Giordano Contestabile, who is a franchise business director at EA PopCap, was kind enough to share this slidedeck with us on how making Bejeweled Blitz freemium on iOS helped downloads go up by nine-fold. He adds that engagement and revenues are up five-fold as well.
“This was also about trying to give a wake-up call to a gaming industry that is still ambivalent about freemium,” he said.
In December of last year, EA PopCap retired the old version of Bejeweled, and replaced it with two apps. One was a paid version that cost $0.99, while the other was free with in-app purchases for power-ups.
The most interesting slide in the whole deck is a comparison of revenues per user on iOS to Facebook. Average revenue per user on iOS is nearly double what it is on Facebook. Engagement and seven-day retention are also twice as high on iOS compared to Facebook. The percentage of users that pay on iOS is also double what it is on Facebook.
It’s frankly not that surprising though since consumers actually have to buy a device to be on the iOS platform while Facebook is free. Apple also has payments data on virtually all of its users, while Facebook is still building up its credit card database.
Phones are also more portable than desktop devices, meaning there are more opportunities to play games with them throughout the day.
“Unlike your computer, your phone is always with you. One of my favorite statistics is that 20 percent of mobile game sessions are on the toilet,” he said. “So toilet gaming is the new big trend.”
When PopCap re-launched the Bejeweled games, it used traditional marketing channels. It relied on ad networks like AdMob and iAd, along with cross-promotion from Facebook and connections with Apple to get featured in the app store. Contestabile said about 25 percent of Bejeweled’s players on iOS connect with the Facebook platform.