Browser games f2p saturation?

Readers who follow the industry know that Bigpoint recently lost some of their talented managers. Readers with detail knowledge also might know that Travian lost their CEO with the original founders moving back in, merging their Travian Games with Travian Publishing.

So what is happening? Is this the first sign of saturation? It can't be denied that the amount of free to play content has increased 10 fold over the last years. As the games industry finally accepted the concept the number of titles being released is staggering. This means competition is much higher, choice is manifold so users leave games more easily for new experiences.

You can see some effects of this by using google trends (I love this tool): Seafight. Dark Orbit, Drakensang Online and Pirate Storm, all Bigpoint:

Since beginning of 2012 there is a huge downwards trend in Bigpoints' key titles while their new ones didn't catch up yep (Note: Farmerama and SG not mentioned). Interesting to see that Bigpoint tries to find a replacement for the troubled Seafight with Pirate Storm or Kultan - why else would they release two similar pirate games at once.

Let's trend some strategy titles Travian vs. Grepolis vs. Ikariam and OGame:

It seems that the downwards trend started sooner on this genre. 2009 generally was a year where a lot of games has been hit (see first chart - Seafight).

What happened 2009? What happened begining of 2012? I am into this and very curious.

Let's discuss!


  1. First guess: Facebook hit the typical target demographic for Browser Games?

    Not sure.

  2. http://www.benphoster.com/facebook-user-growth-chart-2004-2010/

    Might be one reason yes, see chart in link above. But are Browser Games users afine to casual facebook games?

  3. Not easy to say because a bunch of factors influence search trends.
    One aspect of a search decline can be a significant raise in facebook usage, but like the latest figures and the recent facebook quarterly report shows; the trend goes mobile (if you put `android` or `app` in google trends it wouldn‘t be a fair race).
    Data analysis regarding mobile apps isn‘t really possible with google trends (most activity would be in the mobile or desktop marketplaces and not on google). And so the impact of `angry birds` could even be much higher (http://www.google.com/trends/?q=travian,+ikariam,+grepolis,+anno+1404,+angry+birds&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0). A company like Flaregames might be on the right track.
    Another factor might be boxed games like `anno 1404`. Not a huge impact in search, but the right target audience and everybody playing another game is more likly to drop his former F2P-love affair and can discover a new one (the market gets incredibly wide and can address more individual niches the players have - and furthermore it‘s still lucrative for hundreds of developers).
    And eventually it‘s very simple; they know or bookmarked the game sites and by this the user doesn‘t search anymore, he knows his place.

  4. Der Bigpoint Trend ist ohne Farmerama natürlich nicht aussagekräftig

  5. Karl, ja, nur auch Farmerama hat ein starken Abwärtstrend. Wie gut das Monetarisiert weiß nur BP. Aber die alten Säulen lassen wohl stark nach.