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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!