Four Years and Glowing! TSTO Numbers are Eye-Opening!

infogrph-main

EA is a  company that rarely takes the time to blow their own horns. Outside of the regular ballyhoo that surrounds the huge marketing blather around a new release, EA is kind of a “Keep the Hits Coming…Deal with the Fallout Later” kind of a company.

So, even though we know that TSTO is far down the list as one of their top priorities in development, it is news when they release a new “Info-Graphic” because it is such a rare event.  How rare?  How about only the 2nd time since 2012?

An “Info-Graphic” is kind of what it sounds like, a large graphic used to disseminate information about something. The FIRST IG, talked about the huge success of TSTO (after just a couple of months), and how it was at the “Top of the Mobile Game Revenue Charts.”

Well, we know that TSTO has been displaced from the “Top of the Charts,” and in fact rarely shows up on the “Top 50 Grossing Mobile Games” However, there are a few distinctive numbers that should give all of us TSTO players a bit of pride and comfort in the game’s future, that can be dissected from the latest InfoGraphic.

Let’s Take a Look…

I admit, that after 35 years in marketing and multimedia production, I am a bit of a “Stats Geek.”  Not so much the numbers…because that is what accountants are for…but the way in which numbers are presented, and what they rEAlly mean in this case.

Let’s take a general look at the stats/marketing data as it was presented in the graphics, and compare.
Open 2012 HERE
Open 2016 HERE

There are some MIND-NUMBING stats in regards to User Play, and Donuts Consumed which bode well (at least on the surface) for an extended shelf life of TSTO.

Revenue is what drives a game’s shelf life. And at first look, while not hitting the Top 50, TSTO certainly seems to have held its own over the 4 years.
infogrph-donuts

At first glance, it looks like EA is raking in the dough…from donuts. Even at the lowest donut figure conversion rate of .04 (for a boatload), it works out to more than $784 Million dollars in gross revenue!

Except…that stat is “Donuts Consumed,” not “Donuts Bought and Paid For.”  As we have seen, there are loads of ways to acquire donuts in the game for free (hence the term Freemium), including the farming of items with bonus XP to jump levels. So, this rEAlly isn’t as much of a Revenue Stat, as it is a global consumption statistic.  And this doesn’t even take into account those who hack the system for donuts…

THEN, add in the reality that a VERY small percentage of players actually pay real money for donuts on a regular basis. Industry stats for Mobile Gaming in general is amazingly low (.19% of players providing more than half of the revenue, according to this article), with mobile FREEMIUM games said to generate as much as 75% of their revenue from as little as .005 of all players.

YIKES! No wonder EA is trying to make it a little more difficult to get reams of FREE donuts.

But…no worries, kids. With a relatively small development team, and low-paid support staff (as we have all experienced), even with the number of players winnowing, EA’s estimated daily gross continues to have between $35K – $50K per day…or $12 Million per year (a relatively small portion of the $128 Million Per QUARTER that is being generated by EAs Mobile division…which includes games like Madden,  Star Wars, and Need for Speed).

But again,compared to the cost of production and server needs, there is still plenty of money to be made on DONUTS (if people keep buying them with real money).

HOWEVER…This makes my point about InfoGraphics. A jump between what COULD have been a revenue stream of $784 Million, down to what is likely more like $120 Million, speaks volumes about the number of truly FREEMIUM players in the game. 

One of the things that jumps out to me in InfoGraphics, is their use of “Kwik-E-Marts” to extrapolate use of the game.  But, it is strangely revealing to those of us who actually PLAY the game… See if you can spot if something that is off in the graphic comparison below.

infogrph-kem

This one is EAsy to spot…and a bit troubling.

So…we know that there is only ONE Simpsons House in the game…and it is one of the first things you place to get started. So…if that is the case, it can be extrapolated that at least 160 million games have been started. That isn’t 160 million players, as we know that loads of people play multiple games. But, it is a start.  However, the statistic on Kwik-E-Marts jumps out, because adding the FIRST Kwik-E-Mart happens in only the THIRD task when you start playing the game. You add your first KEM, before you get almost anything else in the game. So…worst case scenario, you are losing 20 million players from House Placement to First KEM Placement?  YIKES!!

Now…take into account that most people have multiple KEMs…even those that don’t farm them. Then, think about those who DO farm them, and are constantly buying/selling/placing them…for days and weeks on end.

Sorry…but this makes the Install/User Data look a little suspect, or rEAlly says that the opening aspects of the game are chasing people away, in droves. EA? Need to work on that.

But, this seems to have been the case from DAY ONE, and also loops into an AMAZING STAT about usage by many long-time players.

In the FIRST COUPLE OF MONTHS…there was an obvious drop-off in downloads to players captured.

infogrph-drop

Again…placing your first Kwik-E-Mart happens in the first few actions upon beginning game play.  In the first Major Update (THOH) you could play the Halloween update, without having progressed very far in the game. I started two days before the update hit, and was scrambling to keep moving through the intro update, while playing the THOH event.  But, if you look at the number of Krusty Burgers Placed, you can see the HUGE Drop In Active players, after just 4 levels.

But, from all other data indications, the 3.43 Million that stuck with the game, became long-time players. Which brings us to an insanely alarming statistic that should give us all cause to pause!

infogrph-time
The 2016 InfoGraphic states that there have been 37.5 Billion Minutes (625 Million Hours) spent playing TSTO. Uhm…WOW???

So, if the hardcore players, who have been playing since day one (3.4 million players using the same example from above), how much of that time was spent by the TRULY ADDICTED???

Hard to say…but, I can say that I know for a fact that I spend an average of 15 hours a week playing TSTO (perhaps more during major updates), not including blogging and moderating comments, which works out to roughly 3,100 total hours over a four-year period. There isn’t anything else I do, besides working, binge-watching Netflix, and golf, that even comes close. HOLYFREAKINSHIRT!!!

And speaking of Addicts...it is obvious that this site is the crossroads on the TSTO highway for a huge number players who want to know more, play more efficiently, and get the answers.

Take a look at our current InfoGraphic.

infogrph-addicts

So what do YOU make of these numbers? Is TSTO Healthy? Is EA making money?  Are Freemium players killing the golden goose?  Tell us what you think…you know we LOVE to hear from you!

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99 responses to “Four Years and Glowing! TSTO Numbers are Eye-Opening!

  1. I wonder how many people quite when they reached the part where EA went on an anti-NRA rant. I have to assume that cost them some business. I hate rants like that no matter what the subject is. For crying out loud, get over it. I came close to deleting the game but I am glad I stayed. Now I just want comic book guys wife. Are you listening EA. Probably not as I have asked many times with no response.

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  2. Everytime you have reinstall your game, that counts as a new player? I’m like over 10 players then

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  3. The number of minutes played is misleading; until the recent “fade to black” update (why couldn’t they make it a reasonable 3-min or 5-min timeout?), I would leave TSTO open all day on my cellphone while working at my desk. I certainly wasn’t playing all day.

    I consider myself a FREEMIUM player, but thanks to the miracle of QuickThoughts app, I’ve been able to toss a little $$ EA’s way via Amazon coins. Also, as a programmer myself, I tend to cut them a little slack when a bug creeps in…but only the annoying ones, not the game-stopping WTH bugs.

    Now, when can I start dumping my Monorail curve tracks into the 3D Printer to turn them into Monorail straight track??

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Leave TSTO on all day.”
      If you think they have server issues now, just imagine if that were possible.

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      • TSTO doesn’t stay continuously synced with their servers, so just because I leave it on on my cellphone doesn’t mean I’m burning server time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Since I know little about computers, help me out. If I am playing TSTO via the internet, what am I connected to?

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          • You are playing TSTO via your cellphone/tablet — you only periodically connect to EA’s servers (for instance, when you log in or when you go to Krustyland and see “synchronizing” on the bottom of the display) and that’s how you can return to your same Springfield when you switch to a different cellphone or when a neighbor visits your Springfield — it returns to what was last synchronized.

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  4. I agree with you that the numbers seem off, especially Simpson houses compared to KEMs. I don’t think it’s possible to draw any conclusions from the infographics since there is no way to know which numbers are true and which are not.

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  5. I’d be interested to know how many people here have hacked games. Perhaps an anonymous poll to find out?

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  6. Purely out of interest. How do EA know this?
    Is there a counter in the game that adds to a server count when you place a Kwik-E-Mart?
    Will there be timers counting EVERY game globally?
    Is it just an estimate?

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  7. Oooooo can’t resist a good stats blast ! Slipping my fluffy slippers on in our new home

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    • NEW HOME???? Oh. Wait. You mean Addicts. LOL. I know you too well from Friends. I was imagining you having to pack up your lovely greenhouse to move to another home somewhere. Phew!!! Great to see you around, Loobs. And no. You don’t have to behave here. So, slippers…love ’em.

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  8. I had been personally on the fence about your posts Patric, but this one is Grade A! Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL… I am an acquired taste. I go with the old adage my Dad passed along to me years ago…”If more than half of the people you meet like you, you are lucky in life!” But, everyone liked my Dad…so I think it was more of a warning, once he realized how I was turning out!

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  9. I think the game distinguishes the first KEM with Apu from the other KEMs that you can buy in bulk. That statistic might be for the latter KEM.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Firstly I look forward to Simpsons Go or something similar, which must be in production after the success of Pokemon this summer.
    Secondly I’ve played since THOH 2013 but I got bored during the recent future event and start a completely new town, I’d forgotten how much work is invoked in the first 2 months, the in game cash is so tight you starting grinding from day one to try and generate enough to buy the buildings for each level, I’m lvl 19 and I have to find $150,000 for a new building, that’s going to takes a week on current progress for one building, and the event is tough too as you don’t have some of the characters, or the room for the new items as you don’t have the cash to buy land. So I can totally understand why newer players bail, it hard work generating

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree… When I went back and looked at the book we wrote about the first year of the game, I was amazed that we hung in there. I know I sound like an old man, but “you kids have it so much EAsier than we had it!” Oh. Wait. Everyone had to go through the same ritual. To your point…EA would be smart to make the first 30 levels far EAsier to accomplish.

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      • Agree also, been playing for about 6 months now but as a new player remember being frustrated when I found it impossible to progress through the Casino event.
        Was very close to quiting the game but percivered & so glad I did. Now on level 103 & with a little bit of work managed to obtain all the prizes in the events since. Have spent some real money but not a lot.
        This site has been invaluable as regards to my progression & I get a lot of laughs from some of the posts.
        So if you are new to the game, give it a chance & bear in mind most of the main events come round again.

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    • I started halfway into Act 2 of the sci-fi event. As a fairly new player I can attest to the cash crunch. At this point the 100% cash bonus from the Beach Hideaways is way more valuable to me than the XP. Knowing that in the long run I will be able to farm donuts is why I was willing to spend money on them to buy the Beach Hideaways. (and a few other things.) That is perhaps an important perspective I am sure others share. The game being fairly generous with free donuts over time is why I am willing to spend real money occasionally. Some “freemium” games are so stingy with premium currency it is impossible to do certain things without spending real money. That of course makes me not spend anything on those games just on the principle. I was expecting TSTO to be like that which is why I avoided it for so long. Being a big Simpsons fan my curiosity finally got the better of me. To my pleasant surprise I found it is technically possible to get and do everything over the long run for free. So I am willing to reward that by spending a little real money once in a while.

      Liked by 4 people

      • The cash bonus is nice, but at this point I have nothing to spend it on. I bought the whole row of new land with the latest event and still had $41M left. I wish my Springfield had a couple charities to give money too 😉

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        • I play 300 times a day and have never come close to that amount of money. I don’t have Burns’ Money Mountain upgraded, don’t have all the land tiles unlocked, and don’t have any of the ridiculously expensive buildings either. How the heck do people accumulate money like that? Do you buy decorations or do you just plunk down the buildings you get? I buy a lot of trees and decorations. Maybe that’s how I burn through my cash whereas others that don’t do a ton of designing accumulate money more quickly. Unless you decorate a ton, well, then I’ve got nothing. Hmm.

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          • I have several fields of “cash cows”, including about 3 dozen Wailing Walls from last year’s THoH that pay nicely every 12 hrs, and try to construct as many of those items by the end of each event which pay out $$. Plus I’ve been playing over 2 years now, so I’ve had the opportunity to buy a lot of stuff, and just don’t have anything (except new land) to spend on currently.

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          • Jack Anonymous

            I have all that stuff as well and have been playing 2 years also. I’ll just have to stop buying so many decorations I guess and save up. Those land purchases get pricey.

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