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Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz

Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz

At last week’s GDC, Finnish video game company Supercell shared that its multiplayer online battle area title Brawl Stars was “very much on the edge” during soft launch before eventually getting a global release.

Despite becoming a multi-billion dollar success, over the last couple of years, the title suffered repeated hits to retention and revenue.

After numerous attempts and a number of new features, the team has now found the formula for success, with Brawl Stars revenue rising dramatically in recent months.

In this article, Gradient Universe founder Oxana Fomina takes us through a deep analysis of the changes made and their impact on the game’s core metrics.

In the dynamic world of game development, achieving remarkable growth is a testament to strategic planning, insightful analysis, and a deep understanding of player engagement.

Between June 2023 and February 2024, the Brawl Stars game team at Supercell managed to accomplish what many in the industry would describe as an astonishing feat: increasing revenue by 8.8 times, daily active users (DAU) by 3.9 times, and monthly active users MAU by 2.4 times.

This article delves into the transformative period during which the team implemented pivotal changes that propelled their success.

Inspired by the success of casual games, the Brawl Stars team began actively implementing events and offers used in social casino and puzzle games. From September 2023 to February 2024, they implemented new features and more than 25 events and offers, significantly increasing the game’s performance metrics.

The incredible results also led Supercell to actively recruit staff for the live ops department. This proves that properly implementing a live ops strategy can significantly scale the game’s revenue.

Revenue growth of the game from September 2023 to February 2024:

Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz

(Source Sensor Tower)

This table highlights how the game’s most important metrics have shifted between September 2023 and February 2024.

It shows that by adding new features, events, and special offers, the game’s team steadily boosted revenue and maintained consistent growth from one month to the next. This strategy has proven effective in keeping their achievements stable over time.

The article will explore the events and offers introduced and identify the key factors contributing to Brawl Stars’ growth metrics.

Event category implementation comparison: 2023 and beginning of 2024:

Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz

This comparative overview of event categories implemented in Brawl Stars over two years, 2023 and 2024, is divided into four categories: Monetisation, Social, Progress, and Others. In 2023, the game saw a diverse range of event implementations across all categories.

Below are the data on the distribution of implemented events and offers by time and their types.

Brawl Stars new events implementation calendar from September to November 2023:

Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz
Click to enlarge

(Source Playliner)

Types of events implemented in Brawl Stars from September 2023 to February 2024:

Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz

As you can see, the game’s team has done tremendous work in various directions during this time. The key to the success of all the changes made to the game is an incredible understanding of its audience’s behaviour, a clear identification of the needs of different player segments, and features and mechanics that will create optimal in-game triggers conducive to improving engagement, retention, and monetisation of players.

Analysis of the impact of each event and offer shows a qualitative balance between the players’ needs and the game creators’ goals. The team’s ability to implement the concept in the game so that the player feels the benefit and care for him is truly admirable.

Three key insights and recommendations:

1. New feature + New event + New offer

When introducing a new feature, plan an event that links with another in-game event. This should give players a unique chance to access new content or characters ahead of everyone else. Consider which offer would best appeal to monetise your target audience with this feature.

Introduce a regular bonus event to the users. This strategy will help you retain new users and drawback dormant users who’ve taken a break from the game and rebuilt their habit of playing it regularly.

Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz

In September, the game introduced a new feature called Hypercharge. The feature provides players with the opportunity to improve their combat performance. The changes are designed to further engage active and loyal players through a unique hero ability that offers advantages in battle

This feature is available only to players who have upgraded their heroes above level 11 and are willing to pay with in-game currency for additional hero abilities.

In line with Hypercharge’s introduction, the team launched a “Hypercharge Unleashed” event in the game. Players can test the advantages of the new feature by completing tasks in this event.

This testing opportunity fully immerses players in the benefits of Hypercharge, aiming to increase their interest in acquiring it.

One of the six featured characters in the event is new and will be available with a paid pass in the next event season. The introduction of a new hero in the event engages the maximum number of users and motivates players to actively participate in the next Battle Pass to acquire the hero.

Also, a new offer lets the player purchase a Hypercharge, an avatar for the player profile, an emoji for the chat, a spray, and a character with the maximum power level for premium currency. This offer boosts user enthusiasm for acquiring and engaging with the new feature in the game, thereby increasing the chances of making purchases.

A temporary periodic bonus was also introduced, motivating users to return to the game daily for six days.

Thus, the events and offers introduced into the game in September contribute to the engagement, retention, and monetisation of active, loyal, returning, and new users.

The introduction of a new feature led to an 18% increase in the game’s revenue. Moreover, this new revenue level was sustained in the following months, indicating that the feature is in demand among users and has a lasting effect.

2. Implement periodic bonus to increase player retention

Offering rewards for logging in regularly boosts player engagement by making it a part of their daily routine. This strategy keeps players returning for more and opens up more chances to make in-game purchases as they become more attached to the game.

The allure of mystery rewards and the flexibility to claim these prizes anytime before the event wraps up plays a big part in keeping players interested and ensuring they log in consistently.

Moreover, this event acts as an in-game promotional tool, nudging players to visit the store section more frequently. Increased traffic can boost the visibility of other items or promotions in the game, potentially leading to more sales. Monitoring login patterns and reward claims provides valuable player behaviour and preference data.

Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz

The Brawl Stars team is innovating with different Standard and Paid periodic bonuses to keep the game exciting.

During the holiday season, they introduced a special 15-day event where players can earn mystery gifts by logging in daily. Players have the flexibility to collect these rewards at any point before the event ends, making it more convenient for everyone.

The prizes come in two gift boxes: green and gold, with the gold ones containing more valuable items. The thrill of discovering what’s hidden inside the golden boxes injects an element of excitement and curiosity, making every login feel like a new adventure.

To make the holiday season even more unique, they eased the usual daily collection rules and added the chance to win a hero as one of the gifts. This move has transformed the game into a festive celebration brimming with surprises and joy.

Such changes make the game more enjoyable and foster a deeper connection with players, ensuring they keep returning for the warm, positive vibes that await them during the holidays.

The game’s week one retention rate in December increased by 12% compared to November, and there was also an increase in the number of sessions and their duration, according to Sensor Tower data.

3. Increase player engagement with extra bonuses

Bonus: Increase Reward is an event that rewards players with enhanced prizes or additional resources for completing specific tasks. This strategy aims to reward the gaming experience and encourage continuous engagement by offering tangible incentives for players’ achievements.

Pinpoint the features and events that are most effective at monetising players and determine which call-to-action will best boost player engagement and their eagerness to spend. Think carefully about the rewards you want to give players and how these will incentivise them to continue interacting with your game.

Game Analysis: How Supercell sparked a Brawl Stars resurgence | Pocket Gamer.biz

In December, the game team introduced four events of the same type – Bonus: Increase Reward. It’s designed to deepen engagement with the main gameplay by setting clear objectives, such as winning in a battle, and to encourage participation in event-specific activities by offering event currency as a reward. This approach effectively creates an extra layer of motivation for player engagement.

Here are a few examples of how this concept was applied in Brawl Stars, showing the types of bonuses players could earn:

  • Players receive the same amount of in-game currency for victories as tokens for the season pass event
  • Winning battles in trophy events lets players earn 50% more character mastery points
  • Players get double the usual amount of Starr Drop rewards for their achievements

Brawl Stars’ success in creating a vibrant and dynamic gaming experience offers a compelling case study for game developers and marketers alike. It highlights the potential of well-crafted features and events to drive game success.

For those seeking to delve deeper into the specifics of these strategies and understand how they can be adapted to their own projects, reach out for further details and insights.

Edited by Paige Cook


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