Monopoly Go has already earned over $4.8m from 12.3m lifetime downloads inclusive of its soft launch, according to Appmagic data.
Scopely launched the game globally on April 12 – under two weeks ago – and has earned over $2.6m from 8.3m downloads in that time alone.
It’s also been topping games charts in key western markets including the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Australia and Canada on both iOS and Android.
So what’s its secret? Tripledot product director Nikita Tolokonnikov puts it most succinctly on his blog:
“Monopoly Go is essentially Coin Master wrapped in a Monopoly theme.”
Fellow game design expert Jakub Remiar notes Monopoly Go was also inspired by Pirate Kings, Board Kings, Piggy Go and Dice Dreams.
Remiar says Scopely’s latest title is actually a closer relation to Board Kings, and has the enemy base targeting common to this type of game. The ‘big red button’ UI and play patterns are similar, too.
Former King, Electric Square and Bearhug game designer Tom Froud, founder of design consultancy Ludoforma, says Scopely’s production values and big-name IP mean Monopoly Go could have the edge over Coin Master.
“It puts an incredibly recognisable IP in front of a big market and pitches the experience perfectly,” Froud tells us. “In my opinion it’s a better game than Coin Master, but it’s very hard to displace games that have been in the market a long time.”
“In a post-IDFA world with an IP as well-known as Monopoly, which is synonymous with playing games with family – family is often cited a major driver for casual mobile players – Go represents a very strong proposition.”
Tripledot’s Tolokonnikov notes, however, that casual players could feel a slight mismatch between Go’s core loop and what players expect from Monopoly.
“I have no doubts that the IP will bring millions of players to the game and continue being the cornerstone of its success,” says Tolokonnikov.
“However, if players are coming to experience the original Monopoly, they’re in for a big disappointment. That will surely scare away some players, and even for those who stay, will it be enough to keep them playing for years if new downloads start dwindling over time?”
Is Monopoly Go going to topple Coin Master as the top dog in this genre, then? Froud says that from a design perspective, Scopely’s game is superior.
“Coin Master is a bit bewildering to new players, and after one session of Monopoly Go it’s pretty clear how the game works, what you want and what to do,” Froud tells us. “The FTUE is super rewarding, it introduces you to all the mechanics and then just serves up the best feeling version of that.”
“Progression is better than Coin Master too – more customisation, clearer goal formation and a world that is relevant to real-life motivators. It keeps the goals and objectives clear and onboards them in a progressive way which means their value is understood, even in the early game.”
But Tolokonnikov and Remiar agree that Monopoly Go needs to add something genuinely new to the genre to surpass Coin Master.
“Even though the IP recognition is strong it will be an uphill battle against the champion,” says Remiar. “Monopoly Go will need to really push its metagame systems, which we haven’t seen yet in full as on a surface level it hasn’t brought anything new to the table design-wise.”
Tripledot’s Tolokonnikov adds: “We’ll see a period where Monopoly Go rises to the top and earns big bucks, but I have a hard time imagining such a secondary-in-design product succeeding long-term. Will the design team be up for the challenge of evolving the game into something of its own, or will they continue following the Coin Master strategy?”
Froud agrees that there’s plenty of space for long-term growth by evolving the product over time.
“It has basic cyclic live events but lots of room for more, and Scopely do live ops really well,” he adds. “They have done a similar thing before with Scrabble Go and Words with Friends and they are well placed to do it again.”