Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Figure 5-7: 5th Planet's Dawn of the Dragons
Winkler's gamble paid off. He is now co-CEO of 5th Planet Games, based in Roseville, a small town near
Sacramento. The company is profitable and counts 32 employees. Although the user base for their games is
small—as of this writing, in mid-2012, Dawn of the Dragons has 90,000 MAU and Legacy has 40,000 MAU—
for Facebook, their monetization rates are extremely high. ARPU is over $1 per month per user overall, and
Legacy of a Thousand Suns is close to $3 per month per user, with some individuals and groups spending up to
$5,000 a month, and 15-20 percent of total users monetizing.
“We're playing in a different league,” as Winkler puts it. Indeed. As noted in Chapter 3, a well-designed,
well-monetized Facebook game will typically earn 50 cents to 1 dollar in ARPU per monthly player, and is
extremely lucky to get 5-9 percent of players monetizing. So clearly, 5th Planet Games has found a very suc-
cessful niche creating games they're passionate about. Legacy of a Thousand Suns, in particular, has beautiful
artwork and a deep, highly involving story—both rare in Facebook games.
How did they do it? Winkler shared some secrets to 5th Planet's success. These secrets are discussed in the
following sections.
Differentiate the Game with Great Art and
Legacy of a Thousand Suns has some of the most polished art and music of any Facebook game (even compared
to the major publishers), a design choice Winkler and team made early on, to differentiate themselves from
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