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Success Factors of wooga’s Bubble Island

By Sebastian Sujka

Bubble Island is wooga’s second game and one of the most popular games ever produced in Europe. It is a classic arcade game in which the player pops bubbles to reach the next level and to explore the island. Although tons of arcade games are available on Facebook Bubble Island sticks out from the pack and attracts almost a million daily active users and more than five million monthly active users. We looked into the key success factors of the game:

Emotional Attachment
Most social games create engagement through emotional bonding. The user is engaged because he cares about the looks of his farm or the well-being of his pet. This concept is hard to transfer on an arcade game. A solution for this problem is emotional attachment to involved characters. In Bubble Island the user is accompanied by a raccoon whatever he does. Especially in the game where the user shoots bubbles the raccoon is highly involved. He responds directly to what the user does and to what happens in the game. The raccoon reloads the shooter, gets excited when a bonus is scored and sweats when the player is about to lose. He translates gameplay action into emotions and displays it to the player.

Established Game Concept
Like all successful social games Bubble Island has a very low barrier of entry. The game is started and the user knows immediately what to do. In Bubble Island’s case gameplay is intuitive as the game takes one of the best-known match-three arcade game concepts and transfers it into a social game. In its core Bubble Island is a classic arcade match-three bubble shooting game on a high polishing level.

User Involvement through Content
What also differentiates Bubble Island from most other arcade style games on Facebook is the adaption of gaming content for social networks. Users are not playing a couple of identical levels but 70 very different levels in which skills can be diversified. The result is high engagement: users want to finish each area on the Island and, as the data shows us, they come back on a regular basis.

Usage of the Social Graph
Like in most successful social games players benefit from having many friends that are actively playing the game. Cooperative gameplay is rare in arcade games though. In Bubble Island friends can help each other to advance on the island. The game is constructed to create a win-win situation for the users’ entire Bubble Island-network. The more levels the users and their friends have played in total the more lives they get to retry a level if they fail. This element enhances conversation about Bubble Island outside the game which attracts new players to join.

With Bubble Island’s game design wooga found a way to cultivate a user attracting dialogue in the social network. Consequently, Bubble Island was not affected by the ban of Facebook notifications. Bubble Island will soon be launched on other social networks like on the German VZ Networks on which wooga’s first game Brain Buddies was top of the charts till recently. Next week we will cover wooga’s new game Monster World which was recently launched on Facebook.