Jelly Button Games Grows its Pirate Kings Community
Founded in 2011 by five founders, Jelly Button Games is a free-to-play mobile gaming company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, with 60 employees. Jelly Button’s vision is to create original games that are mobile-friendly, multi-platform and offer a great experience for people to play together, wherever they are.
Centered on taking spins on a prize wheel, Pirate Kings is a 100% original, free-to-play, Unity 3D environment game where players are pirates who conquer exotic islands in the quest of gold, artifacts and revenge. The game is available via iOS, Android, and Facebook.com, and it has been downloaded more than 60M times across 97 countries.
Facebook Products Used
For Pirate Kings, social interactions are fundamental to the game. People can interact with friends or other players from around the world by attacking their island or trying to steal their cash. Evoking simple emotions like anger, happiness, and triumph, the game mixes together a simple but interactive gameplay.
To create this bursting community of pirates to play with and compete against each other, player interaction was one of the key success metrics for Jelly Button Games. And Facebook played an essential role in improving engagement rates and driving players to join their friends in the game.
“Facebook helped us to increase virality, reach more people, reach their friends and team up to enjoy the Pirate Kings experience. We see that Facebook users stay with the game longer and more frequently, with 37% more sessions and 65% longer session length, compared to players not connected to Facebook.”- Alon Lev, Co-founder, Jelly Button Games.
By enabling its players to invite friends through Game Requests, Pirate Kings saw up to 500M requests being sent out daily at peak hours. Designed for viral growth, 90% to 95% of the game's first year players were organic, of which 20% were acquired through Facebook’s Game Requests. The channel helped Pirate Kings foster its organic growth and enabled its players to stay connected to one another.
Facebook Login, an easy and trusted sign-in method, allowed the team to instantly understand its players and to provide a consistent playing experience across platforms. Today, most of Pirate King's mobile players use Facebook Login: 85% of the daily average Android and iOS users. Moreover, connecting to Facebook keeps players coming back: mobile retention is more than 2X higher on day one, 4.5X higher on day 7, 5.4X higher on day 14 and almost 7.5X higher on day 28 when people are logged in with Facebook compared to those who aren't.
Players who logged in with Facebook also consistently showed higher value in terms of monetization. Facebook-connected players showed an 18X higher tendency to make an in-game purchase on iOS and 22X higher on Android.
Pirate Kings uses a free-to-play model, allowing players to progress by buying additional ‘spins’ of its wheel - the game’s core mechanic. Leveraging the platform's ability to keep players connected with Facebook Login highly engaged, Pirate Kings also saw a significant spike in the average revenue per user (ARPU) - 62X higher for iOS and Android players, compared to those who didn’t. Moreover, amongst the paying users, the average revenue was 2X higher for Android players, and 3X higher on iOS compared to players who did not connect with Facebook.
While the accessible nature of Pirate Kings works well on mobile, Jelly Button knew the value and importance of cross-platform play. By bringing the game to Facebook.com with WebGL, the company tapped into one the key strengths of the Unity engine, which is simplified game development. Moving to web with Unity enabled the team to develop new features for Pirate Kings that could automatically roll out to all platforms without any additional development requirements.
“When Chrome deprecated Webplayer plugin for Unity games, we lost about 30% of our web players. With WebGL deployment, we were able to serve the game on all browsers and bring these players back to the game.”- Maya Hofree, Product Manager, Jelly Button Games