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What is the download pattern of a freemium (or paymium) game?
A friend of mine has asked me how I would expect the downloads of a freemium game to be spread over the first year after launch. As you can probably tell from the question, he is trying to build a forecast of when revenue will arrive for the title, using an adapted version of the GAMESbrief spreadsheet.
I gave two answers:
- The new user acquisition is in your control. It is about how much you are prepared to spend on customer acquisition. Turn on the CPA tap, you get customers. Add a multiplier for "virality" (I mean that in the loosest sense of word-of-mouth, reviews, Apple love) and that’s your downloads or users.
- Downloads don’t matter. MAUs do. You can get MAUs by finding new users (expensive, difficult) or by keeping existing users (Difficult, based on game design, cheap-ish). If your model depends on new downloads, you are doing F2P wrong.
That said, it seems to me that there might a rule of thumb out there. A very senior person at Ubisoft once told me they could forecast the sales of a console title to within 1,000 units based on the first weekend’s sales numbers. Is there something similar that exists for F2P? If so, I haven’t seen or heard it yet. Could you help me, and my friend, by helping answer the question of whether there is a download pattern for F2P games.
Links to other stories, anecdotes, comments from your experience or hard numbers are all welcome.