Even without a full picture, the information NGMoco released about We Rule on the game’s one year anniversary in the app store reveals a lot about social gaming and engagement via some very powerful mobile platforms.
NGMoco’s We Rule has more than 13 million downloads in a year-a number anyone in the app space would covet. But the more impressive (to me and hopefully you) number is the 3 billion minutes players have spent on We Rule in a year. The 15 million mojo’s transacted each day is impressive too-although what is not clear how many of those are hard-dollar purchases versus free acquisition via the game.
What is clear though is that the hybrid “freemium” model NGMoco introduced is a viable business model, with significant hooks into many digital facets to bear close study no matter what your core business is.
For the uninitiated, We Rule is a free game to download for iOS devices. The game is mostly simple, through touch and swipe gamers are able to grow and expand their kingdom from a single plot of farmland growing corn to multiple (now up to eight) realms with purchases of businesses and amenities to create an empire.
My We Rule has a dark realm where I keep dragons and land scarring structures; a water front with a ship yard, fish monger, naval ship. (this is also where I keep the three little pigs and a butcher shop). I have an opulent castle (recently upgraded) and I am eyeing one of the four new realms that opened with the last download of the game.
Some of the unique qualities of the game though-the ones to seriously look at and contemplate for products are:
- SSO-the games are tied to a gaming hub, which recognizes me when I log in and remembers me across games. It also remembers friends from my networks (including Gmail, Twitter, Facebook).
- Real time app updating through downloading. These are graphical components served into your game via a server side download-which means no new submission to the app store. When there is a structural change to the game board, there is a standard Apple update.
- Hooks to keep finding and refining my in game friend list through my social networks.
- In-app purchase of mojo (the game currency), and other game components.
While the game is fairly engaging and easy to play and understand, there are some components that can be improved-and I would think knowing the way NGMoco has rolled out other games (I also play Adventure Bay and Castle Craft (esd714 is my gamer name in all three games) there is a constant review.
- It would be nice to integrate some level of real time twitter feed into the game (maybe via hashtag?) so I can brag about purchases and accomplishments in real time.
- There is no way to remove a friend’s game once it is connected to mine. I have some friends who played some, but stopped, and their kingdoms and islands are part of my game experience.
- As the games become more complex, there is an increased crash rate, especially when WiFi capability changes in mid-game.