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Gaming

ESPN Fantasy Football 2014: New App, Twitter Cards, Sticker Packs, Tilt & More

Much is new in 2014 for the #1 Fantasy Football site and application on iOS and Android - a new look, a new experience, and a slew of new features (including integration with Tilt, as covered here).

Earlier this week, we released an update to both iOS and Android. A couple fun highlights worth mentioning... and a reminder that football kicks off shortly, so get drafting!

You can now share key moments from your fantasy season via social channels and optimized Twitter Cards. Here is an example of a the Fantasy Draft card that is players are sharing throughout and after their drafts:

twitter card fantasy 2

twitter card fantasy

Another update, which is also focused on adding some fun and personality to the game: the addition of custom team stickers and logos. Available within the mobile apps, we have logos around ESPN talent (like Matthew Berry and our NFL crew), popular culture (like Guardians of the Galaxy and Big Hero 6) and unique designs. You can see them here on Pinterest. Enjoy.

matt berry sticker pack

Android / Google Play Top Grossing Apps

Google Play's Top Paid and Top Grossing App lists look quite different. Not only are there different inhabitants (Electronic Arts, for instance, has four of the top ten Paid Apps but none of the top ten grossing apps) - the business models and interactive models are obviously different.

Here are screenshots of each list - Top Grossing is fascinating and shows that two gaming companies (Supercell and King) dominate that list:

Top 8 Grossing Apps:

Supercell: #1. Clash of Clans #5. Hay Day #16. Boom Beach

King: #2. Candy Crush (#8 in Top Free Apps) #4. Farm Heroes #6. Bubble Witch (#12 in Top Free Apps) #7. Pet Rescue

Top Paid Android Apps

Android Top Grossing Apps

Word With Friends User Onboarding

I've written about the importance of using user-segmentation to deliver unique user / site experiences and email marketing. Here's a brilliant example of Zynga's Word With Friends (the mega-popular Facebook & mobile Scrabble game).

Obviously the game is predicated on multiple users playing... and that obviously starts with an invitation process. Words With Friends users your Facebook / Twitter networks to create an address book of friends playing the game. The first people in your address book are new users (with big, prominent NEW badges next to their name). It's a super simple, basic concept - but it's brilliant because Zynga knows that:

- new users need to be prompted to play - once they play a couple games, they are hooked - current users feel a sense of goodwill / obligation to play with newly joined friends - current users likely play within the same confined network... this broadens that

Small UI placement that makes an important difference.

8/10, 15/25 Top Grossing iPhone Apps are Freemium.

I like to check in on Apple's top grossing applications - it's a good indication of mobile app and publisher trends. And from time to time, I have written about those trends. ... and here is a relatively important trend: each of the current top iPhone apps is freemium (">we've seen hints of this in the past, but never to this degree). Eight of the ten top grossing apps are free and fifteen of the top twenty-five. These come from a variety of publishers and are almost entirely games - only one app is not a game (#21 iMuscle is a health related app - $1.99).

This is a natural evolution of improved game mechanics and better in-app purchasing flows.... both lead to more effective premium upgrades / monetization while preserving iTune's distribution potential. For example: In January 2010, only three of the twenty-five top grossing apps had in-app purchasing enabled. Now, most of the top-grossing apps are distributed as free downloads and monetize in-application.

Doodle Jump Hits Amazon's Appstore

Earlier this week, Amazon launched the Amazon Appstore by giving away Angry Birds Rio for free (the #1 paid and top-grossing app on iOS). That promotion was in conjunction with an announcement that Amazon would giveaway one paid app for free each day. Today's free app should also be familiar: the 'insanely addictive' Doodle Jump (which, behind Angry Birds, may be the next biggest game on iOS).

Amazon is clearly moving into the application and Android space by distributing great, familiar titles in a way that fits with their brand / style: by winning on price.

Also worth noting: Angry Birds Rio is still available for free on the Appstore. When it first launched, it was marketed as expiring that day...

Amazon Appstore Launches with Free Angry Birds Rio

Today Amazon launched the Amazon Appstore for Android (more here and here). At this point, there are a slew of app stores (from your phone, computer, tablet, browser, television, alarm clock, etc. But this is Amazon... so it's worth paying attention because: 1. their scale and brand makes them a major player 2. they will do it in the Amazon way... technology, recommendations, price competition, etc

Did I mention price competition? Amazon launched behind Angry Birds Rio - giving the uber-popular game away... for free. It's the #1 selling and grossing application on the iPhone. On Amazon, it's free for today's launch. That's quite a promotion.

And it represents a larger pricing move: Amazon Appstore will give "a great premium app for free every day."

Ravenwood Fair Passes 10m Monthly Users

I'm a sucker for info-graphics... and here is a really good one to help celebrate the success of LOLapp's Ravenwood Fair social game (note: LOLapps is a Polaris-backed company). Recently Ravenwood Fair hit a few notable benchmarks: namely surpassing 10,000,000 monthly actives and 1,000,000 daily actives.

While the info-graphic is fun... the data and social 'math' is both impressive and important (purchasing habits, virtual goods, LTV, et ). The LOLapps team is deeply analytical (as you would image with a gaming company) and highly skilled at determining ... and affecting ... "social clusters" (which affects virality and value).

Freemium Takes Over iPhone App Store

I regularly cover trends in top grossing iPhone / iPad applications. What makes this update noteworthy is that: - the top grossing application is free (freemium if you will as revenue comes from in-app purchases) - three of the top five apps are freemium - four of the top ten - eight of the top twenty - and nine of the top twenty-five

This is the first time in my writing that 40-50% of the top applications are free. Back in January, only three of the top twenty applications were free.

Also interesting, the Smurfs' Village application offers relatively expensive in-app purchases: $4.99, $11.99, $29.99 and $59.99. This is a unique approach as most games offer cheaper purchases ($0.99-$4.99). The Smurfs' are clearly going for mass adoption and sticky gameplay... and it's working.

Today's Top Grossing iPhone Apps

Following up on yesterday's post about the impact Apple and Android are making on the gaming industry... here is a screenshot of today's top grossing iPhone Apps. A couple notes of interest: 1. The highest grossing application is free... meaning that financial success can come from 'freemium' apps

2. ... but don't overlook that it is the NBA App: massive brand and timely app (the season just started)

3. Other than the NBA, every other top grossing in the app is a game

4. Most of those games are $0.99

5 ... and the more expensive ones ($4.99 - $6.99) are associated with larger brands (ie Gameloft & Electronic Arts).

This is not to say that non-gaming applications are unable to succeed... but it is clear that pricing, brand and timing play a key role in popularity. This is precisely why Nintendo and others should be scared: the app-store has disrupted how games are played, shared and purchased ($0.99 vs. $29+). It also changes how those games are produced and marketed.

Lastly - while I find gaming interesting and fun, I would love to see other app categories crack these lists. It is already happening on the iPad... and I expect it will happen with the upcoming Chrome App Gallery.