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Performance measurement in the social gaming industry – KPIs for online games


Online games KPIs

Along with the rise of social networking sites, a new type of games emerged and found favorable grounds to develop. These are the so called social games, simple games that let people play with their friends on networking sites such as Facebook. (Gross, D., CNN, 2010)

One developer of such games, Zynga, uses indicators to monitor their games’ attractiveness in order to improve them, and even focus them efficiently towards social causes (Zynga, 2009). Some of the performance measures are:

  • # Unique active players per month per game
  • # Unique active players per day per game
  • % Female players
  • # Average session length
  • # Most popular time to play
  • # Users purchasing virtual goods per month
  • % Revenues from direct user purchases
  • $ Funds raised for social causes by purchasing virtual goods across games

Online games KPIs

The most popular games developed by Zynga are FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Cafe World or FishVille, out of which FarmVille won the Best New Social/Online Game Award in 2010 at the Game Developers Choice. One measure used to evaluate the success of the game is the number of players per month, as Bill Mooney from Zynga states: “85 million players a month can’t be wrong” (Zynga, 2010).

One essential element of social games, which also makes them so popular, is that they “can be played in a tab on your browser while you’re on a conference call”, as Mark Pincus, a veteran Web entrepreneur who created Zynga in 2007, said (Gross, D., CNN, 2010).


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