“We launched our first game on Facebook in 2010, and since then we’ve grown to be the largest social game developer in China. Fundamentally, we believe that games provide a context for people to relate to one another, and we design with that in mind. Facebook is a platform about social connections, so naturally they’re an incredible partner for us now and will be in the future.”
-- Dan Fiden, CSO
Bringing People Together By Encouraging Play
FunPlus is a mobile social gaming company that puts fun first for players worldwide. The company was founded in 2010 by Andy Zhong and Yitao Guan with the goal of combining the highly-successful operational expertise of China-based game developers with the craftsmanship of developers in Europe and the U.S.
FunPlus first demonstrated this with the release of Family Farm – a farm simulation game that has over 5 million DAU worldwide. The foundation for the game’s success is the player-centric game design philosophy that’s at the company’s core, best demonstrated by two unique elements.
First, the game designers chose to forego an energy system. In 2010, energy systems were the norm in simulation games, as they throttle content consumption and engagement in favor of brute force monetization. Instead, the FunPlus designers chose to encourage players to plant, harvest, and design to their hearts’ content. Engagement, they posited, is the best metric for delight.
Second, Zhong wanted his farm game to make players feel like they were managing a real farm – making meaningful choices that lead to their own brand of entrepreneurial success. The team implemented a first-of-its-kind crafting system that allowed players to, for example, plant and harvest clover. The clover is fed to cows that produce milk, which in turn can be churned into butter or cheese, which in turn are ingredients in omelets. At each stage in the production process, users make meaningful decisions that enable them to create more and more sophisticated and delightful recipes.
These decisions paid off with best-in-class retention, great organic install rates, and ARPDAU that’s triple the category averages. Even in 2014, Family Farm enjoys great staying power, with 80% of its new users coming from non-paid Facebook user acquisition, primarily across the notification, reminder, and bookmark channels.
Royal Story, another successful FunPlus game on Facebook, has had similar results. After launching on the platform, Royal Story had a 1M DAU increase. And after leveraging features such as Notifications, Royal Story’s retention increased by 30%.
FunPlus, Unity, and Facebook
With Family Farm Seaside, FunPlus has achieved success on mobile platforms. Moving forward, FunPlus is leveraging Unity to create cross-platform mobile social experiences that enable users to play anytime, anywhere. Because of FunPlus’ global focus, the ability to execute seamlessly on both iOS and Android is critical, and Unity delivers on that. And now that the Unity Web Player plugin installation process is tightly integrated with the app authentication flow, there’s no reason that Facebook players won’t be able to enjoy the highest fidelity experiences available.
Creating Facebook Custom Stories is simple when developing with Unity. That’s important to FunPlus, because Facebook-connected mobile players are among their most valuable. In Family Farm Seaside, Facebook mobile users’ ARPPU is among the highest in the game, accounting for nearly 10% of monthly revenue. Both Facebook paid and organic installs retain at nearly 20% at day 14. And since long-term player engagement is key for FunPlus, creating great Facebook experiences is now, and will remain, a focus for the company.
- 80% of new users came from free, organic Facebook channels
- Paid and organic app installs from Facebook retain at 20% after 14 days
- After implementing notifications, retention increased by 30% in the game