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Monthly Active Users

By on October 12, 2011

MAUs has emerged as the gold standard for understanding how big your audience is for online games. It may not be the best metric, but it is in common use, is comparable across many apps (especially on Facebook) and is rapidly becoming the standard figure. If you are not using MAUs, investors, partners and journalists will ask why not (as they do to Bigpoint), and your benchmarking will be harder.

Alternatives to MAUs

  • Registered users are simply a measure of how you old you are. Bigpoint has 200 million registered users, a figure that tells us precisely nothing about its current profitability, revenues or active user base.
  • Unique users has come to mean the number of users who visit your site, but are not active. For an advertising-based content company, this is the relevant metric, since a unique user is driving page views, advertising impressions and hence revenue. For a gaming company generating revenue from its customers, uniques are much less important than actives.
  • Other time periods: Jagex used to define an active user of Runescape as someone who had logged in during the last fortnight. Some companies I’ve come across use a six month period. By not using the same period as everyone else, it can be very hard to make useful comparisons.

Benchmarks

Facebook

The most comprehensive source for Facebook data is www.appdata.com. At the time of writing, Cityville remains the most popular game on Facebook by MAU with 74.2m users. We won’t collate MAU information on Facebook games on GAMESbrief because you can get such high-quality, up-to-date information on Appdata, straight from the Facebook API.

Triple Town, Spry Fox, free: 160,000 MAUs (Source: Inside Social Games, 12/1/12)

Zynga: 292,000,000 MAUs (Source: Wall Street Journal, via iesherpa, 6/15/12)

iOS

Funpark Friends, Tag, free: 50,000 MAUs (Source: Pocketgamer 1/12/2011)

Trivial Pursuit, EA, free: 5,000 MAUs (Source: Login conference 27/09/2012)

Parallel Kingdoms, PerBlue, free: 50,000 MAUs (source: inside social games, 11/10/12)

Angry Birds, Rovio, free+premium: 200 million MAUs (source: the app side 11/10/12)

The nearest equivalent to Appdata for iOS is www.appannie.com, although it only tracks ranks, not MAUs.

Other mobile

DeNA: 16,900,000 MAUs (Source: Wall Street Journal, via iesherpa, 6/15/12)

GREE: 13,900,000 MAUs (Source: Wall Street Journal, via iesherpa, 6/15/12)

GluMobile: 29,000,000 MAUs (Source: Pocketgamer, 9/8/2012)

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com