Pixio is relatively new on the mobile scene – founded in January 2016 by Ricky Leung and Jeremy Lam, the small Hong Kong-based company is dedicated to making fun, simple games for everyone. The studio behind the incredibly addictive and well-received Tap Tap Trillionaire is well on its way to more success.
Just this week, Pixio launched Tap Tap Evil Mastermind, the next title in their quest to elevate the clicker genre.
We discussed Pixio’s rise to fame with their CEO, Jeremy Lam, to delve into what makes the team that makes the hottest game in the clicker genre tick.
Tap Tap Trillionaire
“We started off with smaller titles,” said Lam. “We believe that smaller titles, while easier to make, don’t provide the immense amount of value that a more robust title can,” he said.
So why make a game in the clicker genre?
“We felt the clicker genre was a bit stale,” Lam continued, explaining that titles in the genre had a good simplistic hook, but mind-dead mid and end game, leaving players with little to do after mastering the skills required to play.
“We believe that clicker games don’t have to only be about collecting resources,” Lam said. “What makes collecting resources fun is being able to spend it.”
Tap Tap Trillionaire turns users into the CEO of an investing firm and challenges them to make as much money as possible. It’s an 8-bit pixelated, nostalgia-driven, investment firm simulator, where gathering resources (in this case, coins) leads to spending on better offices, more investments, and more staff.
“What makes spending resources even more fun is having the context to spend it strategically,” Lam said. That desire to make a clicker game designed around collecting and spending led to the creation of Tap Tap Trillionaire.
While Hong Kong boasts its fair share of game developers, including offices for Glu, Konami, Riot, and Disney Interactive, Pixio stands out as one of the successful independent studios in the area.
Success came quickly for the studio. Tap Tap Trillionaire reached 600,000 organic users in the first two weeks, and that trend has continued, with the game sitting pretty in the top of the App Store Strategy and Simulation categories.
Lam said video ads have been the best user acquisition strategy for acquiring high quality users. “We have a long-running campaign that has proven to be ROI positive,” Lam said, “And we’re at 74% Day 1 retention,” he said, adding that the user-base has a wide range of ages, from users as young as 14, to players in their 30’s.
Monetizing the Right Way
Tap Tap Trillionaire originally launched without AdColony ads, but the team integrated in early April and has seen success with the rewarded video implementation.
“We see monetization as a ‘tip’ from users,” Lam said. With Pixio’s robust yet easy to digest game, adding rewarded video from AdColony boosted revenue from Tap Tap Trillionaire over 100%, with no noticeable impact to IAP revenue. “We want users to want to buy, not be forced to buy, so having a good incentivized video solution is integral to our design philosophy,” Lam said.
Monetizing in a user-friendly manner is already one of Pixio’s hallmarks.
“Getting to the premium content in the game is only a matter of time, and not a necessity,” Lam explained. “The rewarded videos from AdColony are awesome for everybody,” he explained. Users can use them to earn gems in the long run, making premium content available to all users as long as they keep playing. Everyone benefits. “This strategy gives players hope and helps drive our retention.”
Creating a long-term engaging game is difficult, and something most studios take time to master. Pixio though, is off to a great start.
“Content updates are the most important thing,” Lam explained. “Every time we put out new content, we see an increase in both re-engagement and Average Revenue per User (ARPU).” Pixio knows that users love new content, and that’s one of their key strategies for keeping users engaged.
Tap Tap Trillionaire even has its own subreddit, where Pixio interacts directly with fans. Pixio also runs Facebook events to keep users interested outside of the game. “We’re trying to build up that fan base to help promote our next titles,” Lam said.
Breaking into the Space
As a fresh face in the world of mobile games, Pixio has some advice for other companies seeking to follow in their footsteps. The team started off with smaller titles, but Lam explained that while easier to make, smaller titles don’t provide the amount of value that a more robust title can. “It can be difficult to acquire users,” he said, “so you need a game that can make users want to stick around longer.
“The core loop and content of the game are the two most important things,” Lam explained, “You want your users to stick around.”
“There are a few pitfalls game developers can fall into”, Lam continued. “If the core loop isn’t fun, users won’t stay anyway,” he said, “but if the core loop is fun and there’s no content to consume, there’s no point playing the core loop in the long run.”
The core loop and content of the game are the two most important things
Pixio has focused on a strong combination of both strong core gameplay loops, and end-game content to consume. By focusing on regular updates, users always have something to come back to. “Combining the two is very important, and the combination of the two increases retention, and allows for monetization in subsequent updates,” Lam said.
There’s one major point Lam made sure to stress – creating games from scratch is hard. “But updates are easy,” he said. “As long as users are still enjoying your game, and it’s bringing in revenue, never abandon it.”
After the success of Tap Tap Trillionaire, this week Pixio launched a new clicker game with their signature pixel art style. Instead of playing the financial markets, users will go on a evil journey, where they can use their coins to take over the world, in Tap Tap Evil Mastermind.
Going for world domination has a lot in common with conquering the financial markets, but the new title also has some important differences from Tap Tap Trillionaire. Pixio streamlined clicker mechanics and even asks players to defend their evil lair from super agents. From the start, Pixio is also also included the same user-friendly and engaging ad monetization implementations.
Pixio has big plans for the future. “We really want to continue expanding the Tap Tap universe to different themes and meta-games,” Lam said. “As long as you enjoy pixel art and tapping, you’ll find a game that suits your imagination.”
With the pixel-perfect pseudo-8-bit art, a strong start and a winning track record, Pixio looks like they’re set to continue delivering clicker success.
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