Competitive TrendsMatch 3 / Puzzle

  • Competitors: Competitors: Fishdom, Gardenscapes, Homescapes, Mansion Blast, Home Design Challenge, Wildscapes, Slices, Township Farm & City, Wordscapes, Clockmaker, Meow Match, Home Design Makeover, Jelly Juice, Lily’s Garden, My Home, Paint by Number, Sweet Road, Vineyard Valley, Brain Out, Candy Crush, Cookie Jam, Disney Magic Kingdoms, Fashion Blogger, Fashion Boutique, Museum Story, Sweet Escapes, Tropicats, Tropic Trouble, Choices, Dragon City, Episode, Hustle Castle, Lost Island, Merge Dragons!, Party in My Dorm, The Simpsons, Covet Fashion, Klondike, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, June’s Journey, Panda Pop, Manor Cafe, Home Blast, Hidden Resort
  • Top Competitors: Match 3 Toon Blast, Farm Heroes Saga, Bubble Witch 3 Saga, Toy Blast, Candy Smash Mania, Jewel Crush, Jewel Fever, Candy Blast Mania, Candy Pop, Sugar Blast, Cookie Jam Top Match 3 game.
  • Top Competitors: Building Matchington Mansion, Homescapes, Gardenscapes, Township, Fishdom, Coin Master
  • View competitive videos here

Match 3 / Puzzle Trends

  • Puzzles: Locks & Gates and other puzzles that challenges users to free a game character (Fishdom, Gardenscapes, Homescapes, many others)
  • Picker Videos: 3D or 2D situations with picker, often resulting in disastrous fails. (Township, Sweet Escapes, Manor Cafe, many others)
  • Hidden Items: Videos or still images that contain hidden items the user must find. (Meow Match, June’s Journey)
  • Design Challenges: Tasks that must completed within an allotted time or budget. (Design Home, Sweet Escapes)
  • Real Player Gameplay: Split screen featuring a player and gameplay. (Jelly Juice)
  • Female-Centered Vignettes: Women overcoming adversity and men behaving badly in soap opera situations. (Lily’s Garden, Choices, Vineyard Valley, My Home: Design Dreams)
  • Choose Your Adventure: Series of situations where you choose between two actions. (Choices, Episode)
  • Game Controller: Picker that mimics a game console, guiding character through levels. (Candy Crush, Hustle Castle)

Match 3 / Puzzle

  • Lifestyle and Gameplay: Showing lifestyle footage and gameplay that matches image (Toon Blast, Farm Hero Saga)
  • Gameplay + Side Character: Gameplay elements leaving screen to interact with character (Candy Blast Mania, Candy Smash Mania, )
  • Mixing gameplay with narrative: Storybook narration, Coloring book style (Bubble Witch Saga))
  • 3D effect: Characters “floating” above gameplay (Farm Heroes Saga)
  • Funny but still cute: Evil character getting hit by gameplay, mentioning how you can’t get weight by playing candy games (Candy Blast Mania, Bubble Witch Saga))
  • Incorporating game to solve a problem: Using gameplay to find key to escape a room (Candy Smash mania)

Player Motivations

  • Sample motivations for playing:
  • Stress relief
  • Complete levels or beat score
  • Killing time
  • Escape from "real life"
  • Socialize with friends, family or other people

Player Motivations

  • The Most Common Primary Motivations for Women are Completion and Fantasy:
  • For women, Completion (get all stars/collectibles, complete all missions) and Fantasy (being someone else, somewhere else) are the most common primary motivations, while Excitement (fast-paced, action, surprises, thrills) and Challenge (practice, high difficulty missions) are the least common.
  • These gender differences seem to align with stereotypes, but as we've pointed out before, age differences are often just as large if not more so.
  • Completion is the Most Low-Risk, High-Reward Motivation:
  • One finding that surprised us was consistently high Completion (get all stars/collectibles, complete all missions) placed across all the charts. Whether we're comparing gender or age segments, Completion is always in the top 3. In this sense, Completion is a very low-risk, high-reward motivation.
  • It helps explain why games that emphasize Completion, such as Pokemon Go, can be so broadly appealing across different demographic segments, especially when these games also steer away from motivations that are more volatile and polarizing, such as Completion.
  • Source: Quantic Foundry, 7 Things We Learned About Primary Gaming Motivations From Over 250,000 Gamers

Player Motivations

  • Here's an Illustration of what such a motivation map looks for mobile puzzle games (games like Candy Crush, Pet Rescue or Bubble Witch):
  • The data tells us that puzzle games players would like to have more Immersion and Creativity in their games. This could provide an explanation to the success of titles such as Gardenscapes or Homescapes, who provide players with some light narrative and decoration options
  • Puzzle Players, broken down by clusters:
  • 55% of players (Completionists and Solvers) are quite happy with their games as they are
  • 25% of players (Explorers and Designers) are where the narrative/decoration opportunity lies
  • 20% of players (Champions) are interested in a more social puzzle game
  • Written by Ishai Smadja, Product Manager @ King // Player of Games // Contrarian

Concept: Faux Hidden Items Gameplay

  • Faux “relaxing” games are interrupted by exciting interactions/fights between characters:
  • Begin video with slower games like hidden items or word games, with header like “Find 5 Bats”
  • Characters break through painting as others chase with a (baseball) bat
  • Competitor/Share of Voice:
  • N/A
  • Player Motivations:
  • Decorative/creative opening could attract puzzle players

Concept: Locks and Gates

  • New 2D animation style
  • Try characters in "How to Loot?" where a lock releases sweets or allows her to escape
  • Test “What’s Next?” vs FAIL - to appeal to new users Leverage “dumb ways to die” assets
  • Competitor/Share of Voice:
  • Gardenscapes: 96%
  • Homescapes: 36%
  • Player Motivations:
  • Engage puzzle players who want to complete challenges

Concept: Connect The Dots

  • Create videos where finger connects dots to create Matchington characters:
  • Simple background
  • Engages viewer’s curiosity
  • Can speak to game truths like Clockmaker’s “We know you’re tired of Match-3 ads..”
  • Competitor/Share of Voice:
  • Sweet Escapes
  • Player Motivations:
  • Targets player need for creativity and narrative in games

Concept: Serial Storytelling

  • Serial storytelling style:
  • Soap opera clichés and adult situations to capture the attention of the 25-54 female demographic
  • Minimal scenes (“UP” style opening)
  • Rival characters fighting over a love interest
  • Female characters overcoming odds and bad male behavior
  • Competitor/Share of Voice:
  • Lily’s Garden: 91% SOV
  • Player Motivations:
  • Targets player need for narrative in games

Perilous Situations

  • Rescue situations: Feature characters. Leverage pop culture, movies, or just mini games
  • Character holding rope bridge (Indiana Jones)
  • Character holding a clock (Harold Lloyd)
  • Dumb ways to die concepts
  • HS/GS “in a theme tied to the game”

Concept: Pop Culture

  • “Nailed It” TV show, predicted winner, iterate with new items (gingerbread) 2 item pickers, new fail, new kitchen items
  • Best Fiends throwback ad featured familiar “I Love Lucy” black and white opening. Leverage familiar TV show opens with characters that speak to our target demo

Concept: Hidden Objects

  • Count off hidden items or count the difference between side by side images of environments

Concept: Comedic Voice Over

  • Create videos that juxtapose gameplay with funny voice over:
  • Showcases gameplay and graphics
  • Mimics player dialogue
  • Uses subtitles
  • Competitor/Share of Voice:
  • Icing on the Cake: 54% SOV
  • Rise of Kingdoms: 72% SOV
  • Questland: 8% SOV
  • Player Motivations:
  • Mirrors social aspect of puzzle games

Concept: Character Competitions

  • Feature game characters in different competitions:
  • Slap Off
  • Strip Poker (word search removes items of clothing, will keep it PG)
  • Funny way to show character in new environment
  • Competitor/Share of Voice:
  • Slap King: 100% SOV
  • Slap Master: 100% SOV
  • Sinful Puzzle: 13% SOV
  • Player Motivations:
  • Targets competitive players

Concept: Off to the Races

  • Create videos featuring game characters in different races:
  • Water slide race, Car race, running race
  • Dress up characters as mascots at baseball game, make it interactive with “see who wins”
  • Showcases characters in new game environment
  • Engages viewers who’ll want to see who wins
  • Competitor/Share of Voice:
  • Aquapark: 83% SOV
  • Player Motivations:
  • Targets competitive players

Concept: One Word at a Time Stories

  • Simple text-based videos with attitude that entice or antagonize viewers:
  • Simple background
  • Easy to make and test
  • Can speak to game truths like Clockmaker’s “We know you’re tired of Match-3 ads...”
  • Competitor/Share of Voice:
  • Clockmaker 83% SOV
  • Player Motivations:
  • Targets player need for creativity and narrative in games

Incorporate gameplay cleverly

  • Audience Profile: Completion & Design
  • Make the gameplay a crucial component of the ad story.
  • Examples:
  • Gameplay allows you to open a door to escape room
  • Gameplay gives the key to save a character
  • Use various shapes to present gameplay (heart-shaped, flower, circle)

Mix Lifestyle and Gameplay

  • Audience Profile:
  • Fantasy Opening ad with lifestyle that matches gameplay/characters
  • Adding elements of game characters to lifestyle footage
  • Make Lifestyle part of the story

Maximize Gameplay Blocks

  • Audience Profile: Fantasy, excitement
  • Make gameplay parts interact with other elements of ad
  • Examples:
  • Gameplay blocks hit evil character
  • Gameplay blocks come to life and take over screen
  • Gameplay blocks talk to each other discussing ways to make a big move

Risqué Ideas

  • Audience Profile:
  • Destruction and Excitement Less brand focused (Matchington Mansion, Homescapes)
  • Irreverent elements
  • Examples:
  • Inclusion of gross items
  • Physical discomfort
  • Can’t look away style
  • Humor

Target Different Player Motivations

  • Target Different User Clusters:
  • CTA always on in non-picker: Play Now, Try Yourself, etc.
  • End Card “FAIL” appeals to certain users, test “What’s Next?”, “Try Yourself”, etc...

Test Gameplay Elements

  • Continue using hand style creative, but make it have a purpose:
  • Selection crucial to narration
  • Selection moves ad forward

Add Narrative

  • Add narrative to best performers transitions in order to explain the story better
  • Help understand what the goal is

Test Level Completed - Player Motivation

  • Ad levels completed to gameplay best performers (Audience main motivation is completion)
  • Emphasize the amount of levels
  • Challenge user to get to higher levels

Test Mini Fails vs One Big Fail

  • Show a succession of mini fails followed by the big fail ending
  • Add fail sounds to emphasize mistake

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