How do you acquire loyal players cheaply? That's the question most mobile developers are asking.
And it's the question Oli Christie, CEO of UK developer Neon Play looked to answer in his talk at the Mobile Gaming Europe conference in London.
Despite being a small developer (15 people), the company has already had some strong traction, with 15 of its games being downloaded over 1 million times and a total of over 40 million portfolio downloads.
Neon Play has made strong use of this traction, most notably in terms of its Traffic Panic franchise.
The first 2D version of the game did 2.6 million on iOS, while the first 3D version (also iOS) did 2 million downloads.
This was important when it came to its recent UK location-themed free-to-play title Traffic Panic London.
Of course, this history provided cross promotion opportunities within Neon Play's other games, and it also uses Chartboost's cross-promotion platform, gaining a 16 percent install rate.
"Everyone should be using Chartboost," Christie stated.
All channels ahoy
To further boost exposure, Neon Play used paid services such as Free App A Day and Free App-o-Day.
"We launched successfully with them, even though their power is now being diluted by free-to-play games," Christie explained
The company made the most of its viral channels too, gaining 188,000 fans for the game on Facebook and one million views of its YouTube trailer; something that was backed up with the release of what Christie called a sacrificial promo game Carpark Carnage.
This was a simpler experience, created entirely with assets from the main game, and designed to 'upsell' Traffic Panic London.
Scores on the doors
The result was total downloads over 4.5 million, split 2.5 million on iOS and 2 million on Google Play.
The latter was mainly thanks to strong support from Google, which featured the game (in various slots on Google Play) for a month.
The game was also released on Amazon's Appstore for Android, but it only gained 100,000 downloads.
"It was a blip. And this was despite being a top 4 game," Christie said.
Perhaps more significantly, he pointed out that the total monetisation (including IAP and advertising) on iOS and Android is the same.
"Yes, you can be profitable on Android," he ended.