The reason games go viral

Discussion in 'General Game Discussion and Questions' started by NelsonH, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. NelsonH

    NelsonH Member

    Nov 18, 2014
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    I've been doing research on viral games for last few months. I was wondering how these games went viral so quickly.

    Take for Example Flappy bird. That game didn't have high end graphics, no levels or stages. Not even a storyline, just a simple tap and play game.

    It was in the appstore about 3 months before getting any heavy downloads, then BAM it goes viral. The developer never paid for marketing the game.

    From what I have found in my research is, social media was the key start. After youtube star PewDiePie did a video about it, Facebook users started making videos and posting scores then Vine and Instagram videos took it over the top.

    After that is hit the news on gaming sites which made it go more viral. Was PewDiePie the reason it went viral? or was it something else?

    So now I'm wondering can going viral like this be repeated? Is Social media really the key to success? Should we contact Youtubers and Viners to market our games instead of ad agencies?

    what are your thoughts?
     
  2. Professor jermiah

    Professor jermiah Active Member

    Dec 30, 2013
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    #2 Professor jermiah, Dec 7, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
    You know, I been wondering myself why games like Flappy Bird get popular. You're most likey right about social media, but also your idea of an alternate advertising thing vs mainstream, could be promising.

    Its not just the social aspect that could make a game go viral, but also the game itself. The game has to be easy to pick up, free, not in depth and has to have some competitivie aspect.

    I seen these aspects over and over again in games that have gotten popular at my school. A few examples would be Flappy Bird, Don't tap the white tile, 2048 and now Words with Friends.

    If you look at all of them, you will see that they all have the same qualities i mentioned above.

    I know tons of games that have those qualities, but why did those few stand out, amongst thousands of others? Its probably like you said social media.
     
  3. magicgamestudio

    magicgamestudio Well-Known Member

    Viral app

    I would really like to know what makes a good game go viral, too.

    I think YouTube is a big component.

    Also, there is an article about how maybe flappy bird went viral when it wasn't so popular to shoot up really quickly. Some people think dark patterns were used.

    Just search for dark patterns flappy bird (just for those 4 terms) for some interesting reads on everyone's favorite search engine that starts with G and look at the business insider article and venturebeat.

    Very interesting reads.
     
  4. Mene

    Mene <b>ACCOUNT CLOSED</b>: <em>Officially</em> Quit iO

    Mar 18, 2012
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    I'd say kiddies who use faecesbook.

    I'd also say that alone is good enough reason to avoid any games they promote like the plague they are ;)
     
  5. madreviewer

    madreviewer Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    Game communities
     
  6. CrossbowRules

    CrossbowRules Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2014
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    LUCK, I say.
     
  7. NelsonH

    NelsonH Member

    Nov 18, 2014
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    Another thing I noticed is once your game goes viral, it's possible to make other games you develop afterwards go viral or at least hit the top 20 in app stores.

    After Flappy Bird, swing copters went viral before it was released - but that didn't last long due to the game's difficulty.

    However Ketchapp, has several of their games in top 100 apps - (all pick and play type games). They show ads in their most downloaded games to promote their new releases. That is a great marketing tool.

    But once again, I'm wondering how and when did the first Ketchapp Game go viral...

    I released my first Game, "Naxus" recently. With zero marketing, I was getting about 5-10 downloads a day (except the first day 80+) about 2 weeks ago. Not great at all, but as time progresses, the numbers of downloads jumps a little more each week.

    A good thing is once people play my game, they continue to play it almost daily, so I can see it is pretty addictive to some users. It seems word of mouth is happening, but slowly.

    I started marketing/promoting on twitter and app review sites. Results aren't that good so far.

    So now for the next few weeks, I will try to promote on youtube, facebook and vine to see if social media will increase the downloads.

    to be continued...
     
  8. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
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    No one knows the reason why games go viral. If they did they would use that method to make sure all their games go viral !

    I still dont get Flappy Bird, i found that 'hardened' iOS gamers didnt seem keen on it but it was a great game for the 'non-gamers'. Theres 100000's of people out there who love iphones as 'its an iphone' but rarely play games, eg my wife/all her friends have the latest iphones but rarely play games on it. They all got 'addicted' to Flappy Bird for a few days at least. Most gamers i know hated it (i know i did !) and it was one of these clever marketed 'fads' which lasted a short space of time.

    It was interesting to hear the hype about his second game which people seemed to go crazy for until they played the game (as that game was too hard for most and not fun)

    I'm sure for many years people will talk about the Flappy Bird craze in one of these 'top 50 strange things of the 2010's' on TV etc
     
  9. sinagog

    sinagog Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2014
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    I wan't to give the smartarse answer, "Because they're infectious!", but I'm not sure that's really it, as there are a ton of games I would have figured would be huge, only to find out the devs are mortgaging their homes after poor sales.

    You know, if used correctly, this very forum can have quite a huge effect, as the story of 10000000 attests. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-09/04/luca-redwood
     
  10. Shaun Musgrave

    Shaun Musgrave Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2013
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    It's easy, just get Pewdiepie to play it. It'll go viral. :p
     
  11. NelsonH

    NelsonH Member

    Nov 18, 2014
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    wish it was that easy...

    Many youtubers don't create gameplay videos until the game reaches the top 20. :(
     
  12. Aden Apps

    Aden Apps Active Member

    Nov 25, 2014
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    To add to points made above, the game must be easy to share (have embedded sharing capabilities)
     
  13. NelsonH

    NelsonH Member

    Nov 18, 2014
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    I just realize that. I've receive several emails and messages asking me to add Facebook, Twitter, etc., to share their scores.

    I guess that does help build awareness a lot faster. A majority of the popular games all have social sharing.
     
  14. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
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    Dont agree with that. I cant stand games who want me to spam/market their app using my own personal facebook/twitter accounts. If one of my cousins was spamming me on facebook with iOS stuff i'll block him !

    What happened to the old days before social media where you could just 'play a game' instead of getting spammed left right and centre by someone on Facebook just so they can get '50 coins' on a game if they share their facebook account !

    So frustrating
     
  15. Primoz

    Primoz Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2012
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    Yes, but we are the minority. The majority it seems are casual gamers who like to tweet everytime they break their own or someone elses highscore. Aden Apps was not making a subjective remark, but stated an objective fact. You cant disagree with that.
     
  16. Aden Apps

    Aden Apps Active Member

    Nov 25, 2014
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    This is an age-old question that is applicable not just in games, but in other categories. The best answer is to first make a very catchy game that the user truly enjoys. After that, publicity will carry you through. Ultimately, if the user is happy and trusts you, things will take care of themselves
     
  17. NelsonH

    NelsonH Member

    Nov 18, 2014
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    People can't download it, if they don't know it exists. That is currently what I'm going thru now. 85% of the people that download my game continue to play it days afterwards (so i think they like it since it wasn't deleted). My problem is building awareness.

    I have notice the longer my game is there the more downloads continue to grow.
    That might be the word of mouth working...
     
  18. magicgamestudio

    magicgamestudio Well-Known Member

    App Store Optimization

    Well, if you can't get people to become aware of it, then that's not good.

    More downloads and reviews leads to more downloads and reviews, naturally, because besides a new person coming in the rank can go up in app store for your keywords.

    I think there's a statistic that says 60% of downloads or something like that or games are through searching the app store. The other 40% are through word of mouth or what not or outside of searching the app store. Externally discovering apps.

    But I think the main reason for an app going viral of course, is Youtube. Did you know Pewdiepie has 7 billion views across all videos and 24 million+ views on his flappy bird video alone?

    He's has the most famous YouTube channel in the world and even surpassed the official YouTube channel in popularity, etc.

    I am not a YouTuber but I read about this and saw his channel's stats.

    With getting featured like that I think any app would go viral. No matter how good or bad it is.
     
  19. Aden Apps

    Aden Apps Active Member

    Nov 25, 2014
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    I downloaded Naxus and left a good review. I like the game a lot. Great job!
     
  20. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Yep, that's "all" it was. Some trade websites looked into this in forensic detail and there was only that one spike. The rest after that was automatic.
     

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