The Strategic Advantage of Partnering
with Time-Tested Mobile Games
for Brand Collaborations

Kevin Bahler
PR Manager, Blog contributor
In today's fast-paced digital landscape, the allure of partnering with the latest viral mobile game can be tempting for brand managers and marketers. The promise of instant visibility and engagement rides high on the wave of a game's peak hype. However, this approach bears considerable risks.

By the time a brand collaboration materializes, the initial excitement surrounding the game may have dwindled, leaving brands with far lower outcomes than expected. This article delves into why brand owners and managers should pivot their strategy towards collaborating with mobile games that have stood the test of time, offering consistent play and engagement.
Table of Contents

  • The Rise and Fall of Mobile Game Hype
  • Analyzing the Lifecycle and Success of Mobile Games
  • Why Time-Tested Games Are Better for Brand Collaborations
  • Criteria for Selecting a Mobile Game for Collaboration
  • Getting Started: How PlayMGT Connects Brands and Games
The Rise and Fall
of Mobile Game Hype
The mobile gaming industry is notorious for its rapid hype cycles. New games can skyrocket to fame overnight, only to fade into obscurity just as quickly. Understanding these trends is crucial for brands looking to invest in collaborations.
Understanding the Hype Cycle
At its core, hype is all about excitement and anticipation of playing a great game. Hype comes from several sources:
  • Traditional media outlets
  • Social media buzz
  • Online influencers
  • Livestreamers

Hype will always cause a sharp spike in downloads, but if the game itself doesn’t offer a sufficiently engaging experience, it will show in the following weeks and months.

For example, Niantic’s Pokemon GO was an immediate hit when it released in 2016, no doubt due to using the Pokemon IP and the novelty of augmented reality (AR) games. However, six months later, over 80% of its players had quit and moved on.

To be clear, Pokemon GO is still beloved by its fans, but this title perfectly illustrates the difference between how much engagement hype can generate compared to how much the gameplay itself can retain.
Report: 83% of Mobile Games Fail Within 3 Years
A recent white paper titled Good Games Don’t Die released by SuperScale surveyed 500 game developers in the US and UK, with several surprising results. The first one is that more than 4 out of 5 mobile games will shut down in less than 3 years, which includes incredibly popular IPs such as Niantic’s Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Nintendo’s Dr. Mario World.

Another important revelation was that 76% of mobile games reach their peak revenue in their first year. This is undeniable proof that initial popularity and novelty will never be a valid indicator of a game’s long-term success.
Analyzing the Lifecycle
and Success of Mobile Games
To select the right partner for brand collaborations, it's important to understand the lifecycle of mobile games, and how to identify key metrics of success.
Successful Games are Alive
No matter how popular any game is, it will eventually get boring. People will either complete it or lose interest when they get the same experience every time. Games that stagnate die. That’s why games that survive beyond 3 years have regular updates – once a month or more.

Although the specific kinds of updates will depend on the genre and other factors, some examples include:
  • New characters, costumes, equipment, etc.
  • Additional levels or challenges
  • New game modes
  • Holiday-themed cosmetic updates
  • Limited-time events

Some updates will be significant, like adding new game modes or introducing items that change power dynamics, and will happen less frequently. Cosmetic updates and events can happen every two weeks to keep people excited. Even if the game itself is old, these updates keep the hype, excitement, and novelty alive.
Metrics to Define Success
How we define success is always crucial. In the mobile game industry, there are several metrics that each shed some light on the full picture. In general, we can split them into two primary categories: popularity and profitability.

Ranking – The game’s score as seen in app stores (typically out of 5 stars) will show the general public appeal of the game, but doesn’t necessarily show how the core player base feels.
Total Downloads – This metric also gives an idea to the general popularity of the game, but must be measured against the age of the game.
Monthly Downloads – This shows how much active interest there is from new players. Games will spike in monthly downloads when the hype cycle starts, and typically level off in less than a year.
Monthly Active Users (MAU) – The number of players who engage at least once per month. These can be considered the core player base.
Daily Active Users (DAU)– The number of players who open the app and engage every single day. These are the top fans and most engaged player base.
Total Revenue – For the lifetime of the game, how much money has it earned. This number is usually an estimate, as studios don’t want to give away all their secrets.
Revenue Last 30 Days – This will give an idea of the current financial health of the game. After a hype spike has subsided, this will show a more realistic expectation.
Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) – Usually given as a per month figure in a given currency. This is the monthly revenue divided by the monthly active users.
Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU) – Since most games use the freemium model, ARPPU filters out non-spending players.
Why Time-Tested Games Are Better for Brand Collaborations
Brands should avoid the impulse to simply choose the most popular game at the peak of the current hype cycle. Typically, the hype cycle for mobile games will last no more than 6 months. By the time a licensing deal has materialized and the campaign begins, the game’s popularity will likely have crashed down to its baseline. This can lead to extremely disappointing outcomes compared to what was forecast.

By collaborating with games that have proven track records of success over time, brands gain access to benefits far more valuable than chasing the newest fad.
Stable, Engaged Audience
Gamers, and mobile gamers especially, are very different to normal consumers because gaming is active and interactive. They don’t just passively view but are encouraged to click buttons, follow links, and acquire rewards as a habit. As a result, mobile gamers offer a much lower customer acquisition cost (CAC) and a higher customer lifetime value (CLV) compared to other forms of advertising.
Repeated Impressions
Limited-time brand collaborations can typically last up to a month, with players receiving branded impressions at every play session. This exclusive, repeated access to their attention associates their daily leisure activity with your brand and increased in-game rewards.
Once a successful game finds its core player base, it tends to stabilize in terms of popularity and revenue. This is a tremendous relief for managers interested in brand integrations because it allows for more accurate planning and forecasting of campaign outcomes. Predictable results also make time-tested mobile titles a preferred choice for recurring partnerships.
Brand Loyalty
Anyone who has played the same mobile game for several years has demonstrated their significant loyalty. Brands can convert loyal players into loyal customers by giving them positive experiences and an invitation to keep coming back.
Criteria for Selecting a Mobile Game for Collaboration
Selecting the right game for a brand collaboration involves assessing several key factors, such as:

Audience Alignment – Ensure that the game's player base aligns with the brand's target demographic.
Engagement Metrics – Analyze data on player engagement and retention rates to accurately gauge the potential impact of a collaboration.
Brand Fit and Values – The game should reflect the brand's values and image, creating a natural synergy between the two entities.
Getting Started: How PlayMGT Connects Brands and Games
PlayMGT takes the burden off brand owners by offering full licensing and brand integration services. We work exclusively with successful and popular mobile games that have stood the test of time. Our tailored approach ensures that each collaboration aligns with the brand's goals, maximizing impact and ROI. Throughout the active campaign, PlayMGT provides 24/7 data monitoring, and aggregates all key metrics into a final in-depth report at the end.

In the dynamic world of mobile gaming, the allure of the latest trend can be misleading. Strategic brand managers and marketers should look beyond the hype to time-tested games that offer consistent engagement and proven longevity. Partnering with these games not only mitigates the risks associated with fleeting trends but also ensures a more stable and rewarding collaboration for brands. Our agency stands ready to guide brands in navigating this landscape, leveraging our expertise and portfolio of enduring games to create meaningful and impactful partnerships.

Contact PlayMGT today for more information.
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