5 Ways Mobile Games Can Avoid the Sophomore Slump

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Tapjoy’s Ben Chen shares his top five tips to maintaining success in year two — and beyond — with Gamasutra.

It is hard enough to get a hit game in the App Store or Google Play these days; harder still to maintain that success. With today’s steep competition, it’s more challenging than ever for a new game to get discovered — and those lucky enough to survive find that success doesn’t get any easier after the game’s first year.

The good news is that the blueprint for success in a game’s sophomore year already exists. It has been drawn by companies like Supercell, Zynga, Miniclip, Kiloo, and others (even if their playbook doesn’t work 100 percent of the time). This playbook involves a different set of strategies than what worked for a game in year one, and sometimes an entirely different approach. The developer’s focus must shift from growth to retention and engagement — one that changes the way a company allocates budget, invests in technology, even structures its org chart.

These are not insignificant changes, but to sustain success beyond year one, a mobile game must make critical evaluations. The lifecycle of its gamers will have changed. The dynamics of its virtual economy may have shifted. And what worked for acquiring users in the beginning isn’t likely to cut it in the future. To adjust to all of these changes and maintain success into a game’s sophomore year, we review five basic tenets that game developers should adhere to. Read the full guest blog on Gamasutra.


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