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Kabam: Male-Targeted Social Games Can Be Lucrative

In a feature interview on Gamasutra today, Kabam, developer of several 'core'-targeted social games, said Facebook titles that skew towards male audiences can be lucr
In a feature interview on Gamasutra today, Kabam, developer of several 'core'-targeted social games, said Facebook titles that skew towards male audiences can be lucrative. Kabam's releases, which include strategy titles like Dragons of Atlantis and Global Warfare, attract an audience that's on average 72 percent male, over half of which are under 40 years old -- very different from the older, female-dominated userbases more casual social games bring in. And while those gamers may have a significantly smaller player base than their casual counterparts -- around one to three million monthly active users -- the San Francisco-based developer claims hardcore players try out more games and spend more time playing those games. "They report a much higher incidence of purchasing in-game content, and spend more on their purchases," said Kabam's chief product officer Andrew Sheppard. "The challenge is in creating a game that will appeal, attract, retain and motivate these players as purchasers. That's no easy task." Kixeye (Backyard Monsters, Battle Pirates), which also creates core-targeted social games, added that its hardcore players' purchases are often motivated by different needs, as they tend to buy "functional items" that improve their gameplay experience or performance. "We tested decorative items that have no bearing on score or performance," said Kixeye CEO Will Harbin. "We thought it would go gangbusters, but it was really like crickets chirping. Nobody really cared about putting bonsai trees, flags, or tiki torches around their yard." "[In Battle Pirates], people are spending a whole lot of money on their offensive capabilities, and a whole lot of money on their defensive capabilities -- so things like weapons, armor, ship hulls, and things like that. Some choose to speed up their ship repairs so they can get right back out there and battle." The full interview, which covers the current and future state of core-targeted social games from the perspective of both big and small developers, is now live on Gamasutra.

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