The Battle Royale genre has given rise and hope to a new form of innovative PVP  gameplay than the generic and bland controlled sequential game play system that we play today. This concept has also brought back the idea that dual stick controls on a mobile is a viable product direction in making a top 50 game in the app store.

I personally have been playing games since the 80’s and understand the beauty of dual stick but I still question whether this is a viable playing mechanism on the mobile device.

Now i’m confident in making any game a  ‘Fun’ game but as a product manager i’m in the business of making money with the product, and certain sacrifices can not be made to assume that the players are having ‘more’ fun.

First Question:

Can you name a dual stick game that you played over 6 months on your mobile phone?

I certainly can’t

but i do still have Clash of Clans or Puzzles & Dragons or Candy Crush on my phone years after downloading the game.

Next Question:

Can you tell me a top 50 game that utilizes exclusively dual stick mobile game play ‘currently’, and without autoplay mode that’s not Pubg or Fortnite (written April 2018)?

Lineage II has a full on mobile mmo on their hands but the bulk of the gameplay is done in ‘autoplay’ mode.

Im writing this post due to a lot of developers and publishers FOMO ‘ing (fear of missing out) into dual stick game play and haven’t really thoroughly thought out the consequences of choosing such gameplay mechanic.

Let’s first take a look at the success titles.

  • Fortnite.  Currently in the top 10, amassing over 4 million concurrent users on any given day.  These are insane numbers for any product, and as Epic choose the multiplatform approach, this game is literally accessible to play anywhere. Whether on your Mobile Phone, Tablet or PC, players can get their daily fix of Fortnite wherever they are. This means that their customer can continue to come back to play or ‘PAY’ to enjoy the game.

As i see Fortnite shoot up in the top grossing ranks in the states, i’m a bit speculative in why this is so, since the game is extremely unplayable and ‘unfair’ versus and PC opponent.. Which leads to the question on why Fortnite is a top grossing game with such a inferior game versus fully optimized mobile games.

Behind the Numbers

This section attempts to breakdown Fortnite’s meteoric rise to the top grossing with the numbers we know today.  also (lots of assumptions are made)

Lets Begin!!

The only number we can go off is that they have over 4 million concurrent users for their cross platform product.  

Assumption 1: Lets assume 10% of these concurrent users are mobile players.

400,000 Concurrent Mobile gamers

Assumption 2:   DAU is multiplied by 5 (i usually x10 but for conservatism sakes)

2 Million Daily Active Users. (DAU)

Assumption 3: 1% Monetization Rate (Skins Product yield low monetization)

Assumption 4: ARPPU = $10 (Lowest bundle price is $10)

Now lets calculate their Monthly Revenue

With these assumptions we can calculate our Daily Revenue

Daily Revenue = 2 Million * 1 % * $10

$200,000 Daily Revenue

$6 Million Monthly Revenue

This can be considered a minimum as i undervalued their ARPPU significantly as the lowest ARPPU starts at $10.

These numbers are alone good enough to get you in the top 20 apps in the US.

Volume Based App Product Model

Volume Based products is still a viable business model in the mobile business.  This is because the marketing objective is to get as many players in the game as possible and manage your ROAS (Return on Advertisement Spend) so that the payback period is in the black before 90 day, 180 days, 360 days depending on the publisher.

The current model for a Product Manager to approach these product are the following:

  • Easy to play
  • Easy to understand
  • Quick interaction
  • Fast Load Time
  • Super Light Application
  • Play sessions 1 – 3 minutes
  • 90% > Handset Support

Games like Flappy Birds, Candy Crush, Gardenscape can be considered volume based apps where the success of the product is reliant on the sheer number of volume of players to download and play the game.  Although turnover maybe a lot higher versus an RPG based game, the product is designed around rewarded ads and in app purchases therefore before the players leave the possibility of getting a few pennies from these users speak volumes to the bottom line.

These products benefit from the low development cost, minimal server cost and low CPI, and with a strong Marketing / User Acquisition team to maximize their ROI and makes for a profitable product.

Fortnite can be considered an anomaly due to its business model versus what comps do to make for a viable e-sport mobile product.  Fortnite is a hardcore battle royale game that requires extreme engagement. Highly engaging game usually yield higher CPI prices than Casual match 3 games due to these products required to target a specific niche market that likes playing hard core games.

Casual CPI < Hard Core CPI

Fornite is benefiting from the the unpresented volume of users playing their game comparable to the user base a similar product in the same genre can acquire in the mobile space.

Beside the game being genre changing, innovative and extremely fun, as a product manager i do not recommend any product manager to develop Fortnite with the same business model because they will inevitably fail.  

Hard Core / RPG games usually require a higher Arpdau or MR (Monetization Rate) due to the high CPI price tag attached to it.

In my experience I usually avg around $50 Arppu tag and still had to shut down these games in the past due to the difficulty of consistently getting new users into the game.

For those product managers reading this post regarding the Mobile Fortnite product, and if you’re choosing a feature set to make for a successful battle royale product.  Please understand what makes Fortnite a profitable business is not their business model but rather their innovative game play approach in the new Battle Royal craze and also their Multi Platform approach in releasing their product. 

FREE VOLUME will always be greater than any metric we use in this space.

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