Discovering the Potential of Unity WebGL with AirConsole

alice@n-dream.com aircn.sl/Unite

/ Who am I?

Alice Ruppert

Lead Game Developer for AirConsole

  • Making Games with Unity WebGL
  • Consulting other AirConsole Developers


/ What is AirConsole

AirConsole is a web-based video game console

  • Web browser is the console
  • Smartphones are the gamepads
  • Local Multiplayer & Party Games
  • Available for free or with
    Premium subscription


Web-based → no hardware needed. Easily accessible, easily understandable

We make games in-house (what I do), and we work with external developers

/ AirConsole for Devs

Game: Built with Unity WebGL & Plugin

Controller: Made with html

AirConsole takes care of

  • Auto-scaling server infrastructure
  • Connections & Networking
  • Device Handling


</>

</>

</>

Plugin: to use the js API from within your c# scripts

Unity webGL (other tools are possible)

/ AirConsole: Origins

January 2015: Idea & Prototype

March 2015: Unity 5 / WebGL Release

July 2015: Funding & Team assembled

September 2015: Launch

So before we talk about the present, let’s take a quick look into the past at how it all began.

Person that started it was Andrin, now CEO and Tech lead, formerly tech lead at google, not a gamedev. Had heard Unity WebGL announcement in 2014 though

He found investors, assembled a team of five people, and we started working on a version of AirConsole that we would be able to launch

/ WebGL & Timing

What Unity WebGL meant for us

  • Ease of Access
  • Power/Features
  • Unity penetration among indies

Unity WebGL was absolutely crucial for getting AirConsole off the ground.

For the user: Accessibility: before that it was web player - installing a free plugin may not seem like all that much to some, but it will deter a portion of users

(AirConsole doesn’t even require mobile app download until later on)

For the game quality: Power/Features: in comparison to js or html5 game engines

For recruiting devs: (after all, every game platform lives and dies with its content) Penetration: Vast advantage over other 3D webGL tools

And we’re already trying to get devs to try something new - better we don’t have to try and move them to a new engine as well

/ Launch Day

  • 6 Games
  • Thousands of players
  • No external developers

Now to continue our timeline and further progress: this is what the store looked like on launch

At that time, we had 6 games

Lots of players thanks to hackernews (from 131 countries on Day 1) and reddit (front page, /r/internetisbeautiful) a few weeks later

All games developed in-house

/ Today

  • 75 Games
  • Millions of players
  • Over 1500 Developers

...but how tho?

75 games, 2/3rds MWU

Millions of players have played games on airconsole

Unity plugin has 1600 downloads, plus devs

/ The Product

  • Smart treatment of smartphone controllers
  • Continuous improvements with A-B-testing
  • Technical reliability

Step one to reaching a lot of people is simply having a good product. Otherwise all the exposure in the world will not help.

Smartphone controllers: not dozens of buttons (but exact number of buttons you need), but secret info for example

We tried to use and advertise the general advantages of smartphone controllers, like that everyone can join, that you don’t need to worry about hardware, that you can give secret information to individual players…

Improvements: very Big Data driven, 600 data points per users, analyzing millions of users in their behavior etc.

Tech: In almost two years of being online, AirConsole has had downtime of exactly six hours, and that was because we hit a server billing limit in the middle of the night.

/ Reaching Devs

Very useful:

  • Contests
  • Conference presence
  • Transparency, Reliability, Support
  • Call for Projects

Less useful:

  • Smaller Contests
  • Monetizing late

Conference presence: we hope/think/believe it’s useful, but very hard to measure

CFP: now top games

Small contests: just less reach

Monetization: monetizing only after a while (not bad, just made it difficult to get devs on board for a while), it takes a certain bit of faith for devs to work with us

/ Reaching Players

Very useful:

  • Reddit Frontpage
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Chatbot & Reminder email
  • Social Product

Less useful:

  • Making Let’s Plays
  • Domain Reputation Fuck-ups
  • Press Coverage

Reddit FP: with that gif to the right

Influencer marketing: tried for a while to get in touch with youtubers directly (email, youtube PM), then got much better results using FameBit, which is designed to connect devs and content producers

Small thing, but: when we asked for email confirmation, we added this little conversation with answer buttons, that was like ‘hey, why not like our fb page?’ and ‘may we send you a reminder to play again?’ Worked out really well

Our own let’s plays were fun, but just not enough impact

Early on, as a retention tool, we sent a lot of automated emails and still get thrown into spam because of it

Press coverage was positive, but we noticed little impact on traffic even on major outlets (TechCrunch)

/ Next Steps

Reaching the “Next Level” of AirConsole Games

  • “Bigger” than AirConsole
  • Perfect for the platform

?

...but what do we offer the devs?

AC started out as a gimmick, then a platform with a handful of cool games, now we want games that are bigger than the platform. We want a game that players tell their friends about, that just happens to be on airconsole and perfect for the platform

We don’t have a concept for “that” game yet, but we are looking for the dev team that can make it

Store redesign for better featuring, more games visible, better sorting (some automated, some handpicked)

Increasingly big influencer marketing campaigns. Gives a lot of exposure to individual games

/ For Developers

  • Matured platform
  • Influencer marketing campaigns
  • Reach
  • Free tools & support
  • Monetization with AirConsole Hero
  • Accelerator program and Cooperations

And of course...

Recent redesign: better value perception (leads to better conversion and thus good for dev), more improvements to come (like our SEOptimized but ugly landing pages)

Monetization went through various changes. (we had ads, didn’t work well) Monetization is now final, or at least something close to it: dev gets the full value of 2.99$ every time someone gets an AC Hero subscription while playing their game.

Reach: hundreds of thousands of users for your game, much less competition (500 games per day on iOS)

Accelerator 2990$ (value of 1000 subscriptions sold on your game) on launch day, if you qualify. Cooperation: we fund your development, but you’ll have to be good

AirConsole 25k Game Dev Contest

USD 25.000

USD 5.000

USD 2.500

Deadline:

October 31st 2017

Details:

aircn.sl/devs

As you’ve seen on your fidget spinners

You can win 25k and of course get all the exposure that comes with being launched on AC, and reach more and more players as we grow.

/ Thank you!

Get in touch:

  • alice@n-dream.com
  • @MaliceDaFirenze
  • @AirConsole

aircn.sl/Unite


https://developers.airconsole.com

AirConsole @ Unite Europe - Google Slides