It is often said that nothing is truly finished and it’s a saying the games industry has taken to heart in recent times.
Long gone are the days of developing and publishing a game without the need to tweak, adjust and patch it after launch, with new titles requiring constant operation and updates to keep them at the forefront of consumer thought.
Here at PocketGamer.biz we want to take the opportunity to highlight games that have bucked the trend and found an audience that has kept them thriving long after launch.
In this entry of our Live and Kicking series, we caught up with Big Fish Games president and managing director Jeff Karp to discuss how match-three title Gummy Drop has sustained success as it celebrates its fifth anniversary.
PocketGamer.biz: With Gummy Drop passing its five-year anniversary, how do you reflect on its performance?
Jeff Karp: When it was introduced in 2014, Gummy Drop was one of the first match-three mobile games to enter the market. It very quickly grew a dedicated player base, in large part because it was one of the only such games to go beyond a map progression. We incorporated a meta storyline to give the player an experience focused on rebuilding famous cities and travelling around the world.
Over the years we have innovated with features to keep the game fresh and are motivated to continuously inspire our players on a daily basis. Today, we are proud to maintain its position as one of the leading match-three games.
How big is the team currently handling live ops at Big Fish Games?
Gummy Drop has introduced approximately 60 live ops over the past five years, expanding upon the game’s travel theme to transport players to locations like Transylvania, North Pole and diving the Great Barrier Reef.
Over the years we have innovated with features to keep the game fresh and are motivated to continuously inspire our players on a daily basis.Jeff Karp
Live ops continue to be a huge focus for our team, and we try to create a unique entertainment experience every time a player picks up the game.
How important do you consider customer support and updates to be?
We are truly driven and inspired by player feedback – it fuels our team to constantly evaluate ideas to evolve the game. We have very high expectations of our customer support team and do as much as we can to support them, so they in turn can best support our players.
What steps have you taken to ensure that Gummy Drop maintains a sizable and active player base?
When we first designed Gummy Drop, our intention was to do something different than anything else in the genre. At the time, match-three games were highly linear, achievements were measured by star collection and later gameplay seemed to look a lot like earlier gameplay. We wanted to break that mould.
With Gummy Drop, we offer players incentives to replay levels, live collecting resources to unlock famous city monuments and buildings, also adding new game mechanics to the match-three board.
Five years later, we keep existing and new users engaged by constantly evolving the game to make sure we’re delivering fresh and exciting content.
At any given time, there are multiple live-ops events with different challenges and rewards to fit the experience level of all our players (our third annual Halloween-themed event city is in the works for October). We also add a new city to the map every three weeks so there’s always something new and exciting to play.
Can you tell us about the new Birthday World Tour in-game content? How does it differ from previous updates?
For our fifth birthday, we wanted to go back to what makes Gummy Drop great and do something big. So, we’ve created an event that is a mini-version of the full Gummy Drop experience complete with lots of fun in-game virtual rewards.
Players will be able to visit a new world map with new continents unlocking every day. Each continent offers 10 new levels and a special reward to collect. The event lasts for approximately 10 days to ensure everyone has a chance to rebuild and restore famous landmarks across all of the continents in this bonus world.
To date, the game offers players over 10,000 levels, 90 plus cities to travel to and over 1,000 monuments to rebuild.Jeff Karp
As a head start, we’ll also be giving everyone 30 minutes of infinite lives. In addition, each day we will be releasing fun, historical Gummy Drop facts for those trivia connoisseurs.
How have you adapted Gummy Drop to the market over the four years of the game being live?
We continue to evolve our production art, even going back to refresh some of our older cities. Our live-ops are designed both to be unique and innovative, yet also creating some inspiration from what we find fun in our experiences.
To what do you attribute Gummy Drop’s grossing performance?
Our goal is to broaden our reach to appeal to all player levels. As such, Gummy Drop offers a variety of content that ranges from easy to very difficult.
We deliver loads of fun, new content regularly and constantly add in new types of events, locations, themes and challenges to the experience to keep it fresh. To date, the game offers players over 10,000 levels, 90 plus cities to travel to and over 1,000 monuments to rebuild.
Any KPIs such as downloads, DAU or retention you can share?
Since it was introduced in 2014, Gummy Drop has maintained a leadership position in the charts, consistently ranking among the top 13 for match-three games and installed more than 50 million times with 1.8 billion hours of collective gameplay.
What lessons have you learned/are you still learning from Gummy Drop!?
We are always testing new creative and getting feedback from players to learn and grow. The biggest challenge is finding the time to execute on all of the fun ideas. We think we have made good choices, but there is always more we want to do.
Finally, how has your experience with Gummy Drop informed where you are/what you’re working on now?
This spring, we introduced the next evolution of Gummy Drop with Toy Story Drop, including new features, puzzles and gameplay combined with one of the most prolific IP’s in entertainment today.