps like these have the potential to be an important component in a network of games strategy.

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Mobile Game Revenue in the Era of Big Data - Highlights from Bill’s SVIEF Presentation

Posted on Posted in Uncategorized

This is the presentation that our CEO Bill Grosso gave at the Silicon Valley Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum last weekend on mobile game revenue in the era of big data. Cowritten with Joost Van Dreunen of SuperData Research, the deck vividly illustrates how drastically mobile gaming has changed within just 3 years. For instance, premium paid download revenue dominated in 2012, but by 2015, has become just a tiny sliver, with IAP now accounting for 60% of total revenue, followed by advertising with 33%. (Scientific Revenue's internal data and research indicates that paid downloads are now just under 7% of the revenue pie, among other revenue streams.)

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Why Mobile Games Must Look Around the World for Revenue

Posted on Posted in Blog - Insights

I often tell mobile game publishers that they need to think about how their games can be monetized not just in their top 5 markets, but throughout the entire world. Here are a pair of images which illustrate the point. The first shows a daily density map of user payment activity from an Android game, showing where the most in-app purchases for it are being made -- in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Rim:

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Our Knowledge Base Just Got Deeper

Posted on Posted in Blog - Company
Chris Carvalho

Scientific Revenue is proud to announce that Chris Carvalho has joined our advisory board. Chris spent four years as Kabam’s COO, guiding it from 25 people to 700+ employees and over $360M in revenue. Prior to Kabam, he was Head of Business Development at Lucasfilm, running the company’s Internet division and StarWars.com.
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Our CEO's Keynote from Nucl.AI

Posted on Posted in Blog - Solutions

Nucl.ai is the world's leading conference on "Artificial Intelligence in the Creative Industries." What that really means is that it's a three day blowout on how to use the last 50 years of cutting-edge computer science to build better games.

Our CEO, Bill Grosso, keynoted the data mining track.
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