Holiday-Themed Game Post-Mortem: How PlayQ Made it Big With its Halloween Creatives

Developer Stories

Insights & Best Practices

December 15, 2015


min read

The holidays are an extra special time for mobile gaming companies ?and not simply for the festive reasons you?d expect.Following our recent report covering all things holiday and mobile games, we thought we'd see just how important it is for mobile gaming companies and their business to focus attention on the months from Halloween to New Years.Here?s a behind-the-scenes look at how Santa Monica-based PlayQ used holiday-themed content to dominate Halloween with their match-3 game ?Charm King (iOS | Android).

??The Idea

This October, PlayQ made a splash with its seasonally themed content update with a special Halloween icon, intro screen and extra Halloween-y content and features.


"We wanted to create something special for our audience, something fun for Halloween that combined both aesthetic changes and new playable content," says Jenny Lin, VP of marketing for PlayQ.Unlike other games that simply add non-playable seasonable reward bundles during the holidays, PlayQ designed limited-time playable Halloween content, and made it accessible to the majority of its players.

The Strategy

To achieve the desired effects for their strategy (increased player engagement and UA), PlayQ went all in. PlayQ designed a specific Halloween gameplay mechanic and built limited-time rewards for players to drive engagement."Holiday-themed features and mechanics provide a great opportunity to tap into the broadly appealing fun of the season and inject it right into your game,? says Rico Sablan, Director of Design for PlayQ.PlayQ didn't stop there. They also added Halloween-flavored advertisements, screenshots and an icon.

The Icon

PlayQ?s goal was to maintain an icon that was recognizable to its existing millions of players while indicating a seasonal update and new content.


PlayQ created a lineup of variations of its existing icon to find the option that had the best balance between familiarity and new seasonal components. The seasonal additions in the icon would imply new content in the app and Charm King delivered on its promise with the fun and engaging Halloween update.

The Results

charm king

Launched a month before Halloween, the content resonated with Charm King players. Over 71 million Halloween levels were played, with well over one million players engaging with the new Halloween content.PlayQ also saw an increase of up to 21 percent in average revenue per user, and a return on advertising spend increase of 62 percent. The conversion rate from non-paying users to paying users was 56 percent higher than before.

Lessons learned

Halloween was a success for Charm King and engagement was higher than expected. Seasonal content is a great opportunity to break the linearity in most games and for players to play new content and earn new rewards.?As a result, PlayQ has deepened the experience with additional content and replayability for their winter holiday update