two & a half gamers session #105 – Merge Games Market History & Full Overview: Travel Town no.1 Merge game & Gossip Harbor case studies

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This is no BS gaming podcast 2.5 gamers session #105. Sharing actionable insights, dropping knowledge from our day-to-day User Acquisition, Game Design, and Ad monetization jobs. We are definitely not discussing the latest industry news, but having so much fun! Let’s not forget this is a 4 am conference discussion vibe, so let’s not take it too seriously. Special Guest: Laura Taranto

The Team:

Jakub Remia⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠r- Game design consultant

Felix Braberg⁠ – Ad monetization consultant

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Matej Lančarič – User Acquisition & Creatives consultant

Join our slack channel here: SLACK CHANNEL

Summary
The conversation revolves around the topic of merge games, specifically in the puzzle genre. The hosts and guest discuss the history of merge games, starting with Triple Town and 2048. They highlight the success of Travel Town and Merge Dragons, noting their innovative gameplay and revenue potential. The conversation also touches on the differences between grid merge and camp merge games. The hosts express their excitement for the genre and the potential it holds. The conversation explores the different types of merge games and their revenue potential. It discusses the distinction between camp merge and grid merge games, highlighting the frustrations and player motivations associated with each. The conversation also delves into the revenue and download numbers of popular merge games, with a focus on Travel Town and Microfun’s portfolio. The importance of balancing the economy and gameplay mechanics in merge games is emphasized. The conversation in this part focuses on the game loops and mechanics of different grid merge games, including Travel Town, Merge Mansion, and Gossip Harbor. The hosts discuss the importance of balancing the economy, the frustration of limited board space, and the use of relief orders to alleviate player frustration. They also touch on the significance of energy management, the impact of generator cooldowns, and the role of events in driving player engagement. The conversation highlights the differences between these games and emphasizes the need for thoughtful design and balancing to create an enjoyable player experience. In this part of the conversation, the hosts discuss the monetization strategies and ad placements in the games Gossip Harbor and Travel Town. They highlight the importance of balancing the economy and avoiding over-reliance on storage space monetization. They also compare the visual design and user experience of the games, emphasizing the need for clear and intuitive interfaces. The hosts explore the implementation of a collectible album system in Travel Town and discuss the potential for ad placements when completing levels. They estimate the ad revenue for both games and suggest opportunities for optimizing ad placements. In this final part of the conversation, the hosts discuss the creatives for Merge Mansion and Gossip Harbor. They comment on the use of big boards, UGC, story-driven narratives, and altered gameplay. They also mention the presence of sexist content in some of the creatives. The hosts rate the UA and creatives for Travel Town and Gossip Harbor, with Travel Town receiving high praise for its dedication and iteration. They also discuss the need for further development in the event pipeline and progression balancing. Overall, they commend the teams for their efforts and the success of their games.

Takeaways
Merge games have gained popularity in the puzzle genre.
Travel Town and Merge Dragons are successful examples of merge games.
Grid merge and camp merge are two different types of merge games.
Merge games offer revenue potential and innovative gameplay.
The hosts are excited about the future of merge games. Merge games can be categorized into camp merge and grid merge, each with its own frustrations and player motivations.
Travel Town and Microfun’s portfolio are the top performers in the merge game market.
Balancing the economy and gameplay mechanics is crucial for a successful merge game.
Merge games require strategic thinking and organization, making them engaging for players.
The revenue potential of merge games is significant, with some games generating millions of dollars. Balancing the economy and resource management is crucial in grid merge games.
Limited board space can lead to frustration and difficult decisions for players.
Relief orders can help alleviate frustration by clearing items from the board.
Energy management and generator cooldowns play a significant role in gameplay.
Events can drive player engagement and provide additional rewards.
Thoughtful design and balancing are essential for creating an enjoyable player experience. Balancing the economy and avoiding over-reliance on storage space monetization is crucial for successful monetization in games.
Clear and intuitive visual design and user experience are important for player engagement and retention.
Implementing a collectible album system can enhance player engagement and provide opportunities for social interactions.
Ad placements when completing levels can be a valuable opportunity for increasing ad revenue.
Optimizing ad placements and end cards can improve user experience and retention. Merge Mansion and Gossip Harbor use a variety of creative strategies, including big boards, UGC, and story-driven narratives.
The presence of sexist content in some of the creatives is noted.
Travel Town receives high praise for its dedication and iteration, while Gossip Harbor is commended for its strong live ops pipeline.
Further development is needed in the event pipeline and progression balancing for both games.

Keywords
merge games, puzzle genre, history, Triple Town, 2048, Travel Town, Merge Dragons, gameplay, revenue potential, grid merge, camp merge, merge games, camp merge, grid merge, revenue, downloads, player frustrations, player motivations, game economy, gameplay mechanics, grid merge games, game loops, mechanics, balancing, economy, board space, relief orders, energy management, generator cooldowns, events, player engagement, monetization, ad placements, economy balancing, storage space monetization, visual design, user experience, collectible album system, ad revenue, Merge Mansion, Gossip Harbor, creatives, big board, UGC, story-driven, altered gameplay, sexist content, Travel Town, event pipeline, progression balancing

Agenda:
09:28 The History of Merge Games
53:48 Balancing the Economy and Resource Management
01:02:46 Implementing a Collectible Album System
01:15:11 Optimizing Ad Placements and End Cards
01:30:46 UA & Creative Showdown The Use of Big Boards and UGC
01:39:09 The Impact of Story-Driven Narratives

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