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Comment: WildTangent CEO On Casual Game Conversion Rates

Following up on Russell Carroll's <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20060711/carroll_01.shtml">Gamasutra article on casual game conversion rates</a> published yesterday, casual game firm WildTangent's CEO Alex St John has sent in an intriguing <a

Simon Carless, Blogger

July 12, 2006

2 Min Read

Following up on Russell Carroll's Gamasutra article on casual game conversion rates published yesterday, casual game firm WildTangent's CEO Alex St. John has sent in an intriguing Letter To The Editor on the piece. St. John's missive doesn't necessarily contest the article's concepts, but does comment forcefully on the fact that conversion rate itself can vary wildly, depending on the market targeted. His comments are as follows: "I just read the article on casual game conversion rates, and felt a strong need to try to get the facts out for everyone. First, Microsoft's claimed Xbox Live conversion rates are a wonderful statistical contrivance. They are not comparable in any way to online casual game conversion rates, for one simple reason. Xbox Live users are extremely pre-qualified game buyers before they ever try a casual game. If you apply even a very low standard of pre-qualification to a online casual game buyer, conversion rates soar as well. In our case at WildTangent, we see 51% conversion rates for users who have purchased a game from us previously and try a new one. The seemingly low conversion rates of casual games on the Internet are also the result of some selective statistics. At WildTangent, we ship games pre-installed on all Dell, HP, Compaq and Toshiba computers. What we see is that the average computer has 3-4 family members using it, and one principal credit card buyer. Kids play lots of casual games, but when it comes to making a purchase, they rely on Mom or Dad to make the buy for them. The result is that we see sales concentrated to a small subset of buyers who are often buying games for more than just themselves. Casual game conversion rates would leap 2X-3X if kids had a means of making online purchases for themselves."

About the Author(s)

Simon Carless


Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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