After putting together our first series on the basics of video game marketing, we’re jumping into a case study showing a full analysis on one of our favorite new games. I personally think HeartStone is amazing from both a gameplay perspective but more importantly as a business decision. To be honest, I’ll explain why shortly, I think this is on of the most intelligent decisions a gaming studio has ever made.
If you’d like to skip this pre-amble, hop into the 3 parts of the series below
Mobile & Casual Gaming at a Glance
Most know that gaming is currently surging in scale at present. One of my favorite info-graphics which shows the incredible statistics of the industry can be highlighted in saying that “mobile gaming has experienced more than 900% growth”. It’s actually alarming how many people are jumping on the casual mobile gaming scene. The obvious reason as to why this vertical is growing so much is because there has been explosive growth in the number of people using mobile phones and tablets. At first, the games for this market were basic only just beyond minesweeper and solitaire. There were a few pioneers who created games for the mobile and tablet devices and since 2008, a real market place has developed. If we’re honest, an industry is only really entering maturity when you have a major company experience viral growth and then fail horribly, somewhat resembling the Hindenburg (Yes we’re looking at you Zinga) as well as have billion dollar multinational companies like Activision-Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft.
Nonetheless, Blizzard is looking to capitalize on the market and they mark the first major triple A studio to build new IP in the mobile market. Their new launch title HearthStone is a free to play multiplayer card game based on the characters of their infamous World of Warcraft universe. Here’s why I think this is brilliant.
– Blizzard is leveraging there existing users who love the WarCraft universe. Building a new universe in a new game genre would be risky (With Videogaming entering a period of maturity in the industry triple A studios are looking for low risk & moderate gain) so they’re being cautious while exploring this new market.
– Free to play games are the latest craze. Everyone wants high quality game play without the regular $60 price tag. Any game which is able to accomplish this usually has a pay wall or a heavy “pay to play” curve. HearthStone allows users to build competitive decks without requiring any payments
– They’ve built the game for tablet but also allowing for PC use. The lean nature of the game content is going to really allow for a smooth experience on any tablet.
We want to look at the monetization strategy being employed by Blizzard for HearthStone. I see so much potential with this new franchise so I want to have an extremely practical approach in identifying what they’re doing.
So without further ado, here is HearthStone Series