Interview

How Animal Restaurant secured 10 million customers

How Animal Restaurant secured 10 million customers

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 spoke with DH Games producer Bin You regarding the development and launch of Animal Restaurant.

PocketGamer.biz: With Animal Restaurant now more than one-year-old, how do you reflect on its performance as a series - from launch to the title it is now?

Bin You: We have been pleasantly surprised by the performance of Animal Restaurant throughout its first year. Seeing the game succeed has given us more confidence to keep improving the heart-warming animal world we created and has shown us that we really can deliver on giving players an experience that brings them joy.

We have around 10 people working on the live operation team.
Bin You

How big is the team currently handling live ops?

We have around 10 people working on the live operation team.

How important do you consider customer support and updates to be? What has been your approach to this?

We highly value the users’ experience and feedback. We try to proactively collect as much feedback as possible from all the channels we can, such as App Store and Google Play store comments, emails from customer support, mails, etcetera. We then use player feedback to help us make better and more informed development decisions.

How do you balance in-game advertisements so it doesn't affect the player's overall experience?

We treat the ads as value exchange or time acceleration. Players can choose to watch ads or not based on their own will instead of being forced to do so. Whether players watch the ads or not, their gaming experience won’t be negatively affected.

Animal Restaurant is available to download on the App Store.

What steps have you taken to ensure that Animal Restaurant maintains a sizable and active player base all this time after its launch?

First of all, we’re always planning and delivering new content for players, like the recent anniversary event and addition of Prince Michael as a restaurant patron.

Secondly, we’re constantly working on improving the game’s current build, finding ways to improve the gameplay experience and make it as smooth as possible. Finally, we never lose sight of our main focus, which is to bring happiness to our players.

Our day one retention is around 50 per cent and we’re thankful to also have great performance in long-term retention.
Bin You

To what do you attribute Animal Restaurant's consistently impressive grossing performance, and how do you sustain it?

The game is designed to be a relaxing and heart-warming experience for players and its something we always keep in mind when creating new content for the game. The art style, story and characters all lend themselves to this, as well as the actual gameplay.

Can you tell us how you have approached the game under the current pandemic? Any changes you have put in place?

We added a friend system in the most recent update. We wanted players to be able to connect through the game and have it be a comforting experience.

What would you consider Animal Restaurant's biggest achievement since launch?

Reaching 10 million downloads was a huge milestone for us.

Any KPIs such as downloads, DAU or retention you’re willing to share?

Our day one retention is around 50 per cent and we’re thankful to also have great performance in long-term retention.

What lessons have you learned/are you still learning from Animal Restaurant? Is there anything about the game that, in hindsight, you'd now handle differently?

The lesson that has been impressed upon me the most, is that empathy is very important in game development. You have to care about the gaming environment, the feelings of your users, and express yourself in a way that users can easily understand and relate.

Looking back, I wish I was better at emoting empathy and creativity, knowing what I do now I think it would have helped me when making decisions about the game or creating new content.

Finally, how has your experience with Animal Restaurant informed where you are/what you're working on now?

The experience I have with Animal Restaurant has shown me that for a game to have soul, it not only relies on the gaming experience but more on the proper expression of atmosphere, art style, values, and emotions as a whole.

Features Editor

Matthew Forde is the features editor for PocketGamer.biz and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @Forde999 talking about stats, data and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.

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