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Real talk: How Yoga Retreat turned 'authentic' in-app content into cash

Gajatri on going viral with Yoga Retreat
Real talk: How Yoga Retreat turned 'authentic' in-app content into cash
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How do virality and authenticity work seamlessly to improve the mobile experience?

That was the question posed by Tiina Zilliacus, founder and CEO of Gajatri Studio, the developer behind F2P title Yoga Retreat, who began by explaining that when it came to creating a game aimed at women, Gajatri didn't want to fall into the stereotypical trap.

“We didn't want to create a stereotypical game for women because the games market is full of those,” said Zilliacus.

“We wanted to give a game that is fun, but also relevant to the women's games audience.”

Time is money

After creating a game that, Gajatri believes, bucked that trend, the team had to figure out how to make money. The answer materialised in the form of free-to-play.

Yoga Retreat is a F2P title, so players are given the opportunity to find out how the product feels without paying. Of course, eventually a developer needs to implement a business model in order to make money,” explained Zilliacus.

“In our case we decided that things start to proceed gradually after the first 12 levels. So, you either need to wait a lot of time to operate your buildings or buy time using cash.

“In order to really make your buildings perform well you need to upgrade your them, and as the waiting times become longer and longer some of the more inpatient customers will start to hand over their money.”

Authenticity sells

Targeting impatient gamers might be the first plan of attack, but developers mustn't rely solely on those who spend to save time,

After all, any company that's serious about making money will give gamers other reasons to spend, share, and, essentially, sell its game for them.

With Yoga Retreat, authentic content provides that push.

“When you proceed in levels you unlock more poses, and you can build your own yoga sequences. You can then watch these in the game itself, or share them with your friends,” said Zilliacus.

“This is really one of the key pieces of 'authentic content' in our game. All of the yoga poses are real.

<em>Yoga Retreat</em> has more than one plan of attack
Yoga Retreat has more than one plan of attack

“We've also included a lot of well-being philosophy elements, and what we've tried to do is take some of those elements and make them part of the game.

“Customers in our game have intentions," she detailed. "Why are they practising yoga? Why are they in your retreat? You can tweet the narrative and share your stories. In this respect, we hope the players will be able to market our game for us.”

Indeed, Zilliacus has found that most gamers are sharing authentic content, with almost everything else being relegated to the fringes.

“30 percent of our daily players actually share something, but what I've found most interesting is that our authentic content makes up 80 percent of what is shared,” revealed Zililacus.

“One of the things I challenge everyone who is building virality to think about is who your game is made for, because, in our case, if the virality with our game brings us players big time, it'll be because of yoga, because of the poses, because of that authentic content.”