Football Mafia is a shameless experiment in addiction

As an industry, the games we produce are there to provide you fun, emotion, depth. We will call it entertainment and we will even say it will give you an experience like no other. It will teach you something, train your brain or improve your reaction. While the naked truth is something else… Something much more sinister.

We will never admit it. But we want you to be addicted to our games. Especially within the free to play genre. A genre that rules the app stores. A genre that generates over 70% of the revenues. A genre that simply only exist due to addiction.

So what provides the psychologic reaction we call addiction? That is something we at OrangeGames wanted to explore in a bare minimum with Football Mafia. Obviously we are not the first, and not the only ones. The most simple example of stripped down, clean beautiful addiction is cookie clicker. I click, I gain from it and invest that so my next click gains me more. But the next investment is more expensive, and so on. Real world example. World of Warcraft, you start with a wooden sword and slay a pig. You end up with a huge steel forged sword and slay a dragon.

Retention means money

Interestedly enough the action is the same. It will only cost you a couple of weeks to own the sword and meet the dragon. To reach that point basically is addiction. Not in one go… But in baby steps. You are rewarded on many occasions in that process. In big productions like World of Warcraft, the rewards and the process is of high production value. So our challenge was to provide the same satisfaction but with as low investment as possible.

The examples of games that tap into this addiction are countless, Clash of Clans, Sim City Build It, Tiny Tower, Empires & Allies, Star Wars Commander, The Smurfs. The list goes on and on. Little skill, high addiction. And that is why we created Football Mafia. One screen, no fancy 3D graphics, only satisfying the bare psychological emotion of wanting to click again. And clicking again, coming back means retention… And retention means making money.

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Bare naked addiction

Currently the one day retention of the game is far over 40%. Which means it’s in the top 10% of retention benchmark. Day seven retention is about 15%. Which is in the top 20% of industry benchmark. To be honest this is not good enough. But for a game that took less than a week to produce, it’s actually not bad at all. There are many high quality productions that wish to have a one day retention higher than 40%. We have a good idea where the game flaws to have even higher retention numbers. It actually lacks a complete additional layer that should have been there.

As you can see on these graphs, Football Mafia has a single addiction progression line. While ideally you provide the player with the idea that after taking a step back, you can progress faster and further. In reality the player is set to the base line over and over again, but the feeling he gets is that he is progressing towards that ultimate high.

But adding that layer of addiction, resetting your progress for a special currency, would have cost us at least another couple of days. And that would have overshot our original goal: Make a bare naked addiction game, based on a news worthy topic within a week. And we believe we succeeded. After being in a big Dutch newspaper, Radio interviews, and more Dutch articles we look at the analytics of the game and conclude. We had a huge amount of fun, spend only a couple of days, learned a lot and made fun of the football industry in the process.

Jurriaan van Teunenbroek
Jurriaan van Teunenbroek
Founder of Youdagames. Head of Products OrangeGames. Producer of many games recently including Stratego and Football Mafia.

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