Breaking Down the Success of Wordscapes: How to Strengthen Longevity in Your Casual Game
Wordscapes, now nearly 4 years old, has captivated the world as one of the most successful word games on the market. Over the years, the game has evolved to deepen player loyalty through creative Liveops events, ever-challenging levels, a highly engaged social media community, and opportunities for players to collect beautiful collectible stickers and butterflies. All of these efforts continue to strengthen brand loyalty and engage the Wordscapes community.
Within broad market casual, Wordscapes is a strong example of how a game continues to thrive. In an increasingly competitive market with plenty of new games launching daily, how do you stay relevant while continuing to grow your player base and retain your existing users?
To uncover what’s been most impactful for the success and longevity of Wordscapes, we spoke with PeopleFun’s Chief Product and Analytics Officer, Carol Miu.
Carol oversees product and tests new features. She believes that Wordscapes’s universal appeal and wide user demographic is one reason for the game’s success, saying, “It’s for all ages. It’s a fun, relaxing game that fits nicely into the rhythm of people’s everyday lives.”
How to think about player growth and longevity
When you initially launch a game, Carol pointed out that you don’t want to make it overly complex, simply because the market isn’t familiar with your game.
“Wordscapes was quite simple when it first launched. As we added new features, we considered the life stage of our product and the tenure of our existing player base. We wanted to enhance the game with new, exciting features for users to engage with and offer them at the right time so that new players wouldn’t get overwhelmed.”
“We have players that are nearly 4 years old, and we also have players that just installed the app this morning. So we needed to think about the best ways to develop our product in such a way that it delights and retains both types of users.”
New players vs. Seasoned
The Wordscapes user lifecycle is laid out in a way that engages them incrementally and expands possibilities over time. New Wordscapes players are introduced to the core gameplay. Once they reach a certain level, specific features are unlocked, such as daily puzzle, tournaments, teams, and other Liveops events. As the user progresses, the levels become increasingly more complicated with master levels and longer words.
Carol noted, “Once the players have been in the game of about a week or so, we expose them to weekend tournaments and teams. We’ve also added opportunities to collect stickers, which is a solo, non-competitive event. Players can put their stickers in an album and use it as their player portrait.”
These events have proved to be successful, as lifetime value (LTV) increased by 40 percent in the last three years.
How to prioritize product, UA, and monetization
It’s been said that product, user acquisition (UA), and monetization are three important elements in scaling a mobile game.
For Wordscapes, UA and monetization have been unique experiences for growth. The partnership with AppLovin helps their team streamline this part of the business so they can focus on making great games.
Carol smiled, saying, “This is the beauty of the relationship with AppLovin. I’m able to be laser-focused on the product. AppLovin and MAX help drive targeted user acquisition and ad monetization, especially during a new feature launch.”
Big takeaways: The evolution of Wordscapes and the industry
“Our understanding of the broad market casual space has evolved so much over the years. I remember when I first joined the team—back then, the thinking was that casual was a completely different player base from mid-core with different motivations. I came from a mid-core RPG background and wanted to adopt and simplify mid-core features that were tried and true in driving engagement and monetization. Over time, we saw developers such as Rovio and Playrix find success with this strategy, and our appetite for developing these types of features grew,” Carol recalled.
Back then developers in broad market casual hadn’t embraced mid-core Liveops events and monetization mechanics.
Carol further explained, “These things were seen as being too intense for casual players—for example, the prevailing thought was that your grandma couldn’t understand them. But now, these limited-time Liveops events are big money makers, even in casual.”
Understanding player motivation
“Our understanding of players and their motivations have improved dramatically. We now know that casual players are interested in features that were once deemed only for a mid-core audience.”
Staying competitive means listening to what players want and figuring out how to keep them intrigued and motivated to play. For Wordscapes, they increased player engagement through fun, limited-time Liveops events and providing opportunities for users to showcase their scores and stickers to the community.
Watch out for The Butterfly Event: Wordscapes’ next Liveops!
Currently, the team at PeopleFun is in the testing phase for The Butterfly Event, a brand new Liveops event. The event allows users to collect eye-catching butterflies and then display them in a lush habitat. Look out for this limited-time event in the app.
When asked if there’s anything else she’s looking forward to in the year, Carol enthusiastically replied, “Celebrating Wordscapes’ fourth birthday in June!”