Majestic Feline of AQ3D & ED
April 20, 2016
EpicDuel State of the Game Report
A few months ago, I made a huge post about the status of BioBeasts and the future of EpicDuel. I explained that BioBeasts would still need more attention for features and fixes, and the best course of action for EpicDuel would be investigating a downloadable client to future-proof the game against the dwindling support of the Flash plugin.
Here we are, several months later. How did we do? BioBeasts has seen a substantial uptick in installations from the time of that old post.
This chart represents the steady increase in total installs of BioBeasts on Android since launch. While we would have obviously liked to see those numbers climb much higher much sooner, we’re encouraged that the the installation rate has been steadily increasing despite little advertising for BioBeasts outside the AE network. A steady climb is generally a healthier chart for sustained growth than a steep spike that drops off quickly.
Wait!” you may think. “Why haven’t you advertised?”
Advertising is INCREDIBLY expensive. Mega-hit games like Clash of Clans can justify spending millions on hiring famous actors for Super Bowl commercials because they know empirically that for every dollar they spend, they’ll get much more from each player they gain. BioBeasts doesn’t yet have the features or content to make such a huge investment, but we are nearly there. We’ve made great strides since launch to add features that boost retention, but we still need to improve monetization in order to justify such an investment. Over the past few months, we’ve built leaderboards, new beasts, survival mode, and (soon) cloud saving, but with each new feature, we brainstorm a dozen more based on player feedback and our own experiences.
As with every game, enthusiastic players have given us an endless wish-list of features from PvP to upgradeable beasts to new attack options and more. Our initial projection of early April for BioBeasts being feature complete was ambitious. Given the added complexity, the update process with mobile is much slower than the browser games we’re used to.
Just to give you an idea, BioBeasts is supported on over 10,000 devices on Android! Each devices brings with it a unique set of challenges, including differences in resolution and hardware.
Game developers at all levels are notoriously inaccurate at estimating the time costs of features. A lot has to do with the amount of unknowns involved in tackling something completely new:
A perfect example occurred recently when we received notice from Apple that we needed to implement changes to BioBeasts cloud saving functionality as soon as possible. This news performed an epic table-flip maneuver on our timeline and sidetracked the development of other important features and improvements. Such events are nearly impossible to anticipate.
What does this mean? BioBeasts development will continue until we are completely satisfied with the state of the game. At that point, we will conduct a large-scale marketing campaign to put it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. That will be the best chance the game has to fully succeed. Our immediate priority is cloud saving. Many players have indicated they are hesitant to play until they can be assured their progress will be safe. We understand that the mobile marketplace is extremely competitive so our window of opportunity to promote a feature complete iteration of BioBeasts is small. We are by no means operating at a “leisurely” development pace.
Key areas we’re looking to improve include:
Increase download conversion rate of users landing on App Store / Play Store pages
Improve player retention rates at 1, 7, and 30 days
Increase number of play sessions per day
Increase purchase conversion rate
In the meantime, the best long-term direction for EpicDuel remains a downloadable client to future-proof against the dwindling reach of Flash. Another massive, Omega-scope overhaul would be exciting, but would both 1) have a massive time requirement and 2) not address the platform problems of Flash. EpicDuel 2 would also be exciting, but it also wouldn’t address the outstanding issues of EpicDuel.
On that front, we’ve actually had some recent successes. This week, Titan and Yorumi managed to create working prototypes for client versions of AQW and EpicDuel.
A preview of the client version of EpicDuel.
This is big news because it means 1) EpicDuel will be future-proof against the death of Flash, 2) we can potentially be supported by a robust, popular platform like Steam, and 3) the client may even perform better than the current browser version! We remain cautiously optimistic on this project as there are still many unanswered questions and rework required to get the games to 100% functionality (older games written in AS 2 may have more trouble converting), but it’s progressing well and seems to have the most potential of all solutions we investigated.
A downloadable version of EpicDuel could, indeed, go fas.
I wish I could say, “Get ready for EpicDuel Zeta!” or “EpicDuel 2 2016” and get applause and excited emojis from the forums and Twitter, but I can’t. We remain committed to the long-term success and development of EpicDuel, but BioBeasts will continue to hold the majority of our development focus for the near future. The bottom line is BioBeasts’ success is the best chance EpicDuel has for a bright future. Despite this turbulent present, we will do everything we can to ensure EpicDuel and BioBeasts can be enjoyed by players for years to come!