3/17/2014

Movie Star Planet - When releasing a new app

If you don't know Movie Star Planet it is probably because you are an adult or just not one of the cool kids. Movie Star Planet is a social network for children not old enough to have a facebook account. Millions of kids log in to this web based social network to gain Starcoins (currency) and Fame (Experience points) and all in all just have a safe and good time online with youngsters like them. 


You might think that Movie Star Planet is a nightmare for the parents of the users, not to mentioned their pocket. But it actually isn't! Movie Star Planet is quite noble about it, and are not one of those elbows deep in the children's piggy bank type of scams. Obviously they want to make money, which is why the children can opt for the totally free version or two types of monthly subscriptions, much like one would recognize from MMOs like World of Warcraft.

But what has this got to do with AppCrimes?

A natural way to access more potential users is to explore a huge existing marked of kids socializing and playing games - namely the AppStore. So why haven't Movie Star Planet made an app yet, channelling these kids over to their social network. Well they have. Three actually. Based on AppStore familiar gameplay, a match three, a endless jumper and a breeding/fighting game has been released since July 2013. 

But what wrong with that?

Nothing. Nothing at all. The strategy is both obvious and genius, and why wouldn't you advertise a huge social network on other media, especially when you know that these kids would probably have the billboard you plastered your posters on, right in their pockets. 

Here's a little insight into what these apps offer the kids

The two first apps, called Boonie Rescue and Boonie Bounce, allowed players to collect and earn the currency used over on web based the social network Movie Star Planet by simply logging into their account. Now the kids could actively nurture their online selfs through games when they were 'offline'.

The problem occurs when Movie Star Planet releases a third game called Boonieverse and metaphorically snapping its fingers, awakening you from the dream in which Movie Star Planet was the good guy just trying to have children not be bored out of their mind. The game itself is not bad, but here is why Movie Star Planet failed in the AppStore with Boonieverse.

1. No Rewards
Logging in to your Movie Star Planet account provides you only with a cap and +10 Hard Currency to spend in the game itself. Nothing is transferred to your Movie Star Planet account. No Fame, No Starcoins.

This isn't a horrible crime, but it just undermines what you would expect was the intention of the game. Here you are rewarded for having a Movie Star Planet account, not encouraged to nurture it through this game.

2. No more Mr. Reasonable Prices
In the two first games Movie Star Planet released the cost of the possible IAP were fairly low. The typical 0.99$ consumables and refill of lives, to a 10$ investment into soft currency to unlock more levels, providing you with more opportunities to collect Starcoins and Fame for your Movie Star Planet account, for a fee similar to what the monthly subscription to the 'actual account'. In Boonieverse it is a diffenrent story. The classic 99.99$ for a truck load of daimonds/hard currency so the player would not have to stop playing.

But what for? Around 80% of the players of this game would be playing it because of their Movie Star Planet account gained from it, not because of the game itself. This is not about blaming Movie Star Planet for being greedy within the rules of the app store like everyone else, cause that is not where they failed. They failed because they upped the stakes by 10 times but forgot to make the link to the social network 10 times stronger. 

If you try to build an expensive restaurant inside the kitchen of your existing reasonable priced restaurant, but forget to change the menu, people will notice!



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