F2P Game Multiple Case Forecast (Template)
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This financial forecasting template for free-to-play games was created by Ethan Levy of FamousAspect.
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Making a free-to-play game is hard, and making a profitable one is even harder. Although most gamedevs are driven primarily by creativity and secondarily by money, the financial side of game development is important for teams of all sizes.

One mistake I see repeated over and over again is that a team does not take time during the early stages of a game's development to figure out what it will need to accomplish in terms of unique players, conversion rate and arppu to be successful. The purpose of this model is to help you confront those realities early on so that you can ask yourself if your game's design has what it takes to reasonably achieve those goals.

Additionally, when I do speak to developers about financial forecast models, more often than not there is just one prediction. "Our game will be a hit! This is how many players we'll have and how much money we'll make." I know that this is a flawed approach I have personally taken in the past.

To help address this issue, this forecast model asks you to make four distinct predictions about your game. What will the worst case scenario look like? What will it take to break even? What would we expect a modest profit to look like? What do we expect if this game is a breakout hit? This model asks you to forecast two years of your game's operation in months.

After creating each of these forecasts, you determine how probably you believe each case to be. With those probabilities, the model predicts the amount of profit or loss you are forecast to make with your game.
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This model is a tool intended for use in early development. It should take a few hours to complete and help inform a team what it will take at various levels of investment and game scope. It is not intended to be a day-to-day model to help accurately forecast daily play and revenue patterns during the LiveOps phase of development.
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License
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This template is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License. If this template helps you with a public facing piece of work, please send me a link to your completed work since I'd like to know how my templates are used.
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Link to Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License
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Instructions
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Critical note: any cell highlighted in light green is one for you to enter the value for. Any cell that is not highlighted is calculated automatically for you from the values you enter.
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1) This version of the model is view only. To make your own forecast, start by going to File and making a copy for yourself.
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2) Start with the worst case forecast tab. Begin your forecast by entering a hypothesis for this forecast. What events could take place for this scenario to come true?
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3) After setting a hypothesis, fill out the development investment section. In this scenario, how much money will you spend to create your game?
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4) Fill out the LiveOps Costs section. This section will track your monthly investment into the game as well as your player growth over time
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5) Fill out the revenue section. This is where you will predict the in-app purchase and advertising revenue for your game. Note: if you do not anticipate using any form of in-game advertising, set columns V and Y to all 0.
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6) The far right column is Justification. Use this section to explain the narrative behind the numbers. If there is a big change in a specific month, why do you think this change will occur? Don't just fill a spreadsheet with numbers, tell a story about your game's reception over time.
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7) Look at the 3 graphs generated from your forecast. These appear below the revenue section. If anything looks funky, you may wish to adjust your forecast.
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8) Repeat steps 2 through 5 for the Break Even, Modest Profit and Hit forecast tabs.
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9) Go the the Your forecast tab. Assign probabilities to the first 3 forecasts. The 4th will be calculated automatically as the column must add up to 100%
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Your expected profit is shown on the bottom of the Your forecast table!
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I hope you enjoy the model! Please email any feedback or change requests to ethan@famousaspect.com
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Forecast model glossary
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InvestmentThe total amount of money you will spend developing, marketing and supporting this game
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SalaryThe amount of money you will spend paying yourself and your team
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Contracted ServicesThe amount of money you will spend on freelancers or other contracted service providers
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Office & EquipmentThe amount of money you will spend on office rental, computers, equipment and other overhead
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Marketing & EventsThe amount of money you will spend marketing your game and promoting it at events (outside of user acquisition)
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User AcquisitionThe amount of money you will spend on marketing with the purpose of directly getting players to install your game. Generally referred to as paid user acquisition.
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ServersThe amount of money you will spend on backend services to support your game during the current month
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CPICost per install. The amount of money, on average, you will spend for to generate each install with user acqusition marketing.
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User Acquisition SpendThe amount of money you will spend on user acquisition in the current month
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RevenueThe amount of money your game will make through IAP sales and advertising
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Installs - OrganicHow many new players will join your game in the current month organically?
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Installs - Features, Cross Promo and Events
How many new players will join your game in the current month as a result of marketing, platform holder features or live events?
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Installs - PUAHow many new players will join your game in the current month as a result of paid user acquisition?
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New Player ChurnWhat % of last month's newley installed players will not return in the current month? New installs tend to have much higher churn rates than veteran players.
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Veteran PlayersThe number of players from the previous month who will play in the current month
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Vet Player ChurnWhat % of last month's veteran players will not return in the current month? Veteran players tend to have lower churn rates than newly installed players.
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MAUMonthly Active Users; the number of unique players who will play your game in the current month
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ConversionThe percentage of this months players who will spend money in the current month
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(M)ARPPU(Monthly) Average Revenue Per Paying User; of those players who pay, the average amount they will spend in the current month
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Platform CutThe percentage of game revenue that will be taken by the distribution platform and any other service providers
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IAP RevenueThe amount of money you will make from in-game purchases after the platform holder and service providers take their cut
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(M) Sessions per PlayerThe average number of game sessions an active player will play in the current month
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Video Ad Views per SessionThe number of video advertisements the average player will view in an average game session
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Video eCPMeCPM is effective cost per mille (1 mille = 1 thousand views). This is the revenue you, as the game publisher, will earn for every thousand video advertisment views
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Static/Banner Views per SessionThe number of static, banner or interstitial advertisements an average player will view in an average game session
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Static/Banner eCPMeCPM is effective cost per mille (1 mille = 1 thousand views). This is the revenue you, as the game publisher, will earn for every thousand static advertisement views.
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(M)ARPUMonthly Average Revenue Per User; how much revenue will you earn in total for each active player in the current month
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Instructions
Your forecast
Worst Case forecast
Break Even forecast
Modest Profit forecast
Hit forecast