Sometimes just spending a lot of effort on development is not enough for success. We need to look for other solutions. Which ones,” Diego Diaz, CEO of Koron Studios, told WN Winter’21 online conference.

Diego Diaz
Koron Studios is a small studio in the south of Spain that specializes in idlers.

During the operation of her first product — Death Idle Tycoon — she faced a problem. Despite the regular numerous updates and the constant introduction of new features, the performance of the game stagnated. Time and effort were spent, and the results remained at the same level or fell during the year. Naturally, this affected the profitability of the project, depending on the revenue generated and the amount of development and operating costs.

Stagnation of Death Idle Tycoon
To remedy the situation, it was decided to change the approach to work in general.

The team abandoned the pursuit of updates and new functionality. At the forefront were: the formulation of clear goals for the project and their achievement through the addition of new content to the game. A similar strategy after several months of operation was tested on Idle Fish Inc, the team’s second game. The game immediately began to show growth, and each update increased revenue by 40%.

As an illustrative example of a new approach, Diaz cites the story of the fish in Idle Fish Inc. The game is an analogue of Idle Miner Tycoon. The player builds floors with aquariums, each of which generates soft currency, which is spent on the next floors and their improvements. Pisces is one of the multipliers of currency generation (the more fish, the greater the amount from the aquarium where it floats).

The fish were in the game from the very launch, but as a monetization mechanics worked poorly. Based on the task of increasing the number of advertising views and increasing the number of fish purchased through IAP, the developers changed the showcase. They added the ability to buy exceptional fish for viewing ads, as well as fish that can be purchased exclusively for hard currency. As a result, the number of advertising views in the game after the update increased by 100%.

How the fish display case was changed
Changes in the work on games were not limited to a more meaningful approach to the implementation of functionality.

The team set a course to optimize monetization. An important step here was the work on special offers. A scalable and measurable automatic system was built for them, whose job is to demonstrate a suitable offer for a particular user at the right time at the right price. This further allowed us to abandon the constant optimization of proposals and limit ourselves exclusively to its balance.

New offer system
Diaz calls the work on events the third pillar in the new approach to operating.

In Koron Studios games, events began to appear that:

  • limited in time;
  • offer a new dynamic within the familiar gameplay;
  • they leave exclusive rewards.

The publication of such updates each time increased retention (at least during the first week after the event), and also in the first days significantly increased the average revenue of the product per day.

After the studio started working on Death Idle Tycoon according to the same patterns, the revenue of the game increased significantly. In 2020, she earned 10 times more compared to 2019. At the same time, it was possible to reduce the costs of the game, because, firstly, its developers moved away from frequent stamping of updates to the practice of releasing one significant update per month and, secondly, abandoned manual optimization of offers in favor of an automatic system that requires much less attention.