In Analytics insights, Free to play, Games Analytics

One of the most frequently asked questions we get at deltaDNA is, how do my KPIs compare to other mobile games? With over 1,000 games in our system, this is a question we are well equipped to answer. To do so, we needed to break games into some broad categories. Genre has an important impact on performance metrics, as do other factors such as country, gender, acquisition channel and even season. Here we will ignore the latter factors and simply break our games into 4 broad categories:

  1. Action – FPS and RPG based games
  2. Strategy – RTS and other builder games
  3. Puzzle – match 3, hidden object and quiz based games
  4. Social Casino – slots, poker and everything in-between!

For the purposes of this blog, we have chosen 6 KPIs to compare; Day 1 Retention (D1), Day 7 Retention (D7), % installs that convert to spenders (% Convert to Spender), Avg. Revenue per installing Player (ARPU), the avg. length of the first session (Minutes 1st Session), and the fraction of spenders who convert in the first session (%Spenders Convert During 1st Session).

KPIs by genre of F2P game

Obviously, these categories miss some games types, like sports games, or result in awkward matches, for example, we placed collectible card games in the strategy group. Using these genres with our KPIs results in the following table:

Heatmap of KPI results


For a few of these KPIs, in particular %Convert to Spender and ARPU, it is worth noting we only considered the first 60 days of gameplay for each player. A few results are striking at first glance:

  • The Day 1 Retention and %Convert To Spender of all genres are fairly similar, with only a 25% relative difference between the worst and best Day 1 Retention and only a 15% range in %Convert to Spender.
  • Action and Strategy games have the best Day 1 Retention and ARPU
  • Despite having lower Day 1 Retention, Puzzle games and Social Casino have better Day 7 Retention than other game types.
  • Strategy games convert half of their spenders in the first session, compared to 32-36% for other game types.

How F2P game mechanics by genre affect KPIs

These trends can be interpreted by understanding the F2P game mechanics these different genres use. For example, good relative KPIs for Action and Strategy games is not that surprising. These games tend to draw a more committed audience of mid-to-hardcore gamers and generally have a good amount of content. The key different between the two is that strategy games tend to use time blockers extensively, which naturally leads to a shorter first session and a high conversion rate in the first session (since players essentially have the choice to pay or wait).

The more casual Puzzle and Social Casino games typically have worse Day 1 Retention, although this may be ascribed more to the broader install base of these games than to the typically mid-to-hard core audience of the Action and Strategy games. The better long term Retention of these games is of interest; with their (usually) simple game loop, they may have better long-term ‘playability’ than the other genres.

The ARPU figures for these games are likely to be lower simply because of the short 60 day window we have applied to this analysis. And the LTV of these games is likely to be as good as the Action and Strategy games due to their better long-term retention. Indeed, the low ARPU reflects the strategically different approach towards monetization that these games take, opting for many low-value transactions over an extended period of time, as opposed to one or two big early purchases.

Is there an opportunity for your game?

These KPIs are useful when determining if your game is up to scratch, but they also reveal the current state-of-play in F2P. Mid-to-hardcore Action and Strategy games aim to get players engaged and spending big early, while more casual games take a long-term view towards player management. These characteristics may be innate to these genres, but it is worth considering if this highlights a missed opportunity; should casual games do more to win over players early with better on-boarding, front-loaded content and a smoother difficulty curve? Likewise, could Action and Strategy games retain players longer with the frequent content updates, PRM and social aspects commonly found in casual games?


If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in reading Do F2P games monetize on old mobiles? 

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