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Plants vs. Zombies 2 downloaded 16 million times

Plants vs. Zombies 2 downloaded 16 million times

Tue 20 Aug 2013 2:52pm GMT / 10:52am EDT / 7:52am PDT
MobileFree-to-Play

Popcap's free-to-play iOS-exclusive sequel dubbed "most successful mobile game launch" in EA history

Plants vs. Zombies 2 didn't take long to make an impact. The game launched for iOS platforms last Thursday, and Electronic Arts today announced that the free-to-play game has since been downloaded more than 16 million times.

EA dubbed it "the most successful mobile game launch" in the company's history, topping App Store charts in 137 countries around the world. Plants vs. Zombies 2's day-one download total nearly doubled EA's previous record, the publisher said.

People aren't just downloading the game; they're also spending a considerable amount of time with the mobile title. EA said players have logged more than 25 million hours with the game, meaning the average download has been played for more than an hour and a half already.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is initially available only on Apple devices, but EA has said it will launch the game on other platforms beginning later this year.

23 Comments

Gary Jacob
Localisation Project Manager

10 12 1.2
Shame it's not on Android yet, could have been 32 mil downloads!

Posted:11 months ago

#1

Spencer Franklin
Concept Artist

93 124 1.3
I don't see why this is so amazing... an highly anticipated sequel to a popular game...that is FREE to download...I would be shocked if it didn't have more downloads on day one that it's previous PAY version. I'm not a fan of the F2P switch the title has taken, but I would like to no if it's more financially successful than the previous...reading the reviews, it doesn't seem people are taking well to the F2P change.

Posted:11 months ago

#2

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
Nah, it suxx0rz. F2P will never catch on, it should be banned and all its developers shot. Hope you die, scum. P2W

Spencer, I will have a bet with you now. This will be at least 2x as successful as its predecessor or I'll give you my car. You don't have to stake anything.

I will make another bet that there'll still be tons of creatives on this side of the fence saying F2P doesn't work, kills gameplay, blah. You don't get my car for that one.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 20th August 2013 10:17pm

Posted:11 months ago

#3

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

200 476 2.4
This will be at least 2x as successful as its predecessor
I respectfully say that if it is 2x as successful it's precisely due to the fact of it's predecessor's success in the first place, and not by it's own merit and specially it's business model.

Posted:11 months ago

#4

Pier Castonguay
Programmer

189 105 0.6
Make more money maybe because people are dumb and fall for cheap tricks (especially people who buy iPhone in the first place), but it does not mean it is a good thing.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Pier Castonguay on 20th August 2013 11:04pm

Posted:11 months ago

#5

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
16 million users in 5 days. Isn't that a little bit better than most console games?

I bet that the ROCE is better than ANY console game since 2008. As it is for very many mobile games.

edit: And I bet that it is a fantastic user experience and that the customers are very happy indeed.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bruce Everiss on 20th August 2013 11:10pm

Posted:11 months ago

#6

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
Dumb? Cheap tricks?

FFS, change the record people. If you want to say that F2P customers are dumb and suffer from cheap tricks then fine, point me to some evidence. And I mean actual evidence, not just more uninformed opinion.

@Andrea, when it goes fast fivefold will that win any more points? Because it will eventually. <-- An opinion, but I'll bet you it comes true.

EDIT: But Bruce, those players can't possibly be enjoying it. They were all tricked into it, silly. People not involved and with no actual knowledge of anything say so all the time, so it must be the case. Whatever mind drug EA have put in the water, I'm sure the authorities will find out eventually and prosecute and then we can all go back to trying to sell games sight unseen, which is a much fairer sales model.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 20th August 2013 11:25pm

Posted:11 months ago

#7

Pier Castonguay
Programmer

189 105 0.6
Fortunately, not everybody base their opinions on money revenues and corporation success, but on end-user experience. Those kids that are "very happy indeed" sure are because it's dad's credit card registered to the phone.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Pier Castonguay on 20th August 2013 11:28pm

Posted:11 months ago

#8

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
Put the money aside if you like. 16M players in five days seems to be a pretty positive message about the game. Maybe my metrics just aren't the same as yours.

Do you have details about how many are using daddy's card ? Seems a bit silly to say something like that without reason. In fact if you are collecting data on children's spending habits, I consider that far more insidious. Or are you just spouting ignorant bullshit?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 20th August 2013 11:36pm

Posted:11 months ago

#9

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

200 476 2.4
I bet that the ROCE is better than ANY console game since 2008. As it is for very many mobile games.
I am actually a lot more curious (genuinely) about what's the actual RPU. Sure it shouldn't be much now when people are still going through initial stages, but in a couple of months time I'd like to know, after users realize they want (or need) a certain plant type only available through MT's.

Posted:11 months ago

#10

Keldon Alleyne
Handheld Developer

427 403 0.9
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sims_Social

Now I'm a realist. f2p is pretty awesome for indies in terms of ROCE, it's an awesome model for transforming gaming activity into revenue BUT the mechanism may not be conducive to maximum gaming experience so there are decisions to make depending on how interested you are in just creating an awesome game (and also dependant on the type of game as some games may actually better suit that mechanic). I would like the best of both worlds like Notch has. Since he has all the money he will ever need he can just work on his game ideas and supply that experience to whoever he wants how he wants. His games are pretty awesome.
If you want to say that F2P customers are dumb and suffer from cheap tricks then fine, point me to some evidence. And I mean actual evidence, not just more uninformed opinion.
The only evidence I would supply is cognitive science and its demonstrations of our poor decision making abilities and more importantly, how easily they are manipulated. Now rather than send you links I'll just leave you with the field and if you really want to learn about how human being's minds work, you can but there's no obligation as your full time occupation, I would imagine, is to make as much money as you can and although I believe that that field may give you ideas on further making use of human behaviour to increase revenue, I am not a figure of authority and so it's just an idea I have and it may be complete useless. </humble-mode>

Posted:11 months ago

#11

Thomas Dolby
Project Manager / Lead Programmer

329 277 0.8
It's good to see GI.biz covering some more mobile success stories like this. I find it curious how if a success story shows up in the headlines for a console / PC game, the discussion is filled with praise for the team or the ups and downs of the game design, but if the game is free to play or mobile, the conversation immediately spirals out of control into childish arguments about the business model that go to the extreme left or right only.

I'll re-iterate my stance on the issue which is that I believe there is room in this industry for more than one business model and platform, and they can appeal to multiple or single demographics and still be successful. Has anyone here actually played this game before jumping to its defense or criticism?

Posted:11 months ago

#12

Rafa Ferrer
Localisation Manager

47 67 1.4
Paul, Bruce, honest question here. Can a high installation count on day one be considered a success story? I mean, those users aren't paying. They're playing it for free. It would indeed be a huge success for a paid game, but wasn't it obvious that lots of people would be installing it on day one?
Sure, a huge installation count means lots of users MAY pay for something, but shouldn't we wait and see how much revenue the game is getting, say, a couple months from now, before calling this a success?
I wouldn't say I'm a successful candy seller just because lots of kids turned up at my store when I was throwing jelly beans for free.

Posted:11 months ago

#13

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Rafa Ferrer
The thing about mobile is that it is a service, not a product. You can, and must, constantly change the offering.
Done properly your customers will be paying you money for months, years even. Unlike the very short life of a retail console title.
During this life you can constantly tune the monetisation.
As long as you are giving your customers a worthwhile experience they are happy to pay. There is a very high level of satisfaction amongst mobile FTP customers.

Posted:11 months ago

#14
I haven't seen a single actual argument againt PVZ2's monetization in the comments. Have you played it? It doesn't hamper your gameplay in any fashion - I'm saying this as a huge fan of the original who was skeptical of the F2P route for the sequel. I haven't spent anything but likely will at some point. I wouldn't be surprised if my spending comes out to about the same I would've paid for a premium download, perhaps in the region of 5Ä. I can't see anything wrong with that, as a consumer and gamer.

Any way you want to look at it, at the very least the 16M downloads tells EA "gee, there seems to be a market for this game" and helps them make business decisions based on that.

Posted:11 months ago

#15

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
>> Paul, Bruce, honest question here. Can a high installation count on day one be considered a success story?

@Rafa. Well, yes. In our industry there are two metrics that matter. How many players you get and how much money you make. 16M is a shitload of players over a lifetime. Over a week, it's ridiculous. That just leaves the money. That will take longer than usual of course, but I think we all know it's going to outdo its predecessor.

If any of my games ever attained these kinda numbers I'd be pissing in my pants tbh, not sure how anyone can poo poo them even slightly.

Posted:11 months ago

#16

Shane Sweeney
Academic

349 249 0.7
I have played Plants Versus Zombies on and off for five weeks and have collected all the stars.

I feel pretty versed in its mechanics. My nephews really love the game play and IP of the original. If definitely was designed to appeal to children as much as it was to adults.

I think my real objection to PvZ 2 is that I have to teach children about capitalism and the value of a dollar before they can engage meaningfully with this type of content. As we know all good f2p sells convenience, but how does a child feel the penalty for paying for it?

I can turbo charge a plant or electrocute that one last zombie but it "feels" naturally like cheating, the economic cost is very real to me. But to a child why even build plants when they can push the electrocute button and kill all the plants on the screen? (it is certainly more fun to electrocute them!) There is no such thing as playing "incorrectly" to a child if it is effective and the game design allows for it.

In Final Fight I could use the special two button attack that kills everyone around me but it has a penalty, a loss of some health, so even as a child I knew that I could not overuse this feature.

But with f2p, how do you properly explain to a child that the fun way they have been electrocuting/flicking the zombies manually is wrong? Especially if they have got through some of the game this way?

More to the point why should I have to teach them about capitalism to enjoy a game? Can't they be kids for as long as possible? I love gaming, and want to show my future children the wonderful world of interactive entertainment but I also want to buffer them from capitalism and the concept of money for as long as I can. If the best games the world has to offer all become f2p do I have to pick between my two desires on how to raise children?

I definitely don't want a world where capitalism and the value of a dollar are a per-requisite knowledge I have to explain to children prior to them understanding gaming. Mind you, I am very pro F2P, as I said; I've completed PvP2 *and* collected all the stars, but I feel quite uncomfortable how its game design penalty depends on how much we value money.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 23rd August 2013 7:05am

Posted:11 months ago

#17

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
That's certainly a new take on this and thanks for keeping the language reasonable.

I would say that teaching kids about cost/benefit and restraint can't be a bad thing, but if they're young enough to not understand you should probably disable the iap's or give them something else to play. Definitely don't give them your credit card details because in any case the rules are different even for adults when it's not your own money on the table. :)

Whilst big hitters like PVZ are arguably outside of it, the main drive to F2P is that devs can't afford to make premium games for $0.99 now. When you have to sell a game for $0.99 to get visibility, those players out there who actually value your work don't get to pay you a reasonable amount, and there is too much competition to get enough players to survive at just a buck a throw. So my summation is that without F2P he wouldn't be playing PVZ2 in the first place and the rest is moot.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 23rd August 2013 8:42am

Posted:11 months ago

#18

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

259 165 0.6
I definitely don't want a world where capitalism and the value of a dollar are a per-requisite knowledge I have to explain to children prior to them understanding gaming.
Well, rather than capitalism, I'd talk about consumerism; because it much more realistic from the every-day perspective than understanding an economic system. First of, while you point at the issue in a very negative and narrowed (to the game) way, at no time you mention it as an opportunity to teach your child how consumerism works. Additionally, we seems to forget one thing about "PLAYING" and "GAMING" obsessed that we are about "Game should be fun". Excuse-me... Observe animals in the nature, they play too, but every step of their game is actually a training process for something they gonna have to do later on to survive (it is only anthropomorphism to think they doing it for fun). What I mean here is that this situation can be used as a pedagogical mean to teach something to a child.

Now depending on payment methods, prepaid debit card exist to name one example to limit a child spending (not to mention that well, it is quite interesting that nowadays many western-world children have smart phones "of their own" - which is also an argument part of my demonstration as follows).

Lastly, the world has changed (and keep changing) and the ways we consume as well. The funnier part of all this is that gaming marketing was paradoxically one of the slowest to get there, targeting children directly (realizing them too had buying power). Traditional toy industry was not that shy, neither were some famous "restaurants" (note the quotation marks) or fizzy drink brands.

At the end, if you want to preserve your child from the horrid reality of the world by telling him fairy tales (i.e. La Vita Ť Bella) or if you choose to protect him from this reality by either cutting his access to it or diverting him from it as long as you can (or as long as you are not ready to tell him or if he is too young to understand yet):
I would say that teaching kids about cost/benefit and restraint can't be a bad thing, but if they're young enough to not understand you should probably disable the iap's or give them something else to play
But ultimately, at some point, it may be better to prepare them for the reality of consumerism which they will have to face anyway, even if they never will play a video game again ever.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 23rd August 2013 10:11am

Posted:11 months ago

#19

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
I was trying to avoid controversy, but my own thinking on parenting involves cramming as many examples of everything as possible into children as soon as they can grasp it. And if I had them at that age again, I would definitely be keen to show them how all games will be monetising in two years time. :)

EDIT: And they'd have to earn and spend their own money, and perhaps get a massive bag of smurfberries from me at xmas. (Which is why those larger offers are there. But don't let that stop anybody trying to pervert everything about the model.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 24th August 2013 12:29am

Posted:11 months ago

#20

Shane Sweeney
Academic

349 249 0.7
There is no controversy. Each view is equally valid as people have a right to raise their own children their own way.

I have no qualms with introducing some lessons about capitalism into gaming. Monopoly (ironically) was created to teach people about the negatives of capitalism. My potential problem is that not every game should teach these lessons and we are starting to move towards this.

This is the great divide between DLC and F2P. A game like Just Dance can have additional revenue streams like providing additional songs via DLC which doesn't change the games design or drift focus from dancing.

But a theoretical version of Just Dance that is F2P that allows a maximum of 50 dance attempts with a new dance-attempt that is accumulated every 20 minutes or you can pay to rush additional dances is definitely an opportunity to teach cost/benefit and restraint to children but do we really need this in every example of gaming? Really?

I guess my view is that if every video game was only about eSports / fierce competition I would not consider the industry a healthy one. But in that same vein if every video game becomes about teaching lessons of cost/benefit and consumerism I will also argue that video games are no longer healthy for society. We fixate on both consumerism and competition enough already. A healthy range of games is fine, but if every title consolidated behind either eSports or F2P (or anything else for that matter) it will be a wasted medium.

I guess asking whether this or that game is wrong is not the right question. When does it become wrong is the right question.

Posted:11 months ago

#21

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
This anti-f2p argument has a lot more sway in the console space where products bring in a reasonable return per sale, but on mobile it's over. Most developers can't live on premium sales at $0.99 anymore, and even if they can they're leaving money on the table.

We have a tester playing our first ever F2P game right now. He's bought all our games in the past so has spent about £10 in total across all of them. He's just spend £100 on our new game while it's still in Beta. People that value their games don't even get the chance to spend what they feel the game is worth via the premium model, and when that premium model says one dollar. Well...

The only real change in the mobile space is this: Those that feel entitled to get "A" standard games for 69p now no longer can. And the bile they spit is inkeeping with that sense of self entitlement.

Posted:11 months ago

#22

Edward Buffery
Pre-production Manager

148 96 0.6
Excellent points raised by Shane, glad to see someone explaining their concerns with F2P in a fair and open way. I have a moral problem with any game that makes its money by using psychological exploits targeted primarily at the young or the weak-willed. Itís similar to the problem I have with alcohol companies marketing towards underage drinkers. Just because something is a legal and profitable financial strategy, that doesnít mean itís good or right.

However, there are tons of ways that F2P games can make money without resorting to that. Some games offer a range of great cosmetic changes that arenít available with in-game currency, short term boosts to earn a bit of extra xp or in-game currency, and ways to give yourself a greater choice of characters to play with than the constantly rotating free selection and / or slowly earnt permanent selection, but which are no more effective during actual gameplay. These are just some of the many ways in which F2P games can make great revenues from a wide selection of their user base which I have absolutely no problem with. With games like that I end up giving my money away as much because I feel that I owe them for all the amazing hours of fun Iíd had than because I actually wanted anything they were selling. League of Legends does all these things for example, and is obviously highly successful.

What it doesnít do is prevent you from playing with timers that you have to pay to skip, let you instantly Ďwiní by clicking on a pay button to make things explode, provide the user with an ultimately false but very gratifying sense of being a more skilled player when you pay money, or have a cleverly hidden wall beyond which you cannot progress without paying but which FEELS like a skill wall, relying on the usersí compulsion to complete what theyíve started even if theyíre not actually having fun anymore.

Iím tired of reading about how people love or hate the F2P model as a whole as if all F2P games make their money the same way. Iíll judge each F2P game on its own implementation, and make up my opinion accordingly.

Posted:10 months ago

#23

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