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Applifier's Jussi Laakkonen on how heavy spenders drive virality and community

Direct from Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2014
Applifier's Jussi Laakkonen on how heavy spenders drive virality and community
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Some people play free-to-play games and refuse to spend a penny, while others will quite happily dip into their wallets on occasion.

However, there are a small minority of players, dubbed 'whales' by free-to-play devs, who consistently spend heaps of cash on their beloved freemium titles.

Speaking at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2014, Applifier's Jussi Laakkonen was on a mission to delve into the mind of these so-called whales, finding out what exactly makes them tick so that developers can carry on reeling them in.

"We surveyed about 3,000 people in order to understand what makes whales stick compared to other people," said Applifier's Jussi Laakkonen.

"When you think about they money curve on how you make revenue with F2P games, you've got non-payers, moderate payers, heavy payers, and even what we call super whales. People who spend roughly $50 a month."

The bigger picture

Finding out why people spend certain amounts isn't really the issue, explained Laakkonen. You have to go deeper than that.

"The real question isn't why do some people spend more than others, it's what makes these people tick?"

"How do whales find a game, what gets them engaged, and how do they share?" 

The answers, such as app store publicity, press coverage, and social media sharing, might seem obvious, but Laakkonen believes a lot of developers are overlooking one big factor: word of mouth.

"We talk a lot about the app stores and how the only way to become successful is to be featured on the app stores, but when you start looking at other sources, social actually plays a huge part in this," continued Laakkonen.

"It drives a huge amount of discovery, but we don't talk about it a lot because social discovery can't really be measured. It's organic. It's word of mouth.

"When you boil this down for everybody, not just for whales, offline word of mouth is just as important as the app stores."

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You can see all the video presentations from Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2014 here.

Pocket Gamer Connects is the biggest mobile games show in Europe, which brings together the best speakers and delegates from across the industry and from all over the world.

To-date, Pocket Gamer Connects has been held in London and Helsinki, and the show will be heading back to the UK in January 2015.

To find out more about the latest show, head on over to www.pgconnects.com.