💡 I analyze Free Fire not from a product perspective but from a platform business perspective. The key differences between two perspectives are the length of lifespan, the shape of life cycle in terms of revenue, and the optionality while both have some similar business model attributes such as live game (on-going operation, Game-as-a-Service) and monetization methods applied. I don’t have the luxury to get access to premium analytics so I start with some free information available online.
Guess from Historical Data – All from Senor Tower
2019 Top Games
- Garena Free Fire was No.2 game in 2019 by downloads
- The smaller share of App Store in Garena Free Fire compared to those of PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty indicates the market segment difference (customer segment, device, spec, demographic)
- Device spec requirement for the game needs to fit the market. And the monetization methods need to fit as well.
2019 Q4 Data
- Performed well in 2019 Q4 by downloads
- Very low App Store share in worldwide download
- Not in the worldwide App Store chart but ranked No. 3 in Google Play
- Not even in the US Google Play which indicates major markets are outside of the U.S.
The State of Mobile Battle Royale as of Q2 2019
- Garena Free Fire was the only Battle Royale app which quarterly downloads trended upward from Q1 2018 and Q2 2019. This might indicate that 1) Garena Free Fire had not reached the inflection point of S-curve yet and/or 2) Garena’s TAM was expanding by entering into new market or further penetrating existing markets.
- Among top 10 countries by downloads of Battle Royale, Garena Free Fire has significant or meaningful market share (by downloads) in emerging markets whose characteristics are larger population but lower ARpPU. Markets include India, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Turkey. Note that Southeast Asia is Garena’s core market. In addition, Garena Free Fire also had some market share in the U.S.
- In terms of revenue traction as of Q2 2019, it showed that 1) PUBG Mobile exploded in quarterly revenue reflecting monetization in China; 2) stabilization of Knifes Out and Fortnite 3) phasing out of Rules of Survival; 4) healthy upward trend in Garena Free Fire’s quarterly revenue which might be reflecting hypothesis in the first bullet point. Garen Free Fire grossed more than Knives Out and Fortnite in Q2 2019 driven by more than $55 million gross revenue from Brazil.
- The cumulative world revenue from 1Q 2018 to 2Q 2019 indicates the much higher ARpPU of iOS devices users which might be driven by 1) stronger purchasing power; 2) better conversion; 3) better retention (for whatever reason). Based on the device distribution in downloads, revenue contribution per download of iOS devices was much higher than that of Android devices.
- Among top countries by battle royale revenue during 1Q 2018 to 2Q 2019, Knives Out dominated Japan; Fortnite dominated U.S. while PUBG Mobile having meaningful share; PUBG Mobile and Knives Out shared the China App Store market for the category. Garena Free Fire dominated market like Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, and Indonesia. Garena Free Fire also had sizable share in Malaysia. (what’s KSF for Garena to grabbed such shares in some LATAM markets?)
Garena Free Fire Quarterly Gross Revenue from 4Q 2017 to 1Q 2019
- Combined with data above, the estimated Garena Free Fire revenue in 2Q 2019 was around $179M ($387M – ($2M+$11M+$29M+$76M+$90M)).
- Brazil accounted for ~31% or ~$27.9M of $90M in 1Q 2019. Brazil revenue share in 4Q 2018 was estimated ~44% or ~$33.4M.
- Thailand contributed 11% or ~$9.9M of the total in 1Q 2019.
- United Stated contributed ~9.4% or ~$8.5M of the total in 1Q 2019. Its share in 4Q 2018 was about 4%.
- Brazil’s new installs were 14.6M in 1Q 2019 accounting for 20% of 73M downloads.
- India’s new installs were 11.7M in 1Q 2019 or 16% of total downloads.
- Indonesia’s new installs were 10.2M in 2019 or 14% total downloads.
- U.S. new installs were around 1.1M in 2019 or 1.5% total downloads.
- Overall, new installs had 81% YoY and 23% QoQ in 1Q 2019.