A new kids game “Be-be-bears” gained more than 1M installs in four months. We talked to Alexey Ilin, Senior Producer of Kids Projects at VGTRK (All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company).
Image Credit: Be-be-bears
Hello! Let me congratulate you with the first million installs of “Be-be-bears”. Could you tell me a few words about the project?
“Be-be-bears” is a fun and entertaining project, a part of “Interactive Moolt” brand. It’s a game with an open magic world, you can choose any character from the cartoon and explore. Most parts of this world are interactive, there are a lot of places with mini-games marked with stars, where each character will be animated differently according to his features. You may reach any mini-game from the map, but a kid has to remember where it’s situated.
We don’t create quests with strict rules a kid has to follow, we believe that the spirit of adventure and exploration is more important for little kids as it stimulates their curiosity and allows them to progress not only in the game but in real life too.
How long have you been working on this project?
The development took 6 months. Around 14 people from the team plus outsource were involved in different stages of production. Surely they all took part from time to time, the core team counted 5-7 people.
The mobile gaming market isn’t so easy. What do you think played the major role in the growth of “Be-be-bears”?
You’re right. This market is hard for both developers and publishers, and even a consumer. Parents don’t have reliable sources of information. The main source about the games is an app store. In this situation, brand awareness plays a major role.
In our case, fast growth of the brand “Be-be-bears” was a combination of a high-quality product and the whole range of marketing activities, such as TV commercials on “Moolt” and other digital channels, advertising on other web resources of the holding, ads in social networks, cross-promotion with other apps.
By the way, even without cross-promo a release of a new application provides growth of traffic for other applications up to 20% for 1-2 months.
Did you buy any traffic?
We didn’t buy and don’t plan to buy in the nearest future for two reasons:
CPI is enormous because of the market glut and LTV traditionally is very low for kids games. Financially it is not worthy;
We have quite a number of shareware resources for promotion. Including a brand that plays an important role in releasing a product for children.
What is the download ratio for different regions and platforms?
Android – 90%, iOS – 10%. The ratio would be different if we chose a free version of “Be-be-bears” instead of the premium one for featuring on App Store. We promoted the free version on Google Play.
About 89% of installs are from Russia, and another 6% from Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, the remaining 5% – the rest of the world.
Your target region is Russia. What about the international market? Are you going to enter it? Are there any difficulties?
We plan to enter international market in 2017. As I said earlier, the key role in the promotion of a product for kids is the brand associated with it. The brand of “Be-be-bears” in Russia has already got attention and keeps on growing, but it doesn’t even exist outside of Russia. We are convinced that the presence of the well-known character in promo-materials increases conversion and trust.
Now we are actively negotiating about the distribution of the following animated series in different regions: “Be-be-bears”, “Paper Tales”, “Rolando Locomotov” and “Fairy Patrol”. When they are broadcasted on TV in other countries, it will make sense to start the second promotion stage. We have a complete control over the games that are to be released under our brands. We are sure that this approach will significantly increase the audience and improve the financial performance of the projects.
Today one of the most important success criteria in the gaming industry is regular updates and it doesn’t matter whether the project is free-to-play or not. How often do you release updates for the game and how significant are they? Is there a load of installs after it?
Of course, updates are the key elements of operating a free-to-play project.
I can say that updates of the games for kids do not play such an important role. The main reason is that an update can’t remind a child about the game because in most cases parents usually manage the phone of a preschooler. A child of this age can’t read well, and certainly isn’t interested in the description of the app. In this case, a big content update is mainly an opportunity to remind a store about the app, and if the update is good, it is possible to be featured on the main page.
If you look at our statistics, you’ll see that the update without featuring provides traffic boost of less than 5% or none at all.
You probably have got a plan of post-production support. What is the lifetime of a kids game, how long should it be actively supported?
We have a scheme: release, update to fix critical issues during first 2 weeks, content update in about a month, and update bug fixes if necessary. Our experience shows that the further active support is financially inefficient. Except for special cases, when new OS or feature is released. For example, we added stickers from iOS 10 to “Be-be-bears”. In our opinion, this feature will allow active promotion of the brand and the game itself.
If we talk about the lifetime of games for kids, I would compare it with a lifetime of a brand, which is very long for kids products. We think a good brand lives from 8 to 10 years. It is clear that old, qualitative products live and remain interesting to the audience. If the game is tied to a brand, it has an extra level of trust. But there is a downside – brands which are overwhelmed with the gaming content can send the old products to the bottom faster because of the excess of new ones.
And the final question: what should we expect from the studio in the nearest future?
“Magic Lantern” will be released on September, 22. It is a very beautiful slide strip show with interactive elements that retells classic literature for the youngest.
We plan to expand our educational series “ABC ” with two more products. In early December, we plan to release our first game for a more adult audience based on the animated series “Fairy Patrol”. This will be a collectible RPG for kids. Also, we plan to create one more game in the universe of “Be-be-bears” and a game based on the new animated series “Leo and Tig”, the first chapter of which will be released in September.