Nordeus' Golden Success with Instant Games
The collaboration between Nordeus and Facebook goes back to 2010, when this gaming newcomer launched their Facebook web game, Top Eleven. Now the world's most successful mobile football game with over 180 million registered users, Top Eleven has helped Nordeus build a large community of engaged soccer fans on Facebook.
Nordeus wanted to experiment with the Instant Games platform to create something new for the passionate global football community, with social at its core, and to reach new users too. The result was an “action-flick” goal-scoring game called Golden Boot. It's been a great success, with almost 30M players already, leading Project Lead Dražen Žarić to the belief that “Instant Games is not the future. It's what you need for success today.”
The Game's Development
Last year, Golden Boot development started out with a small team taking up the challenge to build an HTML 5 game for the new Instant Games platform in order to scope out this strategic opportunity. Seeing the initial results (over 100K new players joining every day!) helped them understand the sheer potential of the idea. It's now turned into a business priority, with a dedicated team of 6 employees. In particular, the game has achieved a huge new reach amongst 18-24 males and a higher penetration amongst a younger audience by comparison with Top Eleven.
The game's soft launch came quickly. Within 2 months, a small team (none of whom had prior HTML 5 experience) launched a beta version for testing. The soft launch allowed the team to gather insights from a large pool of users organically – unlike with standard mobile game soft launches. The feedback loop meant they could prove concepts, test functions, and optimize the game quickly and cost effectively. For example, D1 retention increased 35% after introducing the Game Bot, a useful tool that automatically sends notifications to players who haven't played in a while.
The soft launch stage also allowed Nordeus to fully understand the value of the game's social aspect – 30% of games are now played in a social context. PvP mode and leaderboards encouraged competition and also prompted organic growth. Challenging friends to a game within Messenger proved to be a popular function, and the addition of the option to play against strangers increased growth still. Over 1M new players came into the game last month after receiving challenges or invites. These functions exist because of data-driven learnings made at the soft launch stage.
In fact, Nordeus found that the social aspect of the game was so popular, that it wasn't just good to include it, but that the entire game should be designed around this social element. Sports and gaming are inherently social and Facebook is inherently about communities – leveraging this was the key to Golden Boot's success. It's just 4 months after the full launch and, already, 30M people are playing. Nordeus have achieved this organically, with no ad or marketing spend.
The top learning from Dražen, Project Lead at Nordeus, is that “this is the kind of platform where you can always improve user experience.” He found the metrics gathering and live aspect of Instant Games invaluable for testing new features and other things before investing in them fully and continually tweaking the game. Ultimately, this allows the user experience to be perfected, which Nordeus found, in turn, helped monetization. Putting user experience first and creating a great game their community enjoyed meant people were far more willing to accept reward videos, which are currently having no negative impact on user figures or retention.
So, what's next for Nordeus and Instant Games?
Dražen says that “the opportunity this platform brings to gaming is huge.” The team at Nordeus are getting creative by looking at how to bring emotions into the live gameplay as much as possible, in order to up the tension and the fun. Here at Facebook, we're developing new Real-time Communication (RTC) features for Instant Games and we can't wait to see how Nordeus will use RTC to bring the Golden Boot community closer together and enhance their experience of the game. Particularly with the World Cup coming up this year, the soccer community is active and engaged. The appetite is there, and Golden Boot is ready and waiting to satisfy it. If their success so far is anything to go by, Nordeus are sure to keep firing into the back of the net.
players within 4 months
players entered in one month through challenges or invites
sessions played socially
increased retention thanks to the Game Bot